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…


Who owns the Maroni?

The islands on the Maroni River

The islands on the Maroni River

Marouini River – Thomas Donovan

A good question. One I finally found addressed in a fascinating paper by Thomas W. Donovan who states…

In perhaps the most desolate and under-populated area in the South America lies one of the most lingering boundary conflicts of modern nations.”

Could this pose difficulties for some poor sod planning a marina development in French Guiana? Especially when at first glance (i.e. a look at Google Maps), the entire river appears to belong to Suriname?

Well, Google’s Map sources apparently have a history of getting it all wrong. Sometimes with dire consequences…

For example, in November 2010:

All because of an error on a map!

All because of an error on a map!

Click here for the full article

Apparently Google has done it again with respect to the Maroni because in fact…

“ a treaty was finally concluded at Paris September 30, 1915 between the Dutch Minister De Steurs, and the French Foreign Minister Déclassé. The treaty was limited to the islands in the Maroni River between the northern point of Stoelman’s Island (Dutch) and the Southern extremity of Portal Island (French). It provided that

  1. a line in the middle of the river (at normal flow) should mark the boundary (thalweg);
  2. islands entirely or largely to the west of this line should be Dutch while those entirely or largely to the East of this line should be French;
  3. navigation on the river should be free to both nations;”

Which would make the current maps only about 100 years out of date….

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 www.marinaslm.com

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.