Guyana Mission: biodiversity and amerindian site


After the mission with Brazil, direction North for the French Guiana !

In Cayenne we meet Dominique our friend from the first expedition then Jeremy who introduces us to the pilots of the Cayenne-Matoury's Airclub and welcomes our ultralight in his hangar. We then go at Pascal's place, a seaplane's pilot on his basis in the estuary of the Sinnamary river, and continue to fly north over the river, when we are stunned in front of the artificial lake of Petit-Saut : in 1995, instead of this gigantic lake there was a primary drill of 310 km2 ! The dam of Petit-Saut which was built upstream produces 50% of all the electricity consumed by french Guyana, and absorbed the forest : what we can see are the immersed summits of thousands of dead trees and some dull which, isolated at the time of the setting in water, now form small small islands of vegetation...


Landed on sea on the river of Mana, we try to join the pontoon, but it is counting without the current ! Yohan, with which we have an appointment, must thus join us, while Clem maintains our machine close to the edge.


Yohan, it's the director of the Natural Reserve of Amana, which extends on 148k m square and borders the Atlantic Ocean. This nature reserve is made up east of a littoral zone accessible to feet, which is composed of beaches and mud-holes which, with low tide, trap fishes and attract then thousands of migratory birds : Heron, brush, red ibis, urubu, ducks…. there is such an amount of it !


A team of American ornithologists is inserted in mud to install a net, in order to capture the birds which would be mislaid to study them, before slackening them. But this evening it did not work… the birds were smarter! With the sunset, it is discovered that there are not only the birds which found their paradise here : the mosquitos also spout out per thousands !


While penetrating the ground, we reach the limit of the passable zone: drills marshy very rich in biodiversity, which are recognized besides Wetland of international interest (Ramsar site), punctuated of zones of dry savanna.

But one can reach it neither since a boat, nor even with feet with boots, and Yohan thus has very little information on its evolution ! Our mission is clear: to carry out a broad air-cartography of the zone of mangrove swamp in order to delimit it from the dry zone, and to photograph the various types of biotopes. Lastly, to photograph since the sky all the astonishing elements that it cannot detect since the ground and who would seem to us “unusual”.


At the conclusion of the overflights, we give the photographs to him and carry out the first temporary assessment with him. Several elements challenge him: first of all, the zone of dry savanna, strewn with fires and water spots. He asks us : " Did you see a particular vegetation on these wet spots ?" Yes indeed, there were nymphaea… “ That it is interesting! That means that these water points are not salted, and thus shelter a particular fauna! "

Then, we saw the funny ones of squaring in wetland: "Those are abandoned Amerindian fields", says Yohan. "In the past, the Amerindians raised lumps of earth in these wetlands in order to drain them sufficiently, so that the corn or the cassava they planted could be irrigated without being drowned This technique is not used anymore, but I did not know that it had been used in the reserve".


Yohan is satisfied, as we are ! Last but not least, the movie-director Jean Marc was there… as soon as one knows more about the documentary which will follow, we will of course informe you !

Overfly of the Sinamary river and stop at Pascal's place : no choice, we have to dive !


The Petit-Saut dam :


Meeting with Yohan from the Natural Reserve, that gives us the mission plans. Then we meet the biologists that are willing to catch the birds:


Our mission : map the mangrove and its biotopes, and research of stunning elements :


Assessment of the mission with Yohan, where we discuss about the remarquable elements of the flight. Then we fly over a new mission !


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