When we left Porlamar, Margagita we were fed up! Both
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
do it yourself or you can go to the local restaurand
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
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
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
for anyhow) So we use gps and that is what saved us
this time. Later, we found out that Bonaire
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