Friday, September 12, 2014

Arrived in Suriname, South America

On the Suriname River
Near Domburg, Suriname

Alas, we have reached the southern most point of our journey.  With the exception of a car trip to French Guyana, Atalanta is as far south as she will go.  We are a mere 7ยบ above the equator safely docked at a lovely small marina 30 miles up the Suriname River.  We are surrounded by rainforest in this very remote and interesting ex-Dutch colony. 

We left Trinidad on a Wednesday at sunset and sailed off shore (to stay clear of Venezuela) for the next 7 days.  We arrived in Suriname late in the afternoon the following Tuesday.  We found the trip challenging in that the equatorial current evident in this part of the Atlantic is strong and relentless.  At times we were only making 2-3 knots of headway.  The winds tended to be "on the nose" and the ability to point toward our destination was often a challenge.  Seven days is our longest passage to date and while the weather cooperated (sans a few squalls with 30+ knot winds) and some rain, it is a long time to be on four hour shifts.  Eventually, you realize how much you need a good nights sleep.  Passage-making is a necessary part of the kind of traveling we are doing, but it is not our favorite part of sailing to exotic places.  

Suriname experiences limited tourism.  While we are traveling with another boat, Argosea, there is only one other boat here.  Down river about 5 miles there are another 4 or 5 boats on moorings and that  the total number of sailing vessels that we have seen. This is the road less travelled!

Suriname was a colony of the Netherlands until the mid 1970’s.  Therefore, it has a Dutch influence that is evident in so many ways including language and architecture. Most signage is in Dutch but, fortunately for us, our sailing buddies on Argosea, Tony and Anne both speak and read some Dutch.  Despite the heavy Dutch influence, this is truly a multicultural society.  There are many from Indonesia (Java), China, India and Europe living here in apparent harmony with each other. Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and Jewish populations are represented.  On our first trip to the capitol city of Paramaribo, we saw a Jewish Synagogue sharing a lot with a Muslim Temple.  It reminds us of what we can hope for in the future.

Anne and Tony
at Waterland's "Honesty Bar"
(Take what you want and pay when you leave)
The owner of the Waterland Marina is Noel. He is creating a small but lovely eco-resort and is dedicated to its beautiful gardens, preservation of flora and fauna, and building architectural structures that meld with the natural environment.  Upon our arrival Waterland, he toured us around the neighborhood, shared some fine local rums and made us feel very at home in our new locale. 

Our time on the Suriname River will be slow and easy.  We plan to explore the rainforest in search of illusive toucans and jaguars and magnificent vegetation.  We will leave the boat for a couple of days and travel by car south to French Guyana for a few days.  It’s so close; it would be a shame to not explore this storied country.

Our new home at Waterland

The South American adventure is just beginning. Stay tuned for lots more and thanks for following.

Richard and Kay

More pics 
Paramaribo, Suriname
The Capitol and World Heritage Site

Peter and Paul Cathederal


Downtown Paramaribo

Argosea at sail

Murray longing for land

Life on the Suriname River

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