The marina grinch…

Here comes the rally!

Here comes the rally!

So after all the rally hype…

More work…

Another 10 mooring buoys laid… yay… thanks Travis…. plus a stack of meetings on regulating the future marina zone… DONE….

It’s regulated?

What does that mean?

It's take a buoy or move 150m away!

It’s take a buoy or move 150m away!

It means that if sailors don’t follow the marina rules the municipal police can have a field day issuing fines…

Ouch!

But why?

Unfortunately, a small number of recalcitrant sailors insist on anchoring willy-nilly between the moorings and others have stated that paying for a mooring buoy is against their principles. They are the ones that have made this regulation thing a necessity.

On the plus side, no more jet skis zooming around your yacht…

Plenty of space for you to anchor for free.

Plenty of space for you to anchor for free.

Don’t panic!

That that still leaves 15NM of river and creeks in which to anchor at no cost.

Fortunately, many sailors enjoying the services now on offer, and the convenience of being in the best spot, do not have sea urchins lodged in their pockets (as I do), and so the little marina in Saint Laurent already looks to be a success!

Some understandably shrug at any mention of mooring fields, but please keep in mind that the buoys pay the salaries of our dedicated staff and that all this is run by a registered non-profit association.

Long live the Nereid's Rally

Long live the Nereid’s Rally

Everything that it earns goes into promoting yachting in the region and funding next years main event…

THE NEREID’S RALLY 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Trinidad but not before….

No more monkey business...

No more monkey business…

No more monkeying around…

Saint Laurent du Maroni has its marina at last!

Model of the proposed marina Club House

Model of the proposed marina Club House

Plenty of work still to do… For example: Next step Marina Club House… But at least there is something here for the sailors now.

Tourists always welcome in Saint Laurent du Maroni

Tourists always welcome in Saint Laurent du Maroni

Mind you there was always the Tourist Office working hard to keep visitors happy. I even joined a boat load of those in the industry meeting to test what’s on offer.

If this boat sinks there will be no one left in the local tousist industry...

If this boat sinks there will be no one left in the local tousist industry…

With the intention making improvements I suppose…

Do they know something I don't?

Do they know something I don’t?

So with renewed enthusiasm, I flew north to rejoin Eileen of Avoca in Trinidad and make preparations for the annual Nereid’s Rally Seminar in Chaguaramas.

 

 

 

A little infrastructure too!

A mooring field is born... Good news for some... Others... well...

A mooring field is born… Good news for some… Others… well… time to pay I’m afraid…

And now for the hard part…

There’s some yachting infrastructure I’ve promised to develop and jobs to create. All well and good having an office, but noone is going to be paid a salary if I leave it at that. Just for the record… no… I don’t pay myself a salary… but I do get a free mooring!!!

boat party

Note to myself: Never mix alcohol and job interview…

Speaking of jobs… Meet Samuel, my right hand in Saint Laurent du Maroni. Here he is at his job interview (where the work criteria was: being flexible on the job)…

I’m the one gaping like a fish out of water on the left…

Oh, and this is Marie making Internet access codes…

I'll just take a quick nap while the boss isn't looking...

I’ll just take a quick nap while the boss isn’t looking…

I obviously work them too hard.

And so, with an office fully staffed it was time to play “lay the mooring”… Not quite as easy (or as fun) as it sounds. The first workers I’d hired for the job simply gave up (“It’s all too hard”) after day one.

As luck would have it, an American salvage diver visiting Saint Laurent by yacht (meet Travis), volunteered to help get the job done and in no time at all, voila!

Meet the dynamic duo... No-one else offered to help!

Meet the dynamic duo… No-one else offered to help!

Two moorings a day positioned with a 5HP dinghy!

All the moorings were floated into position and then sunk.

All the moorings were floated into position and then sunk.

It’s amazing what you can do when you are……  desperate…

 

What’s-up in Saint Laurent du Maroni?

webcamSo what happened next?

Plenty! In fact it has been so busy of late I’ve not had the time to update this never ending blog.

But all that is about to change, and to whet your appetite have a wander over to this site and see what’s happening yourself.

Yes it’s a live (or quasi-live) webcam of Saint Laurent du Maroni.

Behold and be amazed… It’s even been described as MAGNIFICENT!

 

Update: The natives are restless…

The natives converge on Eileen?

The natives converge on Eileen?

Time to get this blog up to date and fill in some missing details…

In our last exciting blog episode, rally organiser pseudo-extrodinare and sometimes navigator, yours truly, was dealing with some negative feedback from one unhappy rally customer (there is no pleasing some…), while making a last round of compulsory visits to friends and family before the big push to start building some infrastructure in French Guiana and Guyana.

Could it get more exciting than that?

Definitely! But probably somewhere other than here…

Working with the marina architect... :)

Working with the marina architect… :)

Mind you, my quick visit to meet with the marina architects in land locked Matto Grosso, Brazil had some high points.

