We up'd anchor Monday the 26th at 1030 and headed due west along with "Pacifica" and our new buddy Alexander, a Russian from Colorado who now sails the Caribbean. Somewhere ahead of us is the crew of "Bag End", we'll make daily radio contact with them as we sail through the dreaded Venezuelan waters; not to make light the waters close to the mainland have proven treacherous for boaters over the last several years, however, the out islands with a few exceptions have been much kinder. Traveling with others or having predetermined check in times gives one a sense of security, however all must remain vigilant.
As we bid goodbye to Grenada we set a course of 270 degrees, kill the engine and sail, WOW! Making 5k life is good, however, we know the winds will disappoint come sun down and they do, so on with the engine and it's motor sailing again. Oh well. As we ghost through the night sans running lights we make our way west towards La Blanquilla. Other than the vessels we know of we see no other boats this night. By 0500 on Tuesday, 9/27 we have reefed sails with the engine off and are making 6k under sail, the start to a beautiful day as the sun rises behind us. Checking in with the Coconut Telegraph via the SSB we are updated on the weather ahead of us and assured of a good weeks weather window. Finally, after 174nm without issue we drop our anchor in 15' of water over sand and coral, 100yds from the beach abreast of "Pacifica", life is good. Alex informs us that appetizers and the main course are on him as he hooked a small tuna and two good sized barracudas this morning. Although we are skeptical of the barracuda we arrange for the side dishes. The tuna ceviche was excellent and the barracuda steaks were surprisingly mild. The good thing about these barracuda are that he caught them in open waters away from reefs, so they are unlikely to carry ciguatera. As we have all survived without symptom now for three days, all is good.
Boto is up bright and early and off for Islas los Roques, while "Pacifica" has decided to spend a few more days on Blanquilla, such is the cruising life. We will meet again, and soon. A repeat of our first day out as we sail along in light winds with full sails, a great day. However, by 1600 the engine is on and we are motor sailing again. We make our way at 5k waiting for the rising sun and renewed winds, we hope. No such luck, we have to motor sail into Los Roques. On the plus side, we are greeted by the welcoming committee at 1030 on the 29th. A large pod of dolphins are playing off the bow as Chula gives her hellos. Vicky wonders why the adults allow the young ones to play in traffic.
We decide to check in with the Coast Guard, just incase and they give us 2 days transit permission to stay in Los Roques, which by the way is a National Park, stay tuned for pics. This is a good opportunity for Ed to practise his Spanish. Well, to tell the truth I've learned many things in the last two years, many of which I always new but avoided doing. So I head into the office with a page of written expressions all set to go. I must have looked funny reading off my lines, the problem was, the Coast Guard Officer hadn't received the script. We manage, and are granted 'dos diaz' by Officer Rodriquez, although El Heffa had only suggested one day, guess it's my boyish good looks. Yes, Officer Rodriquez is female! It could have been that one of my written and perfectly delivered lines requested 'dos diaz", whatever, we're here. "Here", is anchored behind an isolated island in 30' of water with Pelicans standing on a reef a quarter of a mile in front of us and the sun lighting up a white sandy beach which we will hit tomorrow, giving Chula a run ion Venezuela. So that's about it we are alive and well and enjoying the hospitality of Venezuela, stay tuned. By the way, since the 26th we've covered a whopping 307nm, we could have walked faster, maybe!
For those heading west in the next few weeks/months, we'll give some details of our entire voyage once we reach Bonaire, we plan to spend some time in the Islas de Aves before leaving Venezuela, so we can offer a full description. To all, take care and fair winds.
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