Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Through the reef at Los Roques at 2:30 in the afternoon for our overnight sail to Tortuga. Nereia should already be there. We're going to try to anchor on the west side of the island where we were told the fishing was good. What we need with more fish is beyond me, but someone on this boat lives to fish. A very boisterous sail! Started off going fast with waves not too bad. Nighttime came, with my watch, and the wind had picked up and we kept getting slapped with a large wave out of nowhere. Plus, we were heeled over way too much for my comfort. I don't enjoy sitting in the helm seat, but I'm standing up. Oops, over the edge?

I announced that if anyone on this boat cared, I was not having a good time. My point was made and the staysail was brought in. Oh, and did I mention we found out that the porthole on the starboard side leaks if too much water runs down the deck? Wet setee cushions! Really not having a good time. Not a bad sail, until the rain came. Not my watch, I went below to sleep. I had packed the rainpants away ages ago, since we hadn't used them in forever and ever. Poor Dennis was cold and wet, so I dug them out for him. At least he had a rain jacket. Then the wind died totally and we motored the last two hours. Called Nereia on the radio and they informed us that the anchorage on the west side was not a good one, very rolly, so we agreed to meet in Cayo Herradura. We were there before and I loved it.

Dropped the anchor at 10:15 a.m. Not too bad, 20 hours. Then, who motors around the corner but Dan and Jaime on Nereia. So glad to see them again. They had us over for dinner (so nice not to cook), and we traded all the boat supplies we picked up for them in Curacao for the beer, wine and Diet Coke they brought for us. Woo hoo!!! Had them over for dinner the following night to share all that fish we'd caught.
Kim and Scott on Anthelide, another Michigan boat we had met in the marina at PLC, pulled in shortly after and stopped by for a short visit. They're on their way west and we got this great shot of them setting out for Los Roques. Paul, Kim and their 3 year old twins, Alastair and McKenna, arrived on Brio from Los Roques. We had met them in Bonaire. They just bought the boat and are starting to cruise. Tried to give them a few helpful hints on places to see in the Eastern Caribbean and places to anchor in Grenada.

I was starting to get a bit anxious about getting back to the marina and checking into Venezuela, so we looked at the weather and decided that we should leave Cayo Herradura on Tuesday to sail down to Playa Caldera, and then leave Wednesday morning for Chimina Grande. Both Nereia and ourselves checked the weather and it looked like Wednesday was the best day to leave or we'd be there until the middle of the following week. Just as we were getting ready to leave Cayo Herradura, Kim from Brio called and asked if Dennis would help Paul with one of their engines. It just decided to quit. No problem, it was a short trip down the coast. Besides, two brains always work better than one. Dennis said the kids were adorable, watching their every move and asking questions. Motorsailed down the coast and hooked a HUGE barracuda. Way too big to eat and way too many teeth to put into the cockpit. I swear, Dennis is going to hurt himself one time trying to get his precious lure back! Like last time, really rolly in Playa Caldera, so we rigged a bridle, and Dennis talked Dan through how to do it. They were thrilled at the difference it makes.
Up the next morning and finally left the anchorage just after 5. The winds and waves weren't quite as forcasted and we had an unbelievable current against us. All in all, quite a miserable day. I once again announced that I was not having a good time but, unfortunately, nothing could be done about it. I was dreaming of Winnebagos! Everything on the starboard side was wet from leaks, and then I hadn't shut the seacock off for the sink and the water sloshed up and over the counter and into where I keep my pots and pans, tupperware, etc. Really not a happy camper.

Finally, the day was almost over, and we motorsailed the last couple of miles accompanied by lots of dolphins. The high point of the day! Dropped the anchor in Cieneguita on Chimana Grande just after 4 p.m. and Nereia and Audrey Paige agreed that this had not been a good day! Off to the marina tomorrow to really clean up the mess! ~~~_/)~~~

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Los Aves to Los Roques

Well, it was another early morning leaving Barlovento for the sail to Los Roques. We definitely wanted to get in with good daylight and not end up like the ship on the reef!

It was a pretty good sail, just a very, very long day. The wind, of course, was on the nose, so we did quite a bit of tacking, and that 35 miles was closer to 60. Dropped the anchor by the beach off West Cay where we'd been before. It was a bit rolly, but it was too late in the day to make our way through the reef to the protected anchorage off Cayo de Agua. Up early the next morning, with Dennis on the bow to guide us through the reef to the nice calm anchorage where we were the only ones there. Heavenly! Did some beach walking and snorkelling, and saw some of the largest fish ever. Time for a change after a couple of days, through the reef again and some nice shallow water (I hate that part) over to the anchorage off Becqeve, where we anchored in 9 feet of water. I feel like I'm back in the Bahamas. When we went snorkelling we saw what I say was at least a 6 foot nurse shark. Okay, I know they sleep during the day and normally don't eat swimmers, but I still freaked out. Made sure Dennis was on the shark side, and when he thought he was going through the cut in the reef first, I let him know that he wasn't.
Time to sail again, so we picked up the anchor and had a great sail from Becqeve over to Carenero, where they actually had mooring balls. Good thing since it was deep right in close to shore. We did drop the anchor the next day when we went for a walk, just to make sure the boat was still in the same place when we returned. We actually had bait fish jumping in the dinghy as we were driving along. Don't know if something larger was chasing them or it was the sound of the motor, but they were all over the place. Willy and Mary on Twilight (a huge old shrimp boat) and Chuck and Monica on Cherry Bowl (a very large trawler) were now in the anchorage. Chuck caught the largest barracuda we've ever seen and we all had dinner aboard Twilight that night. Mary served us wine, which was such a treat, since we ran out a week ago. They also gave us 25 gallons of water from their watermaker, which makes 50 gallons an hour. An even bigger treat!

