There’s no beach from where I’m standing but a sea of people and red Itaipava or yellow Skol umbrellas, depending on the beer brand bars and restaurants serve. The streets of Barra da Lagoa, one of Ilha de Santa Catarina’s many small fishing villages, are packed. The town bakery is making bank, houses have been turned into pousadas for the summer season and businesses that probably don’t sell swimsuits and sarongs the rest of the year are displaying the latest beacg fashion. There are so many Argentinian tourists that locals have an Argentinian accent when they switch to Spanish—they say “po-SHO” instead of “po-YO” for instance.
No surprise here. The single-lane road was completely jammed around Lagoa da Conceição and it’s a sunny Sunday, we’re not the only ones going to the beach, duh.
It doesn’t bother me. I know people tend to stick around Praia da Barra da Lagoa because of the bars, restaurants and beach vendors.
Praia Moçambique is 7.5-kilometre long and it’s usually completely empty in the middle.
I don’t need beer, food or a new swimsuit. I’m going to explore this five- or six-kilometre-long deserted stretch of sand.
“Which boombox do you want to sit by?” I joked as Feng is trying to find a quiet spot. Mark is already inspecting the sand, assessing the castle building property and probably checking for jellyfish.
I strip to my swimsuit and start walking north.
Five minutes later, the beach is already quieter.
Ten minutes later, the only people around are five or six surfers.
And then I’m alone but for a single fisherman standing in the middle of nowhere, probably is favourite spot.
I take my bikini top off—that’s how confident I am this is going to be a moment with myself and I.
The seagulls are annoyed with me. I’m apparently intruding on a very important seagull meeting held on a random spot on the beach. They have all gathered here to discuss an agenda of items only seagulls can understand.
I walk by.
They hop towards the dune.
I slow down and turn around.
I take my camera out.
I can almost hear them sight. “Goddamn humans…”
And then they fly away.
Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing the moment.
I walk for about an hour and a half, then I turn around just before reaching the other crowded end of the beach.
On the way back, I find a log covered with clams. It’s a surprise because there are no rocks on the beach and all the molluscs around somehow ended up on this single log.
They are open, breathing.
I take three of them and carry them back into an empty large shell I fill with water just to show Mark “seashells with an animal inside.” He’s quite impressed. We name them Bob, Linda and Nick and put them back in the sea at the end of the day.
Praia Moçambique is definitely my favourite beach on the island.