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Trinidad - Margarita

Islands along the Venezuelan Coast

rain forest anchorage

Geographically this is South America, our third continent. We are in the tropics and vegetation abounds. The passage from Grenada was flawless and we arrived - as usual - in a downpour. The Marx Brothers of Customs and Immigration had to shuffle a lot of paper and we had to fill in 5 copies of every form. Of course they demanded a lot of money, they want to live too, but other than that no problem. What we really liked was that there is no duty or VAT on imported goods and spares for yachts in transit.

This is also one of the reasons why Chaguaramas, the only halfway protected harbour around, has become a major service center for cruisers. Whatever you need, here you can get it - or they will find a way... We had our sails overhauled and repaired and were very pleased. The price was attractive and quality much better than anything we had seen in a long time. Barrow Sails at the Power Boats Yard is a name to remember.

There is always a crowd in Chaguaramas

Government House

We didn't see very much of Trinidad besides its capital Port of Spain. Of course we did go to the neighbouring island of Chacachacare, a former quarantine station for those suffering from leprosy, all abandoned now after the arrival of antibiotics. But we also had a lot of work to do on the boat and then came hurricane Emily...

The picture shows the parliament in Port of Spain, built in happy Victorian times. That's the Trini way of protecting a leaking roof.

Actually, going to town was a bit scary, because only a few days before a bomb had exploded in the heart of the city, London style. We went anyway, you simply can't miss a tropical market...

Isla Iguana

What a contrast: the hubub of overcrowded Trinidad and now Los Testigos, an archipelago of 5 islands off the Venezuelan coast. Only 160 people are living a dire and daring life here. They are not yet a National Park but already protected. First thing you do is get into the dinghy and see the Commandante. Our CO had a beaming smile, perfect manners and was of an overwhelming politeness.Of course there was paperwork, but the atmosphere was so much different. And he had a book by Anais Nin lying on his desk...

We would have loved to stay in this paradise a little longer. Swimming, diving or simply lying in the sun. For hours you can watch the frigate birds dancing in the eternal trades. Every now and again a local fisherman will come by, you exchange a few friendly words and the days just fly by.

But Venezuela is calling. Isla Margarita, the wild Beauty. Holiday paradise for all the inhabitants of the Arctic Circle, but also the city slickers of Caracas. It's big enough that you don't really see too much of the tourists and in some places as inhabitable as the moon...

Porlamar, the economic center, is our first city in South America. Vibrating with life, loud and noisy, the traffic is a killer. But still, it's fascinating and sometimes breathtaking. This is why we're here. Opposite to the marina (very basic) is a disco, so we can "enjoy" music till dawn. Off we go to the next anchorage...

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