AND PORTS OF BRAZIL
IN POSTCARDS AND SOUVENIR ALBUMS
A Parade of Palaces Floating along the Estuary
book’s release presents a challenge to anyone who might try to outdo
authors João Emilio Gerodetti and Carlos Cornejo. For though the subject
matter is by no means easy to compile, the texts are objective and
pleasant to read. Moreover, surpassing this book would be an especially
Herculean task because of the abundance of photographs and illustrated
postcards found within. During the last century photographers both famous
and unknown captured these images—many heretofore unpublished—and they
take our modern eye back to a romantic era. Among these artists is José
Dias Herrera, who continues to photograph the ships of Santos to this day.
Gerodetti and Cornejo have produced a volume that endeavors to preserve
the history of Brazil’s main ports and of the ships of various nations,
which sailed for renowned companies such as Brazil’s Lloyd Brasileiro
and Companhia Nacional de Navegação Costeira, Germany’s Hamburg-Süd,
France’s Chargeurs Réunis, Italy’s Italia di Navigazione,
Portugal’s Companhia Colonial de Navegação, Spain’s Ybarra y Cia.,
and the United States’ Moore-McCormack Lines.
you will also find an overview of Brazilian Navy vessels, contemplated
through the images and memories of celebrated men-of-war, cruisers,
torpedo-boat destroyers, submarines, and training ships.
book, for which I have the honor of writing a preface, brings back
countless memories of days gone by in my home city of Santos. Anyone from
Santos—whether born there, on a temporary stay, or a citizen at
heart—has the sea in his veins. A sea on which ships bring hopes with
those who disembark, and leave nostalgic memories with those who find the
warmth and affection of Santos’s inhabitants enchanting.
always been a keen admirer of transatlantic liners. Since childhood,
I’ve enjoyed watching them sailing into port. At times my vantage point
was Canal 5, in the Embaré neighborhood, where I used to live, and other
times, Ponta da Praia [Beach Point], with my father, Doctor Laire Giraud,
who was both a sea traveler and a great aficionado of these enormous
vessels. At Ponta da Praia the liners passed so close it seemed we could
touch them. I also liked to visit the ship models at the maritime agencies
on 15 de Novembro Street and Comércio Street, which still bustle with
activities related to ships, the harbor, and coffee exports.
remember the first transatlantic liner I watched cruise into Santos, way
back in the 1950s. She was the British ship Andes, and she belonged
to the Royal Mail Line, which was known in Brazil as the Mala Real
Inglesa. The company’s agency on 15 de Novembro Street displayed a model
of the Alcântara in its window. Today this model can be found in
the lobby of the Senai Technical School of Santos, in the vicinity of
Ponta da Praia.
the 20th century’s first seven decades, the number of passengers coming
and going through the Port of Santos was as great as that through our
modern airports. On some days as many as five transatlantic liners would
call. The arrival of a passenger ship was quite an event. Hoards of
travelers on board, and thousands at the docks waiting to greet them.
the port there were laughter and tears, auspicious yells, and touching
silences, flapping handkerchiefs and waving hands. During this era Santos
was a gateway through which voyagers from several nations arrived and
departed—immigrants, artists, politicians, businessmen, and church
dignitaries, among others.
today the arrival of a transatlantic liner is a joyful occasion for the
people of Santos, and there has always been a special place where they can
go to admire the parade of palaces floating along the estuary. That is
Ponta da Praia, a natural lookout where aficionados and bystanders watch
the arrival and departure of the ships.
Ponta da Praia even passing freighters were revered in a silence that
lasted as long as it took for the ship to cross the estuary.
can I say, then, about that glamorous age of renowned transatlantic liners
entering the channel leading to the port, gliding by the Fortaleza da
Barra fortress, and then sailing majestically toward the old Baggage
Warehouse of Santos’s Companhia de Docas [Docks Company]?
Carlos Cornejo and João Emílio Gerodetti