The first evening of my stay in Floripa (Florianopolis) I went to check out the suspension bridge. I had no idea how I was going to get up there but I knew someone had done it before, written and photographed the experience so I decided I could do it.
During the day I met some Americans and mentioned I was going to photograph the bridge, they seemed to know a lot about it and I learned the following:
1. It’s a state icon, the people love for some reason. I never knew this
2. There are lots of military and police buildings around it. I never knew this
3. It hasn’t been used for 20 or 30 years because they are fixing it, so it is shut off. I thought it was still active.
Having learned these facts I was filled with a renewed sense of fear. Although learning that it was shut for building works was good as it meant no traffic. I assumed that there would be some iron gates at either end and I could sneak up, push past the gate and run to the suspensions. I was wrong.
I arrived at the bus terminal nearby just after dark and headed to the side that was closest to me. I knew I wouldn’t have time to cross the other bridge to the other side if this one didn’t work so I really wanted this side be successful.
Eventually I found my way to the entrance of the bridge and to my surprise it was blocked off by 12 foot high plastic fences. They had done a pretty good job of securing this side, maybe it wasn’t going to be as easy as pushing past a fence in to a building site.
So I went to the road that passes just underneath the fences and looked for a way to climb the steel verticals that lead to the underside of the bridge. After much nervousness and looking over my shoulder I started climbing and reached the underside of the road.
A this point I wussed out and climbed back down, there were too many people that would be able to see me.
I went back round to the entrance on the road above and looked down to the pillar I had just climbed. And yes. Anyone standing on that walkway could have easily seen me. I decided to wait, watch the bridge and consider my options.
I looked at my phone, 20:06. I told myself if I don’t go by 20:30 then I should go home.
After about 5 minutes looking at the bridge and the fences surrounding the entrance, a security guard came out from behind the plastic hoardings and started to peer over to the place I had been climbing and loitering…so it turns out that wasn’t just a big plastic fence, it was a security guards hut and he had been there the whole time.
I swiftly turned round and left.
The morning of the second day I decided to read the blog post by the girl who had climbed this bridge before. One of the first things she mentioned was about which side was best to climb. I quickly learned that the side I was attempting to scale was a no-go. There is a police and fire station that side, right next to where I was.
Lesson learned, do more research.
The plus side was that she says that on the opposite side, the suspensions nearly come right to the ground so hopefully tonight will be more successful.
I reach the police and fire station side as that is where the bus stops. I walk to the bridge which is in use to see if I can walk across. When I get close enough I see a sign saying ‘no cycles or pedestrians’ so I turn back to the bus station, making note of the buses which seem to be crossing the bridge.
I pay again for the bus and get off on the other side. I made my way to the road entrance, which is above where the blog said to get on. It looked feasible but I decided to head below to check out the option the blog said was so easy.
I found my way down to the road where the suspensions met the ground. It was about 19:30 and it was all lit up. There was a boat yard and people were still working there. For the record I had to go early as my hostel is 2 buses and about an hour away so I needed to be done in time to get the bus back.
From the road you could easily see where the suspension met the ground. I would need to be climbing up this bit before clearing the road. It was too busy and too light so I headed back to the part where the bridge was originally intended to meet the road.
Again like the other side, there was plastic hoarding blocking the route but the area was quiet, no one there, and there was easily a way round the hoardings, with a bit of climbing, which led to the bridge, then just a short walk to the suspensions.
I climbed round and on to what would be the road if the bridge was in use. It was all wooden beams but they seemed very sturdy. I went as close to the middle as I could to avoid being seen from the ground and crouched down as I walked.
After about 100 metres I looked back to see if I was being followed…and I was. I could see a security looking guy walking towards me. I stood up. And walked slowly towards him, putting my hands out at one point to show I wasn’t gonna try and fight him.
It was very dark up there but when I got close enough to see his face I saw he was grinning, and so was I. We exchanged pleasantries and he asked if I was trying to go up. I asked where he was before he saw me and found out he was sitting right next to the bit where I climbed on to the bridge itself. I said good evening and he replied the same. He let me out through the door in the hosting and I jumped on the bus back to the bus terminal.
When I got to the terminal I decided to go and try and get up the other side. I had a good look round and it certainly was a no go. The suspension was right next to some official looking buildings and there was no way I was gonna climb up the same place as last night as I knew for a fact there was security there.
I was really deflated after the first fail but after seeing the securities reaction tonight I feel good. I tried, I didn’t get there but there was nothing I could do.
So Ponte Hercilio Luz, I will be back, but next time I’ll be staying at a hotel nearby so I can go at 2am.