By Wally, Motor Vessel Sandial
The year 2008 was a fairly uneventful year for the crew aboard SANDIAL. Mariah turned ten years old and is now going on fifteen, Pam turned seventy-six and Wally turned a hundred and thirteen. Elvis chose to sleep through most of the year. He claims he wasn't too excited about the year from the beginning and somewhere during the first quarter he decided to skip it. He says he may skip 2009 also.
We traveled a whopping 182 nautical miles as the pelican flies, which amounts to an average of slightly less than 3,000 nautical feet per day. Our travels took us from Trinidad to Venezuela.
We had no problems with pirates, rough seas or scurvy. We continue to have problems with our small generator, but hopefully this last episode will be the last of the problems caused from when it caught on fire in Trinidad. We are currently sitting in Puerto La Cruz waiting for the electrical technician to bring back the parts and put it back together.
We did spend a fair amount of time traveling the out islands of Venezuela this past six months and found them to be absolutely beautiful. High red soil mountains covered with dark green vegetation makes a great back drop to the beautiful blue sea. The people we encountered were all wonderful. There are countless rumors and stories going around about the pirates and bandidos and there was one incident just outside of Puerto La Cruz that was very bad and a cruiser was killed, but it's not much worse than what's going on in any big city. You just have to be careful, know where you are going, and keep a sharp eye.
Wherever you have the poverty, drugs and opportunity you can expect problems. I don't know this for a fact, but I would guess that over 90 percent of the people in Venezuela live at, or below, what we in the US consider the poverty level. You hardly ever hear them complain though. Of course, we don't speak Spanish that well and they may be complaining while we think they are giving us directions to the nearest empanada stand. They are very family oriented and are extremely creative in coming up with holidays so they don't have to work so they can spend time with their families.
Our plans call for, well, nothing. We are not sure when we are going to get our generator back, and we can't leave before that. The Christmas winds have been blowing pretty good lately and we don't want to go out in 8 to 12 foot seas. So we are taking it day by day. When we do leave, however, we will probably go north and spend some time in the Los Roques and Los Ave's islands before heading to Bonaire. This plan may change by dinner time though.
We wish everyone a prosperous (if that's going to be possible) and mostly a healthy New Year and will get back to you when we have some pertinent information.
Wally, Pam, Mariah and Elvis
Well, it looks like we are finally going to leave Puerto La Cruz. Since our original plans called for us to leave a little after Thanksgiving I guess you'd consider us behind schedule, but since we have no schedule we can hardly be behind very much.
This has been a much different visit to Puerto La Cruz than the last time we were here in 2001. Besides the government moving decidedly towards socialism, which has given rise to many bare shelves in the stores, the crime has increased and the general condition of the community has deteriorated. The inflation rate is about 35% and we have noticed a significant increase in food prices since we have been here. The people are still friendly and nice and we are leaving some new friends behind.
Our plans call for us to visit the out islands of Venezuela for a while and then head up to the ABC islands where we plan to spend the summer. While cruising the out islands we probably won't have access to the Internet so if you respond to this address you probably won't hear back from us for a while.
It's going to be nice to get out of the marina and off the dock again. We will be traveling with Ms. Astor which is captained by Mary Stone. Mary is a single hander aboard her 42' trawler and has been cruising around these islands, off and on, for ten years so we will be able to benefit from her 'local knowledge' of the area.
So, until we get to Bonaire.......
Wally, Pam, Mariah and ElvisFrom the Bridge - m/v SANDIAL reports from the Caribbean.