Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tortuga, Venezuela July 2007
We really enjoyed our stay on Blanquilla and now we are off to another deserted sand island, Tortuga. Fine white coral sand that makes all ou pictures look out of focus because of the shimmering heat rising it. Only things here are the Guardacoasta Station and the fish huts. This island is a rich & famous haunt for the mainland crowd. A small airstip was built some years ago (very narrow -- 15 -20 feet). The affluent mainlanders fly out in private planes and helicopters for a day at the beach with coolers and umbrellas in tow. On the Saturday we arrived, three planes just as we were anchoring, and the next day, Sunday, three more planes and two helicopters. Nobody stays overnight, they all leave before dark because there are no lights on the airstrip and it gets very dark. Once the weekend tourists leave, we are alone in the harbour with 6 other boats.

Our time in Tortuga is being cut short due to weather. Both Chris and Eric do not have a handle on the tropical wave which is developing in the Atlantic, not sure whether it will or not develop into a closed low system. The problem we have, is that if a low does develop, (no one expecting a named storm or hurricane), we could experience some strong west winds and seas. Unfortunately these out islands don’t offer much protection from west winds, so we will enact our hurricane strategy….run south!! We are only 70 miles north west of Cumina and the mouth of the Golfo de Cariaco. This large bay is south of 11 degrees latitude, and has many well protected anchorages.
We set off at 1pm anticipating light winds on the nose, expecting to motor into light seas and stronger current. Figured we would average 4 knots and arrive at Cumina by dawn. Of course that didn’t happen, within an hour we had northeast winds 25knots and we were doing 7knots, and if that continued we would be in the Golfo at 3am. We slowed our progress, and the winds died as well, so ultimately we did have light to find the golfo entrance and motor to Laguna Grande. When we found that we were the only boat in that large bay, we continued on to Medregal Village, (Photo Page)where we knew we would find company.