The cruising adventures of Sid and Manuela

Monday, December 22, 2008



We are still in Puerto La Cruz. One week ago Sid came back from his Panama to Honduras trip. It was a long flight to get from here to Panama City as he had a 10 hour layover in Bogota, Colombia, and that at night time when everything is closed at the airport. He’s plane left at 8 am in the morning. Dale had arrived the prior day and picked Sid up, went for lunch and in the late afternoon caught the flight to Bocas del Toro, where Snow White was berthed. They immediately got the boat ready for departure, but the weather wasn’t on their side and they lost 4 days. Bocas had been inundated with 3 weeks of heavy rainfall and the one and only road from and to David was destroyed. During the four days Sid had a chance to get to know Bocas del Toro, as we eventually we’ll he ad there as well. Wouldn’t you believe it, Sid ran into Sharky, we know her from Catalina Island, she’s running the marina restaurant and Chuck and Ann on Mirage, also from Catalina are running the marina, once more a small world.

Sid and Dale finally departed and headed to the Colombian island of San Andres. The trip started out fine but the closer they came to San Andres the rougher the sea got. Again in San Andres they had to wait out a front with high winds and high seas. They used this opportunity to do a scooter run around the island. Next leg was a short hop to Isla Providencia, also Colombia. Sid said it was a really pretty island. Sid had a flight out of Roatan on the 17th and they had only about 5 days left, they finally found a good window to do the last leg of the trip.

Sid had some fun stories. They caught two nice size Dorado, the boat was rocking back and fourth and while Sid brought the second Dorado in the first one at that time laying on the floor with the lure still attached and was sliding back and fourth. Then Sid heard some flap noise, looked down to where the Dorado just was and there was none. He had slid back and fourth and finally slid through the scupper back into the sea. They had an escapee! (Dale mentioned that this one was not the first!) Sid told me that while Dale was on the helm he was keeping an eye on the fishing rods. I couldn’t belive when I saw the photos, he was hanging in a hammock reading a book. Knowing Sid it couldn’t have gone any different then him falling asleep, Dale took photos for proof. One time Sid had to go to the bathroom bad and was gone maybe 3 minutes max. When he came back out he heard a thump, even Dale heard it on the bridge and they both noticed that one rod had no more line and the lure was gone with it too. They also encountered whales and even managed to get up close to one of them. Also hundreds of dolphins showed off their acrobatic stunts, Sid filmed them and the whale:

They finally arrived safe in Roatan at 5 pm the day before Sid’s departure, so he didn’t get to see a lot. Poor Sid had a long trip back. He had about 6 hours layover in Miami and arrived in Caracas before midnight and his plane back to Barcelona was not until 6 in the morning.

While he was gone I kept myself busy with all kind of projects. As I mentioned in my last Blogg entry I tackled the bimini. Amazingly it was easier to make then I had thought. The only problem I really had was the wind blowing like snot and I had to use anything heavy to keep the canvas from flying off the dock while I was making the pattern for it. The sewing part was much easier and I finished the bimini within 1 ½ days. Of course there was some other canvas work to fix and since Sid always criticized the ugly blue bucket on the bow not matching the boat, I found a white bucket and made a cover for it as well. I think everything on Paradise now is covered, except for the cat, she will not sit still long enough.

Isabelle’s daughter got married in the marina and since they couldn’t afford a photographer I took photos as a wedding gift:

There were several more projects (including dueling computer stuff) to do which took all my time, so I barley left the marina. I think I went shopping only twice in the whole three weeks and managed to clean the hull and deck just a day before Sid came back.

It was good to have Sid back especially to fix a slight problem we’re having which is keeping us here for a bit longer.

The weekend before Sid came back I was invited to join Isabelle’s family for the yearly tradition of hallaca making. It was an incredible experience, but I don’t wan to bore you with it. If you’re interested in finding out what hallacas are and the history including recipe click here. I added it to my Boatbumms Gourmet site.

Christmas is just around the corner and we have been invited to a Venezuelan Christmas party on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day we will be at Darren and Rocio’s for his annual Christmas BBQ. Not sure yet when we’ll leave, but plan is to spend New Years in Medregal where Jean Marc will have a New Years Eve Buffet including fireworks show. Unless Darren talks us into a motorcycle trip to Merida for the big Harley meeting January 4th, he wants us to drive one of his Harleys. It’s a very tempting thought.

With this we wish you all a Merry Christmas and may the Happy New Year bring you joy and happiness and most of all good health.

Hugs and kisses to you all

Sid, Manuela and Tika

PS: These wild Macaws (4 of them) visited our marina the other day, just awesome!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Back in Puerto La Cruz

We’ve been enjoying the clean pool at Medregal, the wonderful dinners Jean Marc prepared, the colorful sunsets and Heidi turning a normal color again without any bruisers, although she did manage to fall into the water while trying to get in to the dinghy, poor girl.

