17 December 2003
Isla Paraiso, Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela N10.1192 W064.4025 (note new location)
Welcome to mi casa
We had the boat hauled during the first week of December to have the bottom painted and a few modifications. The contraption that raised our boat was a "home built " rail system that depended on the tide to raise the boat high enough to sit on the trolley. Last week we watched a boat identical to ours being raised and with a limited amount of confidence we brought our boat to the same boatyard.
Although the contraption appeared awkward, we were able to work above deck and the paint and repairs were accomplished in a professional manner. While the boat was on the hard, we stayed at Aqua V Hotel but each day sat on the boat to give guidance and to watch the work in progress making sure our expectations were met. We had the painter mix black and blue paint in hopes of having a navy bottom. We were just a little disappointed at first as the bottom looked totally black. But when she splashed, her bottom was navy blue.
As much as we enjoyed our four month stay at Maremares and would highly recommend the marina to anyone coming to Puerto La Cruz, we opted to move the boat to a nearby condominium complex, Isla Paraiso. This beautiful building has about ten slips which they rent to cruisers. It is much quieter here and provides a different atmosphere than Maremares and we were looking for a change. However we now have no telephone, no internet and no cable TV but we will be working on these things in the next few weeks. Since many businesses close down for the last two weeks in December and the first week of January it may be a while. You can check our new location out by visiting www.islaparaiso.com. We also installed a washer/dryer in the boat and now we have become a floating condo. Now where's the adventure in all of this?
Well for now the Christmas winds are picking up and if you're in the BVI's it makes for great sailing but this far south they can get up to 40 knots making for tentative anchoring and sailing conditions. We know of two boats that were at anchor when the winds picked up strong enough to bend the shank their 45 lb CQR anchors. So to some degree we are stuck here for a while. We have completed every change, repair and modification on our list but for now we'll just stay put although there are several prospects for shorter trips.
Our primary laptop computer is on the blink and we are utilizing our backup. This has delayed our log updates that everyone so anxiously awaits, well at least our parents check in once in awhile. We are hopeful that we can get this corrected and get back into the groove early in the new year.
It is even beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in sunny hot Venezuela. The stores have their Christmas lights up, there are poinsettias all around, and we are playing Christmas carols on Shiraz. Even some of the homes on the canal are decorated. The other night the cruisers got together and sang Christmas carols on the docks ending up in the lobby of Maremares. The hotel pianist even let Orma, on sailing vessel Skylark, play the baby grand for us.
Rene is taking cooking lessons since she doesn't have the family to cook for and is learning to make Pabellon, which is the Venezuelan national dish. It is made of Carne mechada Falda (shredded flank steak) and is served with black beans, rice, and a deep fried plantain. She also made fresh juices out of Durazno (similiar to a peach), parchita, and mangos. The traditional Venezuelan Christmas dinner is Pan de Jamon, ensalada y Chorro. In English this is bread with ham, raisins and olives, a salad, and shredded pork. Pork is a common dish for New Years dinner much as it is in the US. Lobsters are now in season and are available in the surrounding islands but we have not seen them in Puerto La Cruz.
So for now, Feliz Navidad. We wish you Happy Holidays and the best for the New Year.