Imbituba – Whale of a Time

The coastal town of Imbituba, 70km south of Florianopolis in the southern state of Santa Catarina, once relied on whale hunting for its economic survival, but has now become one of the country&rsquot;s main sanctuaries for this endangered species.

Host to the annual National Whale Week, in September, the region, with over 33 kilometers of unspoiled beaches and coastline, is an ideal place for whale spotting, especially between the months of May and November, when Southern Right Whales migrate to the region&rsquot;s clear calm waters to give birth to their offspring.

In 1981 Vice-Admiral Ibsen Cmara, one of the foremost Brazilian environmentalists of all time, established the &rsquot;Southern Right Whale Project&rsquot; aimed at protecting the remaining right whales in their breeding grounds of Southern Brazil, especially in Santa Catarina State.

Reaching almost 60 feet and forty tons, Southern Right Whales (also known by the scientific name of Eubalaena australis) are quite distinct from other whale species by their rounded, black bodies and striking whitish callosities on their heads.

Such callosities are born with the whales and vary from one individual to another, much as fingerprints in humans, therefore allowing researchers to identify individual animals and study their migrations and reproduction habits.

Since the eighteenth century, right whales were relentlessly slaughtered in Brazilian waters (as well as in many other areas, for that matter) resulting in their almost complete extinction.

Despite protected by international treaties since 1935, the slaughter of the species continued in Brazil until 1973, when the last Armaão (whaling station) of Southern Brazil, at Imbituba, closed its operations due to… lack of whales!

The rediscovery of the surviving right whales of Brazil by the team of the Right Whale Project, in the early 80&rsquot;s, led to the structuring of a permanent program to study and foster the recovery of these whales in Brazilian waters.

Among other successes, the project achieved wide public awareness on the need to protect the species, and in 1995, the Government of the State of Santa Catarina legally declared these whales a State Natural Monument, thereby reassuring its full protection.

The orderly and conscious development of whale watching in this region has recently been incorporated as one of the Project&rsquot;s priorities, in order to promote a source of economic benefits to the coastal communities directly involved in helping to protect these magnificent yet still endangered animals.

During the austral winter and spring, Southern Right Whales – survivors of the second most endangered whale species – reach the Southern Brazilian coast to give birth and raise their young in the many protected bays and coves of the region, where they can be easily observed as close as 60 feet (20 meters) from shore.

Here they will meet resident populations of tucuxis – one of the smallest cetaceans, endemic to South American waters – and bottlenose dolphins who cooperate daily with artisanal fishermen in catching mullet in lagoon channels, a unique interspecific friendship.

A little southward, Southern Sea Lions watch the passing whales from their safe haven in the ecological reserve of Lobos Island.


Some curious facts about Southern Right Whales

– Only the mothers and calves migrate to Brazil. The males accompany the females to the Valdez penisula in Argentina, where they split up.

– The females can reach up to 17 meters in length and weigh around 45 tons

– The offspring are born between June and December, measuring around 5 meters and weighing between 4 and 5 tons.

– The young calf can gain 50 kilos a day in the first weeks of life, only from the mother&rsquot;s milk, which is rich in fat.

– Females give birth on average every three years. The gestation period is 12 months.

– Their body are black and rounded, with no dorsal fin, and a large head with makes up a quarter of the total body size.

– They have distinct creases or markings on the top and sides of their heads, which like human&rsquot;s finger prints, are unique to each whale, and are used as a means of identification by researchers.

– They can stay under water for up to 20 minutes and travel at speeds of between 5 and 12 km per hour.

– The flippers are large and rounded, and the flukes have a broad, smooth rear margin separated by a deep notch. The hot air which they blow comes through the flukes comes out in a distinct V shape.



Whale Types and Migration

The freezing waters off Antarctica are the summer home for many whale species. While there, the whales feed on the rich supply of krill (small prawn-like animals). In autumn, as the temperature falls and ice starts to cover the sea, many of the large whale species begin a long and hard migration northward to the warm waters off the Australian coast. Humpback and southern right whales follow a similar route each year, and many females make the journey while pregnant so that they can give birth in Australian waters.

