Posted by: joranahan | April 1, 2010

Off Tomorrow


Water maker finally installed and working today (April 1…no joke). My friend from Trinidad, Graham Collins (who flew here to help me get the boat to Panama) and I plan to leave tomorrow, probably early afternoon and head directly to Colon, in Panama. He wants to stay on Kijro until we transit the canal, and then we will return to Trinidad to get his own boat ready for his (single-handed) journey this way.

We had iguana curry for dinner tonight at Asiento, a local sailing club with a restaurant and happy hour each Tuesday and Thursday.  The curry was quite nice, quite spicy. Lots of little bones, though.

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Posted by: Lara Ortiz | March 23, 2010

Changes Part 2


Hello friends,

As John mentioned, we have departed to join a boat in Panama and crew with them through Tahiti. We will be continuing to tell our story at a new blog that will follow us through our journey to New Zealand.

We have very much enjoyed getting to know John and to have journeyed this past 1000 miles with him and Kijro. We wish Kijro the best of luck, and we hope to see you on the other side.

Lara

Posted by: joranahan | March 22, 2010

Changes


I’m sure that Jason and Lara will be in touch about this. They have left Kijro here in Curacao, to join a catamaran in Panama. This site won’t be as exciting or picture-filled anymore, which I (and others who may still follow the site) will miss. I do plan to keep posting and to keep the position reports coming. We’re all sorry that it didn’t work out.

Posted by: Lara Ortiz | March 16, 2010

Class partnership project


Don’t think we’ve mentioned this yet, but thanks to our good friend Melissa in Jacksonville, Florida, we’ve been partnering with her class at Hendricks Avenue Elementary, sharing our experiences and lending inspiration for their extra credit projects. At each stop along the way, we pick out a postcard that expresses the culture of the place, and we write about some of the things we’ve learned. Then we mail it off to Hendricks Avenue, and Mrs. Buchanan’s class plots our postcards and moves our photo on a giant map posted in the hallway for all to see. Mrs. Buchanan has been giving out extra credit assignments for her students to research things about some of the places we visit. It’s been a very fun and gratifying activity for us both down here. Education was a big focus for the team at Brunet-García before I left, so I feel like it’s been the perfect segue.

Posted by: joranahan | March 16, 2010

Curaçao


Well, we’ve made it to Curaçao, but we discovered that the water-maker man has not yet returned from his vacation in Las Aves (which we sailed by on our way to Bonaire from La Blanquilla). We will wait for him here. We need to check in tomorrow morning, which will require a bus ride from here to the capital city. Actually, a fellow cruiser with a car has offered us a ride in the morning.

It was a non-windy day today, so we motor-sailed from Bonaire. It took us just under seven hours to do the 35+ miles. It is a breezy, cool evening here in Spanish Waters. Looks like the wind is going to pick up substantially the next several days, so being here has its benefits. Sailing in 35 knots of wind isn’t always much fun.

Jason and Lara have been great. It is fun to watch them take advantage of the opportunities on this trip. They’ve made contacts with numerous cruisers and are willing to share their knowledge with just about everyone. Great!

Posted by: Lara Ortiz | March 14, 2010

Bonaire…is…AMAZING.


On the way from La Blanquilla, we picked up a passenger for about 8.5 hours in the middle of a windy and quickly darkening evening. He hung out on our dodger all night, and upon seeing the lights  of Bonaire, he took his leave. I hope someone can identify what kind of bird he is. He was so tired, he tolerated me touching him and let me snap photos 6″ from his face.

The passenger

The passenger. Can anyone identify this bird?

Yesterday morning, just before sunrise, Jason steered Kijro into Kralendijk harbor, bobbing along slowly with only the jib running, awaiting light for mooring. He awoke John and I, and we made our way to a mooring ball about 50′ off the seawall.

