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 By sandy beaches: the first road

 
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January 20, 2015
 Title: Off road tire tracks on the beach sand
 Description: Armação beach, southern of Santa Catarina Island
 Local: Florianópolis, Brazil
 Date of Registration: 24/10/2010
 
      It's almost unusual we imagine that before the existence of current roads, paved or not, in a past not so far, road linking some coastal towns could have been made by beaches. That is, by sandy beaches transited cars and even buses.
      Favored by the existence of beaches with a wide strip of sand by the sea, the south coast of Santa Catarina State and Rio Grande do Sul State coast allowed this kind of transport.
      And this was the tone of a conversation with my father a few days ago, he told me a little about means of transport available in the city of Imbituba that time.
      My father is the son of a traditional imbitubense Family (family from Imbituba city, Brazil). His father, the businessman Manuel Florentino Machado, was a legendary figure and a great prominence person of the region. Among his achievements, he undertook the first bus line of the region founding Empresa Auto Viação Glória.
      Perhaps because he was born and lived part of his youth living by the beach, with the rhythm of Northeast wind and the poetics of the port city of Imbituba, he keeps to this day such a close relationship with the sea; not even living for so many years by it. And perhaps this is also the reason that provides him so many memories, as the trips he did by bus by the beaches between Imbituba and Laguna cities, and later to Porto Alegre city.
      I think it is important that some memories like these are present in the work I do about the history and cuture of the people from Santa Catarina State. In this sense, I requested that he transcribe some details of those trips, which he promptly did as follows.
Ruy Luiz Machado



      "In the early 1940s, the link between Imbituba and Laguna was basically done in two ways: by sea or by rail. By sea there was a ship named Max that did the maritime connection between the ports of Laguna and Imbituba to Florianópolis, where anchored nearby Rita Maria; downtown area. For large cities of the Brazilian coast, was require an larger nautical transport, which was performed by the companies: Companhia Nacional de Navegação Costeira and Companhia de Navegação Lloyd Brasileiro. By rail in addition to the cargo transport, especially coal, there was also the transport of people.
      As an alternative of a few available times and the long time these transports took, was that arose the bus company of my father; the first road link between Imbituba and Laguna, which was made by the beaches. The displacement was performed by the three existing beaches: Vila beach, Meio beach (or Great beach) and Gi beach.
      Transit across them was possible only on days when the tide was low because when the sea became agitated, that was impossible. Besides the problem of high tides, it was very common for vehicles bog down in the sand during the trip, and various factors contribute to this. One of them was the movement of sand dunes on the strength of the winds. The soft sand, wet or dry, was also a constant problem. Another adversity were the mats, a kind of carpets made with straw, which were located in the transposition of beaches to urban centers. In equal measure when the sand dunes covered these mats, with frequent strong winds of the coastal region, made the trip even more difficult and requiring more expertise of drivers. In these situations, in addition to drivers, passengers themselves helped to push the vehicles.
      In addition to the rust of cars and buses, caused by the action of salt from seawater and by the sea air, sometimes happened mechanical problems, requiring maintenance were also made by the vehicle occupants, and beyond that, at the site where they occurred: by the seashore!
      All of this became in true adventure travels, as passengers and drivers could never know exactly if nature conditions would provide a peaceful trip.
      At that time the preferred transportation was the railroad, because it linked Imbituba to Araranguá, through Laguna, , Tubarão, Criciúma and other localities; having as inconvenient the long time of the travel.
      With the passing of years there were the opening of the road between Jaguaruna and the Barra de Laguna, allowing road access to the beaches were extended to Tubarão. From there, the vehicles were transported by car ferries, practice that continues until the current days.
      In the 1950s, it was possible the first link along the coast between Florianópolis and Porto Alegre. This is because the beaches in this área have a wider strip of sand, and therefore are more favorable to traffic. However, suffered the same problems as the beaches of Santa Catarina in relation to the sea conditions, a factor that often prolonged for a few more hours the already lengthy route.
      The trip to Porto Alegre, that I did a few times, had a route that took 12-14 hours by bus, and a part of the road between Araranguá and Porto Alegre was done by the beach: 60 km between Araranguá and Torres, and 90 km between Torres and Tramandaí; continuing to Porto Alegre by paved road. To make it possible, the implementation of car ferries was fundamental to cross the rivers: Tubarão, Araranguá and Mampituba; at Laguna, Araranguá and Torres cities respectively. Due to the long duration of the trip it was required stop for a snack in Santo Antônio da Patrulha.
      Fortunately in the first years of the 1940s, has completed another road away from the beaches and would definitely solve these problems. Built near the railway road, it was a dirt road that connected Laguna to the locality of Vila Nova in Imbituba; interconnecting to the existing road between Vila Nova and Florianópolis. Later some parts of this road would be transformed in BR 101 highway.
      It is worth remembering that air transport in this region was implemented in the late 1940s; around the years 1948 and 1950. They were seaplanes that made the connection between Porto Alegre, Araranguá, Laguna and Florianópolis. I remember seeing these planes landing in the North Bay in Florianópolis.
      And so I describe some of that time and of means of transport that was. Much has changed, far beyond what any visionary could foresee. Today, with a world so interconnected and that moves so fast, it might be worth give a break and look at what and how much has been done in the past, and how it has developed since then; and reviewing the history reflect a little more about what to do."


Oduvaldo Florentino Machado




Geo Codes:
- Araranguá: 28° 56' 06" S 49° 29' 09" W
- Florianópolis: 27° 35' 49" S 48° 32' 56" W
- Imbituba: 28° 14' 24" S 48° 40' 13" W
- Laguna: 28° 28' 58" S 48° 46' 51" W
- Porto Alegre: 30° 01' 58" S 51° 13' 48" W
- Santo Antônio da Patrulha: 29° 49' 04" S 50° 31' 12" W
- Torres: 29° 20' 06" S 49° 43' 37" W
- Tramandaí: 29° 59' 06" S 50° 08' 02" W
- Tubarão: 28° 28' 01" S 49° 00' 25" W


 


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