Island just off the coast
There's a boat connection from Pontal do Sul of about half an hour that reaches the beautiful Ilha do Mel (Honey Island). She is not as remote as the islands of Fernando de Noronha for instance, but still, she's a true island and not the continent.
This is noticeable in the fact that there are neither cars nor motor-cycles on the island, and even just one bicycle - at least we were not able to spot another one. All beaches and small settlements are just accessible by feet, walking over paths, passing along the beaches and over the hilly seashore.
Life on the island
From a tourist's perspective, the southern part of the island is more or less explored. Still the local infrastructure restrains by and large to a police station, a small post office, two shops and a couple of beach restaurants and ice-cream parlours - and of course dozens of pousadas. Amongst them is the french hostel "Recanto do Francês" with an associated Crêperie, ran by the friendly couple Serge and Hélène.
Besides, there are several more or less wild camping grounds. They're mainly frequented by surfers, tattoo makers and sellers of handmade jewellery. However, the adventurers amongst the backpack travellers and surfers normally push directly along towards the more solitary parts of the island situated in the northeast.
A major part of the island is a bird's sanctuary, protected by a strict ban of construction and trespassing. This prohibition is constantly surveyed by the local environmental police. In general terms, Ilha do Mel is very calm and peaceful. The local police has rarely something thrilling to report - apart from sporadic marihuana controls.
Beach and waves
The beaches to the continental side are quite boring and even a little dirty of diesel oil from the boats. In contrast to the Atlantic side of the island that is a genuine surfer's paradise. The shore stays shallow for quite a distance, but the permanently arriving waves, as high as a man, are quite daunting. In that case one should either stay in the shallow knee deep area - or go so far inside that one is able to dive into the waves before they break. Otherwise one's getting ripped and shaken around like hell in a mix of water, sand and foam, weighing tons.
The waves and the related current are not without danger - as it is underlined by the permanent presence of life guards. A swimmer that feels too courageous and risks too much without having a surfboard gets immediately called back by whistles. And in emergency cases, there are quickly three or four swimmers into the water, pulling the person out of the waves.