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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Back to the Devil’s Islands

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.

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Anchored next to Piccolina by Île Royale

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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.

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One year on Chip-Chip in pictures

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

From Brazil to French Guiana; our longest passage yet

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.

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Esben takes out a reef in the main to speed up a bit

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Preparing for seasickness and passage

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.

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A rough sail from Salvador to Recife

We arrived back in the anchorage by Itaparica just before sunset, but as we went to turn off the engine, the handle came off. So quickly, before the light completely disappeared, Esben had to open the hatch to the motor, stick his head down in the darkness, and figure out where the line that cut off the diesel supply was located on the engine. After a quick look around, he found the right one, and silence fell over the anchorage. Continue reading

Morro de São Paulo; the southernmost point of our trip

After coming back to Salvador from the awesome Chapada Diamantina National Parc, we decided to make the most of the rented car, and arranged a day trip to the turtle sanctuary TAMAR up the coast. TAMAR claims to help the turtles having a better life, but to us in mainly looked like they helped the Brazilians get some understanding that the turtles need protection – and more importantly, help them get a good selfie. Continue reading

Of anchoring and diamonds

Before heading back to Salvador, we wanted to take a little tour further into the Baia de Todos os Santos (or the All Saints Bay). There never seems to be any wind around here, and we slowly motored the short way to the next anchorage by Ilha de Bom Jesus, which had been recommended to us by other sailors. It was a nice and calm little anchorage, good for swimming, just like the anchorage by Itaparica. Continue reading