July 2009 - page 2

The island was gorgeous, there were three anchorages. There were two boats in the last anchorage so we anchored in the second anchorage. We had it all to ourselves until three other boats showed up and anchored next to us. Turns out we knew two of them from Grenada. We did some snorkelling which was pretty good and we toured around in the dingy. We thought there was a beach in the third anchorage but when we got there instead of sand it was all crushed shells and we didn't bring shoes. The funniest thing happened last night, we opened our emergency hatch in our bedroom to help the air flow and we must have kicked our sheet off in the middle of the night and it fell right out the window because we haven't seen it since! Chris took the kids tubing and we did lots of swimming, the birds kept watch on us during all of our activities.

July 14, 2009 Isla Sure, Aves de Barlevento to Isla Larga, Aves de Solovento, Venezuela -- 18.80nm

We spent the morning swimming and playing (kids) and cleaning mold off the white headliner and studying for a radio exam (parents). We left at around 1100. We thought we were out of the reef area and heading into deep water so Chris put out two fishing lines. All of a sudden chaos broke out and everything happened at once. Two birds hooked our fishing lines, we found ourselves surrounded by shallows and the dingy started drooping downwards towards the water. Hundreds of their fellow birdmates came to let us know they were not happy, they were squawking and diving and making a ton of noise. Chris fixed the dingy, I took the helm and veered around the shallow water, Chris got his gloves on and pulled the fishing lines in and unhooked one bird from the foot and another bird from it's neck! By the time he released the birds, we were in deep water and on our way to Aves de Solovento. Order had been restored.

It was very windy coming into the anchorage (24 knots) the Guarda Costa called us on the radio and wanted us to anchor beside their station but it was very shallow and too windy so we just kept going and talked to them on the radio once we were anchored in the very peacful anchorage. One of the boats in the previous anchorage called us on the radio and joined us for the night.

We explored by dingy, there is nobody or nothing around, not even birds on this island, we stopped by this one very small beach but we got attacked by mosquitos so ran back into the dingy. Andrea is teaching Cari how to dive and this is keeping them occupied for hours at a time.

July 16, 2009 Aves de Solovento, Venezuela to Kralendijk, Bonaire -- 47.63nm

We left the anchorage at 0615 so it was very difficult to see the reefs but we were ready to go. We followed our track out which is always less stressful them coming in. At 0830 we decided to change our sail arrangement and we took down the main and the genoa and hoisted the spinnaker. This increased our speed from going 4-5 knots to 7-8 knots in 14 knots of wind. It also calms the whole boat down, there is no slamming and banging from the mainsail. At 0835 the fishing line caught something but we couldnt' pull it in because we were going to fast! go figure, so back we go take the spinnaker down, roll the fish in which turned out to be a 56 inch, 33 pound Mahi Mahi, then put the spinnaker back up. Chris spent another hour cleaning and cutting the fish. I think that is enough work for one day.

We spotted three boats in the anchorage that we know from Bonaire, including our friends Pickles. We didn't have a reservation and the harbour was full, but we managed to get a mooring ball and tied up. Because of their concern for the enviroment, there is a no anchoring policy in Bonaire, the whole island is a Marine Park and you need to pay to tie up to a mooring ball. We went to Pickles for dinner and brought some fresh Mahi Mahi with us. At dinner we met another Canadian boat with two boys aboard - Tyee III so the kids will have lots of friends to play with for the next week or so.

An island event called "The Taste of Bonaire" took place while we were here. We all went to check it out, all local restaurants were in booths selling their food, Chris and the girls tried iguana stew! I opted for a schwarma. There was live music and videos of windsurfing as the 2009 Youth and Masters Wolrld Championships was currently being held in Bonaire.

At the end of the night there was a huge fireworks display. It was really magnificent as we were right on the waterfront to watch.

We decided to go through the 2 hour procedure of getting the bikes out. Bonaire is really flat and not very busy so we thought it might be a good opportunity to use them. It turned out really well because we were able to leave them locked up at Club Nautico and therefore used them over 3 days. One day we biked over to Sorbon Beach to see the Windsurfing Championships which was a 10km bike ride one way. Boy it was hot, nothing like biking through a desert in the middle of the day.

We found a really great park for the kids. It was one of the nicest and well kept parks we have seen, it also had a skateboard park. We celebrated our 1 year anniversary of living on the boat in Bonaire, Andrea made the cake all by herself. It was delicious.

There is a donkey sanctuary in Bonaire. It was initally established to take care of sick, wounded and orphaned donkeys. There are over 400 donkeys living on the sactuary. We decided we had to go and see this so we biked over. The donkeys are very kind, gentle and curious. They just take some getting used to. It was very funny because usually people drive through the donkey sanctuary but we biked, the lady at the ticket booth told us not to worry, they are very used to bikes. They come right up to us and sniff and stare then they keep wandering on. They took an exceptional interest in our bike carrier.

The snorkelling in Bonaire was very good and the diving is suppose to be excellent. The water is perfectly clear. We didn't see alot of the island itself because the kids wanted to play with their friends every waking moment of the day. We spent the rest of our time in Bonaire snorkelling, tubing, knee boarding and having happy hour on either our boat,Pickles or Tyee III.

July 22, 2009 - Kralendijk, Bonaire to Oranjestad, Aruba -- 109.8nm

We left Bonaire around noon. We decided to not go to Curacao and do an overnight sail straight for Aruba because of time contraints. A freighter came up to us from behind very close, he finally changed course to starboard but it was a little too close for comfort for me.

We hoisted our now usual sail configuration of the spinnaker (we are finally sailing downwind, yipee!) At 2015 the wind increased to 20 knots so we took down the spinnaker with the aid of the deck lights. We had to dodge several frieghters off the cost of Curacoa there were lots of boats out tonight. There are between 7-9 freighters within a 10 mile radius of SK right now.

At 0710 the next morning we were tied to the customs dock at Bacadera Harbour, by 0800 we were on our way again to the Marina where Stray Kitty will live for the next month. The marina was not ready for us, so we went back out and anchored by the airport for the night. The next day we motored over to the Marina and took our slip. We saw the mega yachet "Double Haven" docked across from us. Sure feel small when you see a boat like that, it is 167 feet long. Here are a few pictures from our slip in Aruba.