Monday, 28 July 2014

21/2014 Los Roques, Aves & Bonaire

Hi from Clare,                      Sunday 27th July 2014
Our last Blog 'Farewell to Grenada' was written sixteen days ago. Since then we have been very busy sailing to Bonaire via the Venezuelan Islands of Los Roques and Aves and settling into a hectic pace in Bonaire.

Beach at the Aves

Woohoo Wahoo

The Swim Party

Champagne for everyone

The diving is spectacular

Our anchorage
Martin and Andrew overlook the 1000 steps dive site

Mainstreet Bonaire

Clare and Ellen
Andrew on SCUBA
Thomas the turtle

In Grenada there is much talk within the cruising community as to whether it was safe to visitthe Venezuelan Island. The concern is thereported inconsistent treatment of cruisers entering the country by the Authorities and also the reports of piracy. Conversely there are also many trouble free reports from cruisers who have anchored in the islands.

So with this in mind we left Grenada Saturday morning 12th July. We considered stopping at the island of Blanquila but we continued on as we had 3.75 knots of current running with us and flat seas. Our speed over ground was just over 10 knots; we have never had such a terrific ride. The entire 360 mile trip to Bonaire was dream sailing. A wonderful trip made perfect by catching two succulent Wahoo along the way.

We anchored overnight at Los Roques Grand and then Sarqui and then at Isla Sur in the Aves. We felt 100 % safe and there were a surprising number of cruising yachts present. The Venezuelan Coast Guard flew over and circled Eye Candy on the first day of our passage but apart from that the local authorities, fishing vessels and general public disregarded us. The islands are pristine and very beautiful with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches; a little piece of heaven.

We arrived in Bonaire on Wednesday afternoon and since then it has been nonstop. We are on a mooring ball next to our Dutch friends Martin and Ellen on Acapella. They love visiting here and feel at home as Bonaire is part of the Netherlands. Dutch is one of the main languages spoken on the Island and the main supermarket Van Der Tweels has many Dutch culinary treats.Thanksto Ellen we have already discovered caramel flavored Stroopwafels, Muesli Buns and red cabbage with apple; all very delicious. Shopping is made easy as Van Der Tweels runs a free courtesy bus to and from the marina via the anchorage twice a week.

Also in Bonaire we caught up with English friends Mark and Sue on 'Macushla' and Richard and Rowena on 'Galene'. At present there are only sixteen yachts here and so after a little more than a week we know everyone by name. Since we arrived we have participated in dinners, happy hours and we have enjoyed five dives and snorkeling. We hired a car with Ellen and Martin and circumnavigated the island to see the sights and explore some of the history. On Friday we had a swim party organized by Martin and Ellenwhich involved swimming to the island of Klein Bonaire, 2.5k away and then a pot luck picnic on the beach. Last night we had farewell drinks on Eye Candy with Mark and Sue as they are flying out to England for three weeks.  

We have many photos from around the island which I will publish with explanation over the coming weeks.
Love Candy xx

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Saturday, 12 July 2014

20/2014 Farewell to Grenada

Hi from Clare,                                            Friday 11th July, 2014

This is just a quick note to say that we are off to Bonaire tomorrow morning. Our six weeks in Grenada has been very social with many meals and drinks out. It’s time now for us to go on a health kick. Hopefully in Bonaire with all the wonderful dive sites, we will engage in more exercise.  However with the number of cruisers we already know in Bonaire, it may be a case of out of the fryingpan and into the fire.
Out to dinner with Feijao and Agua Therapy

View from the Grenada YC from where we are sending this post
The trip to Bonaire is three hundred and eighty miles and the weather is looking favorable for a good downwind trip.Our cruising friends who are already in Bonaire say the fish life is plentiful and stepping off the back of the boat is like stepping into an aquarium.

We are looking forward to the diving and I am eager to try out my underwater camera. In fact in a few weeks I’m hoping that you are all sick of looking at photos of fish. Wouldn’t that be something!

Love Candy xx

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

19/2014 Still Grenada

Hi from Clare,                                   1st July 2014

So we have been in Grenada for just over a month and I am nearly going stir crazy. This is probably the first time in our cruising nine years that we have stayed in the one place for this length of time. We are a bit restless as we are eager to move on to Bonaire. If we intended staying in Grenada for the entire hurricane season I guess we would form a circle of friends, get into a routine and select activities to keep us occupied.

We have caught up with a number of friends, some we haven't seen for years like our Kiwi mates Mark and Amanda on 'Balvenie'. Unfortunately they were only in Grenada for a short while before flying out, however we did manage a share some time together. We have also caught up with American friends Walt and Meryl on 'Flying Cloud' who are on their way to Trinidad to haul out. Our English friends Phil and Monica on 'Miss Molly' are here in Grenada along with British friends Don and Glenys on 'Agua Therapy'. When we go to Bonaire we will catch up with English friends Mark and Sue on 'Macushla'. All these friends we met in the Med and so we have some shared history. It is good to catch up and hear of their experiences, some are happy to continue cruising and some have had enough. We have also met many other cruisers here in Grenada and it is surprising how many Aussie boats are here; we are certainly not short of company.

We went on a day tour of the island calling into a small chocolate factory and a rum factory. Grenada is called the Spice Island there are many tropical fruits and spices growing prolifically. The countryside is very lush and hilly which at times it was quite a challenge for our small minivan with its human cargo crammed inside.

Lunch at the Chocolate Factory
Old sugar factory
Chocolate Factory

On Sunday we went to the small village of Gouyave on the west coast for their annual fisherman's picnic. The morning started with the blessing of the fleet and then a street party in the afternoon. Approximately fifty cruisers joined in with the locals for the street party but unfortunately it was a rainy afternoon and so we stood huddled under verandahs or whatever protection we could find. We caught the first minivan home which left at 6pm. It was quite a trip around the cliff face on steep winding roads. We got home safe and sound just on dark. One of the other minivans which left later in the evening managed to clip two cars on the way home. There's something to be said for leaving in daylight.

Kids at the street party

Fishermans house
The Fishing Co-op in Gouyave

If the current weather pattern stays the same we will leave for Bonaire later this week. It is approximately 350 miles and although we have the opportunity to stop overnight in the Venezuelan Islands we might sail straight through.

Love Candy xx

At 1:19 AM10/06/2014 (utc) our position was 11°59.63'N 061°45.71'W

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