Friday, October 09, 2009


We arrive in Blanquilla after a 12 hour sail. The weather was great and the seas mellow enough so Anne did not get seasick. Our guidebook tells us the best anchorage is on the lee side of the island right in front of the two palms. If this was a movie there would definitely be a treasure buried here

A couple of boats are anchored off the beach. They are flying French flags. We'll warm up our pantomime technique and go visit later. We head a bit further down the beach where we are all alone. Nice!!
This island is known for it's beautiful beaches. So far so good
The island is flat and probably not much higher than 20 feet above sea level. It is dry with lots of cactus and other low growing plants

We anchor right off the beach. Easy to swim ashore. Easy to snorkel the rocks and reef. But a few days later a storm moves in and we have a 180 degree wind shift. Our boat is now almost dry docked on the beach. Fortunately it is daytime and we pick up our anchor and move

Cactus Hill

There are a few trails for hiking on the island but mostly we climb up and down to beautiful beaches
There are not many trees here but at least they have some personality
At night we hear the donkeys braying. Inland we find their almost dry watering hole. Maybe it will rain soon?

A short dingy ride away we find Americano Bay. Named after Mr. Blankenship, an American, who found the prettiest spot on the island. Not sure what happened to him but

There is only a relic of his island house left and no sign of Mr. Blankenship... or anyone else.

Enjoying the scenery
What does that hand sign mean Captain?

There are all kinds of small places to explore
And big lagoons (the guidebook calls them fjords)
Inside the fjord there are mangroves
Big Caves
No treasures just one pirate
The scenery is amazing
French Angel Fish

Fish or rock?
Man or tree?
It is time to move on. A last walk on the beach and we'll take off for Los Roques. A 2pm departure should get us there by morning. Bon Voyage.

See you in Los Roques.

Anne and Steve
S/V Fine Line

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Los Testigos

We leave Grenada at midnight. The moon is up and the sky is glittering with stars. Sailing at night can be beautiful. We set our course, turn on the autopilot, radar and begin negotiations for who will sleep first and who will take the first watch. Thanks Steve.

Early the next morning we discover a stow away. He is as sleepy as we are and has no intentions of leaving. OK with us.

We arrive at Los Testigos (Witness Islands) early in the morning. There are 6 small islands here with numerous rocks scattered around. Our electronic map is not accurate and there is a crazy current running between the islands. Fortunately our guide book has great detail on how to approach the main anchorage.

The sky is full of birds. They are diving and swooping for breakfast while keeping a close eye on us. To their disappointment we are not fishing. The poles are put away for the day.
As we come around to the main island we are greeted by a fleet of decorated boats. Is this our greeting committee?
It is a holiday celebrating the Virgen del Valle. Since there are no airports on this island, friends and family have arrived from the mainland via boat.
These islands are all about boats. They love their boats. They love to go fast in their boats and showing off to visiting yachts. Put on a life jacket please!!
We are anchored with a few other boats. We are taking a much deserved rest after our night-long-passage. Loud music infiltrates our foggy brains. We look and see an entire fleet bearing down on us. We are in a panic. Do we pick up our anchor and move? Are they going to go around us? Is this the navy? Have we broken some wierd Venezuelan law? Ha Ha, they come close but only to wave, dance and yell the name of our boat.."Fine Line, Fine Line, Fine Line"...ha ha ha ha. OK, back to sleep.

Approximately 160 people live on these islands full time. But now there are people everywhere. Tents line the shore.
Everywhere you look there are people having a good time making due with very little. There are no stores but there is no shortage of beer, rum and delicious empanadas.... and creative housing "island style".
Los Testigos are known for their fishing, beautiful water, beaches and sand dunes.

We hike up a very steep sand dune and on the other side of the island we find a beautiful beach.
And we find wild animals.
Steve can't resist. He rides this beast with wild abandon and walks away a proud man. He didn't get tossed, no sir, not this captain.
We are on our way back. The sand is hot hot hot. You can't wear shoes, it is too soft. You gotta run for it
Anne may be old but turn on the heat under her feet and well.... see for yourself. Adios muchachos.
Back on the boat we are continually buzzed by locals. They wave, stop to say "hi", practice some English and laugh at our pathetic attempts to speak Spanish.
We move our boat to a more secluded anchorage. We need some peace and quiet. There are no other boats here and for a good reason...the water is full of these creepy jelly fish
We decide we have had enough fun here is Los Testigos. Time to leave and head to Blanquilla. 90 miles west is our next stop. In order to arrive during daylight hours we must depart Los Testigos around 3am. We enjoy a great dinner and beautiful sunset and then it is time for some sleep.
The next day we are delighted by some great company

We have two lines out trolling for fish. The birds won't leave us alone. Sadly we catch more than one bird and decided to retire the fishing poles.
The dolphins come and go. They make us smile.

Check it out.

See you in Blanquilla,

Anne and Steve
S/V Fine Line