Travel Through French Guiana on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

French Guiana on a Harley (22/4/02 - 25/4/02)
Distance 514 km (287968 km to 288482 km)

This is part of the eighth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  Suriname
 

22/4/02 $US 2.50 each on the ferry and there seemed to be no ticket for the motorcycle so it was free. Effectively we are now in France and require no visas and no special paperwork for the motorcycle. Changed back to driving on the right side of the road and instantly the infrastructure improved. The tourist office has afternoon tours of the Camp de la Transportation. This is where Dreyfus and Papillon came to serve time. The guides are quick to point out that Papillon's book was fiction as he never escaped but will happily show you his small single cell with his name carved in the floor. In the evening we rode to the native indian village of Awala where there is a turtle nesting reserve. This is the highest concentration of leather back turtles nesting in the world. They start leaving the water about 1 hour 30 minutes before the high tide, tonight 11 pm, and we watched three enormous leatherbacks deposit their eggs in the sand, skilfully cover them and disguise the actual nest area before returning to the ocean. This got us to bed at 2 am after a long day.Leatherback turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs

23/4/02 Some of the villagers have set up showers and toilets with hammock space under a large open thatched roof to try to capitalize on the tourists visiting the nesting sites. We were very generously offered a free patch of sand for the tent and got a better nights sleep than in a back bending hammock. There were about 50 other, mainly French, tourists watching the egg laying. With the French social welfare system in place here there is little incentive for many people to work, consequently there is virtually no subsistence agriculture and therefore little clearing of the forests other than the main logging trees. The road to Kourou excellent, without rain, through lovely, almost untouched forests, one of those relaxing rides you don't want to finish.The new road ended, no bridge yet, so we took to a small boat We managed to talk our way into a fully booked free 3 hour tour of the Centre Spatial Guyanais in the afternoon. It is here that the European Space Agency, French Space Agency and the Ariane rocket operate from. The Ariane rocket has launched about half of the world's satellites. The tour took us to launch control, the rocket assembly and fuelling stations and made our recent trip to Cape Canaveral look like a trip to Disneyland in comparison to this informative tour, even in French. Into Cayenne for the worst value for money accommodation we have had.

24/4/02 Cayenne has a small city feel, nicely situated on the ocean with green parks. It could be a place to rest a few days except for the price of everything. As almost all goods are imported from France they are French prices plus freight.

25/4/02 Left Cayenne early for Regina on a bouncy but good sealed road through almost uninhabited forest.New road linking French Guiana with Brazil The road used to stop at Regina but a couple of years ago they started pushing a track through to St Grorge on the Brazilian border. The road is still not officially open but you are allowed to use it and is well made dirt waiting to be sealed, however there is currently no barge across the Approuague River so we had to put the bike into an aluminium pirogue. With his monopoly of almost no clients we could not bargain the boat ride down below $US 25.00. On the other side the new road meanders through the hills, usually wide but with some narrow sections left for animal migration where the tree top canopy on each side of the road touches in the middle. Only a couple of years ago this part of the world was almost inaccessible to anyone. At St George we cleared customs and immigration with the police and arranged another boat to take us and the bike to Brazil.
 

Move with us to Brazil
 

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