Sailing to Paramaribo Suriname

GPS track, French Guiana to Suriname

As you can see, I eventually did manage to sail to Suriname. 30 hours from anchorage to anchorage, but a trivial sail nonetheless. Just aim to make a nice neat arc out to the 20 meter depth contour!

The Surinamese fishermen are the only navigational difficulty (and the reason for the occasional zigzag in my GPS track). They have a habit of stringing their three mile long gill nets across the main shipping channels, or better still, attaching one end to navigational buoys. Some have been dragged miles from their correct position. Sailors beware!

Yacht obstacles off Suriname!

I had the pleasure of having this particular fishermen place his net across my path just as I approached Paramaribo. I wonder if he understood why I was forced to follow him for the next two miles as he laid his yacht trap!

Sailing under the bridge in Paramaribo at night.

I arrived at the safe water mark at sunset and while it should have been a simple matter of following the lit buoys in to Paramaribo, Suriname’s penchant for towers with blinking red lights atop makes this an exacting task. Start by aiming for the green ones (lights that is), and take note of the following GPS coordinates (marking my boats position as I passed each buoy), for a trouble free night entry.

I had to wait for this odd localized squall to pass before making my final approach!

Squall over Paramaribo delays Eileen’s arrival.

6º 04.988 N        55º 12.820 W  Safe water Mark
6º 03.235 N        55º 12.905 W
6º 01.876 N        55º 12.897 W
6º 00.443 N        55º 12.923 W
5º 59.022 N        55º 12.934 W
5º 57.537 N        55º 12.120 W
*            5º 57.120 N         55º 11.384 W    (I anchored here temporarily to await the tide)
5º 56.619 N        55º 10.692 W
5º 55.932 N        55º 09.594 W
5º 55.195 N        55º 08.413 W
5º 54.330 N        55º 07.155 W Red
5º 53.296 N        55º 06.143 W
5º 53.356 N        55º 06.023 W
5º 52.013 N        55º 05.535 W White Flashing
5º 50.284 N        55º 05.791 W Red
5º 49.697 N        55º 06.177 W Red
5º 49.350 N         55º 06.649 W Red
5º 49.091 N        55º 07.342 W Red
5º 49.080 N        55º 08.232 W Red
5º 49.010 N        55º 09.532 W Wreck BEWARE
5º 48.333 N        55º 09.833 W Bridge
5º 46.846 N        55º 09.341 W
5º 46.418 N        55º 08.975 W
5º 45.598 N        55º 08.171 W
5º 44.842 N        55º 07.405 W
5º 44.115 N        55º 06.691 W
5º 42.229 N        55º 04.851 W anchor here!

More obstacles for the unwary sailor.

Take special care of the wreck indicated above! It’s unlit, and I didn’t see it at all on my way in… I’m claiming ‘t was the “luck of the Irish” (Eileen’s heritage) that spared me from probable collision.

Domburg anchorage at dawn.

It’s a long way from the mouth of the Suriname River to the anchorage at Domburg. It took all night!!! Not as easy as I was led to believe (from what’s published on the Internet) either….

More on that subject later…


Bound for Itaparica


Bedsheet and tablecloth sailing in Bahia Salvador

Convinced that there was more to Bahia than tourist traps and “gringos aren’t welcome here” zones, I motored Eileen of Avoca across the bay of Salvador to the northern tip of Itaparica. The island was once a popular getaway for the well to do of Salvador city and still attracts many a floating “gin palace” (or should that be a “cachaça palace” in Brazil?) on the weekends, but the “in the know” crowd have adopted Morro de Sao Paulo as their current playground…

I’ve taken note of this and will investigate soon… 😉

Mural map of the Bay of Salvador. Itaparica in green.

I found thirty or so sailing vessels anchored outside the marina. Quite a crowd, and not the most considerate in terms of swinging room. It’s an unwritten law that there must always be a few anchorage hogs with boats bigger and uglier than yours threatening collision as the wind or tide turns. For peace of mind I moved several times to avoid them. It’s times like these I wish I sailed a rusty steel monstrosity. 🙂

What could possibly draw so many yachtsmen here anyway?

Admiring the flora of Itaparica

Is it the women?


Where are the beach babes?

The beaches?


It's rush hour in Itaparica

The slow pace of village life?


The seaside promenade at Itaparica

The sea side promenade?

No…None of the above….

In fact it’s fresh water!

There is a natural spring across from the marina and everyone here is filling their tanks with wonderfully clear mineral water. Nobody dares taint their storage tanks with what comes out of the hoses at marinas elsewhere. So my first day was spent toting water to claim my share.


Filling up at the natural spring in Itaprica

I also tried to restock my boat larder but there is a very limited range of packaged foodstuffs to be had. Other than fruit, nothing is very fresh. If you are not quick enough to eat what you have bought, you get to share your biscuits, pasta or rice with all sorts of critters. Fine if you’re an entomologist, but I’m not too thrilled about the added protein, especially when I discover that I’ve been charged 20% more than what the price tags indicate I should have.

Hint: Advice from a local….Make a list of everything you buy and do the sums yourself. If you are asked to pay more, make a fuss! Even suggest that the police might want to check their dubious accounting practices.


Fortaleza Itaparica

The northern tip of Itaparica has its share of white sandy beaches though only the tidal sand spit across from the marina is frequented by the boating crowd. Other attractions include one old Dutch fort, a collection of reasonably priced restaurants / bars (the unreasonably priced ones are situated within the marina complex), and a small town feel.

Weekends is when things get lively as there’s usually plenty of organized entertainment in the main square. I had my heart set on a “Miss bikini” contest but had to settle for “drag queen night” followed by “children fantasy fashion night”.

Disgruntled, I did not linger in Itaparica….