We spent several days in Kerou, French Guiana, a wonderful little town with loads of personality, a beautiful daily fresh market, warm and friendly people, and many delicious restaurants to choose from. It turns out that they speak French and Creole here. For those of you who don’t know, I speak French and Creole fluently, although my Creole is better than my French, and I learned both in Haiti. The Creole they speak here in French Guiana is basically the same Creole they speak in Haiti, so I was having the time of my life talking to people in Creole, my favorite language by far. There were also many Haitians here, which was nice to be able to converse with them about Haitian things.
The fresh market was probably the best fresh market we’ve been to since Reunion. Beautiful fresh produce. I only wish we had bought more tomatoes, avacadoes, and fresh fruit. My fajitas turned out amazing with all the fresh ingredients. It really makes a huge difference.
To give you an idea of how nice the people were here, we were walking along, looking for a specific grocery store, and were having a hard time finding it. There was a woman parked at a building nearby and Brian asked her if she knew of this specific grocery store and how far it was. She said she did and that she was heading there and wondered if we wanted a ride there. She not only gave us a ride there, but shopped while we shopped and gave us a ride back to the restaurant we planned to eat at before returning to the boat with our groceries. It turns out the grocery store was much farther than we thought, up to 2-3 kilometers from the harbor. She was a complete lifesaver, plus very engaging. She was from France, had been living in Kerou for 4 years, as a secretary for the Space Center that exists here in this town, 5 minutes away. We didn’t even know they had a space center here. That’s why it’s always awesome to meet local people because they tell you so much about the area.
That was a couple days ago and our last full day in Kerou. The next morning we got up and waited for the tour catamaran to take off with its load of people over to the Devil’s Triangle Prison tour so we could park on the dock and refill our water tanks with fresh water. For those of you who remember the conversation regarding our water maker, a few posts ago, en route to Cabadelo, we discovered our water maker was no longer making good water. The solids per million were up over 1500 and the water had a saline taste to it. We stopped drinking it as everything we’ve tried has done nothing to improve the situation. We we filled up the tanks in Cabadelo and also here in Kerou before leaving. After we filled up the tanks, we sailed ourselves to where the tour was going, over to the Devil’s Triangle, or trio of islands that made up the prison that France started sending all of its violent and political prisoners to. Based on what we learned on the main island, thousands of prisoners came and died here. In addition to whatever sentence they had here, they were also required to stay and live after their prison sentence for the same amount of time as their sentence. So most people were sent here for life. Eventually, there were several movements the started recognizing and publicising the horrendous conditions that existed in these prisons. In one document I read, they compared the prisons to the Nazi Prison Camps, that’s how bad the situation was there. The movements finally gathered enough support that they ceased sending prisoners here and eventually the practice ended. There are 2 movies that I know of that talk about the prison here, called Papillion, one made in the 60s with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, and another made just last year, with the same guy from Mr Robot and Bohemian Rhapsody.
I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you who have responded to my posts about being sick with Dingue Fever. I appreciate all of the kind words and well wishes as I have been struggling to recover from this pretty intense flu-like sickness. I am finally starting to feel like I have recovered from it. Today was the first day of sailing since leaving the Devil’s Island Prison and my energy was up and it was great being outdoors sailing along at 8-10 knots of speed almost the entire day. There was even a time when I stood at the back of the boat, up near the solar panels, just soaking in the ocean as it roared past me, something I’ve enjoyed on many of the oceans of the world.
Someone also mentioned that they couldn’t believe I did my night shifts even though I was deathly sick. For me, there are a set of bare minimum tasks you need to do while crewing on someone else’s boat. Included in that set are taking care of your watch, because that’s the main reason you are there. And if you don’t cover your watch, someone else has to go without sleep to cover it for you. I couldn’t bare with that concept, regardless of how sick I was. Carol and Brian were very generous with me the rest of the time, allowing me to sleep throughout the day as I convalesced, but I really felt I needed to cover my shift, regardless of my level of energy or state of mind. Obviously, I wouldn’t have endangered the boat or their lives. If I was so sick I couldn’t manage the basics, I would have let them know for their own safety. But it wasn’t as bad as that.
Our current position is 9°6’9″ North 57°7’54” West. We should be arriving in Grenada by Friday or Saturday.
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