The rest of Bonaire was amazing, we got laundry done and I have officially lost one of my favourite socks, was bound to happen. We walked along the dusty roads back to the big supermarket, I had to drag Phil out, he was enjoying the airconditioning and selection so much! We managed to get mostly ready the night before we left and just had a few jobs to do that last morning.
The passage to Colombia was about 530 nm and we still haven’t quite sorted out the best way to estimate how long it would take, I am always conservative, Phil is always more accurate. We figured on 4 days, but by day 2, we realized that if we had sped up instead of slowing down at the start we would have made it in 3.5, oh well. It was an interesting passage, the first two days were past Curacao and Aruba (didn’t stop) and then out over the Caribbean sea, we saw a few ships and had to change course a couple of times, and ended up with a tiny scrap of sail up to slow us down enough to try to get to Cartagena by the morning of the last day. It was quite wavy and you had to hold on, when the rollers went under you they were quite gentle, but when the broke just as they got to you it was loud and wet! Realized our juice and milk storage was only good up to 20 kts, so the 35-40 was a bit much and I did almost cry about our spilled UHT milk, mostly b/c I was dreading how to clean it out of the bilge! Getting close to Colombia was amazing, the smell of the land was intoxicating. Then we rounded into the harbour and it was SO smelly, oil and smog. The motor is was very cool, past old walls and forts, but the water is so brown (stirred up mmud/pollution?) that we couldn’t see and ran into a few tree branches along the way (nothing serious but hearing a bump sends shivers down your spine!). We tried to call port control on the way in to be proper and they just didn’t answer, so we came up to club nautico and dropped our anchor. I had dreams of showers, a club house, a drink with an umbrella, and they were a bit cruelly crushed. Turns out Club nautico has been stopped mid rebuild so there are some plastic chairs and blue tarps, that’s about it. We did realize that they have showers, so hopefully will take advantage of one today!
I know I owe more about Cartagena, but that will come in due course! Off to fill up a few buckets (including our “holding tank” which thankfully we didn’t need to us) with water.
Bye for now!
Finally, a chance to be on the internet and to catch up on everything, internets, the most important Skype calls, and finally finish telling you all about Dominica. Christmas, the beach was hopping, and we recovered with fully bellies. And we learned that mulled wine looks great in Pewter goblets but is easier not to burn yourself using wine glasses with insulated stems! Managed to hike up the west side of the Cabrits, to see some great views and some of my favourite little mountain crabs. The next day we headed back to our favourite hike and took the side trail up the Indian River tributary, saw buttress roots instead of paying $20.00 each to get rowed up the river. We would have done the tour but unfortunately we never saw our friend Fire who would have taken us after Christmas eve morning at 7 am when he was still drinking, so managed to find the scenes ourselves.
We decided to try to see some of the other views and Phil found a place called Lodat that had incredible scenery and was off the beaten track, so back to the bus we went, crammed in 4 people across (seats were definitely made for 3 people) and off we went. The first 30 minutes was flying along a paved road, the last was bumping along a dirt road. We got into Rosseau and tried to find a bus to lodat. The problem with the buses being vans is that if it isn’t your route no one seemed to know where to catch the bus from. So we walked and walked and eventually found a bus to Trafalgar falls after we decided that there were no buses to Lodat. I love taking the bus, you meet such interesting people and see so much more than if you just sat in a taxi.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how much you love people watching) there were 2 cruise ships in that day so it was PACKED. We asked the trail guide if we would need the hiking boots I so lovingly had carried from Portsmouth and he just laughed. So off we went on a very developed trail, past some of the slower tourists and finally got the waterfalls, they were amazing. My favourite part was that we could go right down to the water and I sat in a wonderful hotspring, it was the first fresh water rinse I had had in days and it was brilliant. The tourists were amazing to watch, a very European family who hadn’t worn swimsuits was prancing about in very fabulous underwear, others were looking so well put together, despite sitting in running water, how they do that I will never understand! It was very interesting watching how people navigated rocks with no trails, like watching ants crawling around. After the hot spring I sat in the cool water that came from the waterfall, so refreshing.
