back to Venezuela log 10/12/2000-10/25/2000

ABC Island Log

Thursday October 26th, 2000

We passed Bonaire during the night.

At 7 AM we had a fish hit. I'm not doing well since the very successful day on Monday. Tuesday I had a fish strip all the line off my light pole in about 15 seconds while fishing at anchor. This morning the fish that hit ripped the hook out of the lure.

At 8:15 Matti spotted two pink flamingos. Wow! What beautiful birds. I read somewhere that there are 50 plastic flamingos for each real one, but the way these were flying, I'm pretty sure they were real. I was surprised to see them out at sea though.

At 10 am Curacao is in sight, and we are welcomed by a most remarkable group of dolphins. There must have been at least two dozen, and they stayed with us for about 15 or 20 minutes. They looked different than the other dolphins we have seen. They were smaller and had different coloration. They were also the most playful we have seen. In addition to swimming in front of the boat they did tail slaps and jumps. During one jump the dolphin must have gotten eight feet out of the water and did a tail wave in mid flight. We checked in our reference book to try to identify them. While it is possible that they are common dolphins, we suspect that they were a version of spinner dolphin.

Arrived and dropped anchor in Spanish Waters, Curacao at 2:45pm.

Customs and Immigration is in town and the office would be closed before we could get there by bus, so we went to the bar. On the way we saw a guy with seven dogs in his dingy. We asked about him at the bar and the Lars, the bartender, said that the guy had a habit of collecting strays. Eventually his wife said "The dogs go or I go." We didn't see her in the dingy, so I guess the dogs won.

Later on Lars gave us a balloon, and said that if we could blow it up we'd get a free beer. It was one of those long balloons that can be twisted to form hats, animals, etc. They are a lot tougher to blow up than you'd expect, but with a beer on the line Jo gave it his all. After a couple seconds of blowing as hard as he could, his face went blank, and he went down hitting his head on the bar on the way. He was out cold for about 15 seconds. Very scary! He looked like he was dead. He said that he was blowing hard and then suddenly he was dreaming. Once he came to, he recovered quickly and all was well once again. -DWH

Friday October 27th, 2000

Jo and I headed into town to do customs and immigration Stacy did laundry and knitted.

I talked to a guy from South Africa who knows a guy who is pulling logs out of Lake Superior. He told me something interesting related to this. He said that for years people have wondered why Statavarious(sp?) violins sounded better than those made by others, but that somebody recently uncovered a big clue. Apparently the wood used was from old pilings that had been underwater for years. He said that now there is a growing demand from instrument makers for wood like that from the bottom of Lake Superior. Does anyone out there know if any of this is true? If so please send me an email at

Jo made pork chops on the grill for dinner. Fantastic! -DWH

Saturday October 28th, 2000

The water tanks were filled. It took 66 gal of water. We were able to get water from an onshore pump at Sarifundy's Bar at .02 guilder a liter.

Jo and I went to Kee's Place to have a dinner while Dave and Stacy packed for their trip back to the US. The food was reasonable and delicious. Jo and I tried an Amstel for the first time. This beer is brewed on the island with desalinated water. It is the only beer that uses that type of water. -MJS (Matti Salomaki)

Sunday October 29th, 2000

Dave and Stacy left to go to the airport this morning. They are going to take the bus into town and then take a connection bus to the airport. We wish them safe travels in the States.

Jo and I set up for a day sail. It took about 45 minutes to prepare the boat. We sailed past Barbara Beach which is located at the mouth of the Spanish Waters and one of the popular places to swim on Sundays. While day sailing, a storm came up. Winds up to 30 knots forced us to put a reef in the sail. The storm blew over in about 10 minutes. Winds dropped back to 10 knots. The rest of the day was sailing east of Willemstad.

That night, the main cabin was set up for movie night, the Matrix. -MJS

Monday October 30th, 2000

Jo and I ventured into town. At the bus stop we meet another boat, Tata. They were concerned about remaining in Spanish Waters because they suspected some person tried to steal their dingy during the night. Jo and I were out on the back of our boat late last night facing Tata and did not see anything unusual. We will keep a closer eye on persons motoring up to a boat then leaving.

