We asked if the lake was just really high this year, but the owner told us, "Oh no, the chales flood every year." Hmmm, I think I would be inclined to raise them a little higher.
The lake of Tres Marias began with the damming of the São Francisco River, formed by the construction of one of the largest earth dams in the world. The objectives were to control the flow of water of the river in the periodical floods and improve navegability; the use of hydroelectric power and the development of industry and irrigation. Begun in 1957, this great project was finished in January 1961, almost a world record in this type of construction.
The dam is 2,700 meters long with a base of 600 and a height of 75 meters. Its plant produces 396,000 KW of power. The lake, known as the "Sweet Sea of Minas", has 21 billion square meters of water, a surface area of 1,040 square kilometers (8.7 times greater than Guanabara Bay), and provides water to 8 municipalities.
The speed of construction was due to the commitment of President Juscelino Kibitschek, who also completed the bridge over the São Francisco river, the BR 040 highway, and the new federal capital. The construction of the dam was carried out in two shifts, using approximately 10,000 workers.
Eric was certain we could drive in, (there were, after all, no signs saying entrance was prohibited) but that we would just need to stop and check in first. Turns out they don't allow visitors. But who would have thought that with the barrels, gates, tire-puncturing strips, and armed security guard? Oh how I do love my hubby's optimism! So we never actually got a good look at the dam. But we had one heck of a time relaxing around the pool and down at the dock at our pousada.
The only real eventful part of the trip was the drive, and that's coming up tomorrow! (Hint: have you ever seen pot holes the size of a small car?)