See the original text at Pernambuco.com
The waters that cut through the state capital are currently little used for leisure. Just a catamaran ride here and there, or the Galinha d’água bloco during the Galo da Madrugada parade, on Carnival Saturday. To change this situation and to draw attention to the need to revitalize the river, the project Praias do Capibaribe and the group Stand Up Paddle Recife promote leisure initiatives in the area.
This Sunday (March 9th), the Praias do Capibaribe project will hold its 17th edition, opposite the Murillo La Greca Museum, in the neighborhood of Parnamirim, which will serve to support the project. The meeting begins at noon and is expected to finish at around 8pm. The initiative was founded two years ago by art educator Bruna Pedrosa and architect Julien Ineichen as a possibility to use the river banks as public space.
For each edition, the project happens in a different location, such as Derby, Parnamirim, Aurora Street and the José Estelita Pier. According to Bruna, it is now expected to take place this year on a small beach in the Coque community, in the Joana Bezerra neighborhood. “While swimming in the river would be a dream, we promote contact with the Capibaribe in other ways,” explains the art educator.
As it is a public and free activity, the project relies on the active participation of its members. That’s why, concerned about several issues, such as mobility, participants are encouraged to arrive at the beach by bike, for example. “In our bar, we promote a conscious for of consumption in relation to the environment. We sell only the liquid and each person must bring their own mug,” says Bruna.
For have fun, the project offers a number of different activities and attractions. “We created a floating pool with clean water, which is at the same level of the river, as if the person were inside,” Bruna says. Via a crowd-funding action (a sort of “vaquinha”), the Praias do Capibaribe bought a plastic bubble. “By boat, we take people to our mobile pier, built with barrels and reused blocks of wood for going down the river in the bubble,” Bruna says.
Still on the subject of fun, the project enlists artists, activists and experts to conduct cultural presentations and radio interviews on the beach – which run throughout the event. Also, the Praias do Capibaribe promotes activities with residents of the coastal areas, especially with kids. The little ones do dance performances and participate in workshops with recycled material.
Even promoting something fun, the project aims to help reverse the condition of the Capibaribe. “Our attitude is to educate the population to care for the environment. We want to promote a sense of belonging to the place, because we take care of what we love. Upon occupying the margins, it becomes an active public space and the relationship of people with it changes,” explains Bruna.
Future editions of the Praias do Capibaribe project are planned to take place on the first Sunday of each month.
Stand up paddle on the Capibaribe
For those who want to enjoy the Capibaribe while practicing a sport, an option is to join one of the tours set up by the members of the Stand Up Paddle group (SUP) – Recife . The first trip down the river happened last February 23rd. Anyone interested in attending the next just needs to stay connected to the group’s Facebook page and show up on the scheduled date, at the right place. It’s free.
One of the organizers of the tour is the commercial manager Jota Neves, who is also an instructor of stand up paddle on the weekends. For those unfamiliar with it, the sport consists basically of going down rivers, in the sea and lakes, paddling while standing on a surfboard. After doing other trips, such as via Maria Farinha, Coroa do Avião and even at the Pirapama dam, group members decided to stroll down the Capibaribe.
Now, to participate, Jota says it’s necessary to have experience. “We did a route that was eight miles round trip. It is a quiet, mild row, but you can not venture out without ever gone on a surfboard,” Jota says. Moreover, there’s the whole issue of equipment. Those who don’t have anything can rent what’s needed in specialty stores.
The first ride was set up by the group with a point of departure at the Twin Towers, at the Santa Rita Pier. “We went under the swing bridge and continued on to the Casa da Cultura”, Jota said. For him, the ride is worth it. “It’s great to see Recife from another angle. Despite the pollution, the river is very much alive,” he explains.
As the tour was done during high tide, according to Jota, the Capibaribe came alive. “Since the clean sea water enters the river, it oxygenates the river and brings in marine animals. You see many birds, egrets catching fish, and shoals passing ,” Jota says.
For those who are worried about the dirtiness, Jota advises that the river will only get dirtier after the Casa da Cultura. Still, he says the ride won’t make you feel disgusting. “You can paddle around perfectly. And it’s not smelly, it is possible to go without masks,” he explains.
The next group ride with Stand Up Paddle (SUP) – Recife, which also includes participation for fans of kayaking, is not yet scheduled.
For more of my posts on the Capibaribe, click here.