Punda is the east side of Willemstad. The bus takes us right from Kee's Bar to Punda. There was a monster cruise ship in town. Three can be accommodated if needed. The town itself is pretty. Most of the buildings are about three stories and painted in pastel colors. When a cruise ship is in town, it was hard not to look like a tourist. Jo and I enjoyed a beer next to the bridge that floats on sixteen pontoons. Whenever needed, the bridge will motor out so that vessels of all sizes may pass. During this time, a free ferry will take people across to Otrabanda. Finally, we toured the coin museum. A small collection of Caribbean coins and rock/mineral from around the world. The museum is free and the air conditioning is a nice break from the sun. -MJS

Tuesday October 31st, 2000

We decided not to go to town because of heavy rain. For a climate that is supposed to be a desert, there is a lot of rain. Jo made progress with Linix. He was able to get the mock Linix server to talk to the DOS desktop.

We ate our four meal of beans and rice. Two nights ago, Jo and I decided that since we are by ourselves, let's just make one big batch of beans and rice. I suggested that we make two bags instead of one because it does not take anymore time. Today, I am starting to think that one bag would have been enough for any two people to eat. Jo now has us on a jogging program.

I was disappointed that people did not dress up for Halloween. -MJS

Wednesday November 1st, 2000

Today we ventured to the airport to check out how easy it will be to pick up our guests (Barry Widera, John Sharpless, Joe Ehman and John Dreger). It takes about 20 minutes to Punda and an hour to the airport. From the airport, Jo and I walked to the Hato Caves. I found the price reasonable, about $6.00 US. The caves were about 75 meters by 75 meters with five chambers containing stalagmites, stalactites, a water fall and bats. The tour was in Dutch, but generally one could understand the point of the tour guide.

Jo is better at understanding a foreign language than me. While he is watching body language, I am trying to pull out words from the conversation. Since he told me of his technique, I have been working at improving my new skill. -MJS

Thursday November 2nd, 2000

Sometime when we were taking a nap during the afternoon, somebody stole Jo sandals. The intake on the gas tank was removed from the engine. We must have startled them and they left.

While at Sarifundy's, Lars, the bar owner, mentioned about there will be a regatta this weekend. Jo and I left the weekly Thursday Happy Hour and rode the dingy to Zeilhaven Asiento, a sailing club/bar. We were able to meet a couple who are members of the sailing club. They said that they had to pay about $1000 US just to join and then extra just to sail the boats. We are so fortunate to have Hoofers in Madison, WI. Only $150 for everything. Krine and Binge are from Holland (he is a chiropractor and she works with economics). Krine helped us sign up for the regatta on Sunday. It was simple, just pay the $25 guilder and we were in. We left the club/bar with a day sailing date with Krine and Inge. -MJS

Friday November 3rd, 2000

We are starting to realize that this island is more expensive than the past couple. The Antilles guilder is tied to the US dollar. So prices are about what you would pay in the US. The cheapest beer that we have found was $2.50 guilder ($1.50 US).

We found a great little local restaurant in Punda, Goon Lee. Everybody spoke Papiamento a mixer of Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch. Jo and I pointed to something that looked yummy. The cook started to prep the grill with two big scoops of lard. Next ten pieces of bacon and two big eggs. All went on a huge sour dough bun with lettuce and 1000's island dressing. It reminded me of eating five egg mcmuffins from McDonalds While we ate our sandwiches, several locals were sipping on bottled Guinness through a straw. At 10 AM, it felt inspired.

In Punda, we found a good deal on a new pair of sandals for Jo. Jo still feels bad that someone would be wearing his sandals because they are old, beat up and stinky. That poor person.

Last night we washed our trash can and I decided to put it under the water collector just in case it rained. It did and we had more gray water than ever. We washed everything we could think of include the main cabin floor. -MJS

Saturday November 4th, 2000

We woke up early to pick up Krine at the dock. Inge could not make it because she is involved with writing to Holland for some money to help jump start Curacao's economy. Curacao's economy took a dive in the mid 80's when Venezuela's economy took a dive. Venezuelans used to make up 86% of the tourist industry, now it only accounts for less then 15%. Second part that seems to be hurting the Curacao's economy is that their guilder is directly tied to the US dollar. Currently, the US dollar is strong which also forces up the prices here.

