Thursday, April 26, 2007


Upon leaving Grenada we had decided to keep in touch with Barry and Candy from Syrius along the way, keeping close and watching out for any fast moving speed boats moving towards us in the dark. Piracy happens all the time in the area so we kept a nervous watch all night. The day prior to our departure some boats approached us to join them in their flotilla to Isla Margarita. We graciously declined but said we preferred to sail our boat at our own speed but would listen out for them along the way in case there were any problems. One of the boats decided to be the flagship and ignore our and Syrius’s independence and proceeded to motor sail a rhumb line for Margarita. They came on the radio every so often telling us that we were not where we were supposed to be, not sure where that was. We arrived on the same day but later in the afternoon to a cold shoulder from SV Jade Moon and then renamed them Jaded Moon. Oh well. There goes our invite to dinner. Some people sail their own vessel and others cannot go anywhere without an armada.

After checking in we proceeded to a modern supermarket and bought loads of lovely fresh veggies, fish, fruit and meat. The total was so low that we thought they had made a mistake. The prices were so low after the windward islands that we felt we had earned an extra income. More money for beer. Yippee. Except for imported goods, then they’re twice as much. Here are some examples. A 1.75 liter bottle of rum $3.50 US, case of beer $4.50, eating out for two $3-7. Heaven. It was a great place to hang out and chill for a while with a lot of cultural events. We even went to orchestral performance one night; a friend was playing the violin.

One of our favourite restaurants was right on the beach and you could bring your dingy right up to the front. It was called ‘La Totuma del Pescador’. Here is where the local people eat and it is shaded by palm trees with hammocks where you can sleep after lunch. They would bring out a platter of freshly caught fish and ask you to choose which one you wanted and then cook it to perfection for about $1. Beers were 20c. An old man, who sat on the beach all day, would offer his services as protector of the dinghies for a small tip. Such a cool place, so far our favourite.

Isla Margarita was not an option as the anchorages and marina was too exposed for our liking. Also theft was rampant especially the dinghy’s and outboard motors. Any dingy left in the water at night was stolen. Puerto La Cruz was our best option so we found a slip in the Bahia Redonda marina for 3 months. Venezuela was not the safest country in the world and Puerto La Cruz less so. Right outside the marina is one of the poorest areas and was not safe to walk around. A few people had been held up at gunpoint and robbed so we took taxis everywhere. The taxi even had to be let in through the gate before you could get in. We also made sure we dressed casually whenever we went anywhere and removed any jewelry. We tried to dress like the locals also especially Dimitri and in fact his dark coloring made him even less conspicuous. The boaters that continued to look like boaters, sandals, baggy shorts, t shirts and baseball caps were always having problems. They stand out like George Bush at a peace rally.

The marina was pretty luxurious compared to some places we had been. There was a lovely swimming pool, bar/restaurant, travel agent and gift store. All for $280 a month including cable and air-conditioning. We returned from Italy, repaired, provisioned and buggered off. We didn’t go to Angel Falls, would have been nice but we wanted to be on the water again. Venezuela would be a great country for cruising but it’s plagued by piracy and has such a blasé attitude towards crime when it came to foreigners. The president Chavez even said he doesn’t care about tourism or tourists. We heard that last year at the Bahia Redonda marina a few men with masks and guns broke in and held the marina hostage. They shot the Manager and started robbing any boat they could get into. I don’t think anything was done about it. We were glad to leave.


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