The water here is crystal clear. Not Bahamas crystal clear, not even Ginny Springs crystal clear. We’re talking Zephyrhills bottle of water clear. All the way to the seawall. The license plates on the cars all say “Diver’s Paradise,” and they’re not exaggerating. About 55′ offshore, the sea floor drops from a sandy 15′ to a steep coraline descent that goes to 800′ deep in about 150′ of distance. There are fish everywhere—snook, tarpon, permit, bonefish, parrotfish, french and queen angels, pipefish, hawkfish, damsels, blennies, spotted eagle rays, you name it. And that’s just off the back of the mooring, not even on the so-called “dive sites.” Huge purple sponges rise 3-4′ from the bottom, long spindly gorgonians 1″ thick in branch width match the sponges in size. It’s a feast for the eyes. Needless to say, we finished my certification here, so congratulations are in order. I’m a PADI Open Water Diver now!

The roads in Kralendijk are clean and bricked, and the buildings sit closely nestled, painted pastel colors. It’s all so civilized. I love it. In contrast, Harleys, dirt bikes, and 4-wheelers seem to be the favorite street vehicles for many of the locals. Bonaire is part of the Dutch Antilles, so lots of people speak Dutch, but the principal local language is Papimiento, followed closely by Spanish and English as well. For such a small island, it’s rich in languages.

Kralendijk, Bonaire buildings

Kralendijk, Bonaire buildings

We had an incredible dinner last night at a place called Appetite. It is unassuming in front, but when you walk in the door, you realize it’s an open air building, full of small rooms painted a faint lavender and adorned with dark raw wood furniture, and capped in the back with a large courtyard with an assortment of tables, a large rattan lounge area, and a poured concrete bar. Everything is wood concrete, lavender or white, very modern, very simple, and the menus are square, upholstered in grass! The food is all made completely fresh and from scratch.

After sitting, the waitress brought us an “amuse bouche” of marinated tomato with gorgonzola and pear coulis that was divine. John had an appetizer of fish 3 ways and Jason and I split a goat cheese salad. For dinner John and Jason had tenderloin with red port sauce and I had mandarin duck breast. The flavors were so delicate and well balanced. If you are ever in Bonaire (and you REALLY should consider vacationing here), it is not a restaurant to be missed.

Today was “dive day,” and we intend to leave for Curaçao after an arepa breakfast in the morning. Chat to you next from there!

Posted by: Jason Decker | March 10, 2010

Go West!


We left Carriacou Monday evening about 6 p.m. and headed west toward Curacao. With 3-meter following seas and downwind breeze that varied from 5.5-30 kts apparent over two days, we got the opportunity to play with the twizzle rig John made specifically for the trip. In case we haven’t mentioned it before, the twizzle is two jibs, sewn together on the same luff, flown wing-on-wing, held out by dual poles, sans mainsail. The poles attach to a topping lift and downhaul but float freely without attaching to the mast. This allows them to float back and forth without inducing roll in the boat, and it’s more balanced than running a main and spinnaker. If this all sounds too confusing, we’ll post pics later.

On our way, Lara set the fishing pole and at dusk on day 1, we landed ourselves a nice little yellowfin tuna. John butchered it and it was a midday sashimi snack and a grilled dinner in La Blanquilla.

Yellowfin dinner

Yellowfin dinner

After 42 hours, we pulled off for a little stop off the coast of Venezuela. It’s an uninhabited sandy island called La Blanquilla, which is just shy of 1/2 way to Curaçao. After some much needed “showers” (shampoo and soap in the surf), a walk on the deserted sugar-white beaches, and a night of sleep, we were refreshed and ready to head out for Bonaire.

Ahh beach showers

Ahh beach showers

Blanquilla beach

Blanquilla beach

Bonaire is another 40ish hours from Blanquilla, but only about 40 miles from Curaçao. We don’t have to be in Curaçao until the 14th, so we’ll get to spend two full days in Bonaire. There we’ll finish up Lara’s PADI diving certification and relax a bit before making the 35-mile sail to Curaçao, where our long-awaited water maker will be installed. Hurrah to cleaning the deck! And on-board laundry rinses!