Canada:
June to October – Fin, Jubart and Minke
August and November – Right Whale

U.K. and Ireland:
April and October – Minke

Caribbean:
January and April – Jubart and Cachalot

U.S. and Mexico (Californian Bay):
January to April – Grey, Blue, Jubart, Fin and Minke

Abrolhos:
July to November – Jubart

Santa Catarina:
June/July to November/December – Southern right

Antartica:
End of November to March – Jubart, Fin and Minke, Orcas

Australia:
August to November – Jubart
May to October – Southern right





Hotels in Imbituba

Imbituba Praia Hotel

The town&rsquot;s only beachfront hotel, with over 60 apartments, with color TVs, air conditioning, frigobar, veranda and hammocks. Other facilities include swimming pool, sauna, games room and convention center. Average price R$60/night per couple.

Av. Transatlntica, s/n – Centro – Imbituba
Tel: (048) 255-1700
E-mail:prhotel@matrix.com.br



Silvestre Praia Hotel

Just a 100 meters from the beach, all rooms with air conditioning, frigobar and color TVs. Hotel also contains games room, swimming pools, barbeque and observation point for whale watching. Average price R$65/night per couple.

Rua Irineu Bornhausen, 185 – Centro – Imbituba
Tel: (048) 255-1230
E-mail:silvestrepraiahotel@brasilnet.net
Website: www.silvestrepraiahotel.com.br




For more information check out the following website (in Portuguese)

www.guiaimbituba.com.br

Atibaia Strawberry Fest

The annual flower and strawberry festival in Atibaia will take place this year from Sept. 6 – 22. The festival, which has been taking place for the past 22 years, is held to celebrate the end of the strawberry season and has a strong Japanese and Brazilian influence. As well as flower, ornamental plants, strawberry and other fruit displays, the festival includes live performances and shows representing different cultures and nationalities including Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Bolivian etc. Atibaia, located about one hour from São Paulo, is one of Brazil&rsquot;s main strawberry and flower exporters.

Ibitipoca

Ibitipoca, located in the southeast of Minas Gerais, is a nature lover&rsquot;s paradise, with an abundance of waterfalls, caves, rocks, cliffs, flora and fauna. The region&rsquot;s average altitude is 1,500 meters above sea level, while the highest point, Pico da Lombada, is 1,784m above sea level. The location, 460 km from São Paulo and 260 km from Rio, also boasts the largest cave in the world, Gruta das Bromlias, stretching over 3,000 meters long. Access to the cave, however, is currently restricted due to repairs. The Ibitipoca State Park, covering 1,500 hectares, was created in 1973, to preserve the region&rsquot;s ample flora and fauna and is considered one of the state&rsquot;s best equipped parks, with camping facilities, trails etc. Access is limited to 300 visitors a day during the week and 800 a day at weekends and holidays.





LINKS

www.ibitipoca.com

www.ibitipoca.tur.br



POUSADAS

Repousada Chals: (032) 3281-8112
Serra do Ibitipoca: (032) 3281-8148
Pousada Janela do Cu: (032) 3281-8118
Pousada Tangar: (032) 3281-8117
Pousada do Sossego: (032) 3281-8137
Pousada Flor da Pedra: (032) 3281-8103
Chals Stio Meu Recanto: (032) 3281-8123
Pousada Poente: (032) 3281-8125
Pousada Pasto do Lambari: (032) 3281-8131
Pousada Balduna: (032) 3281-8122
Chals Vale do Sol: (032) 3281-8141

CAMPING

Parque Estadual: (032) 3281-1101
IbitiLua: (032) 3281-1155
Vargem do Engenho: (024) 350-1520
Stio Meu Recanto: (032) 3281-8123
Reserva Canto da Vida: (032) 3281-8136

It is absolutely necessary to book camping space in advance, at least 30 days in advance during the holiday season. Price is R$5 per person per night.


