Approaching the estuary of the River Essequibo takes timing. There is a sand bar and you must enter at the correct state of tide. After entering it is advisable to anchor off one of the little islands – the estuary is huge – and then do the 50 mile journey up river with a full day ahead of you.
As Enterprise approached the coast, we were far too early so with only a scrap of mainsail, we drifted along silently on a calm and moonlit sea. The mouth of the river lay ahead. I could see on AIS that my friends on Nautilus, Aztec Dream and Fenicia who had all started from Tobago had kept their one day lead and were already anchored on the other side of the bar. Behind me, the AIS showed 4 or 5 boats closing fast – German. I was NOT going to follow boats in….
I started the engine and motored, it was 0330. I took an angle to the sand bar so that I could turn at about 0600 and head in with the tide. At the allotted moment I turned – as dawn broke on a deep blue and flat ocean, all I could see was a a dark brown line that crossed our path about a mile ahead. I was heading directly for it – gunning the engine to keep ahead of the pack behind me. As the bow of the boat broke out of the blue and into the murky brown I fully expected a crack and for Enterprise to grind to a halt. But no – with only 1 meter of water below the keel we were still progressing. Relief.
By 1130 we were at anchor inside the estuary next a small island. Some other boats had caught up and decided to anchor nearby.
As the sun set there was only the green jungle; the scream of howler monkeys and the squawk of the parrots going home to roost. Absolutely magical.