Los Testigos, beach on Testigo Grande
Well I've left Island Kea II, in St Lucia. Which was a shame. The 2 weeks before Christmas were spent at ARC parties, hanging out on the beach and a little Christmas shopping in Castris. Met Allen off "jakal", looking for crew for the pacific. Unfortunately lost him again for a while.
The highlights were the party at the Rodney Bay Marina managers house. Much free beer steel band and free rum punch. I ended up happily passing my one litre bottle of wine around the water taxi on the way home. Friday saw the arc prize giving. We didn't win. Skipper Steve got up on stage an receive 2 bottles of rum for his roll as net controller. The ARC prize giving was spectacular for its start. The Mic didn't work and the sound engineer had apparently gone to Castris. The fiddling behind the scenes resulted in a roaring crescendo of feed back, a loud pop and out went all the lights.
After the prize giving we went to Caroline's house. Instead of staying in a hotel, she and Neil got them selves a house in Gros Islet. With 3 kids hanging around, a guard dog called T-Bone a pet dog called Dirty Harry (I'm not sure if Caroline added the "Drirty" but it was accurate), some chickens and a goat. We had a few beers and headed for the Gros Islet Jump up. Due to the free booze at the ARC party I'd had more than a little. Too much to really enjoy it. Loud Caribbean stereo system and reggae and soca. Booze and food at local prices not tourist prices.
Goatee me and Brendon
Christmas day was spent on a beach barbie on Reduit Beach. This too was great fun, one of the other crews had set up as slacklineing rig between the wall and a tree. Lots of swimming and body surfing - dinghy landing was a little rough.
Boxing day we took a sail south towards the Pitons. Took some nice pics, inducing Katrin holding a beer piton bottle up with the pitons in the background. We stopped for a swim on the way back. This was my last pleasant day in a couple of weeks. The following day the cold set in. For 2 weeks. New Years was spend fairly dully sniffling in the only bar in the Marina open. It culminated with the discharge of some out of date German Flares. The parachute on mine failed to open. It shot up and shot straight down again landing on the landward side of the marina still burning. No column of smoke followed it so I can assume it didn't burn someone's house down. There were 2 cans of orange smoke that were thrown off the back of a boat on A dock. The pawl of smoke enveloped a large super yacht. Who's crew or owner came charging across in his dinghy and shouted angrily "why can't you let off fire crackers like normal people?".
"I'd rather be on the boat with a drink on the rocks than in the drink with the boat on the rocks"
My birthday passed in similar snivelling fashion. I did recover enough to go swimming with mates of Reduit Beach one more time before catching the plane to Grenada to meet Jackal. Cold was nearly gone by the time I got there. So off we went in a van load of Yotties to the fish fry jump up equivalent in Grenada. Not a patch on Gros Islet jump up. But had some nice local food and not too inflated price.
Rodney Bay Marina from the Plane
The following evening we set off for Venezuela. Dropping the hook in Los Testigos, population 140, shops 1, bars nil. Beautiful however, if you looked passed the outboard engine salvage heaps. Wooden boats being repaired under palm trees. White sand blue sea. Next morning and we sailed for Isla Margarita. Coming into Pollimar we rang Allen's friend and after finding our guide book a little out of date. We met up with him. Fortunately he lent us money, cos getting the stuff any other way was pure hell. 48 hours it took us to finally get ripped off and get some cash. which we'd already spent. We departed, without the cheap beer we'd intended. Our intended stop was Roededal in western Isla Margarita. The Guide describes it as nice white buildings and no securirty problems reported. I beg to differ. Every building was bared with re-bar. The shop a grill with a serving hatch. The locals, lovely and friendly queued up to ask us what the hell we were doing here. Didn't we know how dangerous it was. So off we sailed. before we followed the previous nights fisherman to hospital after an armed hold up.
We stopped in Isla Tortuga. The white sand beach so bright it hurts your eyes. At night the full moon shining off the sand looked amaising. We're now in Bonaire, but thats for another time.