6 November 2003

Dear friends,

In the last month Harmonica has sailed from Trinidad
to Venezuela, and Dave & Jan have each taken
circuitous routes back to Canada.

We stayed in Chaguaramas, Trinidad long enough to buy
and install our new Kiss wind generator to keep the
new batteries topped up.  We would recommend a "Kiss"
to any of you sailors out there.  We came in from the
anchorage to Coral Cove Marina for the last few days
making it easier to install the wind generator, carry
shopping & provisions on board, and luxuriated in the
marina's plunge pool beside the dock.  On our last
day, the clouds opened even further than before but,
jumping over puddles & rivulets, we got everything on.

We reached the abandoned island lepper colony of
Chacachacare after dark and were welcomed in by some
south African cruisers.  Dave had just heard that a
date had been set for his Mother's house move in
England, so he wanted to get Harmonica to port & book
a flight in less than 2 weeks.

Venezuela has a checkered reputation for lawlessness,
piracy & drug trading, so we were more nervous than
usual through the "Dragon's Mouth" (The northern
Straight between Trinidad & Venezuela).  Seeing a
couple of high powered boats on the south side of
Chacachacare, we remembered this & altered course
further north.  We discussed sailing without lights as
some cruisers do, but decided to carry on as normal
and we arrived next morning in the offshore islands of
Los Testigos.

There are 2 tiny fishing villages & no port of entry,
but Venezuelan Coast Guard inspected our papers and
gave us a friendly welcome.  In 20 hours sailing, we
had moved from rain forest to arid, coral fringed,
islands.  The corals off Venezuela are some of the
best we have seen.  We walked the island and admired
the views.  Harmonica was anchored off the bigger
village whereas the other cruising boats were all by
the "picture postcard" beach at the far end of the
island.  On our second and last evening, we were
heading ashore in the dinghy when a woman in a fishing
panga waved us down and invited us ashore for a
birthday party.  We were delayed as a fisherman we had
met previously dropped by to give us a small tuna he
had caught.  We arrived well after dark and her little
home was surrounded by 15 or 20 Venezuelans all
sitting on makeshift planks chatting & drinking.  A
radio station was being received on an ancient RDF
navigation unit, and couples & individuals would stand
& dance, though we mostly declined this as our heads
were bussing with happy fatigue & confusion of good
company enjoyed using our first Spanish for a year.
Cans of beer were thrust on us & Jan gave up refusing
but quietly fed them back into the cooler while our
hosts weren't looking.  Plates of goat & fish were
brought round & finally a great birthday cake was cut.
 A magical evening & we were very happy to have
started with such a welcoming experience to the

Another day of sailing took us to Porlemar, on
Margarita Island where Dave booked his flights via
Caracas & Miami to London.  We also met many old
friends in the anchorage.  A city with all its
trappings, and an anchorage with a morning radio net
for cruisers.  Some good company & good food plus some
of the darker side (there really was an armed robbery
in the anchorage at 2.00am one morning 2 weeks after
we left.)

An afternoon sailing to another island anchorage, and
the next day took us around the islands of Mochima
National Park to the bustling city (both oil terminal
and holiday resort) of Puerto La Cruz.  Again we
embarrassed ourselves needing several attempts before
we had the anchor set & had reversed into a stern-tie
with a cross-wind.  It was Thursday, & since Friday
was a holiday so we could not book yard space &
arrange the haul-out for 3 days.  We removed the
sails, packed up loose ends, & explored the area.  The
marina gates opened to a dusty road with scruffy
housing and young youths whose looks made you choose
to walk on the far side of the road.  In complete
contrast, at the waterfront side, El Moro d'el Este is
a few square kilometers of housing & commercial area
which are connected by broad canals.  These have been
built over the last decade or so.  Puerto La Cruz is
where some of the newer businesses are building
offices & where the wealthy Venezuelans keep their
fast boats moored behind holiday homes.  Fueling these
boats is no expense at about 4 US cents per litre!

On Monday morning, we met Sr. Liuz Sanchez, the
helpful & charming manager of CMO Marina.  Harmonica
was lifted with impressive care, washed and chocked in
the working yard.  Tuesday morning Dave flew off.  On
Wednesday Jan headed south to Cuidad de Boliva then to
the Mesa country in the forests further south and the
Angel Falls.  This is the highest waterfall in the
world dropping nearly 1 km. down a shear cliff.  Jan
had a 4 day adventure in public bus, open canoe, and
light aeroplane.  One of Jan's fingers took a nasty
squash between the side of the canoe and a passing
tree, but the experience of the local culture & the
scenery more than made up for the pain!

Dave & Jan are now both back in Canada and snow is
gently trickling out of the sky to sit on top of what
has been laying under the sun all week.  Harmonica has
been moved from the "Working Yard" to the "Storage
Yard" where she will be watched by armed guards & 3
ferocious dogs until we return in February 2004.  So
far the Marina CMO has been most accommodating &
friendly while working hard to dispel concerns about
any theft & vandalism.  We have not the slightest
doubt that she will be safe, dry, & happy over

Greetings from Dave & Jan