12 October 2013
The only English speaking country in South America
Last week we had our boat hauled out of the water and stored on the hard. We have moved aboard Morgan's 64 foot catamaran for our next adventure. We are sailing tomorrow to Guyana, a 300 mile non-stop journey to the only english speaking country in South America.
After our sail along the Atlantic coast of Venezuela we will travel 40 miles up the Essequibo. Bartica is our destination for most of time we are there. We will also visit Georgetown and the famed El Dorado Rum factory.
Guyana is 83,000 square miles with less than a million inhabitants. Named by the Amer-indians, Guyana means Many Waters. This country is 80% lush tropical rainforest and has several major rivers. A relatively new cruising ground, only about a dozed yachts visited Guyana in 2011. One of the points of interest we hope to see in Kaietuer Falls. These magnificent falls are 741 feet high making them the highest sheer drop in the world. There is a wonderful Canopy Walk on suspended bridges that allow you to walk through the rain forest and view the wildlife without disturbing a thing. Stay tuned...
Tuesday, the first day of our journey, we left Chaguaramas and anchored on the north side of Trinidad in La Cuevas bay. It would have been rolly in our boat but we were good in the big cat. Off by 6:00 AM, we motored to the northeast tip of Trinidad and then headed south to Guyana. We had officially left the Caribbean and sailed the Atlantic coast of Venezuela for two days. One squall had wind reaching 28 knots but we had less than 4 foot seas the entire way. The current against us varied from one to three knots but we still were able to maintain a speed over ground of 6 to 9 knots! This baby can move. Current are supposed to be the lightest in September and October, why several boats are making the trip now.
We arrived at the mouth of the Essequibo River at dawn on Friday and motored the 40 miles up to Bartica which will be our base for the next few weeks. Located at the confluence of the Essequibo and the Mazaruni Rivers, it has a population of about 15,000 but that must include the surrounding area. This truly is a rustic environment, we explored the town today and if you look hard enough you can find most anything. We had lunch at the only air conditioned restaurant and picked up SIM cards for internet at Digicel. These of course do not work. Well they work but we were told 2:00 am was a good time to get your sites to load. No joke!
Saturday: Liahona arrived today and we expect Persephone tomorrow. We are looking for Moon Rebel and Capice to arrive any day now as well. Next week we will see Out of Africa and Impressionist.
We have moved a few miles up the river and are anchored of the Baganara Resort. This report has few guests and so we have the run of the place. Beer is only $2.00 so they will see allot of us for happy hours taking advantage of the big fluffy arm chairs. Oh, and free internet! There is a walking trail and a beach for our use, the river water is an Amber color due to all the minerals in it. We are told that the piranhas and caiman do not come this far down river often. Caiman are cousins to the alligator but supposedly are not a danger to humans. Hmm
Sunday: Persephone and Capice arrived around noon today, still more to come.
Monday: the gangs all here! We took the the three 'go fast ' dingys to town with all 15 people aboard so the last few could clear in and check out the town. Morgan had to fly back to Texas for his father's funeral and well return next week.
Now that John is here the pot luck BBQs will start.
Tuesday: Today we took the plane trip to Kaieteur Falls. The plane ride there and back along with passing by the falls from both directions, was as spectacular as the visit to the falls itself. Imagine, three times the size of Niagara. The resort we are anchored at also owns a tour company so we were able to get the plane to pick us up right here at their air strip. We were the last on so I was able to sit in the co pilot seat. What a great view. Check photo gallery for pictures soon.
True to the prediction, John has organized BBQ'd steak feeds and a South African Potgie, which is like a slow cooked chicken stew. All 7 boats brought dishes to share and you know that the food was terrific. A butcher in town sells whole beef tenderloin for about $3.50 a pound and I have bought two so far in addition to the ones for the BBQ. I believe we have eaten more steak in the past month than in the past two years put together.
One day we took the hour long river taxi ride to Parika where we caught a bus/van for another hour long ride to Georgetown. The bus driver offered to drive us around for the entire day and back to Parika for $100 USD! What a great deal that was. We went to St George's Cathedral dietary and then the zoo, botanical gardens, a few monument, a great local place for lunch and walked around the main street in town.
Another day after Morgan returned we took a boat trip up the Mazaruni River and hiked through the rainforest to Murphy Falls. It was so steamy in the rainforest that our glasses were fogging up and the cold dip in the falls was very welcome. Unfortunately we did not see any wildlife except for the big bright blue Murphy Butterfly.
The main reason for the trip to Guyana was to buy bulk El Dorado rum but it looks like that might be a bit of a problem since we are leaving in a few days.....
The trip back was fast and uneventful, less than 48 hours from Bartica to Chagauramas.