Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Venezuela - Puerto La Cruz - Marina Bahia Redonda - Safe inside, dangerous outside
This will be our home for the next 4 months while we spend hurricane season in a hurricane safe area.
It is hurricane safe, but we soon find out it is not safe from Venezuelan crime elements anywhere around here, except in the closed area of the marina. It seems that things have deteriorated in Venezuela while Colombia has started to get safer. It has also become an expensive place for boat work, as the Venezuelans are trying to rip us (cruisers) off, they seem to think we don't notice. On top of that, it has become difficult to buy anything here.
This is one example. We’ve been waiting to get here to buy a new inflatable as Venezuela is the manufacturer of Carib, good dinghies at an excellent price. Or so we thought. Soon we find out that not only the prices have gone up, there are no dinghies available at the moment. It took a lot of negotiation and persistence to finally get a dinghy. And even then, we got one that was a size bigger than the one ordered, but it was that or nothing, so we took it.
We arrived in Marina Bahia Redonda, PLC (Puerto La Cruz) to find many friends already here at the marina. As soon as we arrive we see familiar faces that come over to say hello and help us to get settled.
Marina Bahia Redonda - 10 July to 21 October 2008
During the time we spent here we travelled home for a month during July and then took a great vacation to Greece in September. The rest of the time we spent in the marina, trying to ignore mosquitoes and flying roaches while hosting Gipsy, a cute little cat to keep rats away. It was a nightmare.
Gipsy, patroling the cockpit
Gipsy, patroling the dinghy
The marina shop
We were planning to get several maintenance works done but after receiving absurd quotes and a few experiences on what to expect regarding quality of service, we gave up on trying and decided we would do nothing here. The only exception was some electrical work that Hugo from Beduina, did for us, excellent by the way.
One good thing came out of this time in Venezuela.
It was the many cruising friends that were here, spending hurricane season, and the many experiences we lived together.
Among others we spent a lot of time with Meggie and Roy from Drum, Hugo and Gislayne from Beduina, John and Ann from Livin the Dream, Rodrigo and Marcia from Cavalo Marino, Gary and Linda from our sister ship Rainbow Rider, Daddy and Denise from Jade, Sergio and Eileen from Gizzy, Barbara and Chuck from Tussen Takk II and many others.
Slowly, when October comes, people starts moving out and so do we. Together with Beduina and Livin’ the Dream, we leave the safety of Marina Bahia Redonda and head towards the off shore islands to continue our travels as hurricane season is almost over. From here to Bonaire, we are traveling together with other boats. As the Venezuelans have their fast boats, cheap fuel and total impunity, there have been several cases of violent piracy next to the Venezuelan coast. So far, the off shore islands that we are planning to visit have a reputation of being safe, still, with a bit of concern, we leave towards Isla Tortuga.
As it happens, a couple of days after we left, two boats, Chill and I'Lean, left the marina and decided to stop at Isla Borracha in their way to Isla Tortuga. Oscar had decided not to stop there considering that the more distance we get from the Venzuelan coast the better. Unfortunately, these two boats were attacked in this island. A piñero with 3 men aboard approached the two anchored yachts asking for water. When one of the crew came back up from below with water, they shot Ken, from Chill, with pistols, and attempted to kill Steve, who was shot in the thigh. This incident left us all in a state of shock and grief.