La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala

GUYANA - part 1

IMAGE – La Aventura and Eileen off Hurakabra
Guyana was a south-south west sail for us - approx 400 miles from Tobago – against the winds and currents ... but hey – we were on a Hunt family genealogy trip. James great grandmother (Dad's father's mother), Charlotte Isabella Cameron, was born in British Guyana - Berbice, West Indies on 10 June 1848.

Guyana is located on the north eastern shoulder of the South American continent, and the only English speaking country in South America. Being bound by Suriname (Dutch Guyana) in the East, Venezuela in the West, Brazil on the South and Southwest and the Atlantic Ocean in the North-Northeast it is not the sun and sand tourism offered by the Caribbean neighbours –but vast open spaces, sprawling savannahs, virgin rainforests, mountains and huge rivers and waterfalls .

We had a good sail, with mostly blue skies and sunshine – winds of 15 knots– picking up to 20-25 in the evenings. Despite the up to 2 knot adverse current, our timing was excellent - as we arrived off the 1st major waypoint on Friday 23rd by early afternoon on a full tide. The depth was OK and thankfully we had a minimum of 3 meters all the way through the bar entrance, and with still plenty of afternoon daylight to make the 21 mile entrance journey safely. The day was cloudy and overcast as we began carefully following the guide book waypoints. We had been made aware to expect the numerous unmarked fishing posts located at the mouth of the Essequibo River – yes they were extremely daunting! This vast river is 22 miles wide at this mouth. There can be a 10 foot tide in this main river, resulting in up to 2 knots of current - great if it’s going with you – but against you, any progress is hopeless. We arrived in a 30 knot squalls and heavy rain showers to anchor just on dusk a little past the first main river town of Parika.

The check-in for yachts – and only safe anchorages is 40 miles up the Essequibo River – so on Saturday 24th we caught tide at 9am to wander upriver. What a magnificent trip – the Essequibo is largest river in Guyana and 2rd largest in South America – vast, wide and muddy with splendid and changing riverside scenery. We glided past several basic riverside homes, timber mills and joined the various forms of river traffic – small personal skiffs, fast river taxis, huge barges and the one only large transport ferry. We saw all the essentials of a basic and healthy lifestyle of the villages with many fishing nets cast in front of the homes, poultry and self-sustaining fruit and vegetable growing. We past a long stretch of natural beach where the Amerindian village of Saxacalli was obviously thriving. The large island of home of famous Guyanese singer Eddie Grant was an eyesore.
We were met by Kit in his small powerboat on our journey up the river – what a lovely welcome, as we had been in email contact with him discussing our visit. We also saw 2 other yachts – Do It & Sandpiper- both now leaving after their few weeks up the river. After our 6 hour slow motor with the tide up the river we arrived off Kits Hurakabra River Resort just on high water, with Kit talking us into anchorage via VHF. He and his wife Gem joined us on La Aventura for a drink and chat – they were so keen to know how they could assist us on our family history exploration. In the late afternoon another yacht also arrived – it was David on Eileen of Avoca, and he came onboard for a chat – we had actually made contact with David during the previous week for some sailors advice for this journey. David is regular visitor to this area and currently in negotiations to build a marina in nearly French Guyana, and to bring a 20 yacht rally to Guyana next September. He was full of local knowledge and great to chat with in person. We enjoyed a beautiful, serene night at anchor off Kit & Gems place. Up the Essequibo - what a beautiful part of the world to enjoy our usual Sunday cooked breakfast! The weather was hot and humid and we enjoyed a swim in the fresh water of the river – but were carefully tired on to a rope and fender as the tide was too strong to swim against. By mid morning we went over to the resort for a cold drink and a chat with Kit and Gem to make some travel plans for our visit to the main city Georgetown and to the Berbice area and other parts of Guyana. We enjoyed our regular Sunday evening BBQ dinner with David on board. On Monday 26th on a cloudy and overcast day all 3 of us went in David’s yacht over to Bartica for him to check-out and us to check-in. Bartica, an Amerindian word meaning red waters – is a bustling , rustic little working town and the gateway town servicing the vast inland mining operations, and major river hub . This key regional town has a hospital, primary and secondary schools, regional government offices, banks, hotels, bats and restaurants and excellent fresh food and produce markets. Our 1st visit was to the ATM at the bank to get some local cash, then to the immigration and customs office – 2,500 GUY fee – approx $US12 – to check-in. The officials were all very friendly and helpful and efficient. The next stop was at Digicell phone shop to get a local phone chip, number and credit. We all enjoyed a few cold beers on the veranda of one of the bars on Main Street – the people watching was very interesting. We watched an interesting mix of Indigenous populations - African, Indian, Brazilian, plus local Amerindians, all going about their daily activities, and a few of the miners (locally know as pork knockers)spending their gains after several weeks in the mining camps. The streets and shops were busy with daily arrival of the large transport ferry arriving with all the vehicle traffic and big trucks going inland to the mining areas. The Guyanese claim their country is Sir Walter Raleigh’s true El Dorado - with wealth from the mining of gold, diamonds, bauxite, and wild natural beauty. We saw several ‘shops’ advertising that they purchased raw gold at $1,700 per ounce, so why not give is a go! After lunch we explored a few of the narrow side streets with local market stalls and then the large covered market, which had an extensive range of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetable produce. Despite being the only 3 white people in the town we did not feel at all unsafe or harassed, and everyone was polite and friendly towards us. We enjoyed David’s good company for our day in town, and we had got our first good insight into this fascinating country.
Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti