Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cruising the Golfo de Cariaco August 2007

Pictures: RAFT and Drumbeat at anchor in Laguna Grande, Mike, Marlene and Bev hiking

Now that we have found our summer home our next priority was to make arrangements for our trip back to Canada in September. Usually arranging our flights is no big deal, we just check things out on the internet and book the flights, paying by credit card. But in Venezuela there is one big difference: to take advantage of the exchange rate differential (as discussed in Venezuela General Info July 2007) we needed to pay for our flights in Bolivars. However we did not have sufficient Bolivars or even American cash with us and even if we did it is hard to stuff them in the computer. Jean Marc in Medregal had a contact who will cash cheques in Carupano, but JM only goes there once a week, and we figured making our arrangements would take more than one visit. We decided to head to Cumina, a city at the west end of the Golfo, to see how we would make out.
Picture: Old and new towers, one for spotting fish, the other for modern communications.

The marina in Cumina, Marina Cuminagato, is a basic marina, but has finger docks, fuel (most of the time) and offers free water, electricity and wifi is available at most slips. For us it costs 22,500 B per night (about $6 US). Once we were in our slip, we were met by Alexis, who speaks English, French and a few other languages. He gave us the name of a travel agent who speaks English and should be able to help us. Of we went by local bus (800B about 25cents) to downtown Cumina to see him. Arranging the flights –no problem—but Luis wasn’t going to help us with our cash arrangements. It was then suggested we visit the local business where the owners spoke great English. Theyd agreed to accept a wire transfer, and then release the B’s to us. 24 hours later, we had our airline tickets in hand, RAFT full of diesel, water, market shopping complete, interneting and skyping done and we were ready to head back out into the Golfo.
We were heading for Laguna Grande, and this time we knew Dreamtime and Paridise were there to keep us company. We hiked, kayaked, and dinghied around this impressive basin, exploring all the little bays. (The pictures only start to show the desert beauty of this anchorage). And then came Dean…and we had no worries, knowing no weather issues could hurt us here.
Pictures: Bev kayaking in Laguna, various beautiful views, Ed and Manuela (Dreamtime and Paridise) putting their "rocks" on the summit pile

Once Dean had passed, we had been joined by Avalon V, our sailing companions from Trenton Ontario, whom we have been sailing with since the Bahamas. George and Mary had shown us the way in and out of West Caicos, Luperon, and Grenada. But it was their first time in the Golfo so it was great to be their tour guide, leading them from Laguna Grande to Medregal, and then back to Cumina.
We have been playing with dolphins, every time we sail up and down the Golfo. You can count of being entertained by a couple or a lot more. We have seen up to thirty at a time, but other boats have reported more. All of our friends have also seen a whale, up close, but we have not yet had that experience. They say you have to get into the middle of the bay….we usually have been on the north side. But now we have a mission…..We want to announce on the radio "There she blows!!"

Pictures: Laguna Chico, a small fishing village on the north side of the "Golfo" with bar and dance floor, afternoon storm clouds passing over most afternoons