On Nov 24 around noon we left Curacao Marine, cleared the canal through Willemstad and made our way East – against wind, current and waves. After a few hours we started sailing, tacking our way south of Bonaire into the night – slowly moving East… very slowly. Let there be no doubt, upwind sailing is not comfortable and not very fun after a few hours. Everything becomes a struggle, even just moving around in 20-30 deg of inclination. Next morning the wind had calmed and we changed to engine for a while to charge batteries and get a break from the continuous heeling. Then, after a while, silence… motor stopped. Problem tracked down to lack of water cooling and a stripped sea water impeller. A few hours later, we could start up again. We continued making our way sailing and tacking until we reached the NW tip of the Los Roques archipelago at midnight on Nov 25 and decided to motor the last 10 miles or so. At 2 o´clock we dropped the anchor at Gran Roque and went to bed.
Los Roques is an archipelago about 70nm north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a National Park and there are number of (small) flights from Caracas arriving daily. We spent five days and the first one was dedicated to checking in and getting familiar with the little town of Gran Roque. We had learned before leaving that Los Roques was now completely dollar-based (USD as active currency), as opposed to the main land of Venezuela where the bolivar currency is struggling with the largest inflation in the world. The check-in took us the best part of the day, visiting 4-5 different locations in town. It also turned out to be a very expensive five day visit as the national park office required a total of USD 330,- for boat and crew. On the upside we did find and excellent restaurant by the beach, Aquarena, which served superb dishes including ceviche, tostones and tequenos de platano – all for an acceptable price.
Next day we rented two kites and wakeboards and headed off on the boat to a neighbouring sand bank (Cayo Muerto) and spent the day practicing and chasing the wind. The following day we had hired a high speed boat to take us to the more far reaching islands in the archipelago, stopping at the picturesque Dos Mosquises, before heading off to Cayo de Agua. We camped on the beach under a sun tent for a few hours, enjoying self made drinks from the cooler and walking across (wade knee high) to the neighbour island. For lunch we headed off to the last island for lunch on Carenero. A spectacular day!
The last two days were spent on repairs and maintenance and a daily excursions to the town for drinks and meals.
We all enjoyed the days in Los Roques and warmly recommend it to other adventurers. We left Los Roques at noon on Dec 1 and the next 4 days was spent at sea struggling agains wind, waves and currents – and a gradually deteriorating genoa sail. It was a long and tiring journey but on Dec 5 around noon we anchored in Gran Anse on Martinique – thoroughly exhausted and tired and with little fuel in our tanks.
Another unforgettable adventure completed!