24 hours in Cozumel Mexico

Why is everyone heading the other way?

Why is everyone heading the other way?

At dawn, on the 10th of March, I found myself motoring through crystal clear waters off southern Cozumel, heading toward the small town of San Miguel.

Curiously, everyone else seemed to be going the other way!

As I watched, vessel after vessel, a seemingly endless procession, sped south.

What was going on?

Apparently nothing… or should I say “business as usual”…

Tourist activities galore!

Tourist activities galore!

On closer inspection all the boats were heavily laden with tourists preparing to partake in various activities including snorkelling, para-sailing, scuba diving or whatever else is the latest in seaside resort entertainment.

Even a submarine?

Even a submarine?

There were so many water craft, it felt like the start of some huge regatta.

Where did all these people come from?

Just two of the four cruise ships visiting Cozumel

Just two of the four cruise ships that were visiting Cozumel

There were literally shiploads of them. Mostly from the US… All I could compare it with was Aruba, but an Aruba on steroids!

The town was similarly awash with visitors, shopping for all those must have tourist accoutrements. One dollar maracas, bracelets with your name woven into the design, 6 T-shirts for 20 US…

OK, not my cup of tea perhaps… and no prejudicial jumping to conclusions. This could be fun… I’ll just sit down, relax, have an ice cold corona and check the weather forecast.

Boats at anchor off San Miguel

Boats at anchor off San Miguel

Strong northerlies descend upon the Yucatan Channel at this time of year and unfortunately the anchorage off San Miguel is very exposed. While a sailor could probably find shelter to the south of the cruise ship terminals many prefer to make a run for Isla Mujeres (approximately 40NM further north).

This was not an option for me, as my next destination was Cuba and I had every intention of getting there with a complimentary current.

If I intended to escape the uncomfortable northerly and take advantage of the closing weather window to Cuba, I had just 24 hours to visit Mexico.

Unlike Honduras where check in and out are a breeze, Cozumel’s procedures can politely be called challenging.

Despite what you may have read elsewhere, here’s the latest on what is required.

  • Visit the port captains office and fill in their arrival form;
  • Catch a cab to the airport (50 pesos) to see (in this order)
  • Immigration (306 pesos),
  • Customs (free),
  • The office of Agriculture (to confiscate your fruit).

Let me diverge at this point and explain that some cruisers try to give the last two a miss by only visiting the immigration office in town. But do you really want to risk being on the wrong side of Mexican law?

A temporary stop at the ferry terminal

A temporary stop at the ferry terminal

Besides, as happened in my case, both Customs and the Office of Agriculture might be rather keen to visit your boat. Kindly giving me a lift back to the port, I brought Eileen alongside the ferry terminal so they could carry out their inspection.

Everyone was rather chuffed about the whole affair.

  • Then it was off to the hospital for my obligatory health stamp (even if nobody checked my health),
  • and finally back to the port captains office to return the forms and finalise check-in.

There is slightly less running around for checking-out.

  • Be sure to provide a crew list, a copy of your registration papers, and the stub of your immigration entry form for the office in town,
  • go to the bank and pay another 471 pesos to the Secretaria de Communicaciones y Trasportes,
  • and collect your Zarpe at the port captains office.

Why it took an hour (upon producing the requested documentation at immigration), to just have a stamp placed in my passport is a mystery I prefer not to dwell upon.

At my age you start worrying about your blood pressure.

Only results matter. I had officially checked in and out, even if it took most of the time I was in Cozumel to do it. What more could I want?

Mickey Mouse arrangements for cruisers

Mickey Mouse arrangements for cruisers

I suspect it might be a bit easier for cruise ship passengers to stopover for 24 hours than it is for cruisers… or there wouldn’t be so many of them…

Dullburg not Domburg?

The Domburg jetty. Not for the use of cruisers.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, there’s plenty of positive press on the Internet touting Suriname as a must see cruising destination (see www.noonsite.com), but having experienced it’s wonders first hand, a word of warning…

Would be journalists, travel writers and bloggers take note… (yours truly included). There is a negative side to too much flattering press, and that is the risk of raising the expectations of prospective visitors to unrealistic levels!

