Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holidays in Bonaire

In 1945 Columbus lost his exclusive rights to explore the new world, after a falling out with Queen Isabella. The new world and the Caribbean, became open territory and Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci were first to explore the region. Alonso de Ojeda previously lieutenant to Columbus, was the first to discover Bonaire in 1499. We arrived in Bonaire on December 6, 2006, in time to enjoy Christmas and New Years with friends on the Island. We picked a mooring at the very end, the picture is a pan of what we see on the island from our boat.

We spent Christmas Eve on our friends boat South of Reality. We had a potluck dinner, gift exchange and at dusk we motored their catamaran up and down the anchorage singing Christmas Carols, we had a great evening. For Christmas we all went to the Flamingo Resort for a buffet dinner. The pictures: in the green elf hats are Ken and Roberta our friends from Second Wind (Tony from World Citizen in the background) and in the red Santa hats our hosts Byron and Denise from South of Reality.

We also had a sail on World Citizen with some friends. The pictures are: Linda and Hutch, Sandcastle, Byron and Denise, South of Reality, Bert, Not So Interim, Grace, Andrea Lee, Sharon, Pelican's Flight, Mike, Ka'imi, Ken, Second Wind, (Denise again) Kim, Ka'imi, Jim, Pelican's Flight, Roberta, Second Wind.

For New Years, they had an incredible fireworks show. We went aboard Sandcastle, to bring in the New Year. There were fireworks from one end of the island to the other. This is the last year that it will be legal for people to buy and set off fireworks, so they sold all of them cheap and everyone had them.

Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season. Bye for now, Mike and Kim

Aves De Sotavento

Our last stop before we get to Bonaire is Aves Do Sotavento. We arrive and overnight there. We left at dawn the next morning, but we still had an adventure there. The snorkeling was pretty good right off the boat. We had the anchorage all to ourselves, and the holding was GREAT. The island was a long white beach with a palm tree on it, our favorite. We thought that we might bypass the Coasta Guardia here, but they came out to us!!!! They wanted to come aboard, so we said okay....they didn't speak much English, however, with our limited espaniol and their limited english...we actually communicated quite well. They became extremely nice when Mike asked if he could take their picture, there was lots of posing. We enjoyed meeting them.

We snorkled, went to sleep and left early the next day, to arrive in Bonaire in the early light of day. The sail to Bonaire was excellent, we flew the spinnaker until we got to island. The seas started to build as we got closer to the island, but with the spinnaker we were still handling it all quite well. Once we turned the corner of the island, we had a wonderful sail, even when the winds kicked up to 30+ knots. The island shields the seas so it was a nice run, except that we had to pick up a mooring ball. In that kind of wind - seas or not - it ain't easy. We finally found a mooring and were very happy that Pizzazz a boat anchored here got in their dinghy to help us get the mooring. These moorings are very easy to pick up but with 26 knots of wind on your nose it was hairy ball weiner - as Tim McCurdy would say - so we are in Bonaire, safe, sound and diving like maniacs. Life is GOOD :)

Till next time, Mike and Kim

Aves de Barlavento


Our next stop was Aves de Barlavento. We finally brought the spinnaker out and we had about 3-4 knots of wind and we were traveling about 6 - 6.5 knots Speed over Ground. It was great and we used it for most of the sailing out here as it was all downwind and light air.

There are two separate little island archipelagos, separated by about 10 miles of deep water. They got their name from the large number of birds that make them their home. The birds live in the dense mangrove forests on the large island Isla Sur. It is a horseshoe reef that gives protection to the two islands and a few smaller cays. The bird-life on the southern island is pretty cool. There are hundreds of birds in the trees, adults and babies. The majority are various species of booby, but there are also seabirds and herons and we did see a pelican or two. Every dawn and dusk the birds climb out of the trees to feed and it is a sight to see. We couldn't really capture it on the camera, but imagine hundreds of birds setting out from the trees and flying around. They would sometimes find an updraft from the island and you could see them spiraling upwards, trying to find another wind draft. They did most of the hunting on the other side in the sea, so we didn't see that. But the flying was incredible.

There were many fishing boats here and we traded for red snapper once, for a very small bottle of rum (1 pint) and a small pack of cigarettes. We had about 8 red snapper on the deck and Mike kept saying no more - we can't eat that many. But he fried them in beer batter and they were great. It was a good thing too - we were getting low on food. Kim even had to bake some bread.

We did explore the whole island - it was pretty amazing. We found a rock sculpture, and the windward side was just as beautiful and the leeward side.

There was a little water inlet off the windward side. The terrain was mostly stickery plants so we had to be careful. We didn't go too close to the mangroves because we didn't want to upset the birds nesting with their young.

