Arrival at Ile St. Joseph

shiptrak 104

Iles du Salut, French Guiana

We motored all the way to the anchorage. We saw the loom of Cayenne to port and then Kourou, hazy glows on the horizon. Les Iles du Salut, the Salvation Islands, lie about 8nm off the mainland. We saw the Ile Royale Light from 15 nm out, blinking twice every 10 seconds, a beacon on a very dark night. The moon would not rise till near midnight and the islands appeared as big mounds, just a bit darker than the night itself. An unlit fishing boat came too close for comfort, appearing out of nowhere and only then turning on his lights. Yikes!

Entering an unknown anchorage at night is not usually prudent, however this was a wide open area with no hazards other than the islands themselves. We anchored blindly...there were no other boats and no light other than the sweep of the lighthouse. The chart noted several commercial moorings close to shore, so we hung back a bit and found good holding in about 35' (10m). We'd re-anchor as necessary in the morning when we could see what we were doing. We tidied up the lines, then exhausted, sat and relaxed in the cool midnight air. David had put rum and tonic in the fridge and we indulged in a cocktail. Easy drunks after a month without drink and we were ready for the sack.

A gentle pitch in response to a light swell on the bow and the lap of water against the hull lulled us into broken sleep... who's on watch?