Finally found all the shortcuts to town, on our last day there, avoiding the rain squalls and checking out with Customs and Immigration. Had to file a float plan with the Coast Guard (that's new), so made sure to write down that we planned on staying 2 days at Santa Cruz. Who wants to travel on Thanksgiving Day? I have a turkey to cook! We had lunch downtown and went to the Venezuelan stands to pick up fresh fruit and veg. What is with Dennis' face? Three different guys asked him if he wanted to buy ganja!
Up early Wednesday morning to lift the anchor with all that disgusting growth from Spaanse Waters. Had to motor around for a bit while Dennis took the old anchor chain off and attached the anchor to our new chain, then calling Marianeto to come over in their dinghy and pick up our old chain to use for their secondary anchor. Amazingly, all of this only took half an hour, and then we headed out through the channel on the way to Santa Cruz. I don't know why, but I just hate the passage in and out of Spaanse Waters. Let's see, reef on one side, beach on the other, very narrow. Dennis knows how much I hate this, and is wise enough to go on the bow in case I need help. Had a pretty good sail down to Santa Cruz and got a good hook the first time. We saw Dorothy Ellen there! We haven't seen Pam and Don in 2 years, when they were in the process of selling the old Dorothy Ellen and moving everything over to the now 55' Tayana. What a beautiful looking boat! Sitting in the cockpit that night, we watched a boat arrive around 8:30, in complete darkness, and decide to anchor at the front of the bay. Why do they do that? If you arrive at night, anchor in the back!!! The next day, when they were off the boat, we watched them drag through the anchorage. We didn't have the dinghy down, so Dennis blew the air horn and Pam and Don came over, picked him up, and they headed over to Talagoa to see if they could put more anchor chain out before he headed out to sea. The thing with Santa Cruz is, you go from 10', to 12', to 20', to 30', to 500'. Luckily the owner arrived back to re-anchor the boat. No wonder he dragged - he had a huge boulder stuck in his anchor. Later that afternoon Nighthawk, Going South and Dragonfly arrived.
Our Thanksgiving was good. We stayed on the boat for most of the day, then went snorkelling for an hour and a half and saw a pretty big octopus. Of course I didn't have the camera with me! Then came back and got turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, cranberries and salad ready. So, so good!!
Up at 3 a.m. Friday morning and underway by 3:30 on our way to Aruba. Coast Guard does seem to love us. On the way to Santa Cruz they trailed us in their cutter; in Santa Cruz the helicopter buzzed us; almost to Aruba and the plane buzzed us. Dennis tells me they're just doing their job!
Miserable day, motor sailed the whole way. Downwind with big, sloppy, confused seas. Pulled up to the Customs dock where one of the Venezuelan fishermen was good enough to help us with our lines. Very, very confusing buoys coming in. I guess they flash red and green at night, or yellow to mark the reef, but that really doesn't help during the day! For a change I was taking us off the dock (I prefer to handle the lines and let Dennis do that), and did great until our stern dock line got completely tangled on the cleat. How did that happen? Yet again, that wonderful Venezuelan fisherman untangled it and threw it to us. Out the cut and into the next one to anchor by the airport. One big open area - now we know why - it's like a parking lot and couldn't get a hook. Finally headed off closer to shore and we've been here for 5 days. Sea Cycle pulled in on Saturday, and we were so excited to see them!
We've been exploring the downtown area - amazing. Jewelry stores galore. All these other women are getting diamonds and gold, but I've got new anchor chain!! Merry Xmas! Found pizza, ice cream, fast food heaven. Dennis is happy! Then took the dinghy and headed back towards the Customs dock to get our propane tank filled. It was an hour walk, roundtrip, and cost a whopping $4 US to fill our 6 gallon tank. Mark and Deb came over for dinner and we had a wonderful evening. I think they left around midnight. Who can believe we all stayed up that late?
Looks like the wind and seas will be up for a week at least, but this is a pretty good place to 'be stuck'. Hope to rent a car this weekend to sightsee and visit the Price Smart Warehouse store.