The only existing ferry on the North Coast makes a three-minute journey, connecting two locations in the interior of Maquiné. In charge, the experienced Flávio da Rosa, 54 years old, who for three decades has been responsible for taking cars, motorcycles and bicycles from Cantagalo to the bank of Faxinal do Morro Alto. Without it, the raft definitely won’t move.
Since the other colleague retired four years ago, Flávio is the only professional authorized by the city hall and the Brazilian Navy to carry out work in the region. A civil servant chose for the job, he spends his days in a blue wooden house, the official ferry collection point, or sitting under the shade of a tree, next to the crossing.
When he needs to leave the place to carry out an errand, Flávio keeps an eye on his cell phone, as his phone number is registered on the ferry’s information board. If he prefers not to wait, the driver will have to make a return to BR-101, extending the route by almost 20 kilometers to the other side of the bank.
If someone needs to pass, the person can call me and I’ll be back at the same time — says the ferryman, who lives in Linha Prainha, three kilometers from the crossing in Cantagalo.
And it is in the summer that the unpaved road of Cantagalo receives more movement, mainly from cyclists who make the journey and depend on the ferry to cross to the other side of the bank. Flávio makes 12 to 15 trips daily during this period. In winter, when most of the customers are locals, orders don’t exceed five a day.
“Sometimes I’m sitting alone waiting for a car to pass and people ask why I never quit this job. Simple: I love what I do,” he says proudly.
About eight years ago, during a windstorm, the raft broke loose in the river, which has a depth of six meters in the channel. It was the only time that the equipment needed to be rescued almost inside Lagoa dos Quadros, 200m from the site. On storm days, the ferry is not operated for safety reasons.
Married for 27 years, Flávio has two sons, aged 21 and 22, who are mechanics and do not think of doing their father’s job. That’s why the ferryman has been worrying about the future of the Princess of the Valley. After all, he is closer to retiring and is already thinking about who will replace him.
I was prepared to perform this function, and I took courses for this. I am also responsible for more basic maintenance like painting. This raft is like a daughter to me,” concludes Flávio.