We made a 10 K day sail to Piscadera Baai. Here there is beautiful Caribbean water and a tiki bar, Hooks Hut. Krine was excited to be on Ladybug and would have wanted to race with us tomorrow, but he already committed to another boat. The rest of the day was spent telling story and talking country differences. It is sweet to share sailing with other people and today was no exception. -MJS

Sunday November 5th, 2000

Today was the big regatta. Jo and I were a little confused of the start line because the instructions for the race were in Dutch. After missing the first start, we found the start line and began with the next wave of boats. We were the only cruiser in the race and we did not have a spinnaker 'Jo, myself and all the comforts of home versus seven other keelboats with full crew' With the help of a rain storm with big winds, we were able to keep up with the pack. Even though we were the only boat with a bimini which kept us reasonable dry, I could not resist the chance to bath in the rain. Free fresh water! We were all at the way point by noon. The rain had stopped and we found ourselves anchored in Piscadera Baai complete with a tiki hut bar, clean sand and Caribbean reef water. There was a huge buffet and open bar for two hours. Chatting with the other teams the conversations always starts the same way. "Dutch, Dutch, and more Dutch" Jo and I would have a blank look on our face and someone says, "ahh...Americans." The language of the story changes to English, "So we were drinking..."

The start of the next race was better. We were in a tight pack for most of the 10 miles back to the finish line, Spanish Waters. After a quick nap, we made it to the closing ceremonies. We took eighth place. -MJS

Monday November 6th, 2000

Most of the day was spent resting from the past weekend. Jo introduced me to an evil, addicting computer game where you are a military robot sent on missions. The longer you play, the better the missions. Also, we made a sighting of the sea turtle of the bay. -MJS

Tuesday November 7th, 2000

It rained again last night and this afternoon another rain storm. Jo and I bused into town so that we could check with the immigration office to see if there will be any complications when our guest arrive. The immigration official assured us that there should not be any. At the web cafe, we tried to determine any exciting news of the elections. It was a hot day so we decided get a milk shake before heading back to the anchorage.

That night we fished with raw chicken parts leftover from dinner. It worked like a charm. I caught enough snapper to make a meal for breakfast the next morning. The fish did not seem interested in artificial lures, but put some live bait on the out. -MJS

Wednesday November 8th, 2000

Checked on the web for news about yesterday's elections. We were sad to hear that our dear friend, John Sharpless, did not win his election. It appeared that the incumbent squeaked head of him by half of one percent. We could not determine who was president.

Tried fishing with artificial lures with no luck. Jo and I spent much of the day cleaning the boat. -MJS

Thursday November 9th, 2000

Jo and I ventured into Punda to extend our two week visa. The line was long. Actually, it was only 15 people ahead of us, yet it took almost an hour for our turn in line. The official on the other side of the window said that we would have to come back tomorrow to pick up our passports. I am not looking forward to standing in line again for another hour.

We officially determined that the ABC's are at a minimum three times more expensive than Trinidad and Tobago or Venezuela. Fortunately, there is happy hour at Sarifundy's Bar. After Sarifundy's Bar, we rode the dingy to the yacht club bar where we meet Krine. -MJS

Friday November 10th, 2000

Last night, the mosquitos were bad. We decided to skip going into Punda to get our passports because of the heavy rain storm that lasted most of the morning. We will be able to get our passports on Monday.

The rest of the day was spent preparing the boat for our guest that will be arriving tomorrow. We checked our water tank levels and Jo and I have been able to maintain full tanks with the water that we have collected. We could have easily collected more, but we do not have anywhere else to keep it. Also, we arranged a rental car from Michel's Auto. -MJS

Saturday November 11th, 2000

Michel's Car Rental picked us up at Sarifundy's Bar. The car was a little more expensive than we first thought, but when one gets all the way there, a couple of dollars is not going to make much difference. The car was clean, but had no gas. After putting in 25 guilders into the tank, Jo and I headed to Westpunt. On the way, Jo spotted eight high tech windmills used to produce electricity. I could see on a map that there was a secondary road that would take you to them, when we finally got to the intersection, it was too muddy to drive to them.

