At a time when roads were still under construction and the car was the privilege of a few people, who excelled in transporting goods here in the region was the Río dos Sinos.
Brick, wood, and agricultural produce were drained by the meandering river waters. Joao Marino Monaco, 88 years old, a resident of Campo Bom, lived that period in an intense way and, therefore, is passionate about Rio dos Sinos.
From the age of 16 to 25 he worked with his late father, Aurelio of Monaco, on the Marina boat, a ship that traveled between Tacuara and São Leopoldo. “I am the last surviving sailor who worked in Rio dos Sinos at that time,” he says proudly.
The marina is 15 meters wide and five meters long, and it transported wood mainly from Entrepelados, in the interior of Taquara, to São Leopoldo. It took three hours to cut the distance between the two cities. “The boat was carrying 25 meters of eucalyptus,” he recalls.
At that time, the road condition was precarious in the area and many of the connections were not yet open to ensure mobility between cities. Besides, unlike what we see today, the fleet of vehicles, especially trucks, was small. Therefore, using the river’s water to transport goods between Vale do Paranhana and Vale do Sinos was the best option.
Boats stopped going up and down the river when land transportation gained traction, from 1950 on. According to Marino, from 1943 to 1950, in addition to the Marina, boats Surubi, Pinhal, Floresta, Natalícia, Marta and Dois Irmãos sailed along Sinos. and Miss Emilia. Floresta and Natalisa also belong to the father of the sailor. The ships Dois Irmãos and Dona Emília belonged to the Dauth family of São Leopoldo.
Relationship with the river from an early age
The retired sailor says he and his brother Mauro Monaco, 80, grew up in Entrepillados, 500 meters from the river. “Our shower was Rio dos Sinos. We used to drink water there. Today it turned into a sewer,” the old man laments.
In addition to Marino and his father, the family had an employee responsible for cutting firewood. This is because most of the timber transported was harvested from Monacos. They used to make two to three trips a week, so now and then they slept on the boat equipped with a berth in the cabin.
One of the images that the sailor has preserved is from a trip the family made from Tacuara to Porto Alegre to honor the feast in honor of Nossa Senhora dos Navigantes, an event most of them insisted on participating in, in order to gain the protection of the patron saint. He remembers that his mother, Maria Jersey, was also on a nautical parade.
Love in the first ascent
Marino and his wife have been married for 60 years and have four children and four grandchildren. The relationship began to build on the first shipment. She remembers the day they met: “I was a girl, I was 11, and he gave me his hand so I wouldn’t fall when I got on the boat.” She says access to the ship was done on a wooden plank, a primitive passenger bridge. Indeed, Leah, as she prefers to be called, is well aware of her husband’s passion for the river. Marino followed the report to the banks of the Sinos River, in Barinha, in Campo Bom, and recommended: “Make sure he doesn’t stay there, because this guy loves the river. If he’s allowed to, he’ll spend the day there.”
Although he no longer sails long distances on the Sinos, Marino has a vivid memory of the river’s meandering curves and layout. So much so that he drew a map (see below), marking all the existing bridges and marking the locations his old friend had cut.
“The most beautiful bridge is the one at Passo do Mundo Novo, in Taquara. Only those who have sailed know all the places,” he says. He explains that he decided to draw the map because few people know the river the way he does. At the age of twenty-five, he stopped sailing and began working in the pottery that the family had opened in Campo Bom. When he turned 65, he retired and today uses a kayak to fish in the Barinha neighborhood. “Grumatã, peava and dourado are still found,” he comments.
A passion for the river also made Marino join the environmental movement led by Henrique Prieto, with boatman Martim Pescador. “Today, unfortunately, the river is very different from the river I did the research in. It’s damned pollution,” he says.
But what happened to Marina? He says he was sold to a tour company to continue sailing, but this time on the Kai River.