Bonaire Bound 12:26:88N 63:02:24W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Thu 10 Jan 2008 05:06

We departed Petite Martinique at 1130 this morning after a very pleasant and entertaining stay.


 The unspoilt coastline of Petite Martinique


We had anchored off for the night, in around 6 metres of water and close to the area where the local fishing boats come in and pick up their moorings. This provided an unexpected level of entertainment in the form of Frigate birds. There were two reasons for this. Firstly the fishermen clean their catch for the day in the anchorage and then discard the waste in the water. The Frigate birds then compete with each other to collect and even steal these tasty morsels. Their acrobatic skills are simply breath taking and the way they change the shape of their wings and large split tails is a sight to behold and one that must have inspired many an aircraft designer, The second reason they were here is because of the teaming shoals of Flying Fish.  Watching these birds work as a team to round up these fish and chase them is inspiring.


As mentioned in the previous missive, we had booked ourselves in to the Palm Island Restaurant for the evening. They offer a boat pick up service which we had declined due to the fact that a previous taxi in Union Island had come alongside and scratched our topsides, so we were keen to avoid a repeat performance. In the event this was not one of our better decisions.


The restaurant is an outdoor affair, with each table under its own roof with open sides. These are in different sizes so it does make for an interesting bit of landscaping. We had an obligatory Rum Punch as a pre-dinner drink, followed by their  (famous) Lobster Bisk, and grilled Lobster for main course. The soup was stunning and the Lobster a little disappointing. The staff here are just lovely. Young and very keen to know all about the UK and our way of life and what opportunities there are for emigration to the UK. The island has some 1000 inhabitants, and a lot of them are young and unemployed. But well educated. Our waitress has a boyfriend who is in the British Navy. It seems one of the back door ways to get a UK residency is to join the British Armed forces for a minimum of five years,. Now that was something the Government has not been admitting to! This girl was no more than  21 and already has a 2 year old daughter who was looked after by her (future) mother in law. She has not seen her boyfriend for over a year and did not know for sure when she would see him next. Both of our waiting staff were charming and the evening was most enjoyable until that is, we left the restaurant and headed for the dock. At this point the heavens just opened and it blow old boots. We  sheltered in the fuel station building on the pier, but the wind was blowing so hard and the rain so dense that we were still getting soaked. So after around 20 minutes we were getting cold and so decided to get in the dingy for the half mile ride back to the boat. By the time we arrived back on Zipadedoda we were literally soaked to the skin and the dingy had about 9 inches of water in it!


It was a grey dreech  morning today, as we did our departure chores, and struggled to put the dingy away. For some reason this simply would not roll up into its usual compact size. I suspect that we have water inside the inflatable floor. So we will attend to that once back on terra firma with it.


There has been no wind at all today and up until around midnight, a dead flat calm sea. We now have a bit of a swell. The engine is purring away and we have a full mainsail up to steady the boat and to take advantage of any wind that might appear. That said the forecast (GRIB files) show virtually no wind for the next three days. We are motoring in company with Anahi, who left Chatham Bay, Union Island earlier this morning.


I tried my hand at fishing this afternoon. I was using my Wahoo lure. I brought it in to check it early this evening to discover that some creature had bitten half the lure away, but miraculously, missed the hook!  Put a new Dorado lure on, but no luck by night fall, so it was sausage and mash for dinner!


We expect to arrive in the main marina in Bonaire at first light on the 12th January. Then it will be a quick tour, re-fuel and reprovision.  Followed by our next location which is the San Blas Islands, which are off the Columbian coast, some 650nm on from Bonaire. We have been warned that this area has some of the biggest seas on the planet, so as the wind is looking at a low strength for the next week we would like to press on and do all we can to take advantage of the resultant reduced wave action. (We  live in hope anyway!)