17 April 2006. Belém, Brazil, to Georgetown,
Guyana (IFR 5:27).
After two hours of discussions by phone with Petrobras, we finally
managed to get the tax-free fuel at US$ 0.95 per litre. We took off into
a low cloud layer, then flew between stratus cloud layers and light rain
until we were over French Guyana where we started to see the usual
afternoon CBs (IFR 5h27).
After somewhat slow customs and immigration formalities, we took a (too)
fast taxi into Georgetown 46 km away and checked into the charming Cara
Lodge. Not many customers at the hotel. Hardly anyone comes to Guyana as
a tourist as it has a bad reputation for mugging. In fact, we were
advised not to venture out of the hotel grounds on foot. At the hotel,
we met Tom Aitken, a timber merchant from Scotland and had dinner with
18 April. Georgetown to Tobago (IFR 2h21).
Our plan had been to fly to Kaieteur Falls and Karanambu Lodge in the
south of Guyana. The lodge is run by Diane McTurk, a Scottish lady who
rescues giant otter orphans. Marina, who hosted us at the Fazenda
Barranco Alto in the Pantanal, knew her through her father who visited
her when writing a book about giant otters. Marina was envious of our
plan to visit Karanambu and that had helped to fire our enthusiasm.
However, we needed a special permit to fly there. The Director General
of Civil Aviation was ready to issue our permit, but we still hadn’t got
the security clearance from the Minister of Home Affairs. They had had
our request for over a week, but hadn’t replied before Easter when they
closed for both Good Friday and Easter Monday. Today was Tuesday and the
minister should have been back in the office. We called several times
during the morning, but the secretary said the minister was not in the
By noon we gave up waiting and left Georgetown for Tobago (IFR 2:21)
where we were given a warm welcome by Yvon and Judy Gemmet. Yvon Gemmet
is a Swiss aviator and flying instructor. He met Flemming about 28 years
ago in Geneva when he checked him out for his upgrade to flying a Mooney
just after Flemming bought the plane. Then he was Angela’s flying
instructor in 1988 when she took some lessons before flying to Kenya for
our honeymoon. He has been living in Tobago now for 13 years with Judy
(originally from Trinidad whom he met in Geneva) and their two sons.
Yvon still returns to Geneva for a couple of months a year to teach
flying, but for most of the year he and Judy run the
Caraibes – four serviced holiday
apartments on their property at Mount Irvine in southern Tobago,
near the best sandy beaches and set in a lovely garden with a swimming
Yvon and Judy put us up in their beautiful guest room and we went out to
dinner with them to celebrate Flemming’s birthday.
Filling up in Belém with the tax-free Avgas.