Captain's Log

 

Grenada to Los Roques – December 2009

20 December 2009
We were due to f ly this morning on Air France from Heathrow to Caracas via Paris.  Unfortunately at the last moment AF cancelled the London-Paris leg via email and told us not to reply!  Very helpful to say the least!  British Airways came up trumps and flew us from Gatwick to Tobago (not exactly where we were planning to end up) and from there we spent a couple of days trying to get a flight to Grenada where Boo Too diverted to await our arrival on 23 December.

24 December 2009
We set sail that evening, after an excellent Christmas eve dinner at the True Blue Bay Resort, for the little group of islands called Los Testigos.  These are the furthest east of the Venezuelan islands.  A good over night sail and by early morning on Christmas day we were snugly at anchor off the largest of the islands, Testigos Grande.

25 December 2009
We spent the day exploring, snorkelling and visiting the local fishing community who inhabit the island during the fishing season.  We also decorated the boat for Christmas and that evening had the full works of turkey, the lot.  Ellie, the young new chef on board did a wonderful job in the galley.

26 December 2009
A walk up to the summit of the hill on Testigos Grande to work off the excesses of the previous evening and then in the afternoon playing in the sand dunes and surf on the east side of the island.  We set sail that evening for the island of Blanquilla.

27 December 2009
Blanquilla is quite simply beautiful.  A small little island north and a little west of Margarita with the most wonderful soft white sand beaches totally deserted.  We spent the day exploring and scuba diving here.  In the late afternoon we waved goodbye to Blanquilla and headed for Margarita to officially check into Venezuela on arrival the following morning – Monday 28 December.

28 December 2009
Anchor down at about 8am and then ashore for the clearance procedures.  Juan assured us he could arrange it all in the course of the day, so we left it to him while Scott and Ellie went shopping at the local supermarket and we went money changing.  At important exercise given that the official rate is US$1.00 = 2.15 Bolivars while the unofficial rate gets you 5.5 Bolivars for the same US$1.00 – a massive difference!
Our intention was to spend as little time in Margarita as possible and set off for Los Roques and Gran Roque which we did in the early evening. 

29 December 2009
Another enjoyable overnight sail and then in the afternoon we headed towards the NE passage through the reefs of Los Roques.  The swell and the waves breaking on the reefs were impressive.  A few miles south of us a schooner had recently misjudged it and was now just a ruined hulk sitting on the reef.  We ran in through the narrow passage with a certain amount of trepidation.  Fortunately all went well and forty minutes later we were at anchor of Gran Roque.

30 December 2009
At 7.30am Boo, Jamie, Jeremy and Tara assembled for a bone fishing expedition organised by Roxton’s.  We agreed to meet them at the end of the day in Carenero, a small island about twelve miles west of Gran Roque.  In the meantime Scott organised all the clearances necessary for sailing in the marine reserve which covers most of Los Roques.  The small town (or maybe more accurately, large village) on Gran Roque is charming and the only permanently inhabited part of Los Roques.  The two or three roads are of sand and there are no vehicles on the island.  See the photos!
After lunch ashore we sailed the few miles over to Carenero and met up with the bone fishing party who were most excited about their day having caught eighteen bone fish and a snapper!

New Year’s Eve
At anchor at the other end of Carenero and Jamie and Scott decided to have a cocktail drinking competition.  Billy joined in and in no time they were all very merry.  When we left the east bay in Carenero in the morning, the boys had spotted a very attractive Swedish girl (at least presumed to be Swedish since the boat she was on was flying the Swedish flag), now Jamie and Billie thought it would be a good time to introduce themselves!  Off they went in the tender for a three mile hike up wind.  When they eventually returned we heard that the Swedish boat had gone and they had stopped off to say hello to some fisher folk who were having a party.  They were a little incoherent but it seems that although they don’t speak Spanish they made fast friends with the fisher folk!  In the meantime we all had a very good dinner on board and saw the New Year in, in style.

1 January 2010
A gentle motor over to Crasque where we were supposed to pick up fuel.  Fortunately a beautiful island since we spent all day trying to get the fuel barge to come along side and deliver.  The captain kept saying he was coming in five minutes but did not.  Eventually he came pasted and indicated that he would be back in the morning.  Not a very productive day.

2 January 2010
Amazingly the fuel barge showed up early in the morning and gave us some fuel.  About 40% of what we had contracted for but at least it was enough.  Up anchor and back to Gran Roque via Noronsque for a snorkelling expedition along the reef.  Back at Gran Roque and a farewell lunch with Scott, Billy and Ellie and then onto the flight back to Caracas.

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