The strong North Brazil Current is a force to contend with as we travel southeast along the French Guiana coastline. This ocean current plays a pivotal role in the Global Conveyor Belt, moving heat around our planet and influencing global climate patterns.

In the late morning, we arrived at the Salvation Islands, a group of small islands of volcanic origin sitting about eleven kilometers (six nautical miles) off the coast of French Guiana. There are three islands, from north to south; the most northerly is Devil’s Island. Devil’s Island is the most famous due to its location for the political imprisonment of Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

Today we got to explore Ile Royale and Ile Saint-Joseph, both of which have a tropical savanna climate. These islands were part of the notorious penal colony for exiled criminals of France. Exploring these islands, we got to see old prison buildings that are mostly ruins now. Nature has quickly resumed her claim, and trees now grow where prisoners were once held captive. The islands are home to a range of wonderful tropical species, such as capuchin monkeys and curious agoutis, the long-legged rodents that are closely related to guinea pigs.