Monday, June 21, 2010

Sailing in Venezuela

When I got a friendly call from Colin 2 weeks ago, just seeing how things were going, he asked if I knew anyone interested in helping him make a sail from Margarita Island in Venezuela back to the BVI. "Well, that's easy, of course I do," I thought, referring to myself. I immediately volunteered and found myself on a plane from New Orleans to Miami and finally Caracas only a week later.

Margarita Island (Isla de Margarita) is the largest island of the Veneuzuela, situated off the northeastern coast of the country. It's actually quite a large island, with several hundred thousand residents. While we had much work to do on the boat to make it seaworthy, we also spent our time sampling the fantastic South American cuisine and enjoying the culture. Although I've never been anywhere in South America, Colin lived in Margarita for three years captaining yacht charters and delivering sailboats. In fact, the very boat we sailed, newly name "Color Cafe," used to belong to Colin, and he and Andrea lived on it for quite a while in the BVI and sailed it over 20,000 miles. With Colin and Shayl (Colin's friend on the island whom we lived with), I had more than enough experienced guides showing me a good time on the island.

When the boat was finally ready and deemed worthy enough to make the 450 mile passage to Jost van Dyke, and the tropical wave of weather that concerned us so much earlier in the week had passed, we set sail on the afternoon of Friday, June 11th, and didn't look back. Also along on the adventure was Ricardo, Colin's nephew from Venezuela.

Three remarkably handsome sailors from a variety of backgrounds and hometowns sailed the Caribbean Sea in only 4 days, making great time despite a few major boat issues and enjoying the nearly perfect weather and open ocean. Colin provided the expertise and quick training course for Ricardo and I, and banged out the 2-hour watch shifts all day and night until after the third day we could see St. Croix in the horizon. We fished behind the boat for most of the trip, unfortunately only catching a small barracuda near St. Croix and a rare Long-tailed Tropicbird, which we were able to release unharmed. My favorite part about the sail, however, were enjoying the night shifts. It's very rewarding to be alone on the ocean, no sounds but the ocean churning, wind in the sails, and occasionally my ipod jamming, and to be able to navigate by the stars and literally see every star in the sky burn like bright torches, unimpaired by city lights or clouds or anything.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the sail to have a look for yourself now.

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