Back to Caribbean
Harvey & Sue Death
Sat 23 Feb 2019 12:28
We left Fernando and headed North up the Brazilian Coast, this time we found
the trade winds! With 20 knots of wind and two knots of positive current we
flew along covering over 240 miles per day. We decided to make one more stop
before we arrived in the Caribbean at the Iles du Salut off French Guyiana.
The Salvation Islands Archipelago is located about 10 miles from the coast.
These three islands are uninhabited now but have been used in the past both
as a military base and a penal colony, with Henri Charrière ( AKA Papillion)
and Alfred Dreyfus amongst the celebrity inmates. Many of the military and
prison buildings still exist and have been preserved as a site of historic
interest. The smallest of the islands - Devils Island was reserved for
political prisoners where the unlucky inmates were kept in solitary
confinement and total silence. Royal Island the largest of the three has
most of the remaining infrastructure and a really interesting exhibition
about the history of the islands which is displayed in the former Governors
house. Conditions on Royal island were marginally better than on Devils
Island but they were still barbaric and have been compared to the Nazi
concentrations camps. Amazingly the French did not close the prison down
completely until the 1950’s.
We anchored off Royal Island, the only visitors to the islands arrive by
boat and there is a ferry from the mainland which brings a handful of people
to the islands daily. We were pleased to find an Auberge in the converted
Officers mess. We had discovered another little French enclave, with French
spoken, payment in Euro’s and typically great French food & wine. The group
of seven boats had a group meal there and a very enjoyable evening. The next
day we took a self guided tour of the island. Although the remaining
buildings are now mainly ruins it was easy to imagine the harsh conditions
that the prisoners endured. Escape was impossible, if the ferocious current
that runs between the islands didn’t get you, the shark infested waters
After a couple of days rest we left en convoy to complete our Atlantic
crossing. We sailed in tight formation off the coast of Venezuela sailing at
the speed of the smallest, slowest boats for security. We had heard reports
of increasing levels of piracy in these waters because of the country’s
current near lawless state. The journey took us a little longer than normal
but once we were in safe waters off Tobago we unreefed the sails and powered
along at 10 knots, by the light of a full moon and with our sailing
companions around us, we completed our very last night sail on the World
Rally arriving in Grenada on February 21st.
Although our circumnavigation doesn’t officially end until we reach Antigua
the hard sailing and long passages are finished now. Over the next four
weeks we will slowly make our way up the Caribbean islands, day sailing to
reach Antigua at the end of March.
Grace and her boyfriend are joining us as far as St Lucia, then Alice and
Matt fly over and sail with us back to Antigua.