Isla Margarita, Venezuela

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Sun 7 Sep 2008 13:43

Sunday 31 August 2008

Yes, they have dominoes here and I felt sociable enough to cope with a dozen people, most of whom I knew to varying extents.


Monday 1 September

I paid my check in fees and went on the bus to the supermarket.  I did buy a small container of oil to top up with.  15/40, but should I be using 20/50 in the tropics, as this was what all there was in 5 litre cans.

I do not think the food prices here are cheaper than Trinidad, certainly there is not the choice, so I am pleased I stocked up.  I bought some bottled water to replenish my stock.  I seem to be drinking more water here.  It is 34 degrees, whatever that is in real money, it could be hotter than Trinidad, but it is dry and not so humid.  I miss the rain, but I am assured it does rain here.  There are lots of thunderstorms around, but they miss this bay.

We were given a number on the bus, to use at the till.  After paying you take your trolley to have it packed in boxes; by hand signals I found out that I had to go back past the tills into the shop.  I got the trolley out through security, by presenting my stamped receipt and found I was the only person with a trolley of shopping.   Everyone else had just left their shopping to be boxed and walked off.  The supermarket not only send the bus, but they then provide a truck to carry the shopping back to the dock.  Evidently we only tip Diego from the shop and Pedro at the dock, I had tipped the guy who packed my boxes.   He came with us on the bus and came round with a box that said ‘Tips’, but did not stop at me, luckily it was Diego - I had tipped the right man.

This is not a place that I would consider driving, they do not stop at the lights and when there is an accident everyone goes to jail until liability is sorted, this could be a disadvantage for non-Spanish speakers.  One car, looking suitably dilapidated to be local, was in the wrong lane and was reversing all the way down the main road with the other traffic coming at him.  Driving off onto the large plot of land beside the road and turning round obviously did not occur to him.  He was still going when the bus moved on.

Back at the dock Pedro had a trolley and was soon filling dinghies with shopping, a lot of it beer.  At about 20p a can it was cheaper than the local price, but that is only 30p at Happy Hour and goes up to 60p at other times and then 1.00 in the restaurant when the entertainment starts.

Everybody is expected to tip Pedro, he is saving up to build a house – one very British response was along the lines of ‘wouldn’t it be better if he got a job’. 

Even if Pedro is dozing in a chair he is looking after the dinghies.  We are told to lock everything, but then that if they really want an outboard they will just cut the transom off the dinghy to get it.  I just hope they won’t want to go to that much trouble for a 2hp.

I have found out that the boat next to me supplies the wifi to the harbour.

I finished my book and am starting to clean the cockpit, little bit at a time.



 I paid for a weeks wifi and spent the day on the computer, but I don’t seem to have got very far.  I did have to update some programs, but then I had a message from Friends Reuinted and I spent a fair while trying to upload some photos onto that.  It did not help that I had the computer plugged into the inverter, with the battery out, and then I plugged in the blender – it all went very quiet.  I reset the inverter and got my banana smoothie, but the computer got in a bit of a huff.

Went over to The Road for drinks, Kathleen Love are headed for the mainland tomorrow.  Henry was also there and he provides us with the weather every morning.



It is a busy hurricane season.  It started with Arthur, the day before the official opening of the season on 1 June and I came back to the boat with Bertha in early July and things are continuing.  No sooner than Gustav was downgraded from a hurricane, Hannah was upgraded to one; also we have Ike and this morning the birth of Josephine was announced and there is another tropical wave on the way across.  I wonder how bouncy it is in Chaguaramas Bay, maybe coming here was a good idea.

I spent a couple of hours trying to get the padlock off the cockpit locker.  I oiled it, I heated it and have the burn mark on the fiberglass to prove it.  I tried strong arm tactics and something turned, that was the key breaking in the lock.  Now there was nothing to it but to hacksaw it off.  I have a carbon blade that I keep handy for such instances – I keep it in the cockpit locker.  A junior hacksaw is a wonderful thing.  The padlock is off and thrown away, pity I have 12 keys for that and 3 other identical locks.  Great idea, lousy locks.

Jane and Dick, Cheetah II, came in this afternoon, the old gang is coming together.



I made a second cockpit cushion, I just have to attach the curved pillow part to the long thin part.  I have to sew this by hand and the material is difficult to get through, so I will finish that later.

Dick came over and looked at my leaking engine.  I took the vent off the seawater inlet pipes, but it looked ok, I put it back and when I ran the engine, it still dripped.  I think there is another drip somewhere, but I have not traced that yet.

A small boat dragged in the bay, but several good men went and caught it and with their dinghies moved it to a new location and re-anchored it.  I wonder how long it took the owner to find it when he returned.



Debbie and Bob on Passat are in, previously they had been in the yard in St Maarten.

We went on the shopping bus, I was trying to find homeopathic medicine for my everlasting tooth ulcer, they only had Arnica.  I went to the mall over the road, no supermarket, but better shops.  I only had one box of food, they did not have any 5 litre water or eggs and the bananas were the remains of what were there on Monday. 

3.30 Happy hour begins for about 2 hours and I got back just before dark, but could not haul the boat up without taking the engine off and it was dark by the time I was finished.



I moved the boat and re-anchored, it was a little on one side before, holding, but I was not happy if the weather turned rough.

We had booked the people carrier, but the owner needed it and we had to go in by taxi.  We changed some US$ for BF and had a look in the shops.  I bought 2 pairs of sandals, for which I blame Jane, she loves shoes and so she got all the shopping buzz, but did not have to face Dick with them; they are nice and I did need them. 

I have not got round to the watermaker and as I have not filled up with water since leaving the marina about 3 weeks ago I took 7 x 5l bottles into the dock and filled up from the pipe, 1B (20p).

My phone is not quadband and will not work here, but I realized that I could use Skype with the internet connection as it is quite stable.  I found out that the UK was 5 hours ahead of me and I thought it had changed to 4 ½ , but it is 5 ½  hours.

It was time to haul the dinghy out of the water.  I am determined to do it with the engine on.  This morning I had put the long rope back up the mast to reach to the winch and changed the harness and I practiced, not bad, but every part that could get caught in the netting, did.  It would not come up level and went to one side and then the engine went backwards, I am sure that did it a lot of good.

When I went in to catch the taxi the engine did not start, but when I returned 6 hours later it worked.

The first attempt was not good, I adjusted the harness again and it was even worse.  Another adjustment and it was much better.  It still comes up leaning over to one side, but it came up and over the rail and is sitting on the deck, with the engine on and is chained to the mast.  It seems to have been a hard fight, but perhaps I am winning now.


Sunday 7

It rained last night, not too much, but a contribution to the tank.

I tidied up the boat, did the washing – the water in the dinghy made a good first rinse, launched the dinghy, made a banana smoothie and juiced the melon segment I had bought, washed up and it was still not 9am. 

I had hoped there would not be enough time, but I do not have an excuse so I will polish the hull and I should check the anchor.  I have put out 25 metres of chain, in 3 metres of water, and my noodle is on a piece of rope just long enough to see the anchor with my snorkel in good visibility.  It is calm, so what am I waiting for.

I will reward myself with an afternoon of dominoes, seems a fair exchange for such a busy morning of work.