Chapter 8 – Bahia



   “King Manoel, I decided to follow up Vasco da Gama´s discovery in 1498 of an all-water route to India with a larger expedition. Under the command of Pedro Alvares Cabral, a fleet of thirteen vessels sailed from the Tagus River on March8, 1500. Veering westward from their course for some, as yet, unexplained reason, the Portuguese sighted land at 17º latitude south on April 22. Cabral at once claimed the land for his sovereign and spent about a week reconnoitering the coast. Aboard the fleet was an educated government official named Pero Vaz de Caminha, who wrote the king a glowing report of a beautiful land and innocent natives. Dated May 1, 1500, this letter is the first chronicle of the newly-found land ofBrazil, a name derived from its first important export, brazilwood.” 


Land ho!


Afternoon of April 22nd, 1500.

“This same day, at the hour of vespers we sighted land, that is to say, first a very high rounded mountain, then other lower ranges of hills to the south of it, and a plain covered with large trees. The admiral named the mountain Easter Mountain and the country the Land of the True Cross.” 




Dear reader,

Our journey across the Espinhaço Range will take us now to the beautiful Bahia (an archaic spelling of the Portuguese word baía, meaning “bay”). Located in the northeastern part of thecountry on the Atlantic coast, it is the fourth most populous Brazilian state. Charles Darwin visited the state in 1832 on his famous voyage on the Beagle. With 68% of its territory located in the semi-arid zone, the State presents diversified climates and is one of the most privileged states of the country with the following temperatures: 19.2 to 26.6 °C (67 to 80 °F).

Bahia is the most important tourist center in the Northeast and the second in the country. The Discovery Coast, for example, preserves, virtually intact, the landscape seen by the Portuguese fleet. There are approximately 150 km (93 mi) of beaches, inlets, bays, cliffs, numerous rivers and streams surrounded by the verdant coconut groves, wetlands and the Atlantic Forest. Over land and sea the excursions are always associated with nature, and there are various types of water sports, walks, trips on horseback, surfing and deep sea diving. ³

The mountain the admiral of the Portuguese fleet named Easter (Pascoa) is the habitat of Neoregelia pascoaliana a species found in many collections!

We start at the northwest of Bahia following the majestic Espinhaço. We will visit the city of Jacobina and surroundings. The landscape is unique and formidable. Exclusive! See for the very first time the habitat of Orthophytum navioides. There are over 500 photos of spectacular scenery and an explosion of biodiversity.

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Bon voyage and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Obrigado, Oscar – Rio, Dec. 2012

More information:

² Pero Vaz de Caminha In his letter to Manuel I of Portugal

³ Wikipedia