Sailing off the chart, down the Maroni’s jungle creeks

The Maroni River has loads of little creeks, where hardly anyone ever goes, so after visiting St Jean, we went out to explore a bit more. As always, we had to time our departure from St Laurent with the current, which meant that we sailed fast along once we got going. At the entrance to the Coswine Creek, we left the charted area, but we had downloaded the map for the area in google maps, we had the Imray cruising guide, and screenshots from the Noforeignland site. So with a bit of care, navigating the creeks was not a problem at all – and as it turned out, the depths were very consistent, completely different from the Gambia river, where we really had to be careful. Continue reading

Boat related expenses during our first year of cruising

Many people wonder about the price of making a trip like ours. And usually, the answer is “it will cost what you have”. Which isn’t very helpful. I have an app on my phone, in which we note every expense we have every day, so we know the price of our trip. And it’s certainly more than we would have guessed, had we estimated the costs afterwards.

We have decided that sharing the boat related costs during our first year of sailing is okay for us, especially as it is helpful for people who plan to go cruising themselves and wonder how much they will need. This is not the total cost of of the trip, but only the expenses related to the boat. Continue reading

A tiny house on the river; a different way to end an Atlantic crossing

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. Continue reading

Up the Maroni River; days in St Laurent

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

In solitary confinement on St Joseph

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 Devil’s Island penal colony

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.

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In the land of the Amazon forest

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.

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Status after one year of cruising

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.

MapYear1 Continue reading