In October of 2013, Robert Beebe's Passagemaker, the vessel this magazine is named after, and her most recent owner Peter Quentrall-Thomas made the trek from Trinidad to Guyana with a forward cabin filled to the brim with schoolbooks. Their mission was to supply the destitute schools of Guyana with enough literature to continue to educate the children of the area.
Below is what Quentrall-Thomas had to say about his voyage:
First, let us most sincerely thank you again for your support of our project to take unwanted school textbooks from Trinidad to less fortunate schools and children in Guyana.
They completely filled the forward cabin but Passagemaker handled it with ease.
Our journey took us through the Orinoco Delta, which is twice the size of Trinidad and lies just off our southern coast.
The Delta is home to the Wareo Indians, who live almost the same way as they have done for the last 500 years, hollowing out their canoes from trees and living in open-sided homes on stilts on the river banks. Children as young as six are often seen crisscrossing the mighty Orinoco in their homemade craft. Seeing Passagemaker anchored near their village, they raced to get a better look and to trade hand-woven baskets for shampoo, pens and other items they needed. The nearest store is a full day’s journey away and only takes cash; bartering is a way of life here.
Remember, all this is going on just opposite Trinidad’s southern coast, less than an hour by pirogue from Cedros, and is probably one of the last places in the world where you can still see this old-world lifestyle.
Then it was off to the amazing Essequibo River, a river so wide it has islands the size of Barbados in it. We anchored at Parika, just inside the estuary, but not before we had run aground on one of the continually shifting mud banks. Luckily the tide was rising so it lifted us off.
We also distributed something no kid could ever refuse, boxes of Diana Sweets to be used as treats for good behavior! This photo is taken at the Tipuru Primary School in the Pakaraima Mountains in the interior of Guyana.
Our trip ended all too soon and now we are back in Trinidad with an even bigger wish list from Guyana than the one we started with.
...The crew of Passagemaker
To read more about Beebe's first voyage aboard Passagemaker and to catch up with Peter Quentrall-Thomas as Passagemaker explores the Rio Dulce and reunites with other Beebe designed vessels, pick up our January / February issue on newsstands now!