Suriname is such a strange country. It was a Dutch colony until 1975, and the people living there are a strange mix of blacks, Indians, Indonesians, Dutch and more. Already on the trip in on the river, we noticed how this country had a completely different style than French Guyana, which we had just left. The river was basically much more alive. We met plenty of local boats, and on the river banks we passed colorful villages, like the village Nieuw Amsterdam, where the Dutch used to have a fort, controlling who entered the Suriname and Commewijne Rivers. While navigating the 5 knot current, the half submerged wrecks, the local boats and the giant bridge that spans the river, we passed Paramaribo, Surinams capital. The old city of Paramaribo was built by the Dutch, and the white wooden houses are a beautiful sight from the river. Later we realized that on closer inspection, they are awfully run down, and UNESCO even threatened to take away the title of world heritage site because of the lack of upkeep. Continue reading
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.
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.
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
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
Amongst cruisers, one of the most famous anchorages in Brazil is the one by Itaparica. It’s located in the big bay behind the city of Salvador, and is very protected and very pretty. From the marina in Salvador, it was only 12 NM, so even though there was hardly any wind on the day we decided to cross over there, we got out the sails, and slowly sailed off. The little trip ended up taking the whole afternoon, and we arrived in the mooring field just before sunset, in company with a French boat we had met in Salvador. Continue reading
We had a 4-day sail ahead of us when we left Maragogi to head for Salvador. The weather had picked up since we arrived, and we were a bit worried when we came to the shallow part of the reef. But everything was fine, and soon we were out in the deeper water again. The wind wasn’t cooperating, and we were sailing close hauled for the first couple of days. This meant that the sailing was rather unpleasant, and that Runa got seasick again, unfortunately. Continue reading
We ended up staying in Recife for almost two weeks. The boat was cleaned up after the Atlantic crossing, and a big load of laundry was sent off to be cleaned. One of the workmen in Cabanga’s boatyard came and offered his services – he managed to get a rigging peace we needed, and his wife did laundry, for a fair price. So that was handy for us.
From Fernando de Noronha, it was a “short” 350NM sail to our next stop, Recife, a big city on the main land. The currents run quiet strongly along the south American coast; south of Recife the currents go southward, and north of Recife, they go north, meaning we had the currents against us on our little trip. So we stayed out far from the coast, and slowly made our way south. The weather still behaved, and the four days the trip lasted went by as a continuation of the Atlantic crossing; we had the routines in, the kids knew when they were fed and when we would read out loud for them, we caught a couple of fish. We didn’t go fast, but at least we had a bit of wind and could go by sail the whole way. And then we were in Recife. Continue reading