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With Witte Raaf into the jungle


After 10 years in Suriname Witte Raaf still never navigated into the interior. And next year she'll return to the Caribbean… So this was our last chance to experience Suriname with our sailing boat. We went with two boats. For reasons of safety and it is also fun with  Carolin and Oomke from the Anna-Sophia. A wooden motor boat, built in Guyanese style.

At the Commewijne entrance we have to be careful as there is a bar. Perfectly marked with a cardinal buoy and we are fine if we follow the green IALA buoys C2-C4 to the red C1. Although the tide is not at it's lowest, we are glad to see the guys from the MAS and from the “Pasisi” they show us the safe route, as the water is shallower than the chart indicates.
We alternately motor or sail or a combination of the two. The first day we anchor in the Alliance creek. Traffic in and out is busy and the fishermen take lots of pictures of Witte Raaf.  Tourism the other way round, or do they want to catch P in bikini in their cell phones?

Fisherman “Rambo” asked optimistic: “Are you alone?” and slinked off disappointed when JW appeared in the cockpit entrance.

We do not use our primary anchor, the Delta with chain on the anchor lass, because we don't want to risk it being stuck forever behind a sunk tree trunk. Instead we use the Fortress with 8 m chain and 25 m of rope, handled manually. The holding is excellent in the Surinamese clay and our many tide stops keep P fit.

It is truly a pity for Suriname that the bauxite industry has come to an end, but for us it is great to have the Cottica to ourselves.
The Cottica is 15 m deep in the fairway and winds with a speed of 2 knots as a snake into the jungle. Whenever the tides starts running against us we search for an anchor spot in an inside bend and enjoy the forest with the birds and monkeys and the screaming macaws flying over, waking JW from his afternoon nap.

On the incoming tide we greet the enthousiastic locals of Wanhatti and sail a couple of miles further to Paradise, but people there don't seem very inviting. And the barricade against evil spirits is wider than the beach, so we decide to not try our luck.
We anchor at Wanhatti and report to the captain of the village. His home is easy to find: horrendous Roman pillars with fluorescent green accents rise in front of a fuchsia purple façade; flawlessly combined with a matching bougainvillea on the terrace and in the interior we noticed drapes in the same hideous colour combination. And all floors covered with huge high gloss tiles.

Nevertheless, on our way back to our surprise we met a freighter, announced by a tug ordering us to keep to starboard. Half an hour later it appeared while hooting the horn loudly. Recently Bouterse declared part of Moengo to military ground and the ship may have been hired to remove the remains of Alcoa. We only hope the proceeds will be used to a good cause for Suriname, and not for some individual persons.

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