Posted by: Lara Ortiz | March 6, 2010

Carriacou Capers


We made our way down to the Lazy Turtle with the crew on Plane Song, a boat we know from Trinidad, and had lobster and lambi (conch) pizzas, carbonara, and all other sorts of yummy things as we watched the sun set over Tyrrel Bay yesterday. The dock at the Lazy Turtle is awesome…it is half poured concrete, broken in large chunks, and layered so it steps down to the water. Then, in about 2 feet of water, it ends. Tied to the end of the dock with discarded rope are two car tires, and to that is chained a floating dock, which floats tilted at about a 30º angle. It jerks out, then floats back in with the surge of the waves. Watching rum-blushed sailors climb out of their already unstable dinghies as they attempt to go for dinner is pretty hilarious. Reminds me of those fun houses at the Youth Fair when I was growing up.

Lazy Turtle with Bruce and Gail from Plane Song

Lazy Turtle with Bruce and Gail from Plane Song

After Lazy Turtle we all conquered the dock and jumped in the dinghies to head down to the Lambi Queen for an evening of Steel Pan music. In the islands you’ll see a lot of crude wooden tables with folding chairs set up in shady spots, under trees, sometimes with a tarp tied over them, that the men use to sit around and play dominoes in their free time. There is one of these domino huts next to the Lambi Queen, and they had a pretty raucous game going, so I wandered over to see what was going on. Turns out they were playing Cuban dominoes, and when a spot opened up, I jumped over with Jason and we took on the locals. We won round 1 with a shutout, but in round two, our new challengers pulverized us. John cut a rug with Gail from Plane Song, the dogs and a goat wandered around in the street outside with the spectators, and we ended the night thoroughly sated with our Caribbean night out.

Dominoes with the locals

Dominoes with the locals

The boys are out diving as we speak, and I intend to finish my confined water and get into my open water exercises this afternoon. Simon, a local vendor who sells to the cruiser community, just pulled up to the boat in his wooden dinghy with a live lobster in his hand and asked if I wanted it…for $25 EC a pound. It was 3 lbs, and with a 2.6 EC to US exchange rate, that sounded rich for my blood, at least for lobster prices in this part of the Caribbean. Oh well, maybe next stop.

Lara does confined water exercises with John

Lara does confined water exercises with John

Until next time,
Lara

Jason wires the SSB and VHF to the GPS

Jason wires the SSB and VHF to the GPS

Rib dinner at Lucky's, $3.85. Yes, it's that shack behind us.

Rib dinner at Lucky's, $3.85. Yes, it's that shack behind us. And it was good.

Posted by: Lara Ortiz | March 4, 2010

What Lara’s Been Up To…and Pretty Mas Pics Are Up


Study hall

Study hall

Carriacou is a spectacular dive destination, so we figured it was time for me to start my dive cert. We picked up a book from Arawak Divers, one of Carriacou’s best recommended dive shops by cruisers, and John has begun with my written quizzes and review of course content. I finished the book last night, so I’ll be doing my final written exam today, and them we’ll do the swim text and confined water exercises.

John and Jean have known the owners of Arawak, George and Connie, for years now, and they were one of the primary reasons for our visit. Jason and John will do some diving with them while I’m getting certified, and we’ll all be heading out on some dives together before we go.

On another note, we got the Pretty Mas, or Carnival Tuesday, photos up before departing Trinidad, but we never made an announcement. In case I haven’t explained it before, Carnival Tuesday is essentially the culmination of the Carnival celebration, and it consists of all the bands (I believe more than 100), suiting up in lycra and feather costumes, all coordinated to their band’s theme, and parading through the streets pretty much all day and all night, until the authorities shut it all down at midnight, officially ending Carnival. It’s a huge street party, full of food and rum, and people and families of all ages and backgrounds.

Pretty Mas

Pretty Mas

Posted by: Jason Decker | March 3, 2010

Position Reporting


Position Map

Just before leaving Trinidad, we got our position reporting configured and began reporting. We will be updating our position every day or two, or as possible while underway.  Keep in mind that just because we don’t update our position for a few days or so, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, we may just be busy, tired or ??? You get the idea. Check our position using Shiptrack or just follow the link in the right hand column of the blog. The red dots are where we have been and the large marker indicates the location of our last report.  Most reports will be delayed somewhat just so it’s not easy for some random person or pirate to find us.

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