Monday, December 10, 2007

Goodbye Venzuela

Isla de Aves (Bird Islands) is a very apropos name for the area. Out in the middle of the ocean exists two island specks loaded with seas birds because the fishing is spectacular. At sunset we passed the time away paddling along the mangroves observing the bountiful species and sounds. We were fascinated as to how close hundreds of birds would allow us to approach without flying off. Of particular interest in the seas were the midnight parrot fish, an extremely rare treat. They are 2-3x bigger than parrot fish with midnight blue bodies. Like Tortuga, there are a couple of fishing camps occupied by very friendly salt of the earth fisherman. Cigarettes and rum go a long way in trading for lobsters. They actually came back and bought Angie an extra lobster to sweeter the deal. The rum cost us a whole $0.50, we love this country. The islands we anchored between appeared to have tall hills; upon closer examination the hills turned out to be the remains of unsustainable conch harvesting. Never in my life have I ever seen anything like it. A conch shell graveyard of tens of thousands of conch harvested for profit. VZ now has an out and out ban on conch harvesting. The best snorkeling on our journey was at the Eastern Aves. Well goodbye Venezuela. We came far longer than we expected. We saw, far more than we planned, and we explored, without incident or mishap in a place avoided by most of the cruising community. The wind is up and so are the sails carrying us into the sunset to beautiful Bonaire.