July 3, 2009 Porlamar to Juan Griego, Margarita Island - 33 nm
We left Porlamar at 0615 with Paramour III. We saw around 15 fishing boats heading out, it was quite a sight. We also saw very dark clouds ahead. We listened to the cruisers net on the VHF radio for the last time. There was an unfortunate incident in the harbour last night. Somebody's boat was boarded by a swimmer who asked if the captain could help him get to shore, so they both got into the dingy but when they got to shore, a fight ensued and the dingy was stolen.
It looks like we are headed right for this storm, there is thunder and lightening in the distance. We did check the weather before we left but it didn't say anything about a storm. We checked the radar to see where the storm is and it seems like it is ahead of us, we tried to slow down hoping that we would miss it but we didn't. We turned off all our instruments. The rain came pouring down as we sailed through it, there was lightening and thunder, the winds picked up to 39 knots through a squall. We only had the genoa out so we quickly reefed it in. It only lasted about 20 minutes and thankfully we didn't get hit by the lightening which was our primary concern.
We anchored in Juan Greigo and we are the only boat here so we are glad that we are sailing with a companion boat. Paramour III decided to sail further offshore than us so they will be here in about an hour. The water here is rather scary looking, it is a dark brown and smells funny, I think we will skip the swimming today. About a half an hour after we anchored, the Guarda Costa came over and asked if they could board. There were three young guys wearing official uniforms. One guy stayed in their boat and two guys came aboard. They went through everything, looked under every floorboard, and in every cupboard. I gave them water and cookies. They did not speak English, but they were very nice, they wanted to know how many life jackets we had on board, the number on our EPIRB, and a bunch of other questions which we managed to answer in our almost non-existent Spanish.
Later on in the afternoon, we found a spot to beach the dingy in front of one of the restaurants. There are lots of fishing boats here and again more shopping, and lots of outdoor beachfront restaurants. All in all we had a good time in Margarita Island and we are glad that we went.
July 4, 2009 - Juan Griego, Margarita Island to Playa Falucho, Blanquilla, Venezuela 58.09 nm
We left Juan Griego at first light, about an hour later, we sailed through 20 fishing boats. About an hour after that we caught a 2.5 pound, 12 inch mahi mahi with our new pink horse hair lure. Then 45 minutes later we caught an 8 pound, 25 inch tuna with the wooden green plug. We really had to keep a sharp eye here as there was fishing nets everywhere. The fishermen have a little float in the water with a red flag on top so you can see it but it was a few miles long with flags every 200 metres.
The Guarda Costa called us on the radio and was asking us some questions but they do not speak English so it was difficult to understand and respond. We are again the only boat here in the anchorage. Paramour III should be here within the hour. It is very beautiful here, the water is crystal clear and there is beaches all along the coast. We decided to stay here outside the coast guard station. We anchored a little too close to shore and the bottom was hitting the coral so we pulled up 25 feet of chain. We hit again so we decided to move into deeper water. There was excellent snorkelling and Cari used her fins and no life jacket and dove to look at things for the first time. The three coast guards guys came over to us on the beach and tried to talk to us, (if only we could speak better Spanish). They are all very nice people.
July 6, 2009 - Playa Fulcho, Blanquilla to Playa Yaque, Blanquilla 5.78nm
Chris showed Andrea how to pull up the anchor and I helmed. They each have a turn pulling up and putting down the anchor if the weather is good and there are not too many boats around. We motored over to the anchorage and anchored in 23 feet of water. It was very beautiful and peaceful. There was only one fishing boat anchored but no other sailboats. As we were motoring into the anchorage the wind gusted up to 27 knots but it did calm down. We walked down the beach and collected sea shells of all colours and shapes.
Paramour III came and joined us for the afternoon, then we decided it was time to leave and head for Los Roques so we pulled anchor and left together at 1530.
July 6, 2009 Blanquilla to Francisquis, Los Roques, Venezuela 120.7 nm
This turned out to be the best overnight passage we have ever had, yet. There was a full bright moon, so it was never pitch black, the wind was up and down between 8 to 22 knots, we kept the spinnaker up and had a very smooth ride. We were sailing downwind with hardly any waves, it couldn't have been easier or better. Then to top it off in the mornign around 7:00 we caught 2 tuna's! One was 6 pounds, the second one was 7 pounds. We arrived the next morning at around 1000, the anchorage was full of large motorboats and quite busy, we had to anchor a few times but now we are set.