After 45 minutes we made it to Westpunt. Not much of a town, but there are a couple of beaches next to one another. Jo drove us past the lighthouse to a beach that was old, dry, dead coral. 50 meters of sharp rock lead down to the ocean with the water crashing onto shore. As we approached the ocean, Jo found a natural cave where the top was uncovered. As we looked into the pit, we could see rolling waves pound into the far side then jet out of the top. This was my favorite natural formation on the island yet. After tooling around the two beaches, Jo and I stopped to Westpunt's Overlook Bar/Restaurant. 100 feet over the ocean, Jo and I ate cheeseburgers and drank beer.

The drive back to the main city was swift. We stopped at a store similar to Sam's Club to provision for the crew that was arriving tonight. The dingy engine died on the way back to the Ladybug. Jo determined that there was water in the gas and fixed the problem. After shopping, Jo and I took a nap on the boat until it was time to get to the airport. The airport was a fairly simple drive. Once we arrived, their flight was already delayed. Jo found the perfect place to watch the planes arrive...right above the "C" in Curacao in the Hato Airport Lounge. Two and a half hours later, we saw the Barry Widera, John Sharpless and Joe Ehman on the runway. We could tell from the look on their faces, they were excited. They flew through immigrations and customs and we were all together driving back to Punda.

We stopped by Punda on the way home. Unfortunately, everything is closed after about nine at night. Off we went to the Mambo Beach Club, a beach disco bar. There was a concert happening and it was 65 guilders per person to get in. We headed back to the boat where we knew the beer was cold. The five of us sat chatting on the net under a full moon until late into the night. -MJS

Sunday November 12th, 2000

We viewed the loot that the boys brought for us. With the help of Laurie Kestrel and Erik Rassmusen we now have a digital video camera, tapes. Also the crew brought a couple of new DVDs, our mail, a couple of books, and a lot of Madison stories. Jo made the famous steak and eggs breakfast. It was just the perfect food needed for what was ahead. We lifted anchor and headed to Barbara Beach located at the mouth of Spanish Waters. When we arrived, the beach was dead probably because it was too early in the morning. An executive decision was made and we headed out to sea to sail.

We sailed over to Piscadera Baai where we have been twice before. Conversation changed from buying oceanfront property to politics and John's campaign to old girlfriends and available women. When we arrived to Piscadera Baai, we dropped anchor and swam to Hook's Hut. The beer never tasted better.

Little changed during the day, we sailed back to Spanish Waters. Peter from La Beautique came over for a visit and gave us his old spinnaker to take for a test drive. We fired up more steaks, drank scotch, and chatted late into the night. I caught eight snapper that I prepared for tomorrow's breakfast. -MJS

Monday November 13th, 2000

The mosquitos were out with vengance last night. After eating breakfast, we journeyed into Punda with the rental car. Jo dropped us off so that he could return the car. While I went to retrieve our passports, the crew strolled around town. All five of us met in a waterfront restaurant for lunch.

Barry, John and Joe agreed that Jos' and my money was not good in the islands anymore. Jo and I both felt this to be an overly generous offer.

After lunch, we took the bus back to the Ladybug. We prepared the boat to set sail to Bonaire. At 5:50, we were on our way. The wind was light for the first couple of hours, but the wind picked up when we hit Klein Curacao. It was a near full moon which was great for sailing. Not long after we passed Klein Curacao a series of storms hit us. The biggest winds were 35 knots. Jo and I felt a little pain from the rain as it smacked us in the face. After the initial front, the winds calmed to 20 knots and it rained on and off until dawn. Frankly, I was happy to have a storm while under sail because I have not seen how the boat reacts under those conditions. -MJS

Tuesday November 14th, 2000

After about 35 miles, we arrived in Kralendijk, Bonaire about 10 AM. Everybody either prepared the boat to go to the beach or took a nap. By noon we met at Karle's Bar only 100 meters from the Ladybug. Bonaire is gorgeous. The water is clear and the island looks fresh. You could see the Dutch influence on the architecture. There are only about 15,000 people who live on the island and Kralendijk is the main town. There are no tall buildings which gives it an intimate feel. There is a long cement break wall with decorative bricks that lines the coast. We knew we were going to enjoy this little sleepy town.. Jo and I especially because we needed a break from Spanish Waters.

