Who says the best thing about Niterói is the view of Rio? (OK, maybe everybody… well, at least every Carioca.) We Niteroiense (folks from Niterói) know better. Can I get a shout out from my brothers in Oakland, CA?
It would seem the folks at the Red Bull cliff diving championship know it too. Niterói is one of the sites hosting the Red Bull 2013 Cliff Diving World Series. They will be here September 27th and 28th on Icaraí beach – just three blocks from our apartment.
According to the official website, they are very excited. “For the first time in the history of the World Series, the world's best cliff divers touch down on the South American mainland. The place chosen to host the high diving elite is the beach of Icaraí in Niterói, a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro, with which it shares the Guanabara Bay. The name of the beach means "holy river" in the native language (my note: indigenous people, not the Portuguese) and used to be a place where people jumped from a platform during the 1950s.”
Actually, the diving platform on Icaraí beach, which was built in 1936, remained there until demolished in 1965. Luiz tells many a tale about skipping grade school with his little buddies and going to the beach to jump from the lower platform while his parents were unaware of his shenanigans.
The cliff diving folks at Red Bull will be constructing a temporary diving platform that reaches 27 meters above the water, significantly higher than the historic beach attraction.
Sounds great – but did their advance team check on the water quality of Guanabara Bay and the healthfulness of swimming at Praia de Icaraí? I don’t mean to be a wet blanket here, but the official recommendation from the city, posted daily, regarding the water safety for bathers is typically “not recommended.”
Don’t get me wrong. Luiz and I swim at numerous beaches in Niterói, but they are the ocean beaches. We have yet to venture any further than ankle deep into the bay beaches, including Praia de Icaraí. But hey, they are the professionals.
The event is going to be super cool for us, but, dare I say it? It would seem the best thing about the location choice would be the view of the Christ the Redeemer statute and Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio across the bay. Ouch.
Come join the party. While you are here you can visit the landmark MAC Museum (contemporary art) just a few hundred meters up the beach (and a part of that spectacular view).