Friday, March 14, 2008

John and Brigitte finally visit

Well, after making our way to Curacao,
cleaning and provisioning the boat, John and Brigitte finally arrived! So good to see them!!! The first photo is on the way to Jan Thiel Beach, with flowers everywhere.
Here we are at Jan Thiel Beach, enjoying the cool, beautiful water. John and Brigitte, then DW, then John and I on the swim platform.
Went up to Santa Cruz for the weekend and had a great time, as you can see.
Then there were those rain showers. Not everyone has to get wet!!

Hooked a marlin underway. We think it was 90 to 110 pounds. Sure makes a difference with more than 2 people on board with sails, getting the fish in, a successful catch and release and, most importantly, photos!

Then we toured Willemstead. What a great town.

So, those were the photos, and now the journal. We were so excited about John and Brigitte visiting. Hadn't seen them since we left them in the Bahamas in January, 2006. We had spent the season of 2004/2005 with them down the ICW and the Bahamas, and they helped us out so much when we were hit by Wilma in 2005 in Indiantown.
They were as much fun on the boat as they were to travel with. Way too much alcohol consumed and laughs and laughs. No one tells a joke like Brigitte. Get her to do a bat imitation! Amazingly, those seven days went by real fast. Think we have them talked into two weeks in Venezuela in November!!
The only frustrating part of the whole week was trying to rent a car. Had everything planned to pick the car up at 9 a.m. Wednesday till Friday morning. Tour the island Wednesday, drop them off at the airport Thursday at noon, do heavy provisioning and then be ready to go. Took all of our stuff into Sarifundy's to pick up the car at 9 a.m. Brigitte and I went back to the boat at 9:30 to call. Oops, sorry, no car available, see you at noon with a jeep. Finally showed up at 12:15 with a totally unacceptable vehicle. Many phone calls and ready to blow a gasket later, we booked at car with Budget at Jan Thiel Beach. Wonderful! Clean, safe, comfortable car. Toured the neighborhood that night, up early the next morning, packed luggage in the trunk and did a '3 hour tour'! Considering the short time we had, we did a pretty good tour of the island, dropped John and Brigitte off at the airport at noon, did our provisioning, dropped the car off and back to the boat and collapsed. Considering there were four people on board for a week, there was amazingly little to clean!
Starting to do laundry and provision and ready to leave for Venezuela on the next weather window. ~~~_/)~~~

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Left the Marina

Well, finally left the marina after one month. Really didn't plan on spending that long, but where did the time go? Had the chain regalvanized, and that took two and a half weeks, and then spent the rest of the time waiting for that 15 hp Yamaha that they couldn't come up with a price for! Never did get it, but gave Leo our old Evinrude after we picked up a 5 hp Yamaha for $100. Can't go real fast, but it's reliable and that's what counts. John and Brigitte will be in Curacao in 3 weeks and it's time to start making tracks!
Went out with Dan and Jaime on Nereia to a fantastic Spanish restaurant on Friday night, and then they had us over for dinner on Sunday night before we left and it was wonderful. Had Nereia and Dragonfly over for happy hour on Saturday and had tons of fun. Dan and Jaime came and helped us off the dock the next morning and we headed out to Chimina Grande, five miles away. We went to the smaller of the anchorages and found a great sand anchorage, instead of the larger area where we anchored with Odyssey and it was all rocks. Off for Tortuga at 5:45 a.m!
Had a wonderful sail to Tortuga, sailing pretty well into the anchorage. The waves started off at about six feet and then went down to two to three. One of the best sails we've had since we left Trini. Spent a rolly night at anchorage at Playa Caldera, toured the little fishing village, pulled up anchor at noon and sailed down to Cayo Herradura. Once again, sailed into the anchorage. The only bad thing about the trip is that Dennis had a cold/sinus thing going so wasn't feeling that well and we decided not to fish. So, can't talk about the ones that got away!! Did lots of beach walks and some snorkelling, then the weather cleared so we headed out Saturday afternoon for the overnight sail to Los Roques.
Once again, sailed out of the anchorage and into the next one. Some pretty good size rollers and a lot of following seas and downwind sailing, but we still made pretty good time. Left around 5 p.m. and pulled into Boca de Sebastapol and anchored around 10 a.m. Why are there always unexplained lights and freighters crossing our paths on my watch? Dennis has learned to enjoy my MP3 player and listen to music on watch. Sure passes the time!
Stefan, on Sawadi, left the southwestern anchorage in Tortuga and anchored next to us a couple of hours later. We met him when he pulled up next to us in Bahia Redonda. His friend was flying out in a couple of days back to Germany, so invited them over for a pancake breakfast with some of that great Canadian maple syrup that John and Brigitte sent down to Trinidad.
Walked the beach, looking at the hundreds of conch that were protected and we couldn't touch, and then headed out the next morning for the far western shore of the Roques. Sailed all day and pulled in behind the lighthouse at West Cay. Did a great beach walk the next day, and even though it was a rolly anchorage, decided to stay there so that we could head out to the Aves de Sotavento the next morning. Well, a squall blew through, so we just headed to the Aves de Barlevento, where they said the first anchorage wasn't that great, rolly, with fishing boats. Looked pretty good to us, and turned out to be a wonderful, protected anchorage. Didn't get off the boat and headed the fifteen miles to Aves de Sotavento, arriving just after noon. Put the dinghy in the water, headed to shore and explored. Saw the Coast Guard boat circling, then they saw us on shore, pulled up and said they needed to see our paperwork. No big deal. We headed back to the boat, they inspected our paperwork, gave them some cerveza and had a wondeful visit.
Rolly anchorage and our spare anchor decided to loosen itself and clang by our heads. At 2 a.m. we decided we were awake and it was time to leave, hoping to make it to Klein Curacao instead of Bonaire. (Did I mention that it's now Saturday and John and Brigitte are arriving in Curacao on Wednesday? Need to get there!!) Well, we had no sooner pulled out of the anchorage, I had my cup of coffee, Dennis asked if I was okay, and he went back to bed and slept for three hours. It was quite the sail. Like I said, who wishes anyone following seas???? It got to the point where I really didn't want to look over my right shoulder to see the seas that were as high as the back rail! I had to be toning something hanging on for dear life, right?
The time passed quickly, but it seemed in some respects like a long day, and by the time we pulled into Klein Curacao at 4 p.m., we felt beat up from hanging on all day. Then it was a tough anchorage, almost beaching the boat to put the anchor down, and doing it three times. Since we have a manual windlass (which means Dennis gets to do the majority of the work), we really try to get it right the first time. We were both exhausted by the time we got a hook.
Again, up early the next day to head into Curacao. Rolly, downwind sail again with those big rollers. They can stop any time now!
Finally pulled into Spaanese Waters and, after four times, finally found a good place to set the hook. Talked to Slow Dancing and Odyssey, and they had the same problems, so felt a little better. Just exhausting for Dennis, hauling the anchor up manually, and it was tough at the helm with wind and current!
But, we're here, Sunday night, and company's coming!!!!! ~~_/)~~