Harboring just this type of expectation for Domburg, which in my mind had become the lost “Garden of Eden”, set me up for some seriously disappointing disillusionment.

Note to navigators planning to visit Saint Laurent du Maroni… I’m making no claim that it’s Shangri-La…

You have been warned!!!

So, where did it all go wrong?

What cruisers really get to use as a dingy dock.

Perhaps Domburg was a navigators paradise, but that was yesteryear. I found the site in obvious decline. Many of the buildings lining the square are now abandoned and in severe disrepair and the only semblance of vitality is limited to Sunday afternoons, when the odd dilapidated restaurant reopens for business.

The children’s playground in Domburg and my kayak parking spot!c

Rusting children’s amusements and sheltered seating areas that threaten collapse, simply underline Domberg’s former glory.

Where were the promised new developments including a dingy dock? Apparently someone is building one further up the river… sometime… but don’t hold your breath…. Remind you of someone? lol

Where was the cafe crowd of restaurant goers and shopping enthusiasts expected at a site like this?

Apart from the Sunday revival, they’ve come and gone…

Meeting of the single handed sailors association… Domburg Suriname

Domburg’s heyday was in 2007, when it boasted 10 swinging moorings and a lively social scene for visitors. They are now down to 3 moorings and what social scene remains is limited to “happy hour”. Cheap beer from 4pm to midnight at the only snack bar open during the week. When you’ve had your fill, it’s back to your boat until 4pm the following day to repeat the ritual.

This is where the sailors currently hang out in Domburg.

Yes, It’s fun…. but only twice…. or thrice….

Fortunately, Paramaribo, a cheap bus ride away, is Domburg’s saving grace. But you need to get up early and return by 4pm or it’s a 70 SRD ride (one way) for the 20km trip to town.

I was never awake early enough (after the 4pm to midnight beer sessions) to catch this bus, and I’m habitually allergic to taking money out of my wallet (for taxis). What a conundrum!

I’m told the best option for visitors, and lightweight beer swillers with painful hangovers (that would be me), is to hire a taxi (minimum 4 hours) for “business purposes”. This way you get a chauffeur for 30 to 35 SRD an hour willing to take you where you wish. Good news because you can expect to make several trips to town (over several days) just to officially check in!

Many don’t bother, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be unlucky enough to be “caught out” without the proper paperwork…

Get your provisions at the corner Chinese store..

The more cynical than me types (admittedly a rare phenomenon), and the occasional conspiracy theorist (I met one once but the black helicopters took him away), believe that the venue has been earmarked by the government for large scale development. Hence the slow push to stifle what small business remains and the total disregard for maintenance.

Dutch speakers tend to feel right at home here (though not because it looks run down). and non-Dutch speakers, who may feel less at home, make up for the lack of belonging by going shopping! What else?

You can definitely find bargains at nearby Paramaribo on everything from solar panels and deep cycle batteries, to anchor chain and galvanizing services.

No bikini clad beauties to photograph? I’ll just feed the stray kittens instead…

But if you came to Domburg for the nightlife, or the beautiful bikini clad girls, you may be sorely disappointed.

I came to see the beautiful girls in their bikinis…. 🙁


Union island sucks…

Happy Island, Union

Not really…

I’ve just been selling that line via text message to my friends (2 at last count but rapidly decreasing), because I don’t want them to think I’m enjoying myself too much…

Can’t have them getting upset as they sit at their desks furiously shuffling paper to meet their latest deadline. They might get the bright idea of giving it all away by going out to buy a boat and then… horror of horrors,… Happy Island would be crowded with a multitude of ex-paper shufflers.

It’s just another white sandy beach in the Grenadines…

So let me reassure them that the beaches are just like what they have back home….

No bikini clad Brazilians… but lots of goats!

The only girls I’ve come close to here have beards…

Downtown Union Island, Saint Vincent

There’s nothing resembling a decent sized mall downtown…

I’ve been plane spotting!