But all too soon I was back in Saint Laurent du Maroni opening the new office of the association “Friends of the Nereid’s Rally”, and doing something that looked a lot like “real work”…

for a change…

The new office of the association "Friends of the Nereid's Rally"

The new office of the association “Friends of the Nereid’s Rally”

It’s now the end of January and I’m pleased to announce that Saint Laurent now offers a whole range of services to visiting yachtsmen including:

●Check-in Check-out Assistance
●Help with Provisioning
●Internet & Laundry
●Technicians & Spare Parts
●Repairs
●Fuel Bunkering
●Yacht & Freight Management
●Airport pick up & drop off
●Mail Order Chandlery
●Commercial Diving

There is even a mini cafe just for the sailors!

But wait… there’s more…

While I can’t offer you a set of free steak knives with your visit…

Nor will I guarantee 100% satisfaction or your money back…

Moorings here soon!

Moorings here soon!

I can at least tell you that the material to install 20 moorings is on its way, and if all goes well, you can pick up a surpervised buoy in Saint Laurent for around 10 Euro a day (extra services for long term stays) starting May.

For details, contact the association at:

office@marinaslm.com

 

Nereid’s Rally photos

Nereid's Rally 2015

Nereid’s Rally 2015

Just a random selection of photos from the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Nereid’s Rally to whet your appetite for 2015.

Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls

One of the many reasons to visit Guyana!

We love Bartica!

We love Bartica!

There is no better way to get around than by boat…

Flight to Kaieteur Falls

Flight to Kaieteur Falls

OK, maybe one better way…

Our tour boat!

Our high speed tour boat!

But only because there is no other alternative for visiting some sights!

So we leave our yachts in the care of our ever present escort...

The coast guard of Guyana keeping tabs on our progress

So we leave our yachts in the care of our ever present escort…

The anchorage off Hurakabra River Resort

The anchorage off Hurakabra River Resort

and go exploring…

Off the beaten track

Off the beaten track…

There really are times when it’s worth leaving your boat… (not often, but it does happen…)

VIPs arrive at Hurakabra

VIPs arrive at Hurakabra

Just as long as we are back in time for the party!

It's smiles all round...

It’s smiles all round…

OK… I’ll admit that I do enjoy a party now an then…. but the Nereid’s Rally isn’t all about the receptions! Wonderful as they are…

Sailing to Suriname

Sailing to Suriname

It’s also about doing some serious sailing…

Follow the leader...

Follow the leader…

And admittedly, a bit of motoring…

Al glass of rum anyone?

A glass of rum anyone?

With lots of breaks in between to do important stuff like…

Food for thought?

Food for thought?

Eating too much…

The Torarica Pier

The Torarica Pier

Playing tourist…

Pirogue anyone?

Pirogue anyone?

Checking out the local transportation…

Yachtsmen with balls...?

Playing boules…?

Enjoying a round of the local sport on the Mana River…

It's Kit and the Mayor of Saint Laurent!!!

It’s Kit and the Mayor of Saint Laurent!!!

Unveiling the “soon to be” marina in Saint Laurent du Maroni…

It's visit a yacht day in Saint Laurent

It’s visit a yacht day in Saint Laurent

and getting to know the locals…

The town of Saint Laurent du Maroni

The town of Saint Laurent du Maroni

Which is really what the Nereid’s Rally is all about…

The town hall

The town hall

The towns and buildings are certainly interesting…

Children of Saint Laurent

Children of Saint Laurent

but it’s the people that give it it’s true flavour…

Come see for yourself!

 

 

Apart from the hype!

Lots of hype!

Lots of hype!

So the rally was a success, and apart from a few photos which follow, I’ll leave it to others to share the details of what we did.

What others?

How about the Lion King’s blog. (This link runs it through an English translator). Be sure to scroll to the end and click “Newer Post” to read the rest.

And here are the photos I’d like to share:

Feels like Club Med...

Feels like Club Med…

As you can see it’s been tough!

Peak hour rush on Galibi beach...

Peak hour rush on Galibi beach…

Extremely hectic in fact….

Lucky we had the new jetty to make our safe landing ;)

Lucky we had the new jetty to make our safe landing ;)

Just getting on and off our yachts was a challenge, what with all that sandy beach to contend with…

They've spotted Susie's dogs on the jetty...

They’ve spotted Susie’s dogs on the jetty…

Don’t take my word for it…. You can see it in the expressions of this French couple…

I got to play bus driver thanks to Tropic Cata

I got to play bus driver thanks to Tropic Cata

Getting around town was a chore too!

A great meal at Le Mambari in Saint Laurent

A great meal at Le Mambari in Saint Laurent

But it was the only way if we were to get fed…

OK, I admit it. This was not the rally control centre.

OK, I admit it. This was not the rally control centre.

Can you imagine the logistics? Luckily rally mission control was at hand to take care of any eventuality.

We had it all covered,

I just thought I'd throw this photo in...

I just thought I’d throw this photo in…

land,

The Gendarmerie were keeping an eye on us...

