Day 43: Eureka! Treasure Island!7 min read

Today’s a day I have been anticipating for a long time…Treasure Island! I ate a quick breakfast of egg casserole and coconut bread and packed everything I would need for three days on the island. With the exception of my hammock, I managed to get it all in a small suitcase.

Noe II
We left Petrolina in late morning and drove back to Sobradinho. Uncle Doug took me, D
Right after passing over the Sobradinho Dam, we turned off the road. There, tucked back in a tiny little canal is Noe II, the boat that would take us across the lake to Treasure Island. Uncle Doug dropped us off there with all our stuff and then drove into Sobradinho to start picking up the campers.anae, Joy Baxter, and Neto, the latter two having been picked up in Petrolina. Aunt Renate took Destiny and picked up Tatiane and Chelsea, a couple other girls who were going to be counselors with us.


Along with the others, I stayed in the boat and ate a chicken salad sandwich, chips, and orange tangerine juice. After what seemed like a long time of waiting, Aunt Renate, Uncle Doug, and the Atha’s all started showing up with vehicles full of kids. In all we had 23 kids, and we quickly loaded all their stuff into the lower level of the boat.

William and Grayson Getting InstrumentsWe were underway shortly after 2:00 and we had only gone out several meters into the lake when we started to turn around and go back toward land. We pulled up next to an electric pole sticking out of the water and “docked” there while William and Grayson Atha jumped into the shallow water and started running back toward their vehicle. They forgot the electric keyboard and William’s violin!

So they come running back, William with the violin and a toolbox and Grayson with the piano on his back. Later I found out that they also left the car unlocked, so it was a good thing they went back. After that short escapade we finally headed in the direction of the island for good.

Along the way I spent time talking with Grayson, William, and Destiny, and I also got to know the names of some of the boys who were camping. I really enjoyed the opportunity to just sit down and get to know the others better. Destiny also asked to pilot the boat, and when Uncle Byron granted her permission, I took some pictures of her as she swerved back and forth through the water.

Destiny PilotingAn hour and a half later we came upon the long-awaited island, and I got my first glimpse of what would become my second camp. Iowa Regular Baptist Camp is my first camp, but Ilha de Tesouro now ranks up right next to it as the best camp in the world. I was so excited!

We unloaded everything on land and walked to the dining shelter where I was assigned three campers: Viniciu, Francivaldo, and Felipe. Grayson was also given to me as my translator. Time would tell that these were the best possible guys I could have had. The three boys really enjoyed being with me despite the language barrier, and Grayson was one of the best friends I could have ever asked for. Besides that he is also hilarious, and I like laughing. 🙂

Hanging Up HammocksEveryone grabbed their belongings and we went to the long house where all the guys would sleep. It was a really long building, open on one side and just wide enough to hang our hammocks. All nine campers and six counselors and assistants easily fit in there, and before long we had our stuff unpacked and our beds hung. When we finished, I got my three guys and took a picture together with them before moving on to the next activity.

Although we are all staying together, William, Neto, and I are each responsible for three guys. We have to do everything together, so wherever I go, my campers go. They cannot leave me and do things on their own. My guys did an especially good job of sticking with me, and as a result, we had a whole lot of fun together.

My CampersBack in our “dining hall” we had a snack of uvas (grapes) that we had been given earlier in the week, and that was the beginning of many language lessons with my boys. I told them the English translation for “uva” and throughout the rest of the weekend they taught me many words in Portuguese while I told them the English equivalents. It was great!

William took us on some trails around the island, and we went up to one of the highest points on the island atop some massive rocks. They look like hills, but they are literally just huge rocks. While up there we took some group pictures and then headed back down. Everywhere we looked we saw red sand, rocks, cacti, and dead trees. It’s a desert island for sure!

On Top of the Rocks

After that we had about half an hour before the sunset, so we all went down to the lake to “banho” (swim). Now, as Grayson informed me, “banho” can mean either swim or bathe/shower, etc. So we were taking them to swim, and it was also going to double as their bath for the day.

I remember in Junior Boys camp at IRBC when my dad was my counselor and told us we had to either take a shower or go swimming each day. Well, here it is the same word, so I found that amusing. No confusion as to our intentions at this camp!

Now, I’m not a big fan of swimming, but when you’re counseling, anything can be fun! I actually looked forward to being in the water, and I jumped right in there with the rest of them and had a merry time splashing and jumping and laughing and taking pictures. The last time I swam in a fairly clean lake was in 2011 when I was in Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada, and there the water is cold!

Oh yeah, I also swam in the lake at the Iguatu camp only a few weeks ago, and that was a clean one too. I’m just so used to the extremely dirty Clear Lake at IRBC in Iowa that swimming in the Sobradinho Lake was a totally new camp experience for me. At IRBC we use the swimming pool because the lake is like a mud pit with broken glass all over the bottom.

ChapelThe sun went down, we dried off and changed, and then we ate a supper of hamburgers and watermelon. Shortly after that we went to chapel. The chapel building is very similar to the one at the Iguatu camp, just a roof with concrete benches. But with no mosquitoes and moderate temperatures, it is perfect for camp. It doesn’t have the fancy sound and light equipment, but it retains the outdoor, camp-like feel.

We sang some songs and Uncle Doug gave the message, talking about the universe and the stars and the galaxies. Of course, I couldn’t understand everything he said, but he talked about the universe and what Scripture said about it. Through history, scientists and their technology have confirmed Scripture over and over again! God created the universe and knows it better than anyone else, and the Bible shows us this truth.

Before going to bed we drank some hot chocolate, and it was a wonderful way to end a wonderful day. Before settling down to sleep, I took some pictures of the myriad stars that shown so brightly out there on the island, and once again, I exchanged translations with my guys as they wanted to know how to say “estralas” in Ingles.

William gave me his phone as an alarm so I could wake up to watch the sunrise, and before long I was fast asleep, enjoying my hammock. Because the island is too far out in the lake for mosquitoes to reach, there are no mosquitoes on the island, and they can’t breed there. So I didn’t have to worry about them as I slept either!

My first day and night at Treasure Island were more than I could have ever asked for, and we still had a couple days left. Zzzzzzzz…

Stars in the Night Sky

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