Poço Encantado, Poço Azul, return to Salvador
23 February: Today's our last day in Lençois. We're up at 6:30 so we have time to photograph the town. It's such a photogenic place, people, houses, streets, animals, trees: there's so much to see. I like the old, run-down buildings more than the renovated ones. The breakfast buffet at our new pousada is phenomenal, it's got a very good selection and hardly any flies. Like last night, we can leave our bags at the pousada to collect in the evening.
We've booked today's tour with Zentur, not Lentur, a welcome change. Our bus is a newer, comfortable Mercedes, we sit in the front seats again. After collecting all the tour participants we set off in the direction of Poço Entcantado (enchanted spring), which turns out to be a long 2hr drive. Our driver doubles as a tour guide, though he doesn't really explain much. Each of us has to pay a 3R$ entry fee at the gate and Brazilian chaos causes this to be quite a lengthy process before all of us can descend the long downhill flight of steps to the mouth of the cave.
Once we're in we're in darkness, and the path descends treacherously enough to require holding onto ropes strung on either side of the path. We reach a huge cavern, possibly 30m high, and just below us is a large lake with an opening to the far side. Parts of the lake are unbelievably intensely blue. I believe because water filters out all colour from white light except blue, and this is visible due to the water being so exceptionally clear. Where the water reflects the surface, it's not blue. The lake is 30-60m deep, depending which part is measured, and you can see right to the bottom of the part at 30m. A local guide explains that supposedly blind fish feeding on mosquito larvae inhabit the lake and people are no longer allowed to swim because the sun-block clouded the water. The water temperature is 22ñ.
We then set off on another long drive to Poço Azul (blue spring). Our driver isn't as experienced as yesterday's and manages to hit a number of potholes. On the way we saw spots with white sand where the Guarimperos (diamond miners) once dug. At Poço Azul there is the same ticket-issuing chaos as at our last stop. Finally we make it down some similar stairs to the cavern. Here, you're allowed to swim from a wooden platform just above the water. They're renting snorkels there for one Real and we both have one. How marvelous! The underwater cave formations are quite bizarre. The water's so clear and it's unexpectedly bright. Apparently the water is 60m deep in the cave, and 90m in an area inaccessible for visitors. I tried to snorkel into 'dark' parts of the cave but was called back by one of the guides. The drive back to Lenñios was long again.
We need to change money, but the boss at Lentur isn't in yet. We have Caipiroskas at one of the main-square bars when a puppeteer suddenly commences his show from an improvised stage right in front of us. It's a morally laden story about a poor tree which gets chopped down by a bad logger, causing problems for a host of life: a worm and a bird among them. We try Lentur to change money again, they say their Reais reserves are down, we try some other recommended places but no luck. We're on the brink, down to our last few Reais. We fetch our laundry, then have Spaghetti at the 'Bella Italia' restaurant. We try the Banco do Brazil ATM's and lo and behold! They do accept my credit card for a cash withdrawal! We have money again! We return to our pousada to get our bags and the lady there offers that we could shower! Wow, amazing, what friendliness! The owner explains the history of his house afterwards, showing the old colonial part and the new added area. We go to one of the bars again for a drink, I try a Pingu (honey, Cachaña, Lemon, not recommended). At last it's 23:00 (time passed so slowly) and our bus is already waiting at the Rodoviario. It's a warm trip, the cooling hardly works.