The water was very low when we went to the beach so we brought the skin board with us and everybody tried it out for a few hours, it's the first time we had it out since we bought it in the Spanish Virgins.
July 9, 2009 Francisquis to Grand Roque --2 nm
We motored over to Grand Roque. The anchorage was very unproteced and bumpy. We went to shore and walked around town, there is a very small airport, all the roads are sand and there are no cars, it was a very cute little village. We walked up to see the lighthouse, spectacular views. We asked around about where to get gas for the dingy and were told to head over to a certain boat. We dingyied over and there was a huge line with fisherman waiting to fill huge hundreds of gallons containers. We dingyied over to the front of the line and showed them our measly 2 gallon and 1 gallon containers and they just laughed. The boats in the front of the line grabbed them out of my hand and passed them to the large gas boat and before we knew it they were filled and passed back to us. We tried to pay them and they would not accept any money.
We decided not to stay in Grand Roque overnight so pulled up anchor and headed over to anchor behind the reef, this should be interesting.
July 9, 2009 - Le Grand Roque to Baha de la Cabedeca - 10nm
Because it was starting to get late we motored the whole way. It was fairly easy, as long as the sun is behind you, the reefs are easy to spot. I stayed on the bow and Chris helmed.
We were the only boat there, once it got dark, we could see one little anchor light way in the distance which was Paramour III. It was really neat to be anchored behind a reef with nothing but blue water and crashing waves to see. The next day we went snorkelling but it was not very good, mostly sand and bleached coral. The weather was suppose to worsen so we decided we better not spend another night in this location.
July 10, 2009 Baha de la Cabedeca to Sarqui, Los Roques --15.53nm
We left the reef in the morning around 1100 so the sun would be behind us, we took a straighter route out. The reefs were very easy to see and we sailed with just the genoa. On our way to Sarqui, the clouds were actually green from the reflection of the water. We pulled into the anchorage for another stunning view of white beach and blue water. Paramour III is suppose to be meeting us here later today.
We went for a walk along the beach, the birds were not too happy to see us and tried to scare us away by swooping and squawking at us. We also went snorkelling before we decided that we really didn't have time to stay here and should keep pushing on westward to make it to Aruba in time for our flight.
July 11, 2009 Sarqui to West Cay, Los Roques, Venezuela -- 12.87 nm
We had a spectacular dolphin experience today. We were just about in Caya de Agua, West Cay and preparing to pull the genoa in, when I saw 2 large fish, I stared at them and realized that they were actually dolphins swimming towards our boat, before I could yell "dolphin on port quarter" they were joined by another 20 - 25 dolphins, they were swimming on both sides of the boat and playing between the two hulls, jumping and frolicking. It was the first time that we had seen dolphins swimming with the boat, we kept hearing of it happening to other boats and were hoping to get a glimpse of some. We got a huge dose today, it was fabulous. We tried to find the anchorage that was mentioned in the Doyle Guide at Caya de Agua, we tried 2 times threading our way through the reef strewn waters, then gave us, we just couldn't find it. We motored back over to West Cay and anchored. At around 1730 as I was making dinner, Chris thought we really weren't in a very good place as the wind was picking up and we were on a lee shore. We decided to move around to the other anchorage on the windward side of the island, just as we were going by one of the reefs both engines conked out. We were getting the genoa ready to pull out when they both started again. We anchored safe and sound beside Paramour III.
July 12, 2009 West Cay, Los Roques to Isla Sur, Aves de Barlevento -- 34.29nm
During our sail I gave the kids a few bottle of bubbles thinking it would keep them amused for a while, well it also attracted the birds, first it was just one or two then ten to fifteen then before we knew it, there were hundreds of birds, I believe they were boobies, squawking and diving and trying to catch the bubbles. They were becoming quite agitated so I made the kids put the bubbles away.
We took the dingy around to the mangroves to see the birds up close, there are thousands of boobies sleeping, swimming, catching fish, flying around, feeding their young in the nests. They were very curious about us, they kept flying over to see us whether we were in the dingy, snorkelling or whatever. It was great to see them up close and just be around them.