Monday, April 23, 2007

Saturday 14th April

At Sea

We began our day with the decision to take the dink ashore and go for a walk along the beach. It was a picture perfect day, beautiful blue sky and fantastic pale blue sea framed by the white sand on the beach. Gerry got the dink off the deck attached the outboard and prepared everything for the ride ashore whilst I downloaded pictures from the camera onto the computer and typed up some blog notes. Then with camera in hand we took the dink on a ride around the perimeter of the bay, scaring the pelicans and snapping photos of the deserted fishing shacks as we went. Once we reached the spit at the furthest point away from our boat we beached the dink, hauling it far enough out of the water to ensure that it wouldn’t drift away without us (we didn’t need to make fools of ourselves by loosing the dink!) and began to walk along the spit. The view was spectacular on both sides; contrasting blues and greens of the water, different kinds of sand on each side, one side had more shells and gravel than the other, small areas of reef visible on both sides and all divided by a low lying sand spit which was about 50 yards long. We reached the end where the water from either side met and made our way back to the dink. We were a bit disappointed to find empty plastic containers of engine oil strewn along the beach farthest away from the bay where we were anchored; it somehow ruined the whole scene. We re launched the dink and made our way to the fishing shacks for a look and a second walk along that part of the beach. Our cruising guide said that the shacks were always occupied but there was no evidence of any recent occupation. We stopped at several of them and took pictures as they were a great study in contrasts. One of them had a shrine inside it, we think it was to the Virgin Mary – but couldn’t be certain. It was quite elaborate and had various offerings inside it, including some money in a dish – I was surprised that it had remained there. Anyway as we walked further along the beach we came across another shrine on the beach, also quite elaborate and again with offerings inside it – no money in this one but there was a fresh apple there, obviously someone had left that very recently, it may have been a fisherman or a passing boat we will never know but the shrines are evidently cared for by somebody. After taking even more photos we made our way back out to the boat and secured the dink back on the foredeck. It was then time for a swim to cool off and get some exercise, we raced over to Dale and Lorie’s boat where we rested and chatted with them for a while then we raced back to our own boat. We had had a change of plan instead of leaving early and anchoring outside the reef we were going to leave at 20.00hrs and head straight out as our out bound passage took us away from the reef that we had dodged on the way in. After showering and changing into dry clothes it was time for some lunch, reading of books and a short sleep before the overnight sail to Los Roques. As the afternoon wore on several boats joined us in the harbour, most of them were flying Venezuelan flags and we think that they must come to this anchorage for a week end stay, it is after all a beautiful spot for a short stay. We had an easy dinner in the cockpit and watched the sun go down; it was pitch black as we readied the boat for our overnight trip. At 20.00hrs Gypsy Palace began to motor out of the harbour with us following about 10 minutes after them. We both put up our main sails and shortly after our jib, turned off the motor and began sailing. We managed to sail all night, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing but we got along at an average speed of 6 knots making it to the outskirts of Los Roques by mid morning. Again we dragged the fishing line behind us, mostly to keep the fish amused I think as none of them were interested in becoming part of our dinner. At least we didn’t loose the lure this time!



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