The Maroni River makes up the border between French Guiana and Suriname, and some miles up the river you find the town of St. Laurent, the capital of the former penal colony in French Guiana. We had a beautiful sail from the Salvation Islands – until I realized that we were going much faster than expected, meaning that we would arrive at the entrance to the river at low tide. The charts say that the depth is 0.3 meters in parts of the channel leading into the Maroni River, meaning that we wanted to arrive close to high tide. So when Esben came up to take over for his night shift, we took the main down, and he continued on with only the genoa out. The decrease in speed was also good for the dinghy, which we were towing behind the boat. The high speed had thrown it around more than we liked. Continue reading
We have never been closed to a rocket launch before we arrived in Kourou, and we did of course want to go and the visit the space centre. Unfortunately, it turned out that kids younger than 8 years were not allowed on the tour of the compounds. So we decided that Esben would take Runa – he was the one who was the most exited to go 😉 Continue reading
After many visits to Île Royale, we figured it was time to visit Île St. Joseph; the island where inmates would be kept in solitary confinement and total silence for years. We took the dinghy across the small strait where the dead convicts used to be fed to the sharks, and soon realized that the island had no pontoon to land the dinghy, and that we would have to crawl up on the cement dock used by the foreign legion. Everybody got off without getting too wet, and we had a look around. The french foreign legion have a base on the island, and a couple of legioners waved as we passed by their living quarters. Continue reading
The Salvation Islands were once home to one of the world’s scariest prisons. French convicts were sent to St. Laurent on the French Guiana mainland for a life of hard labor. And the most dangerous of them eventually ended up at the Salvation Islands. The main prison was on the Île de Royale, where we were anchored, so after seeing all the animals on our initial tours of the island, we made our way to the top along the prisoner-build road, where most of the ruins are located.
Anchoring in Kourou is very easy, and life goes by without problems, but we missed swimming. So we went back to the “shark infested waters” (thanks wikipedia) of the Devil’s Islands. Whose actual name is “The Salvation Islands”. Here, we wanted to explore the ruins of the French penal colony, which “Papillon” made famous.
The color of the water slowly changed from bright blue to murky brown/green and somehow the smell had changed. We were getting closer to land, and the smell was the smell of the Amazon rainforest. We knew the coast wasn’t far away, but we couldn’t see it. The first sign of land was a dark spot ahead of us; the Salvation Islands, or, as they are better known, at least in Scandinavia, the Devil’s Islands. After 1400 NM of sailing, we had reached French Guiana.
We have now been living on Chip-Chip for a year (well, actually more than a year, as the blog is a bit behind). So maybe it’s time to stop a little bit and think about how different our lives have been for this past year, compared to what we had before.
We have sailed almost 10.000 nautical miles in this past year. We have visited countries in Europe, Africa and South America and have sailed in the North Sea, the inner waterways of Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. We have been to so many different places, with different nature, culture, religion, climate etc. Sometimes (actually most of the time) we find it hard to believe that it’s possible to take a little boat, such as ours, and make it ready to sail to all these places in such a relatively short time.
On the 1stof July, it was one year since we left Bremerhaven early in the morning, and set course for the Netherlands, the Mediterranean, West Africa, Brazil and finally, French Guiana. A whole year of living four people in a 28-foot boat. We have sailed 9220 nautical miles in that year and visited places, which we never dreamt it was possible to reach with our little boat. Below is a short summary of the year in pictures. Continue reading
After leaving the Cabanga Yacht Club in Recife, Brazil, we had some of the fastest days of sailing we have ever had. We were pushed along the north coast of Brazil by a combination of winds and currents going in the same direction as us, and after 5 days of sailing we were celebrating being halfway to French Guiana. We, of course, were already looking forward to arriving five days later. By then, we were passing the delta of the Amazon River, and soon the winds became weaker, current seemed to be confused, and our speed dropped considerably. Bye, bye early arrival.
When meeting other sailors, we’re often asked if we never get seasick. We have done quite a few longer passages since we left the Canaries, and people assume that we must be hardcore sailors. But in reality, Runa and Esben suffer horribly from seasickness during the first couple of days of sailing. When it’s really bad, Esben throws up every 15 minutes. Mattis and I don’t get it as badly as the others, but we also do get seasick sometimes. So seasickness is something we have to take into consideration when preparing for a passage.