Leaving the Maroni

Andy Gibb
Tue 1 Mar 2011 11:28
We anchored at 05:41.40N 53:58.17W in the Crique Coswin about 8 miles in from the coast. This enabled us to pass the shallow dogleg at high tide on our way out, useful as we only had 1 metre under our keel and the tide is about 2.5 metres. But then did not have to exit the Moroni until next day.
St Laurent is the part of French Guyana that is most at ease with itself - the Maroni river border (freed slaves were called Marons) established by Europeans with Surinam leaves at least 2 Amerindian tribes with families in both countries, and there is a perpetual flow of pirogues to Albina in Surinam and back, usually ferrying school children who may be from Surinam but are attached to relatives in French Guyana for the purposes of getting free schooling. The St Laurent authorities seem to take a relaxed view of this, and of the movement of goods taking advantage of differential prices - to some extent if it comes in a pirogue the quantity can't be large. There is more inter-racial mixing in St Laurent, and the white French seem less controlling. French Guyana is still the least preferred location compared to Martinique and Guadeloupe, but in St Laurent its OK. The weather is better too, and we had a week of sunshine although that is partly because it improves anyway in March before deteriorating further in May.

Jean Claude keeps an eye on our dinghy (youths were trying to start the outboard engine); we have him for sundowners every evening, and we had dinner with Francois and Christian who are fonctionaires, and have just bought a large fire damaged catamaran which they intend to repair in St Martin when he retires in November. Quite a task, but possible - the fire was restricted to one area. And we watched Carnaval, which was really a family affair with various clubs dressed up and parading the streets, then on Monday said a sad farwell to Jean Claude, left the wreck/island which turns out to be a freighter on its side not a submarine, and motored downriver.

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