20-Aug-2008 -- This confluence point is in a valley between the Suralco employee vacation homes and a non-identified hill. It's in the jungle and especially a marshy area (snakes!). Could not get an error free reading on my GPS because of the tree cover, but I think me and Frank (the white Djukka in the picture) got really close, probably within 50 mtrs.
The area surrounding is really beautiful. The report from Steve and Amie Gosellin show a dam and a Djukka village. Behind the dam is the largest lake in Suriname, built by Suralco to power their Paranam Aluminum plant (now closed). Its 180 MW are sold entirely to Suriname under a special deal which runs out around 2030, after that the power plant and dam belongs to the state. The area is rich in natural beauty (fauna and flora) and gold (unfortunately).
Gold is extracted in the surrounding area by panning and washing the soil, with the obvious damage to the forest. Also, mercury is abundantly used to extract the gold. Normally it takes 2 Kg of Hg to extract 1 kg of Au. You may guess where the mercury stays.
The soil is rich in bauxite and ferrous compounds this is why it's red in colour. The lake is full of "Tucunari" (wrongly called bass) and piranhas. The piranhas are however not as aggressive as in Brazil, well unless you bleed or so... Lots of people hire a guide and boat to go fishing on the lake for "Tucs" as the locals called them. The piranhas are not so great to eat (full of bones), however for the local djukkas and indians its a delicacy in soup. Our guide kept all his piranhas....
In the forest surrounding the confluence point there is loads of butterflies, big blue ones (Morpho achilleus), frogs, snakes and other unidentified insects. Watch-out for the palm trees since they have rather long thorns. Actually watch out for everything since even the grass cuts, it's called snijgrass (cutting grass).
Me and Frank will try to get a perfect 55W 5N reading with a better GPS, one that can read under the tree cover, very soon.
If you plan too visit Suriname try not to come during the rainy season (around april-may) since everything is muddy and there is lots of mosquitos. In the last few years tourism has grown (it's an export product now, next to bauxite, oil, gold and timber) and loads of tours are organized to the interior. Paramaribo and most of the coastal areas are accessible by road or boat (hire-car, taxi or bus), although some of the roads are quite bumpy - certainly the one to Affoebaka, which is a bauxite road (no asphalt). The food in Suriname is great and includes the best from European, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Creole cuisines (there is more actually). The local beer, Parbo beer, is comparable or better than most dutch beers, and the local rum is also known to be excellent (I am not a rum drinker so cannot give you a good opinion). You will find anything and more from Holland, USA, South America and Asia in the supermarkets so don't bother bringing stuff. The prices are of course the same for European and US goods, while for the rest it's quite cheap (1 ltr. of Parbo beer is 3.5 euros!).
This was the easiest of the confluence points in Suriname the other are away from any roads and you may need a guide. Some are at sea and you can reach them by boat if you manage to find a guide or boat taxi that will bring you there. Good luck to anybody trying, it's worth it !
Hope you agree with the above Frank.
Coordinator's Note: This visit have been classified as incompleted due to picture rules. A minimum of 2 pictures taken from confluence are need to classified has a completed visit. Once visitor submit the remaining compass picture, this visit will be re-classified.