Posted by: catamarantwooceans | March 30, 2014

Sailing in Surinam

25.3.14 – Tuesday – At first light, around 0630, the crews of Haven and Two Oceans went out of the creek, followed the marks in the river to go out to open ocean and Surinam. The short way between French Guyana and Surinam will take you in very shallow water; both boats went out almost 20 miles away from shore for deeper water but still sailed at less than 20 meters. Good wind had us go fast, around 9 knots, sometimes touching 10, covering the 115 miles from Maroni river exit to the Surinam river entrance in 12 and a half hours.

We entered in the dark, following the lighted buoys and made our way to an anchoring spot I chose in advance at 5 55.867 N 55 08.948 E. Just as we came close to that position a fishing boat with a single light came on a collision course and I had to break away and do a 360 to avoid impact. At 2300 we dropped the anchor and went to bed.

26.3.14 – Wednesday – In the morning we waited for the tide to turn and give us a push to the village of Domburg 19.5 miles upstream. It is no longer permitted to anchor near Paramaribo for the entry clearance. At the time of low water according to the tide tables our speed instrument showed the current was still 2.8 knots.

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We waited until it went down to 1 knot and then left the anchorage with "Haven" which came in sometime after we did, keeping to our stern. Just before the bridge spanning the river on the southern side of the city a motorboat with two policemen came by, asked us to slow down and came on board to check our papers.

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At the same time a civilian motorboat approached us from the other side giving us a business card of the "Harbour Resort Domburg". "We have a lot of moorings and other services" they called. We were going there anyway. Reaching the place we saw three yachts moored to red mooring buoys; about a dozen were spread near a floating dinghy dock and we took one. They all seemed to be well made.

Ashore we were greeted warmly by two ladies – Jenny and Sadelsa, her daughter, who was the one to describe the facilities and do the paperwork.

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They have a clubhouse, where one could bring their drinks and keep them in the club’s fridge, toilets and showers, free good Wi Fi internet and Jenny will do your laundry. Price is a reasonable 8.5 euro per day for the first week going down progressively with time.

There are some Chinese supermarkets, the one near the Harbour Resort has a petrol station with diesel fuel and an ATM on site. There are some restaurants, but all except one are open only on weekends. The one adjacent to Tamara Supermarket was open and we made the mistake of going there for dinner. Dany found it to be hilarious, a good joke, I begged to differ. 

27.3.14 – Thursday – Sadelsa arranged a taxi to take us to Paramaribo to go through the required entry procedures. The driver was a young man, her uncle, brother of Jenny. When I asked for his name he said something that I heard as Dilly but he soon corrected me, writing it on the sand: Gilly. That was a laugh!

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                                   Gilly and Gili

Gilly drove to the big town and it soon became evident that he did not know where the offices we needed were, so we had an unplanned tour of Paramaribo. After we convinced him to ask the locals we found the Foreigners Police (Vreemdelingen Politie or VP) and were successful in having them agree to do the check in and out at the same time.

He then took us to a tour operator agency – Orange – where we booked a tour to Brownsberg park for Saturday. Back in Domburg, Dany and I had our hair cut by Rafi, the local men’s barber and then spent a quiet evening with a decent meal on board.

28.3.14 – Friday – They do not have the facility of filling up drinking water here, so Sadelsa, the efficient one, called the fish company situated 200 meters down river and got their approval for us to take water there. We tied alongside a big motorboat and filled up.

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While Dany was taking care of the filling up, I went and bought three fish for dinner. "How much are they?" I asked; "It is about a kilogram, so it is 8 SDR" was the answer. That’s less than two euro…

In the afternoon we went ashore for a hike around town. The vegetation is very rich as befits the tropical country. One tree grew to an unbelievable shape.

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The fish gave us an opportunity to test the Weber grill I bought in South Africa; big success!

29.3.14 – Saturday – This was the day of our bus tour to Brownsberg nature park. We joined a company of mainly young Dutch tourists and did a nice, if a bit strenuous, hike in the rain forest reaching a small waterfall.

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The young ones as well as some local people were happy to stand under the falling water.

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We also climbed the top of the plateau to watch the big lake that was made by damming a river for a hydroelectric plant.

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On the way we saw some monkeys, spider and howler ones which made Gili very happy.

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Tomorrow we will leave Surinam for what I’ve come to think of as the final stretch. It’ll take us about four day to reach Grenada.

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Responses

  1. Love reading your blogs! Keep up the adventures… my wife and I hope to do the same some day soon….


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