We had the fun of buddy boating with our new friends John and Jeri on the beautiful Mv Peking. They are from Alabama/Connecticut and great to travel with. They had their Motor Vessel ‘Peking’ made for them in China. The craftsmanship is excellent and provides a stable safe platform outfitted ‘Cadillac style’ with all the creature comforts, including an ice maker…If’n ya gotta buddy boat…select wisely… We do recommend buddy boating thru these waters for safety sake.
Thanks to Kaija’s sewing skills Doc has new chin rests strategically located for him to keep his eye on the water should his dancing dolphin buddies appear. It was not long after our departure that we were joined by a large pod of dolphins. They frolicked in our bow wave as Doc did his best impersonation of Dolphin speak and only by restraining him did we keep him from diving off the bow to join his swimming buddies.
Check in- Checkout here in Margarita is handled by Senor Juan. He has a designated dinghy dock and takes care of your procedural needs. This is not inexpensive (1600 B) and in fact is the second most expensive Check in-out next to the Bahamas. Senor Juan arranges a variety of services to meet the cruisers needs and ifn' Senor Juan can't find it...it probly can't be found.
He is also quite dog friendly and he and Doc soon became acquinted altho the 'cute' factor had to go to a local pup name Little Mermaid who arrived here by swimming to shore and just delivered a little of the cutest little puppies anywhere. There were quite adament in being fed on demand and as you can see it wasn't always momma's choice.
We were anchored in Porlamar which is the home of the local sardine fishing fleet and it is common to see many different size boats coming and going thru the anchorage plying their trade.
Juan introduced us to Pedro who is a highly intelligent and most engaging man who provided his knowledge and time to show us around the island. Our first stop in the tour was the city of Pampatar. This is where the Spanish built their major defensive fort and it remains in remarkable good condition as it is constantly being restored and maintained.
Then we traveled to La Asuncion, set in the fertile valley in the Island’s interior is the capital of Nueva Esparta state and is home to the second oldest cathedral in Central America. The architecture was typically Spanish influence built in the 2nd half of the 16th century. It is the oldest surviving colonial church in the country. It has an unusual bell tower in the back corner, a delicate renaissance portal on the façade and two more doorways on the side walls.
Next we visited Castillo de Santa Rosa, one of seven forts built on the island to protect it from Pirate attacks. It is located inland in a defensive position with 360 degree views just outside of La Asuncion and is most remembered for housing the young 16 year old heroine Luisa Caceres de Arismendi whose bravery helped influence the overthrow of the Spanish conquistadors in support of her lover Simon Bolivar the Liberator. Her image is now portrayed on the 20 Bolivar currency note.
Pedro then drove westward to the intricate mangrove channels in Laguna Grande and the beach at Playa la Restinga. To get there included a 30 minute tour onboard what could be described “lagoondolas’ (from gondola’s get it?). During the trip over we passed thru a labyrinth of mangroves…little channels with intriguing names Canal De Los Enamorados (Lovers Canal) and inspired John now known as Don Juan de Los Besos (kissing lane) to do a little ‘sparking’ with Geri and grab a kiss at every turn while Kaija was busy taking pictures of “oh look at that cute Pelican”??’ wha’s up with that?...
We had a nice lunch of local fare, fresh fish and papas frittas, on the beach and enjoyed the ocean breeze and view. We spent the rest of the afternoon touring thru a wonderful maritime museum that had an incredible shell collection as well as marine mammal life including dolphin and whale and primordial fish fossilized into stone. As well there was a terrific exhibit of the pearl diving and marine industry history of this island. Very unique and informational exhibits in a cool open setting wonderfully displayed.
All in all a full day filled with good food, great scenery, a little knowledge and worth every penny. If you get the chance, hook up with Pedro, he will insure you have a great day.
The trade winds have started again, and hurricane season is just about done.
We are preparing now to leave Margarita continuing to head west toward the ABC’s but with a few stops along the way including Tortuga, Isla De Aves, Isla Los Roches and some quiet distant shores before arriving in Bonaire.
We will update from there.
...Enjoy the Journey.