Daily life in Suriname
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In April we were moored in Domburg with only two or three sailing yachts, but now it is very crowded. The dinghy landing is limited and these days everybody seems to own a big Caribe (the #1 brand) with rigig hull, so going ashore is quite difficult at the moment. On the other hand the busyness also brings a lot of sociability, and sometimes consternation.
In the past weeks it was bingo on the Surinam River: the anchors of some yachts came loose; Torn Too had a poisonous snake of 2 meters length on board – while Rob was launching his Caribe perfectly calm, the animal dangled over his head in the shrouds. Fortunately the passengers of a passing corial drew his attention to the snake.
A sand ship lwas rudderless and threatened to float right through the crowd of anchored yachts. And our South-African neighbours were hit by a floating island. Until now these islands were always made out of grass and small branches, but this time it was an enormous bundle of trees and thick thorny branches. To make things worse it was spring flood and with a current of 3 knots the branches were completely stuck around the anchor chain. They woke us up at 05.30, as a collision was forthcoming as La Mar was crabbing her anchor. For three hours we have been working with six people armed with saws and heavy duty cutters to free our neighbours. The story in 4 photo's: click In the end when the tide slacked (JW's idea), we parked our mini Danforth anchor in the rests of the island and our other neighbours of Drifter, who have a large dinghy with a heavy outboard engine, pulled the bundle away from La Mar.

Although exactly two days earlier the cover of our dinghy was patched up extensively, the thorny island destroyed it completely. After two years of use the fabric was totally worn out and decomposed by the sun, and trying to fix it again wouldn't be worth the effort. So Petra made a new denim cover.
Wanna know what it looks like? Click

The tendency of bigger dinghies is parallelling the trend of bigger boats among the sailors. When Miep was built, we thought she was big enough. These days we see al those comfortable 45-footers and feel sometimes a bit jealous. For Miep is a small boat and this has nothing to do with her sailing capacities (we are much faster than many of those floating comfort containers), but with the comfort she offers when we are in floating caravan mode. But our jealousy immediately reverses into pure love when we compare Miep's elegant classic design with one of those skyhigh centercokpitters.

It is sweltering hot in October. Around noon you can't walk on deck barefooted. With the oven thermometere we measured the temperature on deck: 65°C – almost enough to fry an egg. If we aren't swimming at Gerben's place, we sit underneath the canopy (only 33°C) and are lazy, waiting for the jobs we have to do before we leave.
Ashore we met a colleague, a sloth. Unbelievable how slowly these animals move. P spotted the sloth when she was shopping; shopping was skipped, P jumped in the dinghy and picked up JW – with a sloth you have plenty of time. Sloths only eat young leaves. They are really sweet animals with their thick coat of fur, that looks rough but feels remarkably tender. You can touch and stroke them as they won't hurt anyone, although their claws look rather frightening. But these are needed to hold on to the trees as they climb. They can rest for hours hanging upside down on a branch. Such as is happening in the movie, when Beri puts him back into the almond tree.
Movie sloth 2.77Mb      Full movie sloth 8.81Mb

More animals: on one of our swim days two maintenance men at Gerben's place cought a large iguana (Javanese crave iguana's) and  following our directions (we spotted the scary beast) a huge poisonous spider: black and hairy with orange feet. And at our place are many bats.

In hinduism the number nine has a symbolic meaning as God has nine manifestations. Navráti, the most important hindi celebration of the year, is the conclusion of nine days of observing fast, to start with the ninth new moon. Navráti is the celebration of forgiveness of last year's sins. A statue is erected of a “mother”, who symbolises the earth and she sacrifices herself. She rides a tiger and is decorated with flowers and gifts. The worshippers take their sins to the mother and she takes them over. An enlargement of shows the statue from a different angle.
The end of the ceremony, attended by a large crowd on the shore , is a procession on the river during which the statue is carefully launched and finally it floats downriver taking all the sins with it. Flowers follow the statue and then the worshippers wash themselves in the river. This culminated quickly into a wet affair! We followed it all from our dinghy and gotalso blessed with buckets full of water. Fortunately we had a bailer so we could join the party!

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