Kourou has everything you need!

It's a good sign!

First impressions? Encouraging.

For yachtsmen on route to the Caribbean from Brazil, Kourou provides a welcome oasis of European living in a convenient if rather unexpected location, (i.e.the Amazon). As I am a man of simple tastes, (I’m told it compliments my simple mind), European living means access to delicacies (of the culinary kind), I’ve craved since setting sail from the Canary Islands.

So, I think with my stomach…. what’s wrong with that?

Not that I’ve disliked the staple Brazilian diet of black beans with lumps of suspicious looking meat served on a bed of overcooked rice. It’s just that I do so enjoy a varied diet.

Splish splash.. he was having a bath.....

All this is possible in La Guyane, thanks largely to its primary industry….

Which contrary to what you see, isn’t in fact, children!

Missed the launch... but I did make it to the car park!

Though they seem to be very handy here at making those… Perhaps it comes a close second, given that French Guiana has the largest population growth in France. It certainly is not uncommon for the locals to have half a dozen children, or more…

No, the big industry here isn’t babies, it happens to be satellites, sent to orbit via the Ariane spaceport.

Fisherman's jetty, Kourou

Not that much of this high tech is visible to the visiting yachtsman. Quite the opposite if the fisherman’s jetty is anything to go by….

A look at the past...

or you happen to find yourself wandering in some of the older parts of town.

Anyone for granita?

Speaking of old, who can remember the last time they saw an authentic “snowball” or “granita” vendor? I thought they were extinct.

Visiting Kourou is just like time travel….

Trendy new housing in Kourou

Look a little more closely however and you realize “La Guyane” is really just like any other part of France. The modern suburban real estate may look a little odd,

Where do you think you are going?

and what passes for house pets might also surprise,

Room for one more on the scooter?

but the life-style is certainly very European (minus the miserable northern winters).

Bikinis beyond Brazil....

I felt much healthier emotionally (ahh, no more PBBS), once I spent a day or two at the beach…

The best place for sailors in Kourou to hang out....

and my regular doses of fabulous ice cream (plus a “planteur” or two) from this establishment did wonders for raising my previously somber spirits. Can you imagine why?

Going nowhere....

Well, I can now understand why some sailors have taken drastic measures in order to stay….

Taking root in Kourou

Though some crews might have exaggerated a little.

Late night action to be had at Beaubourg

While Kourou isn’t quite party central (that was Brazil),

Head south (to N41) for authentic Saramacca furniture

if you are looking for a place to unwind, Kourou, with its unusual mix of low…

Hmmmmm

and high tech…

is definitely worth an extended visit.

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?