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Letter From: Darryl & Kjell

'Finally out of Margarita!'

Bonaire May 2005.

When we left Porlamar, Margagita we were fed up!  Both with Margarita and with some people!  There and then we decided it was time to start writing 'critics' of some of the merchants we have met along the way. It is not so that everyone you meet have a helathy good business mind even though they have a business. Here are a few examples.               

In Trinidad at a bar/restaurant one of our friends got drunk and a bit big-mouthed, one can not say that this was something new because it happend almost every night here and it was not somthing special because it has happend to a lot of us at one time or another. The owner of the restaurant/pub obviously have had enough of this person being too drunk(which he still served drinks to) So, he asked my friend to step outside with him just around the corner of his bar. This is where the owner headbutted and beat up one of his own too drunk customers and left him there in a puddle of blood. I dont know if he thinks he is tough and that this action will strengthen his image some how.  But from us, he is getting less business not more.

In Marigot  Bay, St. Lucia there is a restaurant on the water with a big Norwegian flag.  I thought this would be a great place to visit and blinded with curiosity I went to the bar to figure out what the story of the flag was.  It turns out that the owner is a business women who is living together with a Norwegian pilot.  We sat there for many hours in their bar and had some food, drinks and wrote on the laptop.  Not to get into too many details but, I had to ask for the 'happy hour' two for one beer price.  The barman wanted money for the two beer at first but remembered when I reminded him that it was happy hour.  Later when the bill came, the bartender made it back by charging us 7 dollars for the  'electricity' we used for our laptop.  The next day, I waited for 15 minutes only to pay 4 us dollars for a tiny bag of ice from the owner herself.  I then realized how much the place stunk.

The third incident was the worst. In Isla Margarita there is a man Juan who runs the Marina Juan.  There you can find everything you need with regards to sailing and get everything that needs to be done.  He helps you with immigration/customs and watches your dingy. He even sets up a free bus to the shopping mall so you can stock up on supplies and you can give him youer dirty clothes and they come back clean and dry.  All of this sounded so wonderful to us that we could not give away the salty bed sheets fast enough.  I dont know if it was the fact that we are a lot younger than the average cruiser or if it was because he is just plain stupid. But after a while, we came to realize that he was just a pompus dirt bag who took advantage of everyone he could and still tried to keep his stupid business reputation by reminding everyone of things they did wrong and saying 'i told you so ' all day. 

"NO! I told you the laundry. If you give me it friday, it not come back before monday, no bed sheeets for you today or tomorrow." 

"You have to give the man I hired to watch the dinghy's in my marina some tip.  $1 dollar every day, cause I not pay them!  And remember, there is two men.  One in the morning and one  after dark." 

"I change you money here at the marina.  The shopping center will give you 2450 per $1. So, I give 2300 per $1.  And you have to pay me for the harbour fees now."

 "You cannot get rebate at this one shopping center because only I get it."

Every day we had to walk by this man and we got insantly sick by just the sight of him.   I was sick for about two days and I still honestly think it was because of all the stupid shit this man was doing that made me.  One day, he came to talk to Darryl while Darryl was in the middle of his dinner at a restaurant not far from him.  While other people was listening he started going on about how Darryl had wrecked his computer because he had taken out the cd that was in the cd-rom. ??  But then refused to let Darryl look at it to try to fix it.  Still to this day, I dont know how a computer can break because of taking out a cd.  And I think he must have figured out somthing himself too because I caught him surfing porn on it a little bit later in that day.  Many cruisers who come to Porlamar think that the only way to clear in and out is to go to marina juan and have him do it. Well, that is not true. You can do it yourself or you can go to the local restaurand (Jacks) next to Juan and look at the annoncements there from sailors who are offering thier services.  Or you can also ask on the morning VHF.  If you can please not use Juan (pic) .  He has a monoploy with his business and can do everthing by his rules.  We had to wait 3 days for him to complete our immigration papers because we had to have them at his office before 10 am of that day.  And he wouldn't let us leave them there for him to complete the next day.  Juan, like the other people i have described here, really needs some competiton so that they 'maybe' can realize what being in the service industry really means.  I mean you dont beat up your own customers,  or charge them a crazy price for laptop-electricity or call them stupid and yell at them in front of a whole restaurant, get a grip people...

