Friday, January 6, 2017

Off The Charts In Guyana - Refuling

Filler up?

I promised you a blog posting on refueling in Guyana.  We found it interesting enough during our visit there that it needs its own posting.
See the fuel

The standard gas tank for the river pirogues is a 40'ish gallon plastic barrel.  Some of the river pirogues have two of these.  Others use 5 gallon jugs similar to those that hold cooking oil for restaurants – in fact, I believe some of these jugs actually started out as cooking oil containers that then got turned into fuel jugs.  More often than not, the fuel hose simply runs from the open fill hole in the top of the jug to the two stroke Yamaha outboard.  Sometimes refueling takes place after the trip.  Once we reached Rockstone, our river guide Paul refilled his 40 gallon barrel from a smaller jug.  Other times, the refueling takes place mid journey like on our trip from Bartika to Parika.  Felix slowed to idle and then switched the fuel hose from one barrel to another and we were off again zooming down the river.  I looked back again to see him use his toes to grip the hose and shove it further down into the barrel all while driving from his standing position out the top of the pirogue. 
Fuel barrel with hose straight to outboard

When we stopped for gas on the way to Marshall Falls I didn’t really notice the procedure.  The next day, we got a front row seat of the refueling process when we went to the Quarry Falls.
In Bartica, the fuel stations are about 20 ft above the river on stilts.  One of the boat guys climbed up the wooden structure to the fueling platform.  The driver handed up money via a bucket on a rope.  Then another bucket on a rope was lowered down.  This contained the oil for the fuel mix.  This was dumped in the barrel via a large funnel.  Then the long hose with the fuel was handed down.  Gravity let the fuel flow. 
Fuel dock in Bartica

Oil for fuel mix

Fuel / petrol

Pumps to dispense the fuel seem to be sparse.  More than once we saw gravity being used.  At the Itaballi ferry crossing, cars were being filled by putting the jerry jug on the roof of the car.  When captain Jim took his jerry jugs to the gas/petrol station on the main street in Bartica, the same thing happened, it was filled by gravity with a little help from a guy that sucked on the end of the hose to get it going.  Think about that……this is a standard method for refueling!
Gravity fill

On our driving trip into the bush and Iwaorama, we stopped at two fuel stations and they had gas pumps like we are used to in the USA.  However, on the trip back our driver Mark stopped on the side of the road to refuel from the 3 jerry jugs on the roof rack and he used a special hose with a shaker thing to get the fuel flowing.  Gravity took care of the rest.
Another gravity fill

Another fuel dock in Bartica - LOW tide - vessel to the left is a fuel transport boat

On one of our provision runs to Bartica, we also got gas for our outboard.  We dinghied around to one of the fueling stations.  It was low tide so we had to lift the outboard up and row in the last little bit.  There were many others fueling up so we had to wait, which was fine because it gave us a front row seat to the process and all the boats filling up with interesting cargo and characters.  One long river pirogue had at least twelve of the 40 gallon barrels they were filling up.  Then a dock hand waded out with a big bundle on his shoulder and put that sack in the front of the river pirogue.  When he passed by again with another bundle, I realized it was a whole leg of beef.  He heaved that one in the boat as well.  I asked the driver of the river pirogue where they were headed "Up river, into the interior to one of the mining camps."  Okay.  "Beef.  It's what's for dinner."      
"Would you like fries with your leg of beef?"

Local boaties filling up
A couple of other drivers of smaller river pirogues had beached their boats and waded over with 5 gallon veggie oil cans to fill them up.  In between filling each jug, they let the filling nossle and hose rest in the the water!  It was all very interesting to watch.  However we needed to get our jugs filled and get going.  Waiting in the queue wasn't working so Tom climbed up some rickety, broken stairs to fill our jerry jugs, handing the full ones back down to me.  Then we paddled back out to deep water (3 ft), lowered the outboard prop and headed back to the boat.  
Petrol hauling vessel

Another view of a petrol hauling vessel

There are river pirogues that are specifically fuel hauling vessels.
Truck for hauling petrol into the interior

Petrol truck on the ferry - note the extra fuel barrels 

This one just came out of the interior - note the fuel barrels

Hand cart with jerry jugs

Hauling fuel on land happened via a wide variety of vessels.   

1 comment:

  1. Interesting method for fueling...makes you feel like having a gas pump is luxury.