We were still hoping to hike but no one knew any hikes near by, thankfully we saw our favourite blue and yellow trail marks marking the Kabuli trail and off we went. It is like a magical trail that takes you down roads that you would never get on otherwise. We saw a huge mountain and realized we must be walking around it and off we went, up and up and up. Then we realized we weren’t going around the mountain, we were climbing up it! It was incredible, parrots, smooth billed anis (a bird my dad studies) and we looked down on a rainbow. Hiking and hiking, watching our watches, we realized we would have to turn back if we didn’t find a village, just then the skys opened and we realized that while hiking in a rainforest you should always take a raincoat. So there we were, drenched to the skin and finally saw houses and realized we had reached Lodat, unfortunately no time to explore b/c the bus that we hadn’t been able to find was coming at 4:30 (luckily everyone in Dominica was so fabulous at helping us find our way around). So home again we went.
The next day, we went into Portsmouth and searched for a bucket with a lid, our high tech holding tank that we needed for Bonaire, despite seeing them around town everywhere, we couldn’t find one to buy. Finally went into a fabulous electronics store and were given one. Then that night met some lovely new friends Boris and Julia who had us over for delicious sausage and a delicious rum drink from Martinique – good luck on your journey guys! Afterwards, preparations made for our passage and off we went, into the blue.
The passage to Bonaire was lumpy at first, lots of waves coming from different directions, so lots of holding on b/c you couldn’t quite figure out where the boat was moving to next. But a good quick passage none the less and we made it to Bonaire in 3 days, it was very cool watching the salt flats come into view and I thought I saw giant birds that were actually kite surfers (may have already written this, who knows!). Okay, so with that I should check what I have told you about Bonaire and get back to filling in the rest of our adventures to date, thanks for keeping track of us!
Okay, so we have been here for 4 days and I haven't managed to write yet.. be gentle, we have had such a tough time finding internet (as we speak I am SLOWLY sipping an ever warming beer just to be able to sit long enough to write this!). So, this place is the shore diving capital of the world, quite amazing, you aren't allowed to throw ANYTHING overboard, no anchors, no messing with the environment, no leaving batteries, in all very eco concious. The diving is so accessible, I am used to having to go out with boats and divemasters, here we walked up, with a sheet describing our experience, they handed us a tank and sent us out, the only rule was our first dive had to be right near the rental shop so we could swap out any gear that didn't work. It was amazing! There are so many fish and since fishing is highly restrictive they are all really friendly. Lots of huge schools, and a shelf of reef that goes from 20-80 feet! We had a lot of fun going through my Paul Humann book and circling the things we have seen. There are as many divers here as yachties in some of the other places, equally cultish but different, funny that we are now the minority in visitors, most people come for a diving vacation, rent a truck and gear and off they go. We have decided as there seems to be NO public transport that we might rent a scooter and explore the island, they have huge salt flats and apparently flamingos. Don't worry papa, I'm bringing the binoculars on our land mission b/c I just saw a flock of parrots fly over head, good thing is you can hear then before you see them.
So first dive was good, although I did have to go through the inhumane punishment of trying to get into my wetsuit infront of 50 tourists lounging on chairs under palm trees, some things you should just never have to go through. Phil was very kind, he said my wetsuit had just lost a bit of stretch, hope he was right! Second dive was at Angel (??) a very cool double reef, an amazing number of eels and we both can't get over the fish. Looking forward to frites soon Mosquitos have been terrible, Phil sacrificed his feet to them last night as I lay mummied up in the sheet sweating away, it is amazing how cold it can be at sea and how warm when you are tucked up in the bow of the boat! So, beer is done, shops are calling, going to try to discover where the laundromat is, make our 4th purchase at Budget Marine (and our 4th country) and then maybe my frites???? Okay, I promise to go home and write more about dominica because it was amazing and to fill you in on our adventures here because they have been fun and to in general catch up on remembering everything... Hugs to one and all