Flights to the island are “at your own risk” (If you don’t believe me read the warnings at the airport)…

and while I’m at it, I might as well spread a rumor that there’s no more anchorage space.

It’s a dogs life…

In fact there’s absolutely nothing to do in Union…

So as soon as I’ve finished my next rum punch (at Happy Island), and watched yet another monotonous sunset (yawn), I’ll make plans for sailing further north…


Getting the ball rolling…

No marina... yet....

There are currently just four yachts other than Eileen of Avoca anchored off Saint Laurent du Maroni. Two aren’t all that seaworthy and the owners of the remainder have apparently settled in for the long haul (they’ve been living aboard in the same spot for years)!

So with new services (marina phase I) in the works, I guess it’s time to do something about attracting the active cruising community. Not so easy when you consider that there’s hardly a mention of Saint Laurent du Maroni in the sailing literature or even on the Internet for that matter.

Mind you, noonsite has recently updated its listing and Sail The World  (the Standard & Poor’s of the French sailing community) may be forced to upgrade its marina rating (currently CCB) once the word gets out!

Gendarmerie on river patrol

The security rating is particularly harsh given that the Gendarmerie regularly patrol the area ( I can report that there have been no thefts in the time I have been here), and I certainly don’t see how a free anchorage could have attracted a C rating… 😉

For your web browsing pleasure, I’ve collated some web links to fill the information void:

First up, the official web site for Saint Laurent du Maroni:

Run through the translator it even starts to make sense:

More importantly (for sailors of course), what’s the weather like today?

And how’s the provisioning (for like-minded souls who also regularly think with their stomach)?

For the virtual tourist voyeurs, here are some photos of the place that I didn’t take:

And for the budding botanist, a video of the local flora. 😉

Well, I guess it’s a start… More soon, of course…



A little more information on Saint Laurent du Maroni

The secluded anchorage of Saint Laurent du Maroni

As I am now involved in this ambitious project to promote and develop Saint Laurent du Maroni as a commodious stopover for visiting yachtsmen, I might as well pass on the following supplementary information….

Despite what noonsite states, Saint Laurent is in fact situated on the Maroni river rather than the Moroni…., though I must say that the later does have a certain humorous dyslectic ring to it.

Oh, and it really doesn’t rain here 9 months of the year…. It’s more like 7… lol. OK, so I’m nit picking, but some of you might find the following useful given that the only data currently available for yachtsmen on Saint Laurent is…

Quote (without spelling errors): “This is French Guiana’s biggest and busiest river, and is is on the border with Suriname. There is reported to be a marina 20 miles up the river, at St Laurent.

If this can reach Saint Laurent, so can you...


  • The big dry, from August to November
  • The small rainy season, from December to February
  • The small summer, from February to March
  • The true rainy season, from April to July


Saint Laurent du Maroni is an official point of entry.

Visit the PAF (police aux frontières ) at the car ferry to have your passport stamped (entry and exit). Not obligatory for European citizens, but prevents issues when your next stop is Suriname.

Customs (la douane) is in the administrative center.

See image for directions (X marks anchorage, yellow highlights for offices mentioned above).

X marks the anchorage


Saint Laurent is approximately 15 miles from the mouth of the Maroni River. A buoyed channel for cargo vessels marks the route (3m minimum depth at high tide). If in doubt (buoys are widely spaced), keep as close as possible to the French side of the river.

Beware of fishing nets when approaching the Maroni river’s safe water mark. While night entry is possible, it is not recommended as buoys closer to Saint Laurent are not lit.

Yachts anchor on the upriver side of a semi-submerged (tree covered) wreck in 4 to 6m. Holding in mud and sand is good.

 Local services:

  • The anchorage is within walking distance to all amenities and the city center.
  • The tourist office is situated beside the anchorage.
  • A public swimming pool is located at the opposite end of the park from the tourist office.
  • Water by Jerry can from the old prison yard (turn left upon entering the main gate. Fuel at local service stations.
  • Several Internet hot-spots,and cybercafes in town.
  • Good provisioning.

