We have been back a week, time enough to begin assimilating the changes in the three months that we have been out sailing.
As we came up river we were struck by the numbers of canoes out fishing. Was it a sign of a deepening recession or simply a response to the better weather?
We decided to stay in a quiet bay overnight and then continue up to our old haunt at Mario's. It would be nice to see our friends and catch up with the gossip...
Well there are some obvious changes here. For a start the number of BIG boats in the marina has mushroomed. Far more 50 footers than in previous years. Makes you wonder how the docks will hold up to these big brutes when the tsunami's come through. Most surprising is how few actual real live cruisers there are around.
The Rio has always seemed a strange place to me. Large numbers of Americans from the Southern States who only visit their boats for a few months a year, an overly large percentage of societies dropouts and misfits, but this year there simply are hardly any occupied boats in the marina's.
I wonder if that is due to the economic downturn? In the years of wild extravagance that we have just experienced it seemed like everyone and his mate were buying large yachts and heading off to 'live the dream'. Has the fantasy palled? Have the realities of the hard work and real expense of life aboard disillusioned the crowd that were always looking for the next party, the next social event?
It can make you question your own choice in lifestyle, are we like those people?? God I hope not.
We meet fewer and fewer 'real cruisers'. People who live on their boats 24/7 whilst traveling the world. Doing their own maintenance, seeking a self-sufficient lifestyle. Thank goodness we have met one or two boats this year who are.