The rest of the day we snorkeled off the boat, explored the town and napped. We found a great supermarket close to Ladybug. That is what is great about the town...everything is convenient from internet to shopping to restaurants. If Bonaire was Madison, we would be anchored in Library Mall. For dinner, Jo BBQ tenderloins wrapped in bacon for an appetizer and rib eye steaks for the main course. All of us crashed early. What we discovered was the town was quite during the day, but we could hear music pumping until 3 AM. The noise did not bother us because we all were too tired to think about it. -MJS

Wednesday November 15th, 2000

We rented "Dutch bicycles" and rode to the northwest side of the island. The clouds and light rain made it a perfect day for it. Inside one of the nature parks we came across an abandoned plantation home. We made jokes about John someday making retirement there. We figured he would have a long beard and cane. Occasionally, a visitor would stop by to see the resurrected plantation only to find John making conversation with the lamp post. We biked through Ricon and back along the ocean on the North side to our final destination...Karle's Bar. The trip was beautiful. We did stumble across a large property where this man created art out of junk. Everywhere you looked you could see "art?"...from refrigerators turned into robots to coke bottle wind toys. Two of our favorites was the saint nicholas perched on top of a 25 foot cactus and an empty trash can in the middle of all the mess. The rest of the countryside reminded us of the southwestern USA with an island feel.

We made it to Karle's Bar at the start of happy hour. In groups, we rode the dingy back to the boat to change out of our wet cloths. Once all together, we walked over to It's Raining Fishes for excellent food. Our friend's from La Beautique recommended the place and they were right on the money. Back to Karle's Bar from more beverages. While sitting at the bar, Karioke Night formed around us. Before we knew it, we were looking in the song book for one to sing ourselves. It only took two hours and five more rounds before one of us would go through with it. I got up and sang Love Shack by the B-52s. Ladybug rocked until 2 AM when we returned to the boat to sleep. -MJS

Thursday November 16th, 2000

I think that we should start soon to be famous quotes. Barry gets the honor of being the first with, "Man, I turned on the light and it looked like O'Hare" commenting on the mosquitos in his berth. Today was a mellow day. We motored over to Klein Bonaire to snorkel. Beautiful reefs although, no new fish were spotted. There were a large school of Gare Fish and Tuna spotted. Later on that night, we provisioned at the supermarket and went to the Mona Lisa Restaurant. The food was delicious. Each of us had the fish of the day, there were four to choose from. Finally back to the Karle's Bar then back to the boat.

Jo discovered that the spinnaker halyard was not correctly strung. It was inside of the spreader triangle. I rigged up a line attached to a nerf football to throw 25 feet up into the air and through the triangle so that we could remedy the problem. It only took one lucky throw (after 99 unlucky ones) to fix it. -MJS

Friday November 17th, 2000

8 AM we set sail back to Curacao. The wind was blowing a steady 20 knots and with the spinnaker we were moving 8 to 8.5 knots. About two hours into the trip, John noticed a small tear in the spinnaker near a seam. We took it down and sailed fast without it. At 25 knots of wind, Barry had the boat to a witnessed 10 knots. We were just about to round Klein Curacao, Jo yells man overboard. We rushed to post and discovered that the two handed winch handle was in the water. Our first two passes for the handle were unsuccessful. Before the third attempt could be made, we lost sight of the handle. A small storm rolled through turning the water dark and the swells were already 5 feet making it challenging to spot the handle. 45 minutes passed and we decided to stop our search. Out of nowhere, John Sharpless spots the handle. We get back into rescue mode. Jo drove the Ladybug while John and I went to the front of the boat to retrieve it. I had the first chance for it, but missed. John had the next (and last shot for it). John seven feet above the water, the bow crashed into the sea. Like a bear fishing for trout, John submerged into the ocean and comes out of the water with the handle in his mouth...well actually he had it in his hand, but the visualization of it in his mouth is too good not to leave in the story.

