The Essequibo in Guyana is South America’s third river behind the Amazon and Orinoco. Pirates make the first two rivers unsafe but the Essequibo is until now fairly pirate free. Guyana is big and not densely populated. It is as big as Great Britain and for 90% covered with tropical Amazon rain Forrest. But of the almost one million inhabitants, only 75.000 live in the interior. To sail into the interior is for us and the handful of other boats which come here annually a great adventure.
Nerves of steel
Dolphins greet us at the river mouth before we go up river. Our destination is 50 nautical Miles (90 kilometers) up river a midst the jungle. The river is several miles wide and shallow on various places being covered randomly with dangerous rocks which we have to navigate around in an equally random manner. The pilot leads us up river as close as twenty meters from the shore. I follow the recommended route while keeping a close look at the depth sounder.
After two days up river we anchor off the Hurakabra resort, ran by the minister of the previous Guyanese government. Mister Nascimento is exceptionally developed and educated and provides us with a hospitable welcome. At check in the next day, immigration turns out to be unfamiliar with the Cape Verdes and Katia cannot check in until they have established where these islands are and what rules to apply. One phone call by the minister solves this problem fortunately.
Whores and miners
Bartica is the Wild West!. This miners community is used by Brazilian and Guyanaese gold diggers as jump board to the gold mines in the interior. The gentleman gold diggers earn good money and on Saturday when going out with some other sailors, we get the chance to see how they spend their money. They drink a lot of whisky, there is laughter, dancing and sex. All woman in the local disco turn out to be prostitutes. Man walk up to one of the ladies, talk a second or two an off they are. And they don’t have to go far. To facilitate all of this, the local disco rents rooms upstairs by the hour!
After five days, David takes us up River. David comes here since several years in his 23 feet sailing yacht and knows the area well. Ten miles upriver we arrive at the place where the river splits and on the eastern bank is the Baganara resort. The resort is small, has lovely beaches and a private grass airport which is kept perfectly. It is ran by the local airline without profit in mind and it is ideal for sailors. Free coffee, tea, soda’s and WIFI. Great loungers, hammocks and a midst the jungle at an idyllic location. It is so lovely here that I think we have to postpone our departure to Trinidad a bit. We go Friday. Maybe…
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