Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arrival - After 14 Days at Sea

After 13 days at sea, in the last 24 hours the tension and the excitement began to build. Our feelings were a bit mixed, eager and elated to see land but mixed with a little pang that our cosy days alone at sea were coming to an end. Seb and I both felt strangely nervous the entire night, perhaps a reaction to the (often unfounded) warnings about unlit fishing boats, pirates etc. coupled with nervous excitement we always have when arriving in a new and unknown country. The depth of the water went from two kilometers to 60 meters and we did keep a careful look out for fishing boats. At 0700 on December 21st, we saw land for the first time…it looked much the same as expected. Suriname has a low coast line and the skyline only became clear as we rounded our waypoint buoy around seven miles from the head of the Suriname river leading in towards the capital Paramaribo.

Dropped anchor in the choppy river alongside the Torarica hotel (where we planned to meet my parents on the 22nd) in Paramaribo with current of three knots and pumped up the dingy as we bobbed about uncomfortably. The monkeys were napping. Our plan was to go to shore for the first time together so Seb and I spent some time tidying the boat. Both of us were feeling extremely grumpy as we clattered about and cleaned and after one good blow up we decided to sit outside and talk a little about what was amiss. Expectations. We both had been nursing a romantic image of our arrival on land; running and rolling in the grass, popping champagne corks, laughing and waving while cheering people rang bells and threw lays over our shoulders. Instead, no one had noticed our arrival, we couldn’t go on land because it was naptime, we were lying in an extremely uncomfortable anchor spot (probably dragging our anchor) in the boiling sun, spending our time mopping up the last of the murky salt water in the bilge, cleaning out the fridge and gathering the laundry. Let down.

After approximately two hours of wobbling about and two cranky attempts to re-anchor we decided to move the boat further up the river to Domburg where we heard that we could anchor more safely (and comfortably). Jeroen and Babette (s/y Zilvermeeuw) happened to see us from the shore in Paramaribo and we picked them up to sail with us. Just as we headed out the Victory arrived and we sailed up the river together to Domburg. In Domburg, we finally had an arrival toast. This toast was followed by a delicious nasi dinner at Rita’s restaurant, located next to the dinghy landing in Domburg. Every night at Rita’s there is an informal gathering of Dutch sailors from the approximately 15 boats lying there. The food is delicious (and incredibly cheap), the Djogos (one litre Parbo beers) are cold, the company really ‘gezellig’ and the sphere is superb. This is more like it!

No comments:

Post a Comment