One good thing about Margarita was meeting our sailing friends again.  The Danish 'Malott' and Norwegian 'Ana' are always companions good to sail with.  With this I would like to thank them all for the advice they gave us as well as all the other small things they helped us with.  We are very sorry that we did not get to say goodbye properly. We got our papers from Juan so late that we had to motor immediately to reach Coche before dark.

When we finally made it out of Margarita, we headed to Coche. Coche is just a small island that used to be famous for pearls. These days it is kite surfing that is in.  We anchored 100 meters  from the kite surfing beach (pic) and got to see some spectacular kiting and got a bit jealous of the people doing it, it looks really hard though.  We just missed the world championship by one week, where the prize money was 35.000 Us dollas.  So, there must have been some good kiters there.  After relaxing in Coche we set sail and headed west again.

 It would take us two days to reach Los Roques, another Venezuelan island.  On this sail trip we tried to use the wind vane pilot, and after two minutes of having it steer we called it a success. It seems to compensate for both wind and waves and we could not be more impressed.  It uses no power, makes no sound, and steers better than both the auto pilot and us put together.  This also gave us more room in the cockpit since the wind vane requires the rudder stick to be facing to the back if the boat.  On this trip we finally got to see dolpins, and lots of them.  In two seperate occasions over 150 dolphins came and swam with the boat for a good twenty minutes. It was just like a post card or a movie.  The sun was setting and dolphins were jumping in front of the bow.  They even splashed Darryl with their fins, and were touching the bow with their tails.

Los Roques was great, and after nearly putting the boat on the first reef we didn't see and then going the wrong way for about twenty minutes, we finally figured this whole reef island thing out and found a great anchor place.  Since we have cleared out of Venezuela in Margarita and were not allowed to stop either in Coche or here in Roques, we were on the wrong side of the law.  And since collecting conches is illegal too, we decided to keep our rebel attitude and had spagetti with conch dinner. (pic)  After collecting 5 conches we looked in the 'fishing handbook for cruisers' for some instructions for preparation and there it was, two pages of 'how to' with conch.  Make a hole in the counch betweed the second and third spiral on the top.   Then, put your knife in the hole and cut of the muscle that holds it to the shell.  Then, while it's screaming(kidding),  pull it out and cut off this and that.  In the end you will have a big chunk of white meat that tastes a little like squid.  And what a meal, it tasted great and we felt great.  We did not feel great  for eating a protected animal or being there illegally but, for being on the way out of Venezuela and away from people like jouan, from now on we will try and only mingle with more normal people and spot the bad apples earlier.  The next travel letter (from Bonaire) will contain some stories of the good people we met there.

After leaving Los Roques just as sneeky as we arrived we headed for Bonaire.  Bonaire is a Dutch colony.  This was a great ride. We still had some of Darryls bread left. Yes Darryl made bread.  He baked and cooked it in a pressure cooker on top of the stove. It was a huge success and I am hoping he will make more :-)   On this trip we decided to teach ourselves some more sailing and when the wind died we set the sails out in butterfly and tied a preventer to the main.  This we knew, in theory, should be a good idea but since we have never done anything like this it was still exciting.  The wind picked us up and we were doing 5 knots shortly after the sail trim.  We slapped ourselves on the sholders and put in a fishing line.  At night I woke up by Darryl shouting 'fly fish fly fish'.  I thought he had gone mad since it sounded like 'flifff flifff' but I soon realized what was going on.  A big flyfish (20 cm) had flown into the boat and hit him in the knee while sleeping in the cockpit.  An hour later after we had fallen asleep on watch (again) Darryl was swearing again.  This time a wave had picked up the boat and slammed us to one side.  Darryl was knocked off the bench and hit his head against the table.  When  approaching Bonaire we got some ten minute rain and a feeling that somthing was wrong struck us.  The land did not seem to look like the cruising guide says and it was still too dark to see it well enough.  When the sun came we could see that the lighthouse we thought we were steering for was on the other side of the island and that the one we were supposed to be navigating by was switched off, ??.  Since we are modern sailors and can not survive without gps and a laptop, we never steer by lighthouses (or the informative buoys since we dont know what they stand for anyhow)  So we use gps and that is what saved us this time.  Later,  we found out that Bonaire has been struggleing economically for awhile and decided to save money by shutting off some  lighthouses, ??.  I dont know how much it costs to operate a modern unmanned, solar powered light but, I was pretty sure that they would be all on, beeing a big shipping nation and all.          



Ps, alle the travel letters is made by both kjell and darryl, we stand for everything that we write...



Darryl & Kjell




















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