One day, when we walked down towards the river, we were stopped by a young couple with a baby, asking us if the new boat belonged to us. Somehow, people seem to be able to tell that we’re sailors by just seeing us walk down the street. We’re trying to convince ourselves that it’s because we look really cool, and not because of our scruffy, sweaty, look completed sun bleached clothes… Anyways, yes, they were right, we were indeed the owners of that little red boat that had just arrived. They told us they had sailed from France, and crossed the Atlantic in a 25 footer, with their almost new born son onboard. And when they reached French Guiana, they had decided that they needed a break, and set out to build a tiny off-grid home on the river. We chatted for a bit, and soon it was decided that we would join them for a trip to some small waterfalls behind St Laurent the next day.
We were picked up by Tommy, while Yulia and the baby were waiting for us all to arrive, and then we hiked a short way through the rain forest, to a lovely spot of coke-colored waterfalls, like we knew them from Brazil. Tommy had brought a football, and soon he and Mattis were having a match against the stream. It seems that the stream won – especially because Mattis was afraid of being taken away by the fast flowing water. But just bathing was also nice, especially since the brown water of the Maroni River wasn’t for swimming, due to caymans, piranhas and fast currents.
Very thin tee
Beautiful jungle trek
After a couple of hours we headed to Tommy and Yulia’s little house. They had anchored their boat by the village St Jean (which of course started out as part of the penal colony), and built the house on a float in the river next to the boat. We sailed out in their new canoe, which they had bought after arriving in French Guiana. There’s always talk of the outboards of the dinghies getting stolen, so instead of worrying about it all the time, they now just row in the canoe. Cheaper, and easy.
The St Jean waterfront
The tiny house ahead
Open floor plan 😉
We spent the rest of the day in their little home, where they had set up a gas stove and a small kitchen and play area, and not much else. They slept in the boat, which we of course also had to go and see. And for once, Chip-Chip felt like a castle in comparison. The tiny house was a comfortable cool place, out on the river, and away from the mosquitos. And so impressive that they had made it all by themselves. One of the privileges of the lifestyle we’re living at the moment is that we meet so many people who dream of a different life, and somehow make it work. Often with very little money. We just hope that we remember this when we get home, and that we don’t get caught in self made excuses for not doing what we really dream of.
Early morning start to St Jean – to catch the tide
Play in the shade
St Jean from the anchorage
Amerindians at the river side
We later sailed the few miles down to St Jean in Chip-Chip – but somehow only Vibe went on land to go running in the mornings. The rest of the time was spent hanging out on the boat, baking cakes, doing school etc. I guess we needed a break from people, and the peace and quiet by St Jean was good in that way.
Happy kids hanging out
A bit of math
Mattis reading for his teddies