TRAVEL GUIDE

Denis Goncalves
Tel: (55 11) 6651-1047 or 9631-4612
E-mail: brasilforall@ig.com.br

Financial and Tax Advice

A representative of the Fry Financial Group will be in São Paulo next week to advise and attend clients. Specialists in tax, financial planning and executor & trustee matters, The WT Fry Group has been in business since 1898. The company has over 40,000 clients, working or retired, living in the UK or one of more than 150 countries worldwide. The company’s executives regularly tour the main expatriate centers overseas and from Sep 8 to 14, Patrick Holman will be available for appointments at the British Center, Rua Ferreira de Araujo, 741, as well as at the Blue Tree Towers on Faria Lima. Appointments can be arranged with Lisa Cox at Fry’s Head Office by way of email lisa.cox@wilfredtfry.co.uk. For more information on the company visit their website www.wtfry.com



Reflection about Sept. 11

The American Consulate General in São Paulo and União Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos invite you to a Reflection about Sept. 11 gathering. Participating in the event will be:
*Patrick D. Duddy, American General Consul in São Paulo
*Daniel Daly, Capitan of the Fireman Body of New York, part the team that rescued the victims of the World Trade Center attack
*Rabin Henry I. Sobel
Event Schedule
*9:00am – Debate
*10:00am – Opening of the Photography Exposition conceded by the American Embassy in Brazil

Where: União Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos R. Cel. Oscar Porto, 208, Paraso.Tel: 3885 1022
When: Wednesday, September 11th, at 9:00am.



Djavan

Brazilian MPB signer Djavan will play three shows at the Credicard Hall in September. Djavan is promoting his latest album ‘Milagreiro’ has changed his style slightly going for ‘Astro Pop’, harmoniously blended with MPB. Two of Djavan’s sons play in his band, along with Sergio Carvalho on base and Renato Fonseca on drums.


Where: Credicard Hall, Av Naes Unidas 17,955
When: Sep 13 and 14 at 22h00, and Sep 15 at 20h00.
Tickets: R$25 – R$80 Tel.: 6846-6000

Vila Madalena Festival

Vila Madalena will hold its annual festival this Sunday, Aug 24 from 10am to 10pm. The festival, in its 25th edition, is expected to attract over 350,000 people and will take place along Rua Wisard, Fradique Coutinho, Morato Coelho and Felipe de Alcacova with over 500 stalls selling art, music, books and a range of foods and beverages. On the entertainment side there will be over 90 live bands playing on three separate stages throughout the day with music varying from from rock to forró. Rua Felipe Alcacova will become Rua das Crianas for the day with games and entertainment especially for the children. Vila Madalena is a unique bohemian neighborhood, with lots of old fashion houses and narrow streets as well as a high concentration of fine bars and restaurants. The festival runs all day but will begin to heat up in the afternoon and really gets kicking at night, often passing the 10pm curfew. Entrance is free.

70s Style Party

Get your 70’s gear out of the closet and come along to a super party at the Mosteiro on Thursday Aug 22 from 21h00. Bring out the John Travolta or Olivia Newton John in you! Come in costume, 70’s style. Reservation necessary. Please confirm presence to the following email Where: Mosteiro, Rua Cunha Gago, 678 – Vila Madalena When: Aug 22 from 21h00 Cost: Admission R$12 Minimum consumption R$5. Payment by cash or check only.

Weekend Trip

Why not spend a weekend away from the stress of the city, and revitalize yourself through contact with nature at Serra da Mantiqueira. Physical and cultural activities include treking, mountain biking, bonfire party, artistic shows and cooking classes. In addition to natural pools, waterfalls and hiking trails, there are facilities to play football, volleyball, table tennis and croquet. Optional activities (not included in the package price) are massages, watsu (water shiatsu) and ofur baths. Package includes transportation, lodging, all meals (except for drinks) and activities. For more information send an e-mail to trips@www.gringoes.com. Last date for reservations Aug 27.
When: Leaving Aug 30, at 8pm from Ana Rosa metro station. Return Sep 1, at 7pm
Price: R$275 per person

Amazon Exhibit

The Amazonia.br exhibition brings together some real life elements, which represent indigenous life in the Amazon. Among the exhibits are life-size reproductions of typical jungle homes, set up by scenographer Gringo Cardia. Another exhibit is simply a room with its walls painted black to represent the deforestation of the Amazon. From that room’s wooden floor comes smoke to symbolize a burning forest. Photos by Brazilian photographer Araquem Alcantara and speech by Indian chief Raoni during the exhibition.
Where:SESC Pompéia, Rua Cllia, 93, Pompéia Tel. 3871-7700
When: July 17 to Aug 18. Tue – Sat. 10am to 10 pm, Sun. 9 am to 7.30 pm
Tickets: Free Entrance