Thursday, May 03, 2007

Aves de Sotavento to Bonaire

We left the next day at 9 AM and it was another rolly fast sail downwind. We're getting better at jibbing the main safely with the preventor but getting the jib through the narrow slot between the Yankee and the staysail is difficult. We've decided it's safer to roll it in and then take it out again. The route into our new anchorage in the Aves de Sotavento was easy to see and a pretty spot. We were between Isles Palmeras and the small island to it's south. Lots of dolphins escorted us in, playing in our bow waves. We spent the rest of the afternoon kayaking around the three islands, snorkeling off the north end and visiting a fisherman's compound and shrine.
Up early we cast off and again enjoyed our dolphin escort for miles heading west. We were in 20 plus knots of wind and 8 foot waves but it was fun tacking downwind and a fast passage. In no time we saw the hills of Bonaire ahead and headed up the west coast towards Kralenduk. As predicted in our guide book, this reach in calm waters with lots of wind was wonderful sailing. We hit 9.3 knots at one point! It was May 1, Labor Day, and a holiday in Bonaire so we picked up a mooring and went into Customs and Immigration (at the Police Station because of the holiday). Later we went out to dinner with our friends from Australia, Jerry and Nikki, on "Orphalleur" at the Mona Lisa Restaurant - wonderful food. After weeks in undeveloped islands it was a bit surreal to be there.
The next day "Enkidu", Bob and Barbara, good friends from our summer in Trinidad and moored beside us, took us all around in their car for errands. I dropped off three bags of laundry and visited two supermarkets - heaven to get lots of fresh vegetables, meat and fruit. Later we met up with Debra and Richard on "Tango", also friends from Trinidad for drinks. They presented our Welcome Aboard certificate from Seven Seas Cruising Association; we are now Commodores! They invited us all to a terrific dinner on their catamaran a few days later. That night we fell into bed early after motoring into the Harbour Village Marina and filling up our dry water tanks. We plan to stay a few days here and clean up the boat.
This picture shows Debra and Dick in their twin kayacks. We joined them one day for a trip up the coast in our double kayack to a pretty beach and some great snorkeling.
We've really enjoyed our double kayack, not only for fun and exercise, but also as a second "dinghy".

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