With the winch handle secured, we completed our sail to Spanish Waters, Curacao about 4 PM. That night, we rode the dingy to Sarifundy's for dinner and a night of cocktails. -MJS

Saturday November 18th, 2000

Jo went into town to clear customs and immigration while I hitched a ride to Michel's Car Rental to get a car. All five of us met up at Kee's Place and headed to the Westside of the island, a similar trip that Jo and I made only a week before. Again, we viewed the open cave and ate at the Westpunt Overview Restaurant. We took a detour to Martha Baai. It was similar to Spanish Waters except there was hardly any signs of man. One plantation home and a small fishing village. We thought it would be a great place to anchor Also, we saw a flock of flamingos. From there, we went for a swim at Jermi Baai Beach. Finally back to the boat, we ate brats and drank beers. It was an early night for Joe and John, but Jo, Barry and I went to pick up John Dreger at the airport. His flight was delayed, but the plane arrived about 12:45 AM. We headed straight to the boat where we caught up. -MJS

Sunday November 19th, 2000

Jo drove the John Sharpless, Barry Widera and Joe Ehman to the airport for their noon flight. I was sad to see them go. Dreger and I were tired and napped until Jo returned. Later that night we received the loot from Dreger: our mail, a CD Recorder, couple of new DVDs and 8mm tapes, plus a spinnaker and water maker for La Beautique Plus John brought about 20 DVDs from his private collection for us to borrow during his stay. Since we still had the car until the next day, we decided to go for a scenic ride of the east side of the island. We managed to find the alleged Ostrich Farm, the largest one outside of Africa. We were the last ones to make it for the tour, in fact, we were the only three on the tour. A gentleman took us in an old military vehicle through the farm. He stopped the vehicle so that we had plenty of time to view the farm and once I was even able to get out to demonstrate how the male birds protect there territory. Don't worry, there was a fence between me and the bird. After the excellent tour, Dreger bought us dinner. Each of us picked a meal with ostrich meat. It is more like beef than it is chicken and tasty. When we arrived at the Ladybug, we popped in a Bond DVD. -MJS

Monday November 20th, 2000

John and I took the car to a supermarket in Montana to provision for the next week. Later that morning, I drove John and Jo to Punda for them to explore while I return the car. We all met at the internet cafe. Punda is small enough to see most of it in an afternoon. We bused back to the boat where we took naps. Sarifundy's always have a movie night on Monday's. Tonight flick which we watched was X-Men. -MJS

Tuesday November 21st, 2000

I retrieved the flashlight that I dropped at Sarifundy's Bar. We all worked like mad to finish cleaning the boat. John and I made a run into Punda for internet, ice cream and beers at the "skinny bar" our affectionate name for Allegro Bar. The owner brother even bought us a round. Jo met up with us there and off to the airport to pick up Dave and Stacy. The bus trip took much longer than the last time Jo and I went. We were traveling at the same time many of the students were getting out of school. Dave and Stacy's plane was already on the ground when we arrive. We were concerned that we may have missed them, but we did not. 20 minutes later, Dave, Stacy and Eric came out the door. It was great to see them again. Surprise, we have a new crew mate, Eric. Eric is a pilot and decided to visit while he has some mandatory time off. We managed to get all the luggage on the bus and to Punda. Jo and I watched the luggage while the rest of the crew visited the skinny bar. Back at the Ladybug, Dave and Stacy unpacked. They had a ton of food that was a gift. We are going to eat like kings. -MJS

Wednesday November 22nd, 2000

John, Eric, Stacy and I explored Willemstad. In the afternoon, and Jo and Matti cleared us out of Curacao. We lifted the anchor about 5 PM and headed towards Bonaire. The wind was about 15 knots and there wasn't much for waves. The sailing was excellent. Eric and John both took long shifts at the helm and did very well. -DWH