Off again, motoring the 2 miles to Sarqui where the beaches, again, were beautiful and the snorkelling fantastic. And when you put a piece of chicken fat on a line at night, you might get lucky enough to catch this fellow, an 18 pound Snapper. I guess we won't starve with all this fish! Then off to Crasqui where the anchorage was starting to fill up with boats there for the holiday weekend. Gran Roque is close, and there's a rumor they have beer and wine, so we decide that we'll zip in and see what we can find.
Had the best sail on the way to Gran Roque, pulling in to see Jim and Norma on Mi Lady. Someone to share the snapper with! Rainbow Rider and Caribbean Soul pulled in shortly after. Lowered the dinghy, said a quick hello, picked up some beer, wine, bread and veggies, and off we went again. The main island is very, very busy with water taxis running back and forth between all the secluded little islands.
Found a beautiful anchorage at Soyoqui - a little reef in the middle of nowhere - with no one else around. Pure heaven. We were supposed to meet up with Dan and Jaime on Nereia, who had wine and beer for us, but they had engine problems and had to head back to the marina. The latest word is that everything is fixed and we'll meet them in Tortuga at the beginning of May. A couple of days snorkelling and relaxing, then through the reef and on the way to Tortuga. Los Roques is an absolutely beautiful place and we look forward to coming back here in the future, a little more well stocked. Also, we're not checked into Venezuela yet, so we do need to do that since we've been gone from Bonaire almost a month.
Next time, longer! ~~~_/)~~~

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bonaire to the Aves

All I have to say is, heading east is not fun. Left Bonaire at first light, just before 6 a.m., towards Los Aves de Sotovento. Let's just say, it was not a fun day. The seas were higher than forecast and even trying to tack and motor sail wasn't really working with the current against us. Then, the engine started revving up and down again. Oh no, we need to change the fuel filter way too early! Put the boat on auto pilot (love that) and hauled everything out of the lazarette - snorkelling and dive gear, boat hooks, fenders, etc...... - just to be prepared. Dennis, my hero, went down, into the lazarette, into the bilge, in eight to ten foot seas that I was trying real hard not to surf up and down. Mission accomplished, and we continued on our way, finally pulling into the anchorage by the lighthouse, totally exhausted, at 6:30 at night, about twenty minutes before the sun was going to set. Real fun in a coral anchorage! I don't even remember what I prepared for dinner, all I know is, it was something easy!! Then, when we got ready to collapse, we saw a fishing boat hanging off the coast, so that was something we paid attention to. Watched it for awhile, and they were fishing!
Collapsed and woke up the next morning around 7. Underway by 8:30 to Aves de Barlovento. Cut the motor just after the anchor was hauled, figuring we had all day to sail the 15 miles. Going a whole three knots we landed a 5' wahoo. Hove to, brought the fish in and Dennis did his magic. Ended up with a 2 1/2 gallon ziploc full of wahoo and so not enough room in the fridge and freezer to put it in. Where are our friends when we need them?
Pulled into Barlovento midafternoon, followed by two playful dolphins for about half an hour, all the way into the anchorage. We were negotiating our way through the reef (where I was at the helm and Dennis was busy playing with the dolphins), when they kept jumping beside me. I looked over and told them to stop now, I was trying to go through the reef -- and they did!! There were four boats in the anchorage and we made new friends when we took them fresh wahoo. A couple dinghied by and I called them over to give them some fish. They visited a couple of days later, when we gave them more fish, and we got our baby fix with their 5 month old little boy. They were heading on to Curacao and west. Visited with Viv and Keith on Victoria, and English boat, and got all kinds of helpful hints on the area from them. They've been cruising between Curacao and the Aves for a couple of years. Know where to go next year!
Ended up spending over a week in Barlovento because of wind and waves. Did some walking and found the spot where cruisers leave their mark, and lots of birds. Didn't do as much snorkelling as we would have liked to because the water was so choppy. By the time it calmed down we were ready to leave.Leaving another anchorage at 6 a.m. to head to the Roques ..... ~~~_/)~~~~