We sit down on the wooden bench of the Korjaal; a long blue Surinamese boat. Before us we see the Suriname River wind itself into the tropical rainforest. We are about two hundred kilometers south of Paramaribo. From this place thousands of miles of tropical rainforest cover the continent like an immense green sea. The Amazon rainforest is the biggest tropical rainforest in the world and what many people don’t know is that in Suriname one can fine one of the least spoilt parts. It is so unspoiled that the only mode of transport is over the river per boat.
The skipper opens up the throttle and the Korjaal hurries along. We rush up river and zig zag in between the rocks which are spread out over the river. The skipper skillfully navigates in between the rapids while the river tries to push back the Korjaal with all of its might. I look with admiration at the steering skills of the skipper. It is a magnificent experience; the fresh wind in my hairs, the river and the mighty jungle surrounding us.
We pass a Marron village regularly. Marron is the name which was given in Suriname to runaway slaves. From the beginning of slavery there where slaves which fled the plantations. They formed villages up river and attacked the plantations to rob weapons, woman and food and kill the plantation owners. They settled with the woman in the interior and formed African style villages which exist up till current times.
After our trip up River we have well penetrated into the tropical rainforest. The river splits majestically with on both sides rapids with thick growth. We head to the river bank to the right and the Korjaal gently touches the river bed. We disembark with our backpacks, great the marrons and get warm smiles in return. Most marrons don’t speak Dutch. We are welcomed by Peter, the Dutch care keeper of the few huts for people passing by next to the marron village.
A little paradise
Apart from jaguars, piranha’s, toxic snakes, anacondas and alligators, there is little to fear here in het the rainforest, Peter tells us. I chuckle but Katia looks worried when we talk about swimming in the River. Peter smiles; “no worries, no worries, the piranha’s don’t bite”. The River looks tempting, even more so because of the humid heat. I drag her along into the water while she loudly screams. The water is delightful and quit soon two marron girls show up to show us the way in between the rapids. Around us the water splatters down from the rapids, the birds sing and the might forest breaths its oxygen rich air. This is paradise.
And the piranha’s? A school of them swims right next to us. They don’t bite. They are small; thankfully…