Thursday November 23rd, 2000

Conditions continued to be beautiful through the night. We arrived and tied up to a mooring pin around 9 AM. After a nap, Jo took care of customs and immigration. Then we went ashore to pay for the mooring pin (about $5 US a day) and to get groceries for our grand Thanksgiving feast. We spent most of the day napping and swimming. The water is fantastic. Visibility must be at least 75 feet. Around 5:30 we went in for happy hour. After a couple beers we went back to Ladybug and had a feast including steak with grilled mushrooms and onions. After that everyone was pretty tired, but Eric, Stacy and I went in for a little more fun. We ended up meeting some very interesting people, including Marlous who served us cocktails and taught us Dutch, and eventually went to a night club to go dancing. We got back to Ladybug around 3 AM. -DWH

Friday November 24th, 2000

Bonaire and Klein Bonaire, it's smaller neighbor, have some good places to dive or snorkel. We sailed to the west side of Klein Bonaire and tied up to a mooring pin. (The whole area is a marine park and there is no anchoring allowed.) We had a nice swim and then sailed back. On the way back Eric caught a tiny bonito.

I had a sore throat and a head ache, so Stacy and I stayed on the boat and watched movies. The rest of the crew went to town. It sounds like a good time was had by all. -DWH

Saturday November 25th, 2000

It was a lazy day. I was feeling better than yesterday but still not well.

Late in the afternoon Stacy and I patched up the spinnaker. Maybe we can give it a try tomorrow. -DWH

Sunday November 26th, 2000

There was some big festival today. It included St. Nicholas and pirates and lots of games for the kids. We checked it out and would have probably been more entertained if we had a clue as to what was going on. Afterwards we got some groceries and then headed back to Ladybug for lunch. In the afternoon we cast off the mooring lines and went out sailing. Jo gave us directions on the use of the spinnaker. Fantastic! Soon we were cruising along at 7 knots in about 14 knots of wind.

Stacy and I used our new dive lights (thanks Mike) to do some night snorkeling near the boat. This was very cool. -DWH

Monday November 27th, 2000

Stacy, Eric and I rented bicycles and toured the island. We saw pink flamingos and got absolutely soaked by lots of rain. It was great fun. Afterwards we were having a couple beers when we met a guy named Kirt Barker. Kirt is a teak importer who lives in Panama and is in Bonaire scuba diving. He strongly suggested that we go diving while here. We told him that we would like to, but it's expensive. He said that maybe he could get a couple tanks and round up some gear for us. We will try to hook up tomorrow.

Watched the Packers get beat up on Monday Night Football. -DWH

Tuesday November 28th, 2000

Kirt swam up to the back of the boat about 2 PM. He said he tried to call to us from shore earlier, but could not get our attention. He wanted to know if we were up for diving. Yea! We took the dingy to pick up his gear and also to pick up Wayne Barnes and Wayne Barnes Jr. who are staying in the same hotel as Kirt. Wayne Jr. is also a diver. So with two sets of gear and two full tanks we sailed off to find a good dive sight. We had 20-30 knots out of the ESE and were moving. At first we thought we would try diving at the "Weber's Joy" sight, but with the current wind the mooring looked hazardous, so we headed to the lee of Klein Bonaire. We ended up taking a dive mooring near the one that we snorkeled off of on Friday. Stacy and I dove first and used a little less than half the air. Then Eric went down with Wayne. The rest of the crew snorkeled or relaxed on board. We left the dive sight about 4:30 and sailed some more. With this wind we can really move. -DWH

Wednesday November 29th, 2000

Got up and got ready to leave. Jo checked us out of customs and immigration.

At 10 AM we met people for some pre-passage sailing. Kirt was along. Before becoming a teak importer he spent some time on the boat owned by "Latitude 38". He said that he planned on being on the boat for 8 days and stayed for several months. He really seems to enjoy being back on a sailboat. We also had Marlous and 3 of her friends- Sander, O'Neal, and Martin. They were all fun to sail with and did not mind getting wet, which is good because it is still blowing today. We dropped all of them off around 1:30 PM.

