Saturday, July 20, 2013

Island Hopping? ...not ME!

Ilha da Queimada Grande

Lovely, beckoning picture, you say?  I'm wandering off the coast of Brazil, around Sao Paulo.  How I love to bask in the beauty of the sea, only to approach a magnificently inviting island and rain forest-BUT WAIT!  As I  get closer in to get a better look, I actually get an eerie vibe...the rank scent of danger seeps in and out of my nostrils.  Chills go straight to my shoulders and neck (forget running up my spine-no time for that)! 

The closer I get to what I hoped would be some sort of civilization, the more I begin to contemplate back paddling and getting the 'heck' out of Dodge!  But, the strange beauty still calls to me (kind of like the sirens of Greek Mythology who lured sailors to their deaths with their bewitching songs)!

And, as I approach shore, I detect a slight 'rustling'  sound coming from the island.  I can even see movement in the sporadically placed patches of vegetation, a sort of  weaving, creepy figure eight type of  fidgeting!
See?  There's something moving around in the water too!  Methinks I should step back and take a better look at this place...what do you think?

It seems as tho I have wandered a little too far off the beautifully, welcoming islands and have had the misfortune of dropping anchor just outside of 'Snake Island'!  Snake Island is beautiful and welcoming, however, it is totally uninhabited, except for a few snakes...A FEW?  Try approximately 5,000 of the most venomous snakes ever...and, I mean, snakes of only one type-the Golden Lancehead Pit-Viper!  That was a mouthful, literally!  This island is so dangerous, the Brazilian Navy doesn't allow any humans to go there,  other than scientists and researchers with special permits.

I know, I know-you're dying to see a picture of this creature!

So here it is!  Cute, huh?
(and I know somehow there are 2 pictures on here-don't ask how!)

These malicious inhabitants have taken over this once beautiful island.  For every square meter of land on this 110 acre of land, there lurks one of these, at that rate, you are never more than 3 feet away from imminent death!  One bite is so debilitating that it actually melts the flesh around it, and, can cause brain hemorrhage and kidney failure. 

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The island is a subtropical, moist forest with a very mild climate, and the rocky terrain (there is no beach), with forest-like vegetation, makes for an ideal campground to this viper.  No...I don't know how they got there!  But, years ago, the property was tagged to become a banana plantation, and, the idea fizzled!  The island's name Queimada is Portugese meaning 'the island of the big land-clearing fire'.  I think the fishermen tried to burn out the snakes years ago, but somehow failed.  It is believed that since the viper has no other habitat, it could become extinct in the event of a wildfire on the island.

 At one time there was a lighthouse on the island, kept by a keeper and his family.  As the story goes, one night some snakes found their way into the lighthouse thru an open window, and, attacked the family.  They tried to run out and to their boat in hopes of escape.  With their 3 children they made it out into the jungle, but, were met by more snakes, hanging from the trees, and, just coming out of the 'woodwork'.   Consequently, the entire family was killed, and, there has not been a replacement keeper for the lighthouse, and, it sits in decaying disrepair.  And, now, these ruthless vipers are left to survive off of migrant birds, who are just trying to rest on the island.

* In 1969, an Italian movie was filmed on Snake Island.  The movie was called 'Burn', and starred Marlon Brando.  The island is depicted as a sugar plantation, and, Marlon Brando is an agent who is sent to the island to organize an uprising of the slaves.  The result would be to overthrow the Portugese regime in order to gain control of the island for its sugar cane production.
I have not seen this movie...don't even recall hearing about it-seems it just got a 2 star review rating.  And, I couldn't find any information on the condition of this island, or, its inhabitants during the filming of this movie.  It's possible that most of it was filmed in the neighboring city of  Sao Paulo, perhaps with some scenes around the shore of  Queimada island.  

So, what do you think...that 'SOME' people will write about anything?  I don't know...I don't really like snakes, let's just say, I have a certain respect for them (NO EYE CONTACT)!   

And, if you have a hankerin' to visit a gorgeous island covered in verdant rain forest, and, surrounded by azure seas, remember my tale of 'Snake Island', and TURN AROUND!!!

* Thank you so much for coming over and checking my blog out.  I hope you enjoyed my tale, 'as I see it', even if you don't like snakes...which I don't!   I'm always thrilled with your visits and comments.  And, for those of you who are too shy to leave a comment...well, okay-maybe next time!  
I'm glad you ventured by!
I want to wish my wonderful husband, Karo, a happy birthday tomorrow, July 21st.  He shares a birthday with Ernest Hemingway, and Cat Stevens.
Many happy days Karo!
Ernest Hemingway * July 21, 1899~July 2, 1961

Cat Stevens * July 21, 1948

And, a Special Thank You to my good friend Shady Del Knight for the Liebster blog award he bestowed upon me and some of his blog followers this morning.   
Gosh, you were up early, Shady!

*Congratulations on your 5 years of amazing blogging Shady! 
 You can catch Shady's blog at

I also give my thanks to:
Marlon Brando

Till we meet again!  Be happy!

...can I hit 'publish' now, Grandma?