Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Little Known Out Islands

Sailing again! A 24+ hour passage and we arrived in the nearly untouched island of Tortuga. Wind swept beaches stretched for miles with an impenetrable scrub interior. At Punta Delgado o del Este lied a dirt air strip and a surfer posada. We stayed a few days enjoying the gentle surf and rustic beauty.

A few miles further we came upon Cayo Herraduro, a classic coral reef island with waves breaking over reef on the windward side. The interior was blanketed in sea grapes and scrub bushes while the lee shore had a perfect crescent sand beach. Some VZ fishermen make this island their home for 3-6 months out of the year. Their “beach casas” are fabricated from whatever wood has washed up on the beach. Every3-6 weeks a supply boat picks up their lobsters and salted fish and drops off some water, rice and beans, and maybe a cabbage and some potatoes. Paradise and prison both come to mind when I look at their lifestyle. A bottle of rum always gets you a lobster and a smile! On the north end of the island stands a lighthouse. Along the coast visitors have stacked rocks into towers and pyramids for amusement. Along the paths we passed a dozen grave sights of fishermen who had perished in this harsh environment. A simple wooden cross and a pile of conch shells over the body is all there is.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Thanksgiving, though an American holiday, gathered no interest by fellow American cruisers in Porlamar when we inquired on the net. The only other kid boat in the anchorage was Dafney, a South African family, so we invited them to dinner. Actually they were ecstatic as they had heard of our Thanksgiving traditions in America. Our family prepared all the traditional trimmings and foods for our Thanksgiving boat guests. We talked, we ate, we laughed, we ate, we joked around, and we ate and shared stories into the evening. A thousand thanks were bestowed upon us for including them in our Thanksgiving celebration. The funniest memory of the day was the “stuff”ing. We couldn’t believe it when we found a frozen turkey, already stuffed, in the market. As it turned out, the stuffing was a mixture of non-poultry based meat parts and products bound together with some flour, vegetable, lard mix. After 5 days of “stuff’ing leftovers I, the human garbage pit, started to gag on it before dumping it overboard.

Juan, the Revolutionary Freedom Fighter look alike, had our papers completed and gave us the spiel about how we have to go straight to Bonaire. Yeah right, we’ll be lucky if we get through the VZ out islands by Christmas. We said our goodbyes, just missed Crystal but not the temper tantrum Sabrina threw knowing they were just arriving as we were just leaving. Our cockpit and interior cushions were tailored and terrific! Minus the fabric, all the zippers, snaps, materials and labor costs just $300! Thank you Zoila; we appreciate the work. Thank goodness we told Trinidad to take a hike at almost ten times that amount. Our boat looks more elegant and nicer than ever.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Our need for speed

With bigger kids and the desire to try wake boarding, we needed a bigger engine to get our dingy on plane. Imagine always driving your car with a governor on it, that is what driving a non-planing dingy is like. For 3x less than the rate in the U.S., (thanks to Chavez), we paid in advance for a new outboard that we were hoping to someday see. What was to be 4 days had already become 14 days and we were itchin’ to leave. Finally it arrived, but the delivery had to be paid for. Prices change often in Venezuela but they are still cheap. Back at the marina, we waxed up our now one year old 9.9HP ultraclean burning, fuel efficient, environmentally friendly Tohatsu and moved it onto Masterpeace’s boat. Then we strapped on the 2 stroke, gas guzzling, global warming, smog spreading 18HP Tohatsu screamer onto the dinghy in our need for speed. IF there were 4 strokes available we certainly would have chosen one but its 3rd world and 2 cycle engines still are king.

Sadly, a fellow boater stopped to chat on his bike on the dock. As he went to leave, his foot caught on a cleat and he fell into the water, bike and all. His shoulder impacted hard on our back steps. He was panicking and in pain, so Marc pulled him out of the water but used his hurt shoulder. He was thankful but their boating plans were shorten due to his serious injury. It was a good lesson for our kids… no bikes on the dock. Finally we were off to Margarita to get our cushions. Sadly, we had to say, “sea you later” to “Sea U Manana” with Josh and Mathius.