Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trinidad to Venezuela

We arrived back from the Orinoco on Thanksgiving Day and spent the night at the Customs dock to check in the next morning. Said hello to Infinity, and Vindomar stopped by to say hi too.
Did some provisioning, checked email and then headed out to peace and solitude at Scotland Bay and Chackachackare. Hiked around Chacka, which used to be a leper colony. Looked, but didn't touch! Walked up to the lighthouse for some exercise and great views. We then headed back into Chaguaramas and Crew's Inn Marina to do a good provisioning and get some internet things done (Xmas baskets for the kids). Our two days stretched into five while we waited for the birth of our 9th grandchild. Needed to be in phone and email contact for that! Emerson Grace Murray was born to Shaun and Kristine on December 6th at 7:08 p.m. at 19" long and weighing 5 lbs. 13 oz. We can't wait to see pictures!
Back out to anchor, this time at Monos Island. This has to be the best kept secret in Trinidad! We loved it, especially since we still had a phone signal there and could hear the morning 'net' in Chaguaramas.
Listened to weather on Saturday and Chris Parker was saying that Sunday/Monday was a better day to travel than Monday/Tuesday, which is what we had planned. Another change of plans! Took the dinghy back in on Saturday to arrange for our duty free to go to Customs, then back in again on Sunday to pay the overtime, pick up our duty free and head out Sunday night.
Left the anchorage at Monos after making sure everything was stowed. Just left Monos and we heard Infinity calling us on the VHF - they were on their way back from the Orinoco before heading to Grenada. We left out of the cut between Chacka and Huevos since it cut a little off of our journey and it was a wider cut than the Bocas coming into Scotland Bay. It was still pretty rolly. Had an outgoing tide (6-7 knots), but incoming rollers, and I think some of them were about 10 feet. Felt like I was on a roller coaster. Oh, and I don't like roller coasters!
Had a pretty decent sail till about 2 a.m., when the wind went light and variable and then just died. Unfortunately, it was still pretty rolly. Turned the motor on and the diesel smell kept coming into the cockpit. Made for a long night and a sick Dennis! Also, I need to remember NOT to drink coffee on my first watch, to save it for my last watch. Didn't sleep until about 6 a.m.
Pulled into Los Testigos at 10 a.m., straightened up the boat, went for a refreshing swim and took the dinghy over to the Coast Guard to check in. I had all my Spanish phrases written out since we wanted to stay at least 5 days because of weather coming in, instead of the 3 they usually give you. They must have felt sorry for us - we got 15 days!! They came around the anchorage Friday night looking for rum 'donations', which we were only to happy to supply and got two fish out of it as well. Lots of wind and roll while this weather is going through and a lot of reading and dominoes.
On to Margarita on Monday, the 17th when the weather is supposed to settle. ~~_/)~~

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Orinoco Delta

We start off with a home on the Manamo River, then Audrey Paige surrounded by 'bora', Dennis trying to stay dry in the cockpit, the one nasty storm that we had and a beautiful little Wareo girl. What a wonderful trip across the Gulf of Paria (well, until we got close and then it was like travelling in the Chesapeake, shallow and bumpy) and then anchored in the Pedernales River and checking in there, and over to the Manamo River, down 75 miles to the power lines and back up again. Along the way we visited quite a few villages. Most had nothing to trade but we gave away cookies and 'other stuff'. Travelled with Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle, and they had lots of good 'kid stuff' to trade and give away.
Visited the Orinoco Delta Lodge, which is just fantastic. Lunch for 2, dinner for 2, a bottle of wine and 6 beer cost a whole $50 US. Met up with Brian and Sue on Darramy and Troy and Jo on Malarky. We were the only boats for the month of November.
Learned to anchor well before a village or well after since it got to be a bit overwhelming with what seemed like a million canoes paddling out! And us with a new paint job!!
Ourselves and Sea Cycle really enjoyed our trip in the Manamo River - quiet, solitude and no pressure!

Gorge Trip

Took a day off from boat work to go on the Gorge trip with Jesse, Snake and Gaston. The trip down the road and back up again was the worst - more than a 45 degree angle.
It was, again, another great Jesse and Snake tour - informative - lessons on plants and fruits - wild oranges, plums, apples, the bread from coconut.
The torrential downpour didn't start until we'd left the waterfall and river, so we were lucky there. Although, climbing up the hills in mud was definitely a challenge. Thankfully for me, I was behind Gaston and hanging on to him while we worked our way up!
Our 'Jesse' group was ourselves, Mark (Sea Cycle), Rose (Sojourn), LeVonne (Transition), Paul and Janey (Shian), Ann and Steve (Receta), and one other couple that we never got the name of.
Made it to the waterfall and were told that we were the first group in a long time to make it that far. Tell that to my legs the rest of the week when I had to climb up the ladder on the hard!!
Jesse stopped by the airport on the way home to get us doubles, since the usual stand was closed in the morning. Doubles are served on a piece of waxed paper, which is considered your napkin. It's two pieces of an Indian flatbread with a curried chickpea filling, with hot sauce and other spices. The big trick is to not dribble it all over yourself, since the one piece of bread is supposed to act as your spoon to scoop the stuff off the second piece of bread! Yeah, right!!! The doubles were Jesse's treat. Wow, how great is he??
We finally got back to the boat, exhausted and filthy, about 7 at night. A 13 hour day, but well worth it.

Back in Trini!

Back 'home' at last. Audrey Paige finally in the water, and Dennis standing with our painter, Nigel, who did an amazing job. Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle supervised the last of our paint job and prodded Nigel along. We are so, so pleased. Audrey Paige looks like a new boat!! Of course, it took us an extra day to clean up from the break-in, in the secure yard at Coral Cove, right after we left.
Luckily, the only things of value that they took were 3 bottles of Dennis' Pusser's rum, my French olive oil, a backpack and travel iron. Go figure!
Moved back onto the boat and had no water pressure for almost two weeks, so that meant hauling buckets of water up from the ground and over the side of the boat. Let's see, that's okay at anchorage when I'm not paying ... but, I'm paying for this?
Nigel recommended Troy and Lisa from Custom Signs to put the name on the boat and, again, a great job. Seems like all the tradespeople are great this year, but Coral Cove Marina seems to be going downhill fast! Nothing works right.
Off the dock and off to Scotland Bay for peace and quiet -- and a lot more work on the boat!
We didn't see the Coast Guard or Customs at all last year - they're making up for it this year, making a tour of the anchorages at least twice a day. Guess we can't complain, unless we're trying to hang out before we leave.
Stocking up and planning to head to the Orinoco with Sea Cycle.