Left Bonaire for Aruba at 3:10 PM. We had good wind around 20-25 knots. -DWH

Thursday November 30th, 2000

We arrived in Aruba at 10:45. After clearing in with customs and immigration we took a quick tour of the marina area and then headed just south east of the harbor to anchor. The wind was really blowing (25-30knots) and the anchorage is not that well protected from the wind, but it is our best option for now. It does not seem unsafe, but the dingy ride to shore is sure to be a wet one.

Eric, Stacy and I headed in to do a little exploring. There is a definite "cruise ship" feel to the harbor area with lots of tourist shops, casinos, and restaurants. If you wanted to spend money, this would be a good place to do it. We still had a good time. -DWH

Friday December 1st, 2000

The whole crew hit shore this morning. Jo had to get John off the crew list so that he can fly home on Sunday.

We found a restaurant with a 99 cent breakfast. It did not included coffee, which was $1.50, but still seemed like a good deal. Dad would love it. After breakfast we did a little more exploring, and then Stacy, Eric and I bought some groceries and headed back to Ladybug. Stacy wanted to start preparing homemade pizza for tonight.

Later, while Stacy was finishing the pizza, the boys did a little fishing. We caught a couple decent fish, but not enough for a meal for six. I'm not sure what the first couple fish were, but the last one was a Bluestriped Grunt. It was yellow with bright blue strips and made a grunting sound when it was pulled from the water. -DWH

Saturday December 2nd, 2000

The wind has been in the 20 to 30 knot range for the last week, but this morning it was even stronger with it getting over 35 knots at times. If it keeps up we may have a very fast and interesting passage to Panama.

The boys headed to St. Nicolas, the other major town on the island, while Stacy and I worked on some projects on Ladybug. When we met up with the boys later, it was obvious that they had been having fun all day long. Stacy and I did our best to catch up, and we all eventually ended up partying and dancing the night away. -DWH

Sunday December 3rd, 2000

We saw John off today. I hope he enjoyed his visit as much as we did. It was great to have him aboard.

Stacy made her famous burritos for dinner tonight. They were fantastic. -DWH

Monday December 4th, 2000

Eric called in, and it looks like he has to go back to work soon. He will not be able to make the passage to Panama with us. Jo got him taken off the crew list, and he was off to the airport. Goodbye Eric. Come back soon!

Stacy and I finished up a couple projects that we wanted to complete before leaving for Panama. All the harnesses have strobes attached. There is a new 12V outlet in the cockpit. We will use this for our spot light and hand held VHF. We also have an outside speaker for the main VHF.

We made a trip to the internet cafe to try to update our web site, but had no luck. Then we went and loaded up on groceries. We are not sure what we will find in the San Blas Islands, so we want to be well stocked up with the basics. -DWH

Tuesday December 5th, 2000

I checked the port engine and found water in the bilge. After cleaning it up I discovered that it is coming from the water pump. It is coming out slowly (maybe one drop a minute), so I'm not too concerned. I will take care of it when we reach Panama.

While Jo cleared us out of customs and immegration the rest of us filled up the diesel and water. Now we just need to get some cash from the handy ATM and we can be off.

Just before leaving Stacy ran to the internet cafe to check the CDC website to see if there is Malaria in the SanBlas. There is. Good thing we brought a little Meflaquin with us.

Left Aruba at 2:45 PM. After leaving the harbor area we played with the spinnaker. The first attempt to bring it down was ugly, but we did not tear the sail and there were no broken bones. We gave it a second try and this time things went more smoothly. It will take a little while to figure out how to best use it on this boat, but that is part of the fun of sailing. At sunset we decided that we should limit our experimentation to the day time.

We sailed into the night with jib and double reefed main. Wind was mostly in the 20-30 knot range, with occational gusts up to 35. We are cruising in the 7 knot range and at one point Stacy saw 11 on our knot meter. Other than the stiff wind and good sailing it was a quiet night. -DWH

to Panama - The San Blas Islands log 12/06/2000-01/30/2001