28-Dec-2014 -- This is the first out of 3 reports, describing confluence visits in Suriname and French Guiana.
We arrived in Suriname’s capital city Paramaribo the previous day and rented a 4x4 car at noon time on confluence day. Suriname has been one of the last countries remaining without any completed confluence visit although there are 13 points waiting for everyone to be discovered. The reason for this absence is clearly the jungle – all points are located in the rainforest that covers most parts of the country.
This confluence point was inviting us for a visit – with its location 100 kilometres south of Paramaribo. Based on my web research the point is located in the jungle just 200 m from a residential area and 600 m from the main road to Afobaka Dam. So I figured that the visit would be a cakewalk. However, I was wrong.
As we wanted to turn off from the main road into the housing area, we were blocked by a gate with no trespassing sign right next to it. Such sign cannot be ignored – so the only way to reach the confluence was to contact the people inside. There was a telephone at the gate with some instructions how to contact the wardens. When I called I heard a voice which I could not understand at all. However, the gate opened and we progressed from 700 m to 550 m distance towards the confluence, where two men came out of a building. Now we began introducing the confluence project to them. It took 10 minutes until the distrust faded away and the men would let us search for that mystical point. It turned out that the housing area was Afobaka Staff Village belonging to the Alcoa Company, a producer of aluminium and bauxite.
One of the men, Ricky Kromokarso, came with us. We drove to the last house on a hill in 230 m distance to the confluence. From there, we started hiking through the jungle. Such distance is nothing when conditions are easy, but at this location the jungle was dense, thorny, swampy, hot and humid. We had to climb down a steep incline and then hike though a swamp. We were already exhausted when we reached the confluence. Bad GPS coverage required to go back and forth in order to get an all-zero-reading. But under these conditions and to not overstress the patience of Ricky, I put up with a nearly zero reading. The confluence is located in a swamp (at least during the rainy season) down in a valley.
On the return something unexpected happened: suddenly I saw in front of me a mushroom shaped something that I had never seen before. When I came closer, I noticed that this 50 cm high something consisted of thousands of bees. Just when I realized this, a severe pain started on my hands, my belly and my back. We turned around and fled from the swarm. However, the bees followed us for a long while. Finally, they let us go and I was able to count my bites. Ricky rubbed some leaves on the bee-stings. These stings would bother me for the next two weeks!
It had taken almost an hour until we were back to the car. Just at this moment a heavy tropical rain came down from the sky. We drove Ricky back to his house near the gate and said goodbye. Then, we visited Afobaka dam 2 km south of the confluence point, but the rain and a pack of straying dogs took most of the enjoyment.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 700 m
- Distance to a track: 200 m
- Distance of car parking: 200 m
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 40 minutes
- Time at the CP: 2:35 PM
- Measured height: 31 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 2 m
- Position accuracy: 12 m
- Topography: hilly
- Vegetation: rain forest, various palm and deciduous trees.
- Weather: overcast, 27° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Attacking Bees Confluence
The story continues at 5°N 57°W. More pictures about our trip can be found here.