Wednesday, 10 September 2014


We knew the trip to Guyana would be a tough one first we would have to motor our way East along the Trinidad coast towards Tobago. That went to plan and when we cleared the Trinidad coast. We continued East some thirty miles before turning South. It soon became apparent that the South Equatorial current was going to have a significant effect on our headway. This current is caused by the flow of the Amazon,Essequibo and the Orinoco rivers and at times it produced a three knot current against us. So while we were making six and a half knots through the water our speed over the ground was a mere three and a half knots! With south east winds when we tacked the course over the ground became anywhere between 0 and 10 degrees. We finally reached the mouth of the Essequibo three and a half days after leaving Trinidad and as it was the middle of the night and the tide was against us we dropped the hook and tried to get some sleep in preparation for the trip up the river. I say tried because the anchorage was very rolly and just before dawn a squall went through that produced 50 knots of wind and driving rain. In the soft mud river bed we started to drag but were in no danger as over on the Western Channel of the river there were no fishing nets and the depth was good. A fisherman came on the VHF to ask if we were ok but by that time we had dug in again and calm was restored.
                                                                    Squall on the way!
We started up the river on a rising tide and we were just feeling pleased with ourselves for negotiating over the bar with depths no lower than 3 metres when I noticed something in the water...just a plastic bottle we thought. I looked closer to see very low in the water some coconuts, as we approached it was a case of slam it into reverse and I could see a row of coconuts, low in the water, right across the nets! We slowly followed the line of coconuts around, eyes firmly fixed on the depth gauge and we successfully made it to the end of the net with no damage to nets or boat! As we edged up the river a voice came over the VHF thanking us for not damaging his nets. Nets are a bit of a hazard in the River as they are not always visible until you are almost on top of them and the coconuts are very low in the water. The colour of the water is very brown as the River obviously carries a tremendous amount of mud, sand and silt. Its a bit disconcerting the first time you pump water through the heads I can tell you!

The current is such that we were motoring at 1500rpm and doing 8 knots and we made good time eventually anchoring off Stampa Island for a wonderfully quiet nights sleep. It was like being on the hard again the boat was so still and with a full moon it was bliss.
Our quiet evening was soon disturbed by a fishing boat circling around the boat John went out to ask what the problem was and the fishermen were muttering something about compensation for broken nets. John politely but firmly told them we had not been near his nets which he admitted was the case and then he asked if we had a beer so John sent them on their way ...flea in their ear and with a couple of beers for their cheek. We later found out that most of the boats on the rally had given the fishermen a couple of beers,
so look upon it as a local tax!
On the way to Hurakabra we passed Two Brothers Island and a large mansion on the Island that belongs to Eddie Grant. John and I are old enough to remember his 70s hits.His mansion is distinguishable by the filtration station that is visible which is apparently panning for gold 24/7. Bartica is a gold mining town and it reminds me a bit of a wild west town... there are signs all over town saying 'gold bought here' and many locals spend alot of time panning for gold then trading it in. It is a very real town with water taxis plying in and out of the jetties. The locals were all very friendly and could not do enough for you. Not unsurprisingly there  quite a few Brazilians in the town and some signs are in Portuguese.
This is a very different experience to what we have had so far and we are both enjoying it!

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