Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kristopher, Isla Los Tortuga and Venezuela

Double click on any photo to enlarge.

Hola from Venezuela. We are still here in Bahia Redonda Marina. Kristopher arrived tired but happy.

The first thing he did is exchange some money...he is now a Bolivars that is, the exchange rate is 2,500 B's per $1.00 US dollar from the black market, which we use. The regular rate is currently 2,100 B's. But everybody uses the black market, it's just another business here. It is very hard to carry around all that cash, but you really shouldn't use your credit or debit cards here and forget about travellers checks - nobody accepts them. He is now safely on a plane home. We had a great visit and a wonderful trip to Isla Los Tortugas. Kim's sister and her husband come in about two weeks, when we will set out again for Los Tortugas. Until then we plan on taking it easy and doing just a few simple boat projects.

We left the Marina at 12:00 midnight heading for Los Tortugas. We passed through the pirate islands very quietly. When we set our sails, we had the pleasure of seeing dolphins at our bow and under our boat, they were luminiscent in the dark sea. We couldn't capture it on film, or the wild thunderstorms that were directly in front of us.

At the first sign of light Kim and Kristopher threw their fishing lines in and we caught a huge Mahi Mahi (Dorado) about 30 lbs were guessing. Kristopher fileted it and we had Mahi Mahi for 2 dinners and lots of sandwiches - it was FANTASTIC. The Mahi Mahi is such a beautiful fish. Before we pulled it in it was bright yellow in color, then it turned white with blue dots and lastly green.

We arrived at Isla Los Tortugas about 10:30 am, and were very happy to jump into the crystal clear water. Los Tortugas is basically deserted. It does have seasonal fisherman that stay on the island and an airstrip that brings visitors for the day. It also has a few National Guardia on the island and for the first time we had them actually come on our boat. Everything went well, they just wrote our names down on a piece of paper and said welcome. Our first anchorage was Playa Caldera and the water was clear but not much coral, so the snorkeling was not that great. We saw a catamaran that had gone aground on the reef. We don't know what happened yet, but we did hear distress calls on the radio a few weeks earlier. They were trying to get someone from the mainland to come out and help. The boat was stripped, but we do not know the complete story of what happened. The beaches at Playa Caldera were long, white and hot. They were great for walking. We had to stay an extra day and night in Playa Caldera because a Tropical Wave came through with some high winds. We had a long, somewhat sleepless night, because the wind shifted and our boat would have headed right into the reef if our anchor had not held. By morning the winds were still high, but in the light of day, handling any situation is much easier. We had a kick back day and headed out for Las Tortuguillas the next morning.

Las Tortuguillas (The Little Turtles) are two deserted islands with great beaches and GREAT snorkeling. We did run into some bugs on one of the beaches that made us run back to the dinghy and head out to sea. We only spent a day here because we had to get back, but are looking forward to returning to this anchorage when Kim's sister comes to visit.

When we came back to the mainland, we took Kristopher to see a little of the city. We had an incredible lunch where Raul (taxi driver), Mike and Kristopher pulled a fast one on Kim and hide when she went to the restroom. When she came out all the waiters and manager were standing there asking her to pay the bill - and they didn't speak much english.....They stood laughing behind the wall......aye ya ya.....

Ciao Kim and Mike on Ka'imi

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bahia Redonda, Venezuela


Hola everyone, we are here in Bahia Redonda Marina in Venezuela.

We have been doing projects on the boat and getting ready for our company coming to visit. Kristopher, Kim's son, is coming to visit August 18th and he will be here until the end of August. Then Linda and Tom, Kim's sister and her husband are coming to visit the last two weeks in September. We are going to go to Los Tortugas, an island about 62 miles off the coast of Venezuela, with both of them so we can share some photos of that island and the visit. We are very excited to get out and sail, we are missing the traveling life :)

For now we thought we would show you some pictures of the Marina and the area we are in, Bahia Redonda Marina. There are several Marinas in the area, Bahia Redonda is the first one, right on the other side of the breakwater. It's the largest facility and has a capacity for 150 boats up to 100 ft. long. We have a swimming pool, a restaurant and bar, a little store, a laundry, marine stores and sail makers all on-site. Just outside the gate are local eating places where you can get fish and chicken.

The canals were man made and are lined with big houses and townhome complexes. We take the dinghy through these canals to get to the mall and grocery store.

The bad news here, is that we are not able to buy fuel for 25 cents a gallon. In order for us to get fuel we have to use american dollars and pay about $1.90 dollar a gallon and drive the boat to Puerto La Cruz. This is crazy because we have a fuel dock about 200 yards from the boat. This is supposedly because big foreign flagged ships were coming in and filling up with fuel then leaving and selling it. Somehow the little pleasure cruisers are getting caught up in it. We're not sure though, someone is making money on the american dollar. Anyway, we have managed to get some fuel through a different source's all about bribery in this country, from the Policia, National Guardia and well, everybody!!

Better news - Kristopher has arrived. Here is a picture of him at the airport with our taxi driver Raul. He will be here for a couple weeks. We are heading out tomorrow night to Los Tortugas where will spend some time snorkeling and exploring the different anchorages. The beaches are supposed to be white sand and really beautiful. The only people living there are seasonal fisherman, we will get fish from them if we don't catch any on our own.

Here's a picture of Kristopher with his girlfriend Amber and her dog Pu Pu.

Ciao, Mike and Kim

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Michael

Happy Birthday Mike!!

Love you.....Kim

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Steve

Happy Birthday to Mike's brother Steve, hope you have a great one. Will talk to you soon.

Cheers Mike and Kim

(Pic: Steve and Granddaughter Hannah)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Bobby

Happy Birthday to Mike's brother Bobby, remember to tell Steve, Robin and Leslie that your still in your 40's :) you and miss you, Cheers your bro Mike and Kim.

(Picture: Matt-Bobby's son, Taylor-Matt's daughter/Bobby's granddaughter and Bobby)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Aunt Mardy

Heart breaking news, my aunt Mardy has passed away at 86. She's the last sister on my mom's side of the family. The memories I remember the most are when my aunts and uncle got together there was joking and roaring laughter nonstop. This was their trademark, my dad would jokingly say, heee gods your mothers sisters are coming they're going to be up all night giggling!

To Aunt Mardy, Aunt Philis, Aunt Tootie and my Mom Weedie & Dad Bob you will forever be in our hearts

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