Saturday was the trip again to the local market in Cariaco and since I was out of salads and I wanted for Heidi to see a typical Venezuelan village we took the opportunity and joined the other cruisers for the trip into Cariaco. We had a good time at the market, bought lots of salad, fruits and veggies and some wonderful bread at the bakery, the only glitch was the liquor stores were closed as they had elections the next day, Sunday. Here it is against the law to sell or drink liquor the weekend of the election. So the guide took us to a supermarket, I didn’t even know existed. It’s by far the best store in this area but still only has the essentials. The boss managed to sneak two cases of beer out the door and into our van for the doubled price of course, but we all were happy to have a cold beer on our way back to Medregal. (The election was held on Sunday and El Presidente lost a few important seats to his opponents but still has the majority. What we found out too is that El Presidente promised to pay 400 Bolivares per person who voted in all the poor states so that they would vote for him. He is slowly loosing his image as more and more people realize that he really is not there for them. They had lots of protest before the election and the roads were still a chaos two days after the elections, schools in this area were closed as well. In the mean time he told his new elected people to take over any land and divide it with the poor, no mentioning to pay the owners any money. He is trying again to get the new constitution in to keep him in office for the rest of his life. I just listened to his three hour talks he has daily, he told his people that Jesus was a socialist, imagine that. Since about three months we cannot find Pepsi then when Pepsi is available again, although in limited amounts, Coke is off the shelf. 7Up and other beverages have been taken off the shelf completely and diet Coke or Pepsi you’re lucky if you find it once in two months. What I don’t understand is that these sodas are made in this country. There are still no toilette paper or paper towels available and if you see them on the shelf ones every months you’re lucky. For several months I couldn’t find decaf coffee, now all you see is decaf but no regular coffee. Rice comes and goes too. El Presidente is starting to ration foods again, just doesn’t make sense. His people are very angry at him that he is spending all the millions on his new satellite and not using it for his people. I think in the near future we’ll see some serious problems here. I think it’s time to leave).

Anyway, on the drive back we saw a wild cat, I’m still not sure if it was a Leopard or an Ocelot but I tell you when he ran across the street and the fur caught the sunlight the markings were just incredible, what a beautiful cat. We stopped immediately and tried to follow the cat into the jungle but the cat was long gone.

On Tuesday we took Heidi to the Laguna de Cariaco for the scarlet Ibis. After arrival we did a dinghy ride up the river into the mangroves and saw quite a few of them. We also found some scarlet feathers for Heidi to take home as a souvenir. As we came back to the boat a piñero (fishing boat) with two fishermen drove really close by Paradise, one standing on the bow, stretching his neck as far as he could and checked out the whole boat. Then later as we were sitting in our cockpit another piñero with 5 fishermen approached. One offered fish, we declined, but then they just sat there starring at us and eyeballing the entire boat. Finally, after what seemed minutes they took off. 10 minutes later another one came by, they just looked at us and didn’t say a word. After two more of them we felt pretty exposed and not to take chances we decided to pull anchor and headed back to Medregal.

Back in Medregal I decided to take a swim to cool off and stood on the last step of the ladder looking dark green water with not much visibility thinking, I really don’t like to go into the water by myself not being able to see what’s below me. That moment something came out of the deep and came straight towards my feet. I shrieked “Shark” and stepped right back onto the deck. Sid and Heidi came running over and to proof them that I really saw a shark I climbed down the ladder again and as soon as my feet hit the water the shark came back, wow. The shark was about one foot long and brown and other fish were swimming under the boat, so I think he was rather curious then hungry but I decided to take a deck shower instead.

Sandial caught up with us and as Thanksgiving approached, they invited us over for Turkey Dinner. What a feast it was, there was so much food and we ate so much that we almost sank the dinghy on our way home.

Early at 3 am we pulled anchor and sailed 58 miles back to Puerto La Cruz. The night sky was incredible and I saw one shooting star after another while dolphins were playing on the

bow. The dolphins were lit up with either red or green by the running lights depending on which side they surfaced, it was just beautiful:


………Sitting on deck sipping a cup of hot tea,

as we gently rock on thegentle sea

and dolphins play in the wake of the bow,

their spray lit up with a red and green glow.

Above the twinkling stars reflect in the sea.

I think I will have another cup of tea.

By daylight the dolphins turned around and started their daily routine of herding fish for their next feast. Heidi finally got up just as we left the Golfo de Cariaco, by now the wind was blowing with about 10 knots, not enough to sail so we kept motor sailing towards Puerto La Cruz. Coming into the Puerto La Cruz Bay the wind stopped co

mpletely and of course just as we turned the corner towards Maremares the wind started to blow like snot and made it a challenge to get into our slip.

Here we are again sitting safely at Maremares while Sid and Heidi started packing for their trip on Sunday.

Heidi is back in Switzerland and Sid is in Bocas del Toro, Panama to help Dale to bring his boat Snow White to Roatan in Honduras. Sid will be back on the 17th of ecember.

In the mean time I found some more projects for the boat. I am going to tackle the bimini and try to sew a new one, wish me luck, it’s not going to be easy. I’m sure I

will find other odds and ends to sew so I will not be bored here alone.

You can follow our stories again after the 17th when we start heading tow

ards Trinidad and up to some Caribbean islands for the next 6 months

Here are a few more Fotos of Heidi's vacation (click on photos to enlarge):