80 Senses: #19 - Island of Fernando de Noronha

80 Senses: #19 - Island of Fernando de Noronha

The most fun you can have with your swimmers on...Brazil is about the trendiest travel destination on the planet right now, and with the World Cup (2014) and an Olympics (2016) due in the next five years this flamboyant South American country is only going to get more airtime, and more popular. As you'd imagine, there are plenty of highlights in a place this huge, but after lengthy discussion the immensely influential 80 Senses Selection Committee have cherry-picked one particular highlight, and we bet our bottom Brazilian real you haven't heard of it.


Introducing planasub

Introducing planasub, a watersport somewhere between snorkelling and wakeboarding and about the most fun you can have with your swimmers on. The spiritual home of planasub is the archipelago of the island of Fernando de Noronha, a UNESCO Natural Heritage site consisting of 21 small volcanic islands off the coast of Northern Brazil. Only the largest island, also called Fernando, is inhabited, and visitor numbers are strictly controlled to help preserve the pristine environment. Offshore, things are even better, as the island's waters are a Maritime National Park famed for their incredible - sometimes 50 metre - visibility.


Make like James Bond

This just happens to be the perfect place for some planasub. So, what's the deal? Well, a speedboat heads along at a gentle pace with four or five ropes of differing lengths of the back. Attached to said ropes are small plastic trays like see-through boogie boards. The planasubbers, wearing mask and snorkel, grip on to the tray and glide along on the surface, looking down at the wonderful marine life below, and by tipping the front, can dive down James Bond style for as long as they can hold their breath. It's brilliant fun, completely original, and if you're lucky one of the islands' resident pods of dolphins might come along for the ride.