Proposed Marina:

Development is currently underway for a marina, providing finger pontoons, mooring buoys, secure dingy dock, club house, and Wi-Fi.


The ultimate stopover for sailors in French Guiana!

Ahoy there! Arrrr

Ahoy there fellow and would be adventurers!

I might have a tale or two to tell about Saint Laurent if you can spare me a moment or two…

Not so deep in the amazon jungle… err in fact not that close either… lies a small town forgotten by all..(except those seeking French welfare payments)… It’s “the place”, the ultimate stopover for hardy sailors seeking refuge from the torturous (flat) seas and tempests (10kts today) of South Americas Northeastern coast! Paradoxically, it’s the penal colony of Saint Laurent on the Maroni river in La Guyane.

No prisoners left these days, but curiously enough the place doesn’t even warrant a mention in any of my guide books.

Despite this, St. Laurent boasts:

  • the safest, most sheltered anchorage in French Guiana;
  • wild leopards!
  • easy access at high tide along a buoyed, lit channel;
  • wild leapoards!
  • great provisioning at Super U (and free WiFi);
  • wild leopards!
  • and plenty to see and do (more on wild leopards later).

I’d expected the town to be packed with tourists of all nationalities, but for some unknown reason St Laurent sees only a trickle of French visitors. Why the secrecy?

Hidden wonders!

For yachtsmen it is well positioned, (the Maroni defines the border between Suriname and La Guyane) so one can visit both countries from the one anchorage. However, from what I’ve seen of Suriname, I’d strongly suggest sticking to the French side of the river!

Here is what I’ve been up to over the past 3 weeks:

Spot Eileen!

I’ve hung out at the anchorage for yachtsmen, where I’ve made new friends…. Beware of the ferocious guard dog on their catamaran! I’m the almost invisible yacht in the photo…The pontoon is currently under repair but should be fixed by the time you read this… (in hardback at a bookstore near you…)

Buildings in the administrative quarter, Saint Laurent, French Guiana

The first thing I do when I arrive at a new destination is to take a few photos of buildings. It gets me in touch with the place and makes me feel suitably touristy (I’m just a touchy feely sort of guy) . No buildings in particular mind you…though a church often makes the cut (for karma points?)

For some reason, they wouldn't let me in....

Then it’s a matter of photographing whatever happens to take my fancy (architecturally) on the day:

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more

Focusing on some of the more extreme examples that draw the eye.. or nose… (no not many live like this nowadays!).

A country cottage in French Guiana?

It would appear that the French government is happily handing out nice new commission houses for all takers… I was tempted to take three! But join the queue, there is a rush on them from clients on the other side of the river…

Nevertheless, St. Laurent isn’t just about burgeoning housing estates! Transport and communication have obviously had significant growth over the last few years…

Ground control to Major Tom.....

Can your television dish grow any bigger that this?

Runs like a dream... honest...

Perhaps a little more manure is needed here for adequate growth…

But I’m sure none of this superficial sophomoric photography is what truly interests readers… What if I venture to tell you of the more sinister aspects of St. Laurent?

Just take a look at this!!!!

Insidious hair extensions... what next?

OK, it looks like a local girl with a pretty smile. But what you may have failed to notice is the platted creature attached to her head! Fake hair extensions!!! Indeed, just the tip of the hirsute iceberg, as I was to discover during my three week investigation.

Upon closer inspection, a good 60% of the female population has succumbed to the diminutive form (i.e. the extension) or full grown variety (the complete wig or peruke). Twilight Zone music queued here….

I’m told they are all the rage in parts of Africa, but I’d never seen them…. ’till now that is… and I’m strangely fascinated…

Double trouble.... New found friends from Martinique

No, these girls are not wearing wigs… I checked… There are secret ways….

It’s Regina and Anne, from Martinique stepping out of cell number 47.



Ever read the Henri Charrière book Papillon?

Apparently he was holed up here while waiting transport to the Salvation Islands off Kourou where political troublemakers were kept.

