Sunday, July 31, 2011

French Guiana Islands

Following Christopher Columbus,   1498,   we sailed along the coast of Guiana,   to anchor here at the Salvation Islands/Iles du Salut /Devils Islands.  What names for these islands!  This is where 70 000 convicts were imprisoned since 1887 and 1938.  And I walked their steps today.  I shared the agonizing feelings in the corridors,   I touched the rusted chain hooks in the walls,   I looked through the solid bars to freedom.  I closed the heavy thick wooden door,   locking in a loved one,   leaving him behind without hope. 

 I remembered some names,   Dreyfuss,   Papillon and I took a deep breath,   and I exhaled a Salute of Love to all who suffered and died here.

In the church I read the names, twelve A4 pages full,   of people who lost their lives on these islands.  The dead were covered in cloth attached to rocks and then placed in a coffin.  With a little boat the coffin was emptied at a certain spot in the sea and the empty coffin was returned until next time.  Maybe `Devil`s Islands`,   is a more appropriate name for this archipelago of islands!

Ps.  The only convict who came prepared again,   was our Skipper!  Even in the darkest of days he will remember some` proviand`!

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