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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blissful Blanquilla


The remote Venezuelan island of Blanquilla is exactly how all deserted Caribbean islands should be.  Pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, only one other boat in the bay, fantastic snorkelling and friendly fishermen happily giving away their catch…in exchange for a half full container of engine oil and a few batteries.  Ah, bliss.


Blanquilla is 170 nautical mls south west of Grenada (and roughly 100kms north of the Venezuelan mainland) and so a 24 hour sail.  Against my better judgement we left port on a Friday…but as David pointed out, if we were really serious about nautical superstition we wouldn’t have changed Bandit’s name (from Rinsewind), we’d never carry bananas and, most tragically, I’d have to biff out my gorgeous green Zara top!  It seems there are endless superstitions when it comes to boats and so you just have to get over them.  We left on a Friday and arrived safely…  point taken.

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The trip was not without drama for our sailing companions Mark and Amanda on Balvenie…as they were coming into the anchorage Mark called on VHF to say they’d lost their engine.  Scary at any time let alone coming into a strange anchorage with coral reefs and 30knots of wind.  Luckily a local fisherman noticed their plight and happily towed them in……and went away the very pleased recipient of a bottle of Mt Gay rum.


Snorkelling on the reefs around the anchorage was really special – the most abundant fishlife we’ve seen for ages, possibly ever, and some stunning coral.  The water clarity was magnificent.  The only thing I was disappointed about was not seeing those lobster crawling on the seabed we’d been told about – oh well, maybe Los Rocques.


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We had two wonderful nights on Blanquilla, enjoying drinks on the beach one night.  It would have been easy to stay, but we’ve still got a lot of miles to go to Guatemala, so another overnight to Los Roques…this time in almost full moonlight with Balvenie alongside all the way.

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