Thursday, July 27, 2006

El Aniversario feliz a Kim y Miguel

Happy Anniversary to Kim & Michael :)

Hoy es el cuarto aniversario de nuestra primera fecha en el Monterrey, California. ¡Aquí está a 100 más años! !!!

Today is the fourth anniversary of our first date in Monterey, California. Here's to many, many more!!!!

Chao, Kim and Mike

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Amber

Happy Birthday Amber (Kim's Niece)..hope you have a great birthday and sorry we're not there to celebrate with you. I don't have a picture of you to put on the web-- sorry, Sheri you'll have to email me one :))) Love you and have a great birthday...Love Kim and Mike

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Puerto La Cruz and Barcelona, Venezuela


Hola amigos - It is the rainy season in Venezuela, and right now it is raining hard!! So it's a good time to finish updating the web. We took a half day tour about a week after we arrived with Ken and Roberta on Second Wind. We went with Andreas who is a taxi driver here at Bahia Redondo. There are several taxi drivers here, and they just work with the cruisers. They take you wherever you need to go to get the best deals on supplies and they translate for you, they do day or half day tours as well. They are all very nice. We went with Andreas on this day, but we usually go with Raul when we need to go shopping for boat items.

We started with a view from the top of Cerro el Morro looking back at the city of Puerto La Cruz and the marina Bahia Redondo. Andreas then took us through Puerto La Cruz and Barcelona. We travelled through Lecheria to Barcelona. Lecheria is a fair size city, but it used to be home to dairy farms - so the name Lecheria (leche is milk).

We stopped at an art musuem in Lecheria. Casa Musueo Excultor Dimitrios Demu (Casa Museo is Home Museum). Dimitrios was a sculptor. He was born in Greece and imigrated to Romania in 1928. He left Romania in 1964 - going back to his homeland in Greece, then on to Venezuela in 1965. We were not allowed to take pictures in the museum, but we got a few before we found out. I tried to look him up on the internet, but only found the sites in spanish. You might want to look on the web and see if you can find something, he was a very interesting man. The work that made him famous as a sculptor in Bucharest was the statue of Stalin. He entered a contest to create a sculptor of Stalin and won. Everything in the museum was created by Dimitrios. He also did paintings and stained glass. He was a big believer in UFO's and alien life forms and his work shows this.

Our next stop was Barcelona which is the capital of the state of Anzoategui. Barcelona has a population of 300.000 people. We went to Central Barcelona where they have several plazas and many buildings with colonial architecture. The historic quarter has been partly restored and whitewashed throughout and the architecture styles date from many different periods. The city's historic center, Plaza boyaca, has a statue of General Jose Antonio Anzoategui who was born Barcelona. General Anzoategui served under Bolivar. Bolivar achieved freedom for Venezuela and is greatly admired by all. Anzoategui was the one who freed Columbia. In every city in Venezuela you will find a plaza named Plaza Bolivar - it is rare to have any other plaza's named for other people, however, since Anzoategui was born in Barcelona and was highly regarded by Bolivar he is honored with a plaza and a statue.

Overlooking the plaza is the cathedral built a century after the town's founding. There is also another church overlooking it (the light green one) but we did not get any history on that.

We did go into a Theatre (Teatro) that was being restored - it was built in the 1890's.

Andrea, our guide, grew up in this area of the city. He showed us a house similiar to his. You walk in a door, through a hallway to another door, where the people could look out and see who you were. Hundreds of years ago, if they saw you and youu were not friendly they could shoot you and you would have no way to escape, except down the hall. His house was very old. Inside the house, there are bedrooms that surround an outdoor patio and the kitchen was in the rear of the building to keep the heat out. The walls and floors are made of concrete which kept is amazingly cool inside. There was also a false roof in one room of the house, where they could hide, in the old days, from intruders or attackers.

