Four days of 20kn, more or less the same direction and speed. It wasn't the most comfortable, but at least we had no calms! Steve is having a slightly tough time, dropped himself in the sea instead of the zodiac and had a nasty fall from galley to chart desk. He did catch a nice tuna and fixed up my crash lines and lures, so it's not all bad. We had an Attenborough moment with hundreds of big tuna smashing the water, dozens of dolphins leaping out, all over in a few secs. There is a pic of a tiny bit of the aftermath, just a few white splashes.
We were slightly nervous as we headed down to round the bottom of Bonaire in the middle of the night. There is a lot of talk of pirates in Venezuala and all advice is not to go anywhere near the country. Maybe 30 miles isn't considered near over here, but in the middle of the night on the lonely sea we were not so sure. So when a plane flew over, just next to our mast, with no lights showing apart from one little red led somewhere, and a whisper quiet engine I did get a surprise! What if they have pirate friends? It's only an hour or two from the dreaded Venezueala…. Anyway, I ate a lot of Haribo gummy bears and kept on sailing. The next day in Curaçao while the coast guard searched Ellida I mentioned this plane to them and they said "oh, that was the customs plane" So while in customs I mentioned what the coast guard said and she laughed "oh no, we don't have a plane, that was probably the coast guard plane" The more I think about it the less it makes sense… I asked the same coast guard, a very very pleasant chap, about the 200L barrels tied on top of the Venezualan fish shop boats (fish and veggies are sold direct from boats that come over and tie up on the docks) and he said "Oh no, those are not for diesel, they bring fish in them to sell". Now in the back of the photos of the guy catching a monster tarpon you can see the fish shop boat, with some 50 barrels tied to it's roof. They have two inch holes in the top, perfect for pouring diesel through, but not great for inserting and extracting fish. I have read that diesel is 7c/gallon in Venezuela and they bring it here to sell for $1/gallon.
I think I should keep asking questions!
We took most of the day clearing in and ran out of daylight to go down to the nice natural anchorage, so we found a spot to anchor in a very industrial area, next to a boatyard with a tiny marina attached. A great view of refinery chimneys with flames lighting the night sky. I love it, but my crew want nature, so we'll have to leave. We were welcomed with open arms by the mostly american yachts parked here. They were having a 'pot luck' by the Curacao Marine office so we landed right into a party, with trombone, guitar, a banjo player whose main thing seems to be firing cannons at Battle of New Orleans re-enactments. It's good for me to meet so many really nice americans, I'll try to remember them next time my prejudices creep up on me.
Curaçao seems pretty weird so far. The architecture is painted nice colours but some of the dutch curly bits are just revolting. There are tall cactus growing from the gutters of ramshackle sheds. People have been delightful, relaxed and helpful, great with language. They have their own language, Papaimentu a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, English, Dutch and others. It sounds great.