Now that could be a wig…

What to do to kill time in the Amazon....

It’s Pamela Anderson on the Maroni river… Or perhaps it’s Pamela superimposed on a photo of the Maroni river. It was proudly displayed to me by an Amerindian in the jungle and has pride of place in his hut next to the chain saw…

Yes, in the few hours of leisure time afforded by my hectic schedule, I managed to wander about in the amazon jungle seeking calendar girls and wildlife…. and here is proof..

I can't figure out why I'm wearing shades...

Not that I managed to see much wildlife. In fact there was more on display in town.

I have a lizard this big...... lol

Oh, and did I mention the wild night leopards of Saint Laurent?

Too dangerous to approach for a close up...

Apparently they come in all sizes (both with and without wigs…)

To be expected when I hang around rather dubiously named establishments such as this:

Just hanging out at a "titi" bar....

Don’t worry… I didn’t spend all my time there…

The three wise men...

We three wise men (see photo) have considerably more cultural pursuits in mind with regards to entertainment…

Apparently this means "courting women"...

Like admiring the local tribal art…

View of the Maroni River

Enjoying nature

Local dragster... or smugglers delight...

Checking out what passes as a hot-rod streetcar in these parts…

Listening to a little Bach before tea...

And other high brow cultural pursuits… 😉

No mosquito is going to feast on me!

Not taking my anti-malaria medication (Malerone), because thankfully there aren’t too many mosquitoes, has probably been my most daring accomplishment do date!

Thrilling, isn’t it?

Go get them Buffy....

Though I was kind of tempted to wait for this bus on a dare,

Thierry taking his lunch break

In a borrowed canoe we explored some of the Maroni’s tributaries…

The treasure hunters of Saint Laurent

hunting for lost treasures…

Unearthing the lost treasures of Maroni

I found a spoon!

It could have at least been a silver spoon 🙁

Sneaking across the border...

Sneaking across the border to buy 10 liters of dingy fuel at half price was also rather adventurous…

The photo that almost cost me my life... lol

I could have done without almost getting myself mugged (by the fellow in the black and white striped shirt) for taking the above photo. Apparently smugglers are camera shy.

Public transport Saint Laurent de Maroni style

Lucky for me it isn’t very difficult to play the stupid tourist that doesn’t understand what all the aggravated fuss is about…. Frankly, it isn’t worth the bother crossing to Suriname and the Gendarme have enough to worry about as it is without having to look for lost visitors.

Gendarme on patrol

So, most of my time has been spent keeping out of trouble and watching what the locals do to pass the time.

Endless entertainment with a wheelbarrow...

I’m not that fascinated by wheelbarrows (though I did borrow one to see if I could extract a fraction of the enjoyment this girl managed with hers… I failed…)

Your bird goes with you everywhere...

Nor did I find lugging a bird cage around with me everywhere (in order to train its contents to win singing contests) my thing… but then again I’m always difficult to please…

The restaurant I didn't get invited to...

But always keen to eat at a good restaurant.

Hanging out with the gang.... It's Champagne and foie gras

Unfortunately nobody invited me to eat in this one (violin music starts here), so I’ve resorted to plan B. Good food and company to be found on Thierry’s boat Ti’nga. Even if his boat has cockroaches!

Next stop is Tobago…

I’m so keen… I’m already on my way…

Who needs a boat when you can do this!

Iles du Salut (Salvation Islands)

Salvation Islands, French Guiana

The anchorage at Ile Royale isn’t as protected as one might expect. After two days of bouncing about and two episodes of “oops! Sorry, my anchor dragged”, one in which I lost my new fishing net (to everyone’s distress it ended up wrapped around my neighbours propeller as he was trying to avoid a lee shore), I decided to shorten my island getaway holiday and make for Kourou.

It's all in ruins...

You see, one can only walk around the Iles du Salut so many times gathering coconuts or mangoes for supper before some of the novelty wears off… and wandering about prison ruins doesn’t quite do it for me.