This little needle nose fish stood guard on our anchor rode. He was there everyday with his buddy who we didn't get a picture of. We also had little baby squids under the boat. There was some great snorkeling here. We saw some very big squid, a few great barracudas , some giant midnight queen fish and some very friendly cow fish. We did not get any pictures of these, you'll have to look them up or wait till we post some of the Bonaire underwater shots and we will try to get some of these species to show you.

We had a wonderful time here and were by ourselves in most of the anchorages for the first time - truly alone. We took advantage of it and made ourselves comfortable :)...we used lots of sunscreen.

Til the next island...Mike and Kim on Ka'imi

Los Roques

Hello all, we are still here in Bonaire and finally getting a chance to update the website. Our first stop after leaving Venezuela was the Tortugas. We only stayed a few nights, once in the first anchorage and two nights in the last anchorage Los Tortuguillas. We had to stay an extra night there as our windlass solenoid had a malfunction and we had to connect it directly. We now have to operate the windlass from down below until we can get the problem solved.

Los Roques is made of about 14 by 25 miles of protected, reef-studded water with lots of little islands. The area is very poorly charted so our navigation was mainly by eyeball. The holding was good, the water was beautiful and the anchorages were very secluded for the most part. Los Roques is supposed to have the best bone fishing in the world! There were many fisherman and we managed to trade for some lobster.

We entered Los Roques through the southeast entrance, Boca De Sebastopol. It was pretty nerve wracking trying to enter through a small clearing, as I said before the charts are very bad and we had to do eyeball navigation. The depth at the entrance is 20 feet, then it shoals to about 16 feet (eeeeek) then you are in deep blue water 30-60 feet deep. There is a path of this deep water with reefs on either side. Our first stop when we got into Los Roques was Buchiyaco. It is a very small islands just inside the reef. We stayed here overnight and then headed out. We went for the deep water channel, put the genoa up and had a beautiful, slow sail up through the channel with beautiful reefs and tiny islands surrounding us.

Our next stop was Crasqui. This little island had the best beach, it was very long, powdery white and hot! There had been a resort on the island, but the Inparques (National Park Personnel) closed it in an effort to preserve the natural state of the island. The island is also very popular with Venezuelans who come over in power boats on the weekend. There were some Venezuelan children here the weekend we arrived and they made this great sandcastle. By Monday we nearly had the anchorage to ourselves. We stayed here about a week and most of the time we were the only boat in the anchorage. There was not much snorkeling here, but we explored the whole island and actually went around the entire island in our dinghy. We really enjoyed this solitude after being in Venezuela for so many months. We finally felt like we were cruising again. The waters were crystal clear and just a little chill to cool you down. There were lots of pelicans in this anchorage, and everywhere in Los Roques, but in Crasqui we got daily shows of the pelicans flying and catching there food. It was a great sight and we sat for hours on the shoreline watching. This beach was also a great beach for Bocci Ball, you could go on forever. We stayed here about a week, then headed over to Sarqui.

Sarqui is a small anchorage that can fit a few boats. When we arrived there were 6 boats!! We came to this anchorage because we had heard that there was some great snorkeling here and our friends who had traveled here before us said that they had caught some Lobster. The anchorage was surrounded by reefs and the holding was very poor and it was crowded so we only stayed the night. We ran in to our old friends Tom and Colleen on Unplugged and had a game of Bocci Ball and a Happy Hour that night - then headed out the next morning.

We headed for a little archipelago that consists of four islands, Elbert Cay, Bequeve, West Cay and Cayo de Agua (and a LOT of reefs). Our first anchorage was at Bequeve which is joined to Elbert Cay by a sand dune. We anchored right were this two islands join. It was picture perfect. We did have to wind our way through the coral reefs and our hearts were thumping as we watched to water and the depth guage. Kim stood guard on the pulpit and Captain Mike did a EXCELLENT job of navigating us in safely. Ashore there were miles of sand beach to explore and the snorkeling was not soo bad. There were also lots of birds there.

We stayed there a few days then headed across the bay, through another maze of coral reefs to the anchorage called Cayo De Agua. It had sand dunes, palm groves, mangrove trees, lagoons and water holes. They say you can get dig to get fresh water here. Cayo De Agua got its name because there is lots of fresh water a few fet down and it was an invaluable supply to the Amerindians, fisherman and the occasional desperate cruiser. The snorkeling and exploring here was great. There is a sand bar that connects Cayo De Agua with West Cay and you can cross it a low tide. We did that to visit the lighthouse. There were lots of fish here and beautiful beaches.

Bye for now Mike and Kim on Ka'imi

Friday, December 08, 2006


Bon Bini (hello), from Bonaire. We arrived December 6th and are very happy to be hear. We had our first dive this morning, the diving here is GREAT!!!!! We will update soon with pictures of the Venezuela out islands, Los Rosques and the Aves. We had a wonderful time with anchorages all to ourselves for weeks!!!!! We are glad to be here -- the provisions were running low.

More later, Mike and Kim

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