Apparently we are popular
as a crew.
This time we boarded Nicolien's car, a big shiny new Toyota Prado
so we were more than slightly conspicuous. We met Nicolien at a party
and it clicked immediately. She signed up for the city rally and when
her navigator left Suriname in a rush, she invited us, as sailors should
be able to navigate in a car as well. Good thinking and we accepted with
How nice, a little puzzle, we thought, and a car rally indeed includes
solving brainteasing situations, but this needs lots of good thinking.
And a good memory, as the rulebook includes many regulations and if you
don't know them by heart, you are nowhere. P's memory is still okay so
while JW in the back took care of the catering, the ladies were in the frontseat trying to
understand the assignments. These consist of route descriptions in a
special kind of secret language,
various diagrams as abstract reproductions of the assignments, all with
their own variations and systems, chart reading, chart constructing and
Nicolien was the captain
so she was behind the wheel and navigated together with P. In the
meantime JW was look-out, as his hawkeyes could spot along the route
signs and flags at checkpoints where you have to find codes etc. The
route was also dotted with tricks, which you should NOT write down.
Crewing in a regatta is a piece of cake, compared to this!
And we were only competing
in the B-class, beginners.
The officials were all extremely kind and helpful because they knew we
The Surinamese Auto
Rally Klub (SARK) organises lots of car rallies, but especially this one
appeared to be the most difficult rally of the whole series! So we were
completely done at the end of the ride and also a little bit proud that
we were considered as serious competitors between al those tough
Naturally we made many mistakes, but still we completed some assignments
flawlessly while other more experienced teams went wrong. So
there is hope and we surely want to join the club more often. That is,
if Nicolien wants to have us again. One of the scheduled events is a
ride in the savanna...
The start was as off 7AM.
The starting committee
was very precise:
one car every minute and you received your assignments exactly 5 minutes
in advance. More seriously is impossible. We had number 41 and started
at 07.41 sharp. Initially everything went fine but suddenly we found
ourselves in a totally wrong place! And this happened more often that
There were also a couple of situations we could not understand, but we
were not the only ones: during lunchtime even the cracks had intensive
discussions. (An other parallel with yacht racing.)
The organisation was flawless. The routes, the assignments and the way
they were presented, the checkpoints, and last but not least the food
because in Suriname no event goes without that.
So coffee at the start,
orange juice with ice and fresh rolls, and lunch with rice, chicken
lasagna! (excellent, by the way).
And at the finish
(with in the background Paramaribo's restored cathedral) dinner with
typical creole specialities. Terrific and highest compliments for SARK and
Our family has grown again, despite of Rita. A cute family of hummingbirds
lives in our avocadotree, i.e. mother and two kids.
A hummingbird's nest is not just an ordinary bird's nest, made from twigs
and sitting loosely in the tree. The hummingbird mother-to-be weaves her
nest carefully between two twigs, using spiderwebs and it looks like a
superstrong constuction. The nest is tiny (diameter 45 mm); it is
soft and fluffy and as a finishing touch some pieces of leaf are glued to
it, to make it even more invisible.
We first thought the nest was abandoned, but after two weeks the eggs were
gone and something indistinct was on the bottom. We feared that this little
heap were two hummingbirds, hatched out by the sun and dead because their
mother didn't care for them, as we never saw her anymore. But fortunately
one week later the little brown heap had grown and it moved! The
hummingbirds grew slowly but after two weeks their eyes glittered and hairs
And one week later they flew out.