I’m told my lack of interest and enthusiasm is probably due to a slight case of Post Brazilian Bikini Syndrome (or PBBS), a common ailment among single males leaving Brazil.

For most, solace can be found through quiet meditation and inner contemplation. I’ve decided to try another route.

Ti'nga and the coconut tree

My South African friends on Ocean Spice and Quest are set on reaching Tobago before I cause them any more grief through innocuous but strategic placement of additional fishing nets, but fortunately, the solitary crew of Ti’nga (who I’d first met in Fortaleza and again at sea while sailing to Cayenne), has decided I’m not such dangerous company and is game to tag along.

Equipped with a wing-man, I’m now ready to take on the mainland. What delights await?

A sailors guide to Fortaleza

A skyhook for sailors ?

Don’t rely on skyhooks when visiting Fortaleza. Read this and save yourself time and money.

While I would like to take all the credit for gathering the following information, it was in fact a joint effort, with contributions from the many yachtsmen moored at Marina Park in May/June 2011.

Planeta Agua. Drinking water delivered to your yacht

I’ll start with the basics:
The water from the taps at the marina is of dubious quality (some days it flows yellow). Fill your tanks with it only if you have amazing filters or only use tank water for washing and showering.
Drinking water can be delivered to your yacht in 20 liter bottles (5 Real a Bottle). You can either catch up with the truck that delivers for the hotel 3 times a week (it parks just opposite the pontoon entrance in the morning) or you can give Ligou Chegou a call on 32121402 (the office), 30877972, 30941849, or 86861006.

Why they have so many phone numbers is a mystery to me but take note that they will also fill your cooking gas bottles for a fair price (3 Real per Liter).

The BR service station located near Marina Park Hotel

If you have trouble calling, their shop can be found as follows:
Walk across the freeway opposite the hotel (near the BR petrol station because the condemned buildings opposite are a hive for drug addicts, stay well clear day and night. Don’t take the stairs. Don’t take the bridge).

This is the road to take once you cross the freeway...

The road you follow to town is called Sem. Pompeu.

It takes you past a large mustard colored building (more on that later).

The bus station is behind the flea market.

Take a right (onto Rua Dr. Joao Moreira) and you will come across a bus station / flea market.
At the diagonally opposite end of this bus station square you will see fishing tackle shops (look for nets hanging outside).

You are getting close!

Follow the road (Rua Castro e Silva) and you will see the water bottles outside the Planeta Agua shop.

This way for the supermarket...

Retracing your steps to the square with the buses and flea market, take an immediate right and follow the road (Rua 24 de Maio for 2 blocks) to a small supermarket (on the left called Mercadinho Lene).

The small supermarket within walking distance of Marina Park

This is the closest to the marina. A couple of shops further up is a butcher.

The nicest (but somewhat overpriced) supermarket is Pao de Acucar, one street up from the night markets at Beira Mar.

Expensive, but you can find everything

It boasts free WiFi at the cafe inside (but no power outlets). Free Internet is a issue in Fortaleza. It’s 20 Real for an hour from the Hotel! Try the Internet cafe next to McDonalds for a better rate or buy a long range WiFi antennae for your boat.

You will find an automatic cash dispenser inside and to the right

The previously mentioned mustard building (with arched doorways) is a tourist center and contains many small shops. You will find a Bank of Brazil Automatic Cash dispenser here. Cover the keypad with your hand when using the cash machines in Brazil, two crews have already had their bank accounts emptied by thieves employing hidden cameras and card duplicators.

The first pedestrian walk crossing Sem. Pompeu.

If you follow the Pompeu road rather then taking a right to the bus station, you will reach several pedestrian only crossroads. Taking a left at the first or second will take you to the main square.

The only place to stock up on medicines...

If you need to stock up on pharmaceuticals the place to do so is here (on the side of the square with the taxi rank).

Hammocks galore opposite the cathedral

Head toward the obvious landmark of the cathedral if you want to buy a hammock (Fortaleza has the cheapest), and stock up on pet food or souvenirs. There is a post office here.

