Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Few More Islas de Venezuela

Who's there? Red Footed Booby perched in mangroves in Las Aves. Las Aves means "the birds" in Spanish - aptly named! There were boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, and just about every other species of seabird. All up close and personal - and smelly!

Brown Booby and chick on nest. When the chick stands up and asks (demands) to be fed, its bigger than the parents. We know what that's like!

Good to be in clear water after murk of Grenada. Temperature about 85F (30C).

Especially when you see cool stuff like these very large (close to 3') Midnight Parrot Fish. We also saw a school of equally large Rainbow Parrots feeding on top of the reef in water so shallow they were half out of it.

This water is not so clear. Some of the islands have fresh-ish water just below the surface. This was critical for the original inhabitants and is still used by fishermen. Even with our watermaker not working we weren't tempted to fill our tanks here!

We don't always anchor off a perfect tropical beach. This is the view from Idyll Island of the mangroves at the anchorage in Las Aves. Reminded us of the Ents in Lord of the Rings, though we couldn't hear a word they said over the noise of the birds!

On our way to Bonaire from Las Aves we were joined by a pod of dolphins for 20 minutes or so. It seemed like they were trying to see which of them could come closest to touching their dorsal fins to Derek's hand as he stretched over the forward crossbeam. They came within inches but never touched. They looked like they were laughing with the sport of it! (Or maybe because he wasn't wearing any shorts.)
A bit later we were welcomed to Bonaire seaspace by a Dutch Coast Guard plane that flew by at about 50' off our stern. They didn't look like they were laughing (Derek had shorts on by then). There is a lot of drug smuggling out of nearby Venezuela and Colombia, so they are pretty vigilant in this area.

Sailing up the southern, leeward side of Bonaire past the salt ponds and mountains of salt waiting to be shipped. One of the best sails in the Caribbean with 20 knots of breeze in flat water. We hit 10 knots reaching with our spinnaker which we had up for the full 35 miles from Las Aves and kept flying right to the entrance to Kralendijk harbour.

On the mooring at Kralendijk, Bonaire. View from the front porch.

After a month in the islands, the boys are off to do the laundry. OK, let's not stretch it tooo far but they are at least carrying the bags!