Curacao and Venezuela

A few of our friends have written to express their concern at not hearing from us sooner. We hope that you have not worried - there just has not been too much to write about. We will try to bring you up to date since our last letter was sent from Bonaire.

It was an easy trip to Curacao from Bonaire - east to west gives you the wind from behind in this part of the world, as it should always be! On arrival at Spanish Water, we thought there must be a storm brewing as we anchored in 15 knots of wind. It did not take long to discover that the wind always blows in Curacao and 15 knots is the usual. With temperatures that rarely get too close to 90 degrees F, dry air and very few bugs, the summer has been quite ideal.

Soon after our arrival Satori got her long needed haul-out to apply extra bottom paint. It was fairly expensive compared to Abel's rail line in Guatemala, but that is to be expected. On June 21st, the day after Satori splashed again, our grandson, Cody arrived for a month's visit. Keeping Cody busy and happy was the joyful duty of Jane. Sander also stayed busy during this month installing a watermaker under the port settee. We had hoped not to need to do this as a watermaker can be loads of trouble to maintain. With thoughts of a possible trip to the Pacific, we felt that the purchase was necessary.

Also we're sad to say that our fridge quit working. We cannot be too surprised as it was 21 years old and they commonly quit after about 7 years. We ordered a new fridge system and a new freezer system. Can it be far behind? As it turns out the freezer continued to freeze for about 3 weeks after the fridge quit. Now it runs all the time and only will cool things.

Cody had a great time in Spanish Water. We had made friends with a Dutch family who live aboard a sailboat -- Dad is in the Dutch navy and serving in Curacao for several years. The Zoet family has a son and daughter about Cody's age. With them he had his beginning sailing lessons. There were lots of afternoons of swimming together and jumping from the deck of Satori. There were also chances to snorkel every day. I think Cody's favorite treat was to discover the hiding place of a lobster all by himself. What an ideal place for a kid to grow up and for grandparents to enjoy a grandson.

After Cody left we started getting antsy to be on the move but our fridge/freezer were holding us up. They were not due to arrive in Curacao from Italy until the middle of August. We decided that we should take the opportunity to visit Venezuela for a few weeks. On August 3rd we left Curacao for Puerto Cabello, Venezuela south of Bonaire.

The most amazing thing about our time in Venezuela was the truly strange experience of filling the tanks with diesel fuel at 26 cents/gallon! We can remember gas costing that when we were young teenagers. Makes one wish that we could easily carry twice the amount of fuel that we do.

After about 10 days on the coast we were ready to head for the islands of Los Aves. This island group is divided into two sections with about 15 miles between. The eastern group, Barlovento, has the most marvelous colony of birds. Thousands of red-footed boobies, terns, frigate birds and others we could not even identify. The evenings were especially filled with the noise of the birds. It was great entertainment to watch them. The two photos included are from that anchorage. The snorkeling must have been fantastic on the reef but the weather did not encourage us to move that way.

Soon after we arrived we started to hear reports about Tropical Storm Chantell. Since we knew that our anchor was well set, we did not feel encouraged to move. It actually turned out to be a tempest in a teapot for the boats gathered at Barlovento. The most interesting day came just before the storm passed (about 250 miles to the north of us). The 15-20 knot winds ceased and we had absolute calm for about 5 hours. Everyone was out of their boats and swimming. Jane took advantage of the clear and calm waters to snorkel on the hull and scrape off some barnacles. The next morning we left Los Aves on our way back to Curacao in three legs of very fast downwind movement.

We arrived back in the familiar waters of Curacao yesterday afternoon about 2 PM. Last night we saw many of our old friends again at the local bar. They were as pleased to see us as we felt to see them, we think. Homecoming is always special -- even if it is a temporary home as it always is for us. Now we will have lots of "maintenance in exotic harbors" to do as our fridge and freezer units are in.

We understand, from many of you, that summer is winding down and boats are being hauled for the winter in the USA. It was always Jane's favorite time of the year. The fall colors appear and school is back in session. The tropics are always warm and that brings a certain blending of time. Enjoy your seasons and take an extra big lungful of those smells for us, please.

Jane and Sander aboard S/V Satori