Up the Indian River with a paddle

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Sun 13 Mar 2011 20:00

Position           15:34.94N 61:27.85W

Date                2000 – 13 March 2011


You cannot come to Prince Rupert Bay and Portsmouth, the main town, without taking a trip up the Indian River.  The river is now a designated nature reserve and carefully controlled to protect the environment.  It is necessary to go with one of the boat men and he has to row; engines are forbidden.  Alexis assured us that the time to go was 0800 and at that we met anther boat returning as we went up.  The early rise was not helped by the Purple Turtle having a very, very loud gig that went on until 0530 – next time we will move away and anchor in a different hemisphere for the night.


The Indian River was used for filming part of Pirated of the Caribbean II.  Armed with this knowledge, we must find a copy and watch it again.  The trip is about a mile gradually disappearing into a green tunnel through the forest



 and finishing at a bar where suitable refreshment may be taken – but not at 0830 on a Sunday, the only inhabitant being a black rooster with attitude who is one of the features of the establishment.


Comparing notes with others who went later in the day we benefited from our early start with wildlife sightings; no parrots but a number of iguanas of which judging by the laid back attitude this one was a teenager.



There were all manner of herons; this one was the largest.



Another feature of the forest are the blood wood trees whose roots form the most amazingf patterns and shapes.



As relaxation in the afternoon Elizabeth dragged me back to Fort Shirley and this time lead an assault on the Douglas Battery.


The evening, it being Sunday, saw the weekly beach barbeque organised by the Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security (PAYS).  All of the boat men belong to PAYS which operates somewhat similar to a medieval trade guild regulating the boat man trade.  It may be restrictive practice by EU standards but it works well here.  As well as regulating prices and moorings the boatmen have a roster and make security patrols through the anchorage during the night.  The Barbeque is one of the means by which they raise funds to support PAYS.  It was very well laid on, they even have built a large open shelter, under which the whole thing happens, in case of rain.