Grenada to Venezuela
The flight out to Grenada was uneventful but exciting in that we were going to join Boo Too and sail to Chagarama in Trinidad and then on to Los Testigos, the first group of Venezuelan islands west of Grenada.
The next day we spent sightseeing in Grenada. Lunch in the Good Food restaurant, which has only four tables, was excellent, but hot, in all respects. The devastation from Hurricane Ivan last September was everywhere to see. It will take some time for Grenada to make a full recovery.
An excellent dinner on board then an overnight sail to Trinidad. Great sailing, good trade winds, the boat sliding through the water very smoothly at 11+ knots and bed after some hours of looking at the night sky with no light pollution heaven!
The arrival into Chagarama Bay was spectacular. Rain forests coming right down to the edge of the sea. Wild flowers with huge blooms and bright, bright colours and then the very friendly people. One night spent here and a day and a half of sightseeing, then on to Los Testigos via Cabo San Fransisco, a gorgeous bay on the Venezuelan mainland (see the pictures).
A beam reach across to Los Testigos hitting close to 13 knots great sailing! The islands here are special (as are most of the islands off Venezuela) Very few other boats. Very few people. Fantastic sandy beaches and a hill rising to 807ft above sea level from which the view is magnificent (pictures). The Costaguarda were helpful and very friendly.
On the sail from Los Testigos to Margarita, the largest of the Venezuelan islands and the first place we could check into the country, the skipper caught a 4ft Wahoo, gutted it and bagged huge steaks for the freezer lunch was a sensation!
We stopped at another couple of islands (both beautiful with interesting bird life) on our way to Los Roques. This is a stunning archipelago about 90 miles north of Caracas, t he people are friendly and I have never seen such shades of blue, green and turquoise anywhere else in the world to match these waters just amazing! The Los Roques archipelago extends about 25 miles in an east west direction and about 15 miles in a north south direction. Some of the best Bone fishing in the world is right here and a number of our party spent four days with their salt water fly rods catching these fish, which range from about 2lbs to 12lbs and are considered to be the finest fighting fish for their weight in the world it was exciting!
The only inhabited part of Los Roques is Gran Roque with its sand streets, no vehicles, lots of colourful bungalows and pelicans galore. The pelicans are constantly dive bombing for fish while the seagulls wait and then help themselves from the pelicans' beaks. We saw one seagull put its head right into the pelican's beak so the pelican couldn't close it, and eat all the fish!
Some days later we sailed over to Las Aves another smaller group of islands, about 30 miles west of Los Roques, with abundant wildlife: Boobies, turtles, stingray, monster green moray eels, large barracuda but we saw no sharks. The boobies and their babies inhabited the mangroves and were not at all frightened. We could dingy right up to them (only three or four feet away) and they would sit on their branches and stare right back at us.
The navigation among the islands was interesting a constant look out for coral reefs. Fortunately these show up clearly in good sunlight and one can eyeball one's way through the maze.
Back to Los Roques. A quiet motor since the wind had died and all was a glassy stillness.
One last night on board and then in the morning we took a small plane from Los Roques to Caracas and then on home.
A wonderful adventure.