The Gendarmerie were keeping an eye on us…

sea,

I'm the little dot by the jetty...

I’m the little dot by the jetty…

and air…

That's not a torch..... This is!!!!

That’s not a torch….. This is!!!!

Well I hope that this little picture gallery has been enough to shed some light on our adventures… If not I’m sending you Susie.

Would you care to hear my story?

Would you care to hear my story?

I know it all sounds like a tall tale, and it might not be as riveting as I’d like it to sound.

The stars and stripes never looked so good...

Look familiar? The stars and stripes never looked so good…

So I’ll leave you with a crowd pleaser… Just to let the boys back at the office know that I’m not really working too hard playing rally organiser.

And now that it’s all over for this year!

A race to Saint Laurent du Maroni?

Nereid's Rally ad

Nereid’s Rally ad

What followed was a real race to the Maroni River in French Guiana.

I had been contacted by the tourism office of Saint Laurent (one of the rally sponsors), as they were organising a large public welcome for the yachts. Fine, but to do so, they needed our time of arrival to coincide with their preparations. Good grief!

Saint Laurent waits for the Nereid's Rally

Saint Laurent waits for the Nereid’s Rally

We agreed on trying for 18:00, three days after leaving Roiden Rust. With just 250 nautical miles to cover, the yachts needed to average only 83 miles a day to arrive in time.

No such luck…

The winds were unfavourable and only one yacht (Virginia Dare) made the entrance of the Maroni River as predicted. A text message from the satellite phone on Lion King was sent to advise organisers of the delay, but apparently it was not received.

My apologies to the whole town of Saint Laurent du Maroni, the Mairie, the kayak club, the tourist office, the fire brigade and the Gendarmerie, who had come out in force to welcome the yachts. We did the best we could.

It should not be an issue next year as I am considering placing Internet linked tracking devices on all yachts. That should effectively take the guess work out of when the fleet is due!

A warm welcome from the Amerindian community in Saint Laurent

A warm welcome from the Amerindian community in Saint Laurent

Despite arriving one day later than expected, our welcome was a hearty one nevertheless.

A crowd of spectators and the media braved an unseasonal downpour to greet us as news spread of our arrival.

A Creole welcome too!

A Creole welcome too!

As the sailors made their way ashore, they were treated to a show of traditional dance by Creole and Amerindian artists. Truly spectacular!

After the obligatory media interviews and a showering of welcome gifts, the rally participants and spectators were offered drinks and a buffet that clearly satisfied even the hungriest of sailors.

Nereid's Rally welcome pack

Nereid’s Rally welcome pack

On behalf of the Nereid’s Rally, thank you Saint Laurent du Maroni. We have all been overwhelmed by your generous hospitality.

Don’t sail south in April!

Why it's no fun sailing South in April...

Why it’s no fun sailing South in April…

I was told that April is the worse time of year to sail from Trinidad and Tobago to French Guiana. Now that I’ve done just that, I concur. Not that I had much choice. My visa for Trinidad and Tobago was about to expire and I was well overdue for another visit to Saint Laurent du Maroni to follow up on marina developments.

But, if you have the choice, take my advice and don’t do it.

Of course those who know me are well aware that I don’t readily take advice, least of all my own, so I can’t honestly expect many to follow this recommendation.

But I like being annoyingly pedantic, so I’ll repeat it anyway…

Don’t sail south in April!

April and May is when the mythical contrary current becomes not so mythical, and while I did everything I could to find an easy way around it (including the sailors equivalent of ritual voodoo), my improvised flirtations with the occult proved futile.

rig

Let’s play dodge the oil rig…..

Perhaps the only way to escape the northerly flow this time of year is to is to hug the coast near the 5m depth contour. Much as I hate giving up easting, I’ll give it a try sometime, despite my healthy aversion to single handed sailing near the coast. When it’s bed time, I’ll thwart running aground by dropping anchor. It’s what the local fishermen do, and I have it on good authority, (Bernhard from Guyana), that the strategy works.

In a horrendously agitated sea I motor-sailed against the prevailing current for 12 days…

Daily runs were often less than 40 nautical miles and as evidenced by the censored comments in my ship’s log, it was not much fun.

Fortunately my little 10HP engine is in good running order and I’d stocked up on plenty of diesel in Tobago, because otherwise I’d probably still be at sea.

Guess what this fisherman is about to do!

Guess what this fisherman is about to do!

A warning to yachts approaching both Suriname and French Guiana. Do not trust the placement of navigational buoys! They are often dragged away from their position by fishermen who use them as anchors for their vessels and nets.

The official positioning of buoys marking the thoroughfare on the Maroni River is given here. It will be a considerably less exciting trip across the bar if you take note of the coordinates.

On my way in to Saint Laurent, I did try and prevent one of the above mentioned culprits from inadvertently displacing one of the remaining buoys. With smiles all round they politely waited for me to sail by before ignoring my advice.

Remind you of anyone?