We visited the Museo de Anzoategui in the town's oldest building, it has objects related to Barcelona's history. The picture to the left is Ken from Second Wind and the portrait behind him is General Anzoategui. The museum housed different cultural artifacts, but again we were not allowed to take pictures - but we got a couple in. The statues at the right are saints in the Catholic religions. The left most saint statue in the picture has bendable body parts. This would allow the women to dress a particular saint for religious ceremonies. The women that dressed the saints were women that had not married by the time they were 25 years old. If they had not married by then - they would not ever be married, so they dressed the saints......
The other picture is of native indians. When they died they were burried close to their family dwelling. The indians believed that you went to purgatory before going to either heaven or hell. They believed it took up to ten years to get to either place, so they buried you for ten years. After those ten years they figured your soul had either gone to heaven or hell and you did not need your physical body anymore - so they dug you up and cremated you in a pot. The cremation pot you see in the picture was one that was actually used. Below are more pictures around the Plaza.

Our final stop for the day was lunch at a local restaurant. The restaurant is located just down the street from the marina. This is the last one in a row and there are approximately 12-14 little restaurants under the same roof and they all serve the same thing, so the women stand out there and try to coax you into coming in to there spot. They are very nice about it, the ladies just stand out there whistling and motioning you to come over. We went to one of the first ones and it was an experience. Mike had seafood soup and the rest of us had seafood Paella - Mike was the only one to finish his, ours was very fishy...there is another restaurant closer to the marina that we have tried and it was very good. Kim ordered the fish and got a red snapper, whole except the eyes were gone, deep fried skin and all....she ate it all though it was very delicious. The little girl in the picture was quite a ham she was very happy to have here picture taken.

Chao from Bahia Redonda, Miguel and Kim on Ka'imi

Happy Birthdays

Buenas amigos, it seems that Michael has been very forgetful about his family's birthdays - however, after cutting his blond locks yesterday, he suddenly remembered dates, times and places...amazing.

Actually, we emailed his sister Robin who sent us the Birthday list, thank you Robin. She happens to be one that we missed -oopss. So

Happy belated birthday to ROBIN and LESLIE - Mikes sisters. Steve didn't have a birthday yet, but he was in the picture :))

Monday, July 17, 2006

Margarita, Cubagua and Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela

Eh, tu! Que onda?

Here's the rest of our trip to Puerto La Cruz. We were at sea most of the time, so no on land pics. We left Lost Testigos on June 28th at 6:00 AM heading for Porlamar, Margarita. The winds were very light so we did a lot of motoring. We would of sailed but we wanted to arrive before dark and stay together with the other boats as we were getting closer to the mainland. We spotted a lot of little fishing boats in route - and we caught a fish!!! It was a Wahoo, very delicious.

We arrived in Margarita at 4:30 PM (16:30). Margarita is Venezuela's largest offshore island - and it's duty free. Many Venezuelians go their for holiday and to enjoy the duty free prices. We did stock up on some provisions there and the prices were great. We had planned to stay a few more days but a tropical wave was heading our way. If we waited for it to pass we would have had to stay for another week. The wind looked good so we decided to leave on July 1. When we checked in at Margarita, we did an international check in and a national check in - we also checked out at the same time - otherwise we might have been delayed for another week. We heard many stories of people still waiting for there clearance papers. There is no guarantee of anything in Venezuela - part of the excitement :)

We left Porlamar, Margarita at 10:30 AM heading for Cubagua to overnight and shorten the trip to Puerto La Cruz. We arrived at 2:50 PM (14:50). When Christoper Columbus was in Peninsula de Paria (on the mainland of Venezuela) he saw some natives with pearls and spread the word. Within a year Christobal De LaGuerra and Pedro Alfonso Nino found that the source of the pearls to be the pearl beds off Cubagua. In 1492 fortune hunters arrived and founded Nueva Cadiz on the east side of the island. They took Indians as slaves and forced them to dive for pearls. They worked them so hard, whipping them when they would not dive, that hundreds of Indians died. At the height of the pearling industry Cubagua pearls provided Spain with a wealth almost equal to that of the gold transported from Inca lands. In one year alone Cubagua exported 820 pounds of pearls.

