The beauty of Suriname is you can easily get away from the busyness of the city by getting on a bus and travelling to nearby districts, for instance Marowijne.
It is July. This is the month that the sea turtles travel 1,000 kilometers to their place of birth to lay their eggs. These sea turtles can reach the size of 2 meters. I have seen pictures in magazines and always thought that it was impossible that sea turtles could be larger than the human body. I always thought that they must have photo-shopped the picture.
Around the end of March, the Leatherback and other sea turtles lay their eggs on the shores of the Galibi village, which is in the district Marowijne and also by Braamspunt, which is located west of Commewijne. My journey continued from Commewijne to Marowijne with the end destination Galibi.
To get to Galibi you can travel by bus or car to Albina. Albina is a town in the eastern part of Suriname, and is the capital of the Marowijne District. The town lies on the west bank of the Marowijne river (Maroni river), which forms the border with French Guiana, directly opposite the French Guiana town of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, to which it is connected by a frequent ferry service.
I booked my trip with the tour company Myrysji Tours Suriname, which specializes in sea turtle tours.
After getting off the bus, we stepped into a covered boat and the journey began on the Marowijne River. On one side is Suriname and on the other side is French Guiana, which is a perfect setting.
The boat was fully equipped and we were given life vests to ensure our safety.
Then we started our journey down the wide river, which connects with the sea from where the sea turtles travel to lay their eggs. The boat trip was about an hour and half, and I felt like I was on vacation. It was quiet and serene, with just the sounds of the river, while looking at the huge horizon, in front of you. We then reached the village of Galibi and were welcomed by the villagers.
Galibi is a village that is approximately 5 kilometers long and 800 meters wide, and has a population of 800 persons, who are predominately all Carib-Indians. The village is divided in two parts, and are called the Christian land and Longman land. The name Longman comes from a Captain that inhabited the island, who was given the nickname Longman because of his posture.
While walking towards village’s restaurant, I noticed a villager walking by with a huge fish. I immediately wondered if we were going to have it for dinner. The villagers make their living from fishing and tourism during sea turtles season.
Once we checked into our lodge, which overlooked the sea, we were given a tour of the village by the tour guide. The first thing I noticed was how peaceful it was. I felt like time had stopped. Modest homes with rich history, beautiful fruit trees, small children running along the shore line. You could see a father making various products from Cassava root. Juice made from Cassava root is called Cassava beer or Kasiri. The roots of the Cassava plant are grated, diluted in water, and pressed in a cylindrical basketwork to extract the juice.
After the tour we rested and had dinner. Fish was served with rice and greens. It was probably the same fish I saw the villager with earlier in the day when we arrived.
Around 8:00pm we got on the boat and travelled past the village. It was pitch black, but the full moon and sky full of stars made everything ok. I found it strange that the boat had no lights. The only lights that the tour guide showed were with flashlights. It seemed as if he was communicating with others on the shore.
After 20 minutes sitting in the boat we came ashore. We were guided off the boat with assistance of the tour guide. It was then clear that he was communicating with persons who were already on the shore. While we were in the boat, individuals on the beach were communicating with the flashlights that they had found sea turtles.
The guide gave us strict instructions. We were not to take any pictures because it would bother the sea turtles; don’t touch the sea turtles and don’t make too much noise. In the darkness we were guided by the tour guide’s voice to the location where a sea turtle was in the process of laying her eggs.
I was in awe of the size of the turtle. It was 2 meters long, a magnificent creature. The Leatherback had travelled thousands of kilometers to lay her eggs. She found a location where she then dug a hole and proceeded to lay her eggs.
It is a beautiful experience of how Mother Nature does its work, and we were privileged to experience this.
From the market, to travelling through Commewijne, to witnessing the Leatherback sea turtle laying its eggs, all in one day. We experienced two different worlds in one day: city life and jungle life.
In our next edition, we will continue to Discover the Secrets of Suriname, and will focus on its culinary riches.
Office Myrysji Tours Suriname
Openingstijden: maandag t/m vrijdag van 8.00 uur t/m 16.00 uur
SurinameTelefoon: (+597) 422551/422550
Mobiel: (+597) 8552326/7400086