04:41.03N 52:16.95W... Port of Cayenne, French Guiana. Fr iday and Saturday the 18th & 19th May 2012.
And yes I cursed it….. but not so much the wind as the current against us. We kept sailing in favourable conditions to the coast where reports suggested that the current against us would be weaker (shallow water etc). This did not eventuate and it seemed we had at least 3 to 4 knots or more against us instead of the publicized 1-2 knots. So after a few days of beating into it along the coast achieving little headway, we headed into the Port of Cayenne in French Guiana to top up on fuel before heading off again as it was still a long way to Fortaleza.
The stop-over in Cayenne was short and was interesting to say the least. We had hoped the main port would have some sort of fuelling facilities for a yacht our size, but off course no. There was a marina of sorts but more for storage and long-stayers, but no fuel quay, and the commercial port had a policy of not fuelling yachts. So from anchor we spent the day ferrying jerry cans back and forth to the quay and then hitch-hiking the 8km to the nearest petrol station. Loads of fun in the tropical heat… ;). This we discovered has been a problem for many yachts in the past, but still did not make the day any easier. Regardless of it all we managed to fuel up again in a few hours as the locals were very friendly and there was no problem getting lifts, and the surrounding vegetation was very impressive - thick forest with many insects and spiders (so we were informed!). We also bumped into some yachties we had met in the Cape Verdies (Gary and Angie) in January who were going in the opposite direction to us and had stopped for a break (6 weeks so far…. That’s the life).
So after a very short stop we headed off with the plan to head NE to get away from the coast and the current and find better wind and the equatorial counter current that (hopefully) runs west to east which is a few hundred miles of the coast…… we shall see…… ;)
PS…. Near Cayenne is one of the busiest (if not ‘the’ busiest) space ports in the world due to its proximity to the equator and therefore thinner atmosphere so quicker to get to space and apparently it has about 6 launches a year. What we did see was a launch the other day and we were only 20 nm off the coast. An initially confusing site for weary sailors who had never seen a space vehicle launch before – the evening sky was lit up by the booster rocket – so you can imagine it was amazing! Not something you see every day ;)….