Dolphins Bay - The Curral beach
One of the most beautiful beaches that we have in our region and also one of the most protected, its extension of approximately 800m of sand aggregates in its whole a bay with waters protected by the cliffs of cliffs of 20 to 30 meters of height.
At its extremities has a bottom of stones remaining from the cliff that at some point in history extended beyond what we see today. Its beaten sand is kissed by the calm waves that daily set the bench in tidal variations. Already at the foot of the cliffs that surround it, the soft sand and the undergrowth predominates, the coloration and the forms carved in the cliffs of the cliffs over the years are also a beauty to the part.
The Dolphin Bay is only accessed by walking along the beach, from Praia do Centro or Madeiro Beach, one of the reasons why it is the most protected and least explored. On top of its cliffs is the Ecological Sanctuary with its beautiful viewpoints and preserved forest, being below a protected area, it is not allowed the construction of stairs as seen for example in Praia do Madeiro.
Another issue of accessibility is the variation of the tides, in our region we have a variation of the tides around 3 meters daily on a scale ranging from 0.0m to 3.0m from low tide to high tide. As its extremities and part of the way to the Bay of Dolphins is composed of beaten sand and stones, depending on the time of the year, sea currents and winds, stretches that were formerly steady sand walkways may from day to day become stretches of solid and pointed stones, so safe access to the Dolphin Bay occurs during low tide where most of the time it is possible to get around the sharp stones walking the sand. For the same reason, the exit of the beach should preferably occur before the flood tide, when the tide rises, the path becomes narrower, the sea covers the stretches of sand and then the path becomes complicated, as it occurs between the natural cliff wall on one side, sharp stones underfoot and waves crashing on the same stones on the other side.
There is little tourist structure in the Dolphin Bay, no solid structure built. Basically there are a few surf schools, some umbrellas and loungers that some natives take daily with their large, heavy styrofoam laden with icy coconut, beer, water and soft drinks, transported over the rocks and sands in wheelbarrows. It is an arduous journey made daily for the convenience of the bathers, so do not be afraid to pay a little more for the drinks made available there.
The Dolphin Bay, besides being exotic, semi-desert and with more than 60% of its unexplored area, gains its present name due to the dolphins' enormous frequency. It is practically impossible not to watch the daily show of these beautiful marine animals, its frequency is due precisely to the formation of bay, which allows dolphins to chase the schools of deep sea fish into the shallower waters of the beach, cornering them and making this beach a banquet for these docile social animals. There they fish, play, breed, and this spectacle can be seen, heard and even felt very close by all the bathers, even in the shallower waters at the waist, it is possible with a little luck to have them swimming a few meters away.
The Bay of Dolphins was known as the Curral, formerly the native fishermen had the ancestral and artisanal practice of the construction of fishing corrals that function as a corridor of sticks aligned called a spy, where at full tide the fish enter until a rounded of sticks to the bottom closest to the beach called the saloon, from where they can not leave afterwards. In the dry tide the fishermen return to catch the fish trapped in the saloon of the corral. There was a time also that there was a staircase at the beginning of the Dolphin Bay that led to a tunnel inside the cliff that exited in the ground above, facilitating the transport of the fish to the village at the top of the cliff. Part of this structure still exists but the tunnel was sealed by cement and earth to prevent it from being used after the last corral built and abandoned in the early 1990s. Today the practice of corral fishing has been abolished by environmental laws. Today there is still what remains of the last visible corral in the dry tide.
The Dolphin Bay or Curral Beach is also one of the best surfer surf spots on our coast. With the rare and certain conditions, it is possible to catch waves on the coral bottom that come from the high seas and that when they enter the shallower banks, there is a long lane and good point break formation. Due to their difficult access and the fact that wave conditions rarely occur, this wave is poorly surfed.
Its waters most of the time is calm and conducive to bathing, swimming, and practicing beach and water sports as well.
It takes place once a year, according to the tide an important championship of beach soccer that already is tradition of the community. In this unique period of the year, the tide brings the settlement of the sand that forms a vast rug the size of a football field, where over a few consecutive weekends the team is decided the champion of this fierce tournament.
When you go to Dolphin Bay, do not forget to use the tide tips, it is always ideal to walk to the beach 2 hours before the lowest point of the tide and return at most 2 hours after the lowest point of the tide. Ideal days are those where the tide is below 0.5m, ie avoid dead tide days because access is often more difficult because the tide does not dry to its maximum.
Enjoy and collect your trash when leaving, minimizing the environmental impact and preserving the richness of the fauna and flora of this wonderful beach.
By Isaac Ache. Text originally published in Bora Magazine, issue 11, April / May 2015
Learn more about this beach here.