Salvador, Maragogipe: All is not gloom and doom in the Bay of All Saints

Published 12 years ago, updated 5 years ago

All is not gloom and doom in the Bay of All Saints (Baia de Todos os Santos). While almost every cruiser appears to have had a run in with crime at a street (mugging), commercial (ripoff) or official (customs) level, the rest of the bay is host to the most beautiful scenery and charming people!

We have just spent two of the most pleasurable weeks of our cruise with the friendliest people. Maragogipe was very popular ten years ago as a victualling place for cruisers. Prices were cheap and the quality was good. But less and fewer cruisers visit this place and the small community would welcome the support.

Maragogipe is the healthy food capital of the world! The variety is vast and the produce is fresh, cheap and healthy. It keeps too. We’ve been storing spinach for over two weeks. And it’s not only sold on a Saturday at the huge farmers market on the square, but the municipal market also has good fare every morning (get up early).

On a Thursday they have another market. Selling clothes, crafts, plastic, and cooking utensils. The shops also have great prices too. The Ceste do Povo has serious bargains on oats, cake, and bread mixes and cereals. And the Mercado closest to the anchorage has the best prices and friendliest staff. There is an old man selling cordage and nets on the street outside the municipal market – what a dude!

But our favorite was the saddlery. You can park your horse outside and the proprietor will pimp your ride with the latest leather goods! Saddles, bridles and a riding crop for the owner! Just buy a cool drink from the lanchonette across the road and watch his customers ride into town.

Maragogipe produces wonderful, practical pottery. They sell a terracotta charcoal burner for beach barbeques for US$5!

Gas can be delivered to the end of the jetty and water is obtained at high tide from the old Fish Market and twenty yards from your dinghy (unless you fancy a half mile yomp – walk).

The Internet is adequate if you have a TIM chip. Vivo works (slowly), but Claro and Oi have no signal.

The river is not too salty and the water is soft. Bathing is a pleasure. And there aren’t any mosquitoes.

Smile and slow down. The locals will appreciate it.

There cannot be something wrong with a community who still transports their wares to market on donkeys. Maragogipe doesn’t have huge corporate interests – people trade with each other and it shows. Let’s support them.

Anchor opposite the jetty in 6 meters with excellent holding (if you drag you’ll be ploughing a ton of mud back to Salvador!). But please leave space for the launchers and Saveiros (local transport yachts) to come alongside the landing platform. We rowed and parked our dinghy under the jetty (out of the way of the busy transports) and never thought twice about security.

The kids fly kites, play football and everyone is a fitness freak. In a community that spends so much time interacting with one another, there isn’t time for anti-social activities. If it happens, you can be sure it shan’t be accepted by the locals!

Alastair Newman

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Brazil, Maragogipe: Armed Night Robbery – March 2018

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  1. March 18, 2019 at 2:43 AM
    Data Entry says:

    Well, it appears that it is all `doom and gloom`, especially in Maragojipe. On Friday night, the 2nd March a South African yacht with only the owner on board was boarded by 4 armed men. He dived overboard and escaped to call the police. His boat was ransacked with many items including his outboard motor and electronics stolen. He advised the police that he would leave at first light but was told to leave immediately, (around midnight), thus being forced to navigate the river at night with no navigation aids (they had been stolen). He has advised that he will be filing a report.

    I have also learned that there were two more armed boardings in 2017 that were not reported. One was an American yacht and the other German. Had these people reported their experiences perhaps this latest incident could have been avoided. (This is unlikely as the recent victim admitted that he had not checked Noonsite beforehand.) It is possible that people are embarrassed to report their incidents after being alerted to the warnings – which they failed to research.

    Again, I bring to the attention of those visiting this site that there is a notice at the Aratu Yacht Club warning its members (Brazilians) not to visit remote anchorages in the Bay.

    In small, regional townships, foreigners, (Gringos), are unlikely to get any assistance from the police as everybody knows everybody and is somehow related and it would be bad form for the police to take action against a friend, or relation. In most cases, they know exactly who is responsible. Only if the financial reward, (bribe), is sufficiently attractive may the stolen goods be recovered. Welcome to Brazil.

  2. March 18, 2019 at 2:42 AM
    Data Entry says:

    We visited Maragogipe two days ago, anchoring just upstream of the jetty. It was a Saturday morning and we particularly wanted to see the famous market and to buy vegetables and other produce before setting off to sea for another few hundred miles south.

    Balette’s book says that it’s a very lively town, especially on Saturday mornings. This is sadly no longer true: the town is completely somnolent. No market, a few shops selling rubbish and few if any fresh vegetables, lots of bars almost entirely empty. A few youths polishing motorcycles but no farmers or other evident activity or commerce.

    The market building was shut but on asking at the bar attached to it we were directed to a mini-supermarket with a shrug. A big disappointment. It didn’t feel threatening, just dead. We stayed the night at San Francisco do Iguape: peaceful off the ruined convent/monastery, but that’s why we went there. No other yachts to be seen. We saw _no_ another foreign yacht in Salvador and only one German yacht in Itaparica.

  3. March 18, 2019 at 2:42 AM
    Data Entry says:

    See this report – dated January 2015 – about the worsening security situation in Maragogipe (in Portuguese) –

  4. March 18, 2019 at 2:42 AM
    Data Entry says:

    The following police report is dated 17 January 2015. A CLIMATE OF TERROR settled in the city of Maragogipe, in Bahia on Thursday night (15 Jan 2015). According to information about 30 men with rifles caliber 12 (shotguns) and other weapons, began firing several shots in Town, challenging the police, municipal authorities and even the state itself. After escapes of prisoners from the local police station, traffickers began to celebrate, commenting that the power is in their hands.

    MANY RESIDENTS HAVE LEFT THE CITY IN FEAR, and still, others rely on the Department of Public Safety of Bahia, which seems unaware of the current situation. “While the PM (Policia Militar – Military Police) work the Civil Police sleep,” blurted a police officer who requested anonymity. Car of the region came to the city, developing policing. No information about the confrontation between police and criminals.

  5. March 18, 2019 at 2:42 AM
    Data Entry says:

    The following article, translated from Portuguese, is a police report dated 17 July 2014. “Maragojipe: bandits promote a night of death, bombings, and terror.”

    “Police Shots and screams. These were the sounds that broke the silence of the night Tuesday (15) in Maragojipe city located in the Reconcavo Baiano. According to information from residents, rival factions decided to settle accounts and promoted waves recorded at several city neighborhoods while attacks. Earlier on Wednesday (16), the balance of hours of terror: houses were burned.

    A resident was tortured and executed in their own homes. Identified only as Henry the Young had broken forearms and the body cut with a machete. He was killed with several shots on Cruise neighborhood.

    Military Police of São Félix, Muritiba and Waterfall were fired at dawn and reached exchanging fire with the bandits. No suspects have been arrested. Also according to the locals, the competition for points of drug trafficking between the CP and CCP factions have motivated the attacks. Police would not confirm the performance of the factions in the city.

    Operations are being performed to identify the arrest of the accused. Residents reported the situation was tense and some traders preferred to stay closed.”

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