Brazilian Shoals

The term ‘Brazilian Shoals’ refers to dangerous reefs that fringe the Abrolhos Islands off Caravelas, a coastal town in the state of Bahia, Brazil. Other names used to describe these reefs include ‘the Shoals of Abrolhos’, ‘Abrolhos Shoal’, ‘Brazil Banks’ and ‘Banks of Brazil’. The name ‘Abrolhos’ is a corruption of the Portuguese expression, ‘Abras os Olhos’ and means ‘Keep your eyes peeled’. It is attributed to Florentine explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who recognised the dangers the reefs presented to sailors when he visited the archipelago under Portuguese patronage in 1503. The Abrolhos reef system is made up of coral reefs, volcanic islands and sandy shoals scattered over some 6,000 square kilometres. The islands of the Abrolhos Archipelago include Santa Barbara Island, Redonda Island, Sueste Island, Siriba Island and Guarita Island.

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