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|Night-riding with the boys on the Mighty Essequibo|
|Saturday, 18 February 2012 21:17|
I WILL never forget the night I travelled in a speedboat from Supenaam to Parika on the Essequibo River.
I had completed an assignment with three men, two of whom I’d met for the second time during the course of work, and was elated to learn that I had clearance to go with them to meet with a group of fishermen who were victims of the last piracy attack in the vicinity of the Pomeroon River.
My colleagues were Harbour Master Volton Skeete, Chief Navigation Officer Michael Tennant, and Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard Commander, Orin Porter.
From the time we met, I knew it was going to be a good day. I was instantly attracted to their cheery, jovial personalities, and we got along famously.
Being the lone female on the assignment, I was very much in the thick of things. We passed the rather productive day in several meetings, long walks, and more meetings and discussions.
We met scores of people, and I was intrigued by some of them. Some narrated stories of sheer horror, while others had pleasanter things to say.
We encountered a special couple, Jenny and Maurice Bovell of Supenaam, who operate a speedboat service among other business interests. Their being so accomplished, I could not help but admire their simplicity and humility, which was refreshing. They invited us into their sprawling and luxurious home, and that meeting was very memorable, as we not only exchanged jokes and engaged in small talk, but were also taken on a tour of the impressive Bovell homestead.
We had a full day, which came to an end much too quickly, and soon we had to say goodbye as we departed for the Supenaam speedboat boarding area on the Essequibo Coast, to board another vessel to Parika.
I was a bit scared at first, since night had already set in. Plans had been made for us to journey on the Essequibo River in a speedboat, but something happened and my friends were not too pleased with that arrangement. Having seen our plight, Mr. Bovell, himself a professional boat captain, offered to take us to Parika in one of his boats.
I was very relieved when he disclosed that he had several years of experience navigating the Essequibo River and knew it like the “back of my hands”; and with the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) officials with me, I took courage and was comforted.
It was late night and very dark when we stepped into the speedboat. Looking out from inside the vessel, I saw nothing but flickers of light far off from the shoreline.
As we commenced the journey under the captaincy of Mr. Bovell, I was not very frightened. He expertly navigated the boat on the crests and falls of those Essequibo River waves.
I even had a crash course in river navigation from Mr. Tennant, and both Commander Porter and the Harbour Master took turns at enlightening me on various aspects of high-seas travelling, among other things.
After some time, we came to the landing at Parika Stelling, and so ended my day-out in Essequibo.