Domburg – Pilotage and Local Info.
Note, while the pilotage information in this report is still very helpful, the local/clearance info. is now out of date. See the Suriname Clearance page for up to date information.
Published 13 years ago, updated 8 months ago
Our thanks to Anthony Swanston of SV Wild Fox for this info.
HW Domburg is Paramaribo + 2 hours, but the current continues to run for 1 1/2 hours after the tide turns, so you should aim to arrive at Domburg no later than HW Paramaribo + 3 1/2 hours. The ebb current normally runs for 7 1/2 hours, the flood current for 4 1/2 hours, but the ebb can be as little as 6 1/2 and the flood as much as 5 1/2. You need some luck to get this right! At springs the tidal range can be 3 metres but neaps less than 2 metres, giving a current of between 1 and 2 knots, but at Springs the current can be as much as 4.3 knots in certain parts of the river.
You can stop at Paramaribo at the Torarica Hotel. MAS like you to call them on channel 12 but, strictly speaking, there is no need. The channel is well marked the whole way in from the Safe Watermark and all of the lights work, but many are not as charted as they are moved as the deep water moves. At some points, the water can be very shallow (less than 3 metres). Watch out for rain showers which can reduce visibility to less than a cable. There is plenty of shipping in this river and a great many fishing boats and barges pushed by small tugs.
At Domburg anchor off the village in soft mud in up to 10 metres. Keep well to the Domburg side as large ships go up to the bauxite pier at Paranam. Use plenty of chains (at least 50 metres) and leave a lot of swinging room as the boats can, and do, swing in opposite directions. There are some moorings which are reported to be safe up to 12 tons. €2.50 per day paid to a local fisherman. There is no marina being developed and no dinghy dock – tie your dinghy to the wooden steps on the stone wall. Under no circumstances use the wooden jetty as this is only for the water taxis, the MAS boat and the police launch.
Rita’s Eethaus is the meeting place. You might persuade her to let you have water by jerry can, but all water here is brought in by tanker so don’t be surprised if she says no. The nearest fishing pier gives water by jerry can or you can go alongside and fill by a hose. In the village, there are three small but adequate supermarkets, one at the filling station which gives diesel by jerry can and also has an ATM, which is normally empty at weekends. There is an Internet cafe with connections of variable quality. If in the city, near the Torarica hotel on Kleine Waterstraat opposite the Royal Hotel is a cafe bar where you can plug in your laptop with a European plug and 220 volts. Near here is Tourist Information, very helpful and they may give you a free map.
The local Dutch liveaboards are very helpful and will give you directions and bus information, but the check-in procedure is as follows:-
- Foreign Police (on the edge of Paramaribo) with three copies of your crew list. (As you face the building walk down the right-hand side, last door on your left).
- Dept of Foreign Affairs in the city centre with one copy of your crew list.
- Central bank with €40 per person to pay for the visas. (Yes, it is true. The Central Bank will not accept Suriname dollars, only Euro!)
- Back to Foreign Affairs with your receipt and two passport photos of each crew member. They will tell you how long it will take to issue the visas – normally two working days.
- Back to Foreign Affairs to collect your visas.
- Back to Foreign Police with visas and they give you your final stamp.
Clearing out is easier. Just go to Foreign Police and they put an exit stamp on your crew list. They will ask you when you are leaving. It cannot be further away than “tomorrow” otherwise they will tell you to come back. In practice, nobody checks to see that you have actually left.
SV Wild Fox
Editor’s Note: Whilst it is interesting for those planning to visit Suriname to read older reports, such as this one, it should be noted that much of the information will have changed, new facilities and services for cruisers been established etc. The site information (rather than the reports) is the most up to date and accurate with regards to procedures, facilities and services.