How to get to Saint Laurent du Maroni

Heading North from Fortaleza, Brazil

Already on your way to Saint Laurent du Maroni?

From Brazil it’s a leisurely sail with favorable winds. It took me 10 days to reach the Salvation Islands (Iles du Salut) following the rhumb line and while it would have been nice to visit São Luís (Saint Louis) and Belem on route, my tourist visa had already expired. They will have to wait for Eileen of Avoca’s…. Brazil take two adventure…

Reaching Saint Laurent du Maroni from Trinidad and Tobago

Heading South from Trinidad and Tobago isn’t as hard as it’s been made out to be. Yes, you may have days where the wind is on the nose and yes, there are places where you will battle a ferocious half knot of current, but if my boat can get there, so can yours…

The best departure point is Store Bay in Tobago. Head past Toco Trinidad, and take a direct bearing from there. The only obstacles you will encounter are Trinidad’s oil platforms to the southeast of the island.

Friends who have experimented with a more coastal route, following the 20m depth contour along Guyana and Suriname, have found that the winds and current are more favorable. Go for it by all means if you have crew. It takes about the same amount of time but you will avoid some motoring.

Here is the official list of buoys marking the entrance and route to Saint Laurent on the Maroni River.

Position of buoys on the Maroni River

NOTE: M14 may have been moved… I’ll check the position shortly.

Last but not least, tide data can be found here and here.

I expect to have a number of supervised moorings available for sailors wishing to leave their boat during the hurricane season. For inquiries contact

For flights in and out of French Guiana, you have the choice of Paramaribo and Cayenne as departure points. They are about the same distance in terms of travel time from Saint Laurent.



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… 🙂


Aveiro to the port of Leixoes

The northern breakwater at Aveiro, Portugal

Weighing anchor at 8:00, I motored with the ebb past Aveiro’s breakwater with its dangerous (in heavy seas) and turbulent washing machine like entrance, heading for the 20m depth contour in search of calmer conditions.

As I ambled north in peaceful contemplation, a loud buzzing interrupted my daydreaming. I just had time to sit up and look about when a red rigid inflatable whizzed past (withing a few meters) Eileen’s stern, at what can only be described as tremendous speed.

It was the rescue RIB from Aveiro.

I waved to it’s two helmeted crew as they bounced along like rag dolls. They waved back (quite a feat when you think about it), and then sped off to continue their bone jarring ride elsewhere. It all happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to take out my camera for a blog snapshot. 🙁

Metro, Porto

Oh, and despite my best efforts (getting up at 7am for starters), to beat my new 3-day-friend’s boat to the next port (Leixoes), I was overtaken with just five miles to go. Drat! I must be the slowest yacht in Portugal.

The port of Leixoes was a convenient stopover for my whirlwind tour of Porto. I caught the fancy new metro to town, took the compulsory tourist photos of random buildings, bought a bottle of Porto and an amusing souvenir, then raced back to get some sleep.

What more should I have done in Porto?