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The Two Captains


September 1, 2000 Isla Oeste, Los Aves Barlovento, Venezuela 11d58.135 N; 67d27.912W

We have been in Los Aves for eight days, and we are getting very laid back. There is nothing here but a couple of islands, lots of reefs, a couple of fishermen, many birds...and a lot of wind! It is the most removed we have yet felt in our cruising career. The wind generator, successfully repaired, has amazed us by keeping the batteries charged up, Don has managed to spear us some dinner, and the watermaker does its thing quietly on solar power. We have read a lot of books!

Not that is not social. While our two American traveling compadres were here, we generally explored, snorkeled, did projects, or fished in company. We'd all "noodle" with beers (pedal around on flotation devices) for happy hour, and one afternoon we had a dinghy raft up amongst the mangroves with cocktails and hors d'eouvres! When they left us several days ago, the radio got very quiet!

We remained behind in hopes of a rendezvous with our friends Dave and Stacy on TII's sitership Soggy Paws who, having only recently left Trinidad, have my repaired computer in tow. They claim by radio they will be here tomorrow, just in time for us to skeddaddle ourselves to Bonaire in time to meet Tiffany, who arrives on the 5th!

In the meantime, we moved a few miles to Isla Oeste. Our anchorage is squeezed in between a tiny sand islet on our bow, and the eastern edge of Isla Oeste off our stern. It is a swimming pool of an anchorage, and all around us are similar reefs and pools where a brave boat can tuck in. After one day on our own, we were joined by Benno and Marlene, two Germans looking after a friend's catamaran, whom we first met in Los Roches. Yesterday was Benno Birthday, so we spent the afternoon over there having cake and coffee and then they joined us for my ever- evolving lamb stew for dinner here. Tonight we four will have a grilled barracuda dinner with an Austrian couple on another catamaran that squeezed in with us yesterday. We are getting quite international.

Perhaps the most memorable thing about the Aves for us, after the wind, will be the birds (since Aves refers to birds, it makes sense.) The predominant birds here are boobies. Hundreds, if not thousands, nest here. Gil and Don went "casting for mangrove snapper," one afternoon, in the course of which Don snagged a tree, and, in the course of freeing his line, he knocked a booby from his perch, splash into the water beside them! (Later Gil asked Don if he golfed, and Don replied, "Yes, Gil, I golf. About as well as I fish!")

The boobies are a bit clutsy. We had three adolescents try to land on our bow just as a squall was approaching. They had us in hysterics, as they slipped, teetered, and actually fell to the deck. Even Don didn't have the heart to chase them off. Walking on Isla Oeste yesterday we were treated to the sight of a score baby boobies, scattered one by one in the saltwort (a sort of seaside succulent) standing tall, molting away their baby fuzz. I can't imagine how they got there to start, or how long it takes to molt, but they were pretty cute and we were able to get quite close. Of course we had no camera with us, but before leaving our last anchorage, we had dinghied close enough to several nests to capture some youngsters and their Moms. This morning we spied a Great Blue Heron, striding the beach. He was so huge with respect to the environment he looked like an ostrich!

Tomorrow, we make our rendezvous, socialize a bit with Soggy Paws, and, the following morning, we will sail west, stopping for one overnight in Los Aves Sotavento, before slipping into Bonaire a day ahead of Tiffer. Ah, back to the land of restaurants, stores, marinas, and credit cards. The Two Captains.

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Published at Burlington, VT