Varejao das Redes (the hammock shop where this lady works) is getting a free plug, so insist on a fair deal...

Diesel is purchased at the BR station just to the left of the hotel as you exit the foyer. You will have to carry your Jerry cans unless you are willing to part with 30 Real to entice a taxi driver to help.
A word on Taxi drivers. Make sure the meter is running when you catch a ride. Complain if it is not. It should be on setting 1 during the day and setting 2 at night. Otherwise agree on a price beforehand.

We all live in a gray? submarine...

Share a taxi to get your paperwork done as only the skipper needs to attend (must take crew passports).
For Fortaleza you visit 4 offices starting with the Federal Police, followed by customs, Health and the Port Captain. Wear long pants!! The same (less Health) on the way out. The officials are efficient and polite.
You can take the 52 bus to the Passenger Terminal where these offices are located (Look for a submarine conning tower as a landmark). Take the number 11 on the way back (2 Real per person per trip). Don’t walk!

Everyone hangs out here after sunset!

Going out you can book a free ride on the Hotel Bus which takes guests to Beira Mar (and it’s night markets). You need to reserve your place with reception. You can also catch this bus back (check times with the driver).

Note: There is an aquatic center opposite the night markets where divers can get their air tanks refilled.

Beira Mar is where everyone goes for their evening promenade. It also has the best beach (Praia do Futuro is a tourist trap, even though there is a free bus from the hotel, give it a miss).

Anchor opposite this new landmark

There is a new building going up (called landscape), and just opposite this development is a sweet day anchorage (03’43,404S 038’29.881W). If you get organized, 3 to 4 boats could anchor here indefinitely (in 3 to 4 meters) by keeping a rotating watch (to discourage night swimmers).

The beautiful people hang out at Boteco (on the western end of Beira Mar) opposite the pier, or at the Centro Dragao (great pizza there at Buoni Amici’s Sport Bar!).
Go to Pirata on a Monday night (Half price for guests… see reception), or take in a concert at Mucuripe (wild!). Too lazy? Don’t go anywhere… Some of the best concerts are held in the Marina Park grounds,in which case your entertainment is free.

I’ll leave you to discover the rest yourselves… Enjoy!

Visiting Tibau do Sul and Pipa?


How to get past the sand banks at Tibau do Sul

Poor weather prevented me from visiting Tibau do Sul and Pipa (approximately 50NM north of Cabedelo), but I am posting the little information I have so that other sailors may take advantage of this idyllic free anchorage (especially since it isn’t mentioned in the pilot books and nobody wants to visit Natal anymore).

The crew of Nemo of Sweden told me it was safe to enter so long as you followed the path indicated (see google earth photo). Obviously you will need to approach the entrance at high tide and ensure there isn’t too much of a swell running.

I would have charted the depth and given GPS waypoints, but now the task if left for another intrepid adventurer. Let me know how it goes….

On second thought… let me know how it goes only if you don’t run aground… 🙂


I need to go back to bed….


Sick with the flu... Need to stay in bed...

I’ve arrived in Morro de Sao Paulo! Party central. I should be living it up but I’m not. Finding a safe anchorage has been my first problem. The yacht club near Morro de Sao Paulo is no more. It has become a failed night club called Madagascar and the only yachts here appear to be abandoned. It’s not a safe place to spend the night. I had to discourage several young swimmers from attempting to board Eileen.

So I moved to anchorage number 2 in my guide book, near the town of Gamboa. Better, but at 2am a ferry came to anchor so close that Eileen started bumping against it as the tide changed. Luckily there was no damage!

In the morning I met with a Brazilian sailor anchored close by and he suggested that I try the small yacht club by the clay cliffs situated half way between Gamboa and Morro de Sao Paulo.

The manager of the club kindly offered me the use of one of their buoys and the clubs facilities.

Peace at last….

Unfortunately problem number two chose to raise its ugly head.

I’m sick…..

Dauntless hardened adventurer that I am,  I am confined to my bunk until further notice, suffering a severe case of the flu… 🙂