In 1520, 300 Indians attacked the town and forced the Spaniards to leave. The Spaniards came back in force and rebuilt the town fortifying their houses againsts attack. A fort was also built over on the mainland to secure a water supply. After about 20 years the pearls decreased and new beds were sought in Coche and Cumana. On Christmas day in 1541 an earthquake and tidal wave destroyed Nueva Cadiz. Now Cubagua is uninhabited except for a small research station and a few fishing camps. We do not know what the research station is for, but we anchored in front of the fishing camps. We left early the next morning at 6:00 AM heading for Puerto La Cruz, so we did not get a chance to explore the ruins of the pearl farms.

Sunday, July 2, we headed out for Puerto La Cruz, our final destination in Venezuela. The winds were again very light and we ended up motoring or motor sailing most of the way. We saw dolphins on this leg of the trip, but could not get good photos. Two of them came right up to our bow and swam under our boat then left. We saw many large tankers our there, this one coming pretty close. You have to keep a good eye, they sneak up right behind you :0....

The offshore islands of Venezuela were very beautiful and

We arrived in Puerto La Cruz on Sunday about 4:30 PM (16:30) and put Ka'imi in a slip for the first time. Captain Mike did an exceptional job as usual!!!! We will take some pictures of the boat in the slip and show you in another posting.

Es un lugar barbaro! Hasta luego, Miguel and Kim

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Los Testigos, Venezuela

Hola de Venezuela - double click on any picture to enlarge it.

First Happy Birthday to Kim's niece Jennifer - love you and miss you - hope you had the best birthday and that Seth and Alexandra are taking care of you :) Happy Birthday to Alexandra too...give her a hug and kiss for me and make sure you show her and Seth pictures so they know us when we see them again :))....

We are in Bahia Redonda Marina, Venezuela. We will be here through November of this year, doing some maintenance work on the boat and going through our wish list of projects. We will show you photos as we complete them.

We left St. George, Grenada on June 24, 2006 at 5:30 PM (17:30) for an overnight sail to Los Testigos, Venezuela. We arrived at 9:00 AM. Los Testigos (The Witnesses) are a group of islands with about 160 inhabitants who live by fishing. They were some of the nicest people we have met so far. They were very tolerant that we knew only a little (um poco) spanish and helped us figure it out. They are on the island year round and have a school and church. Cruisers are among the very few outsiders that the locals see and they enjoy our visiting. For shopping and holidays they go over to Carupano about 41 miles away on the mainland of Venezuela in their pirogues (boats). The water was slightly chilly compared to the Caribbean, very refreshing and crystal clear.

There are cinco (5) islas (islands) and several anchorages in the Testigos. There is a small coastguard outpost on Isla Iguana where you have to check in. One guardia spoke fair english and we managed to get permission to stay for 3 days. We anchored at Playa Tamarindo on Isla Langoleta. There was a lighthouse on a hill 817 feet up that we climbed up for an incredible view. There were also sand dunes on this isla on the other side that we hiked to, we didn't bring the camera for that one.

There was a restaurant/bar there - just an outside patio with a small kitchen attached were we met the owner Chucha, here husband and kids. They had great fish there and cold, cold beers. Chucha did not speak english but we communicated very well - she even sat down and played dominoes with us one day and bocci ball another day. She had a monkey that she kept in a tree next to the restaurant and a dog without hair (that breed of dog does not have hair). They also captured some baby turtles when they hatched and were raising them to release once they were big enough.

Here's a picture of a sunset at Los Testigos - these islas were very beautiful and we wished we could of stayed longer - but you can only stay a maximum of 3 days and we had to go with our weather window.

Adios! Nos mantendremos en contacto! Miguel and Kim

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