Friday, July 31, 2009

Getting prepared to go west.

After a month in Grenada we are now almost ready to leave to continue our trip west. This may not be obvious at first but we are now getting ready to cross the no-return point of our trip. Until now it was always possible to turn and sail back home since the wind is mainly coming from east. However, once we leave Grenada it becomes significantly harder to go back east hence making it a decisive point in our trip where if we go west we have to go all around the earth to come back home! I don’t know for you guys but it gives us a bit of a tingle.
Our plan is to sail from Carriacou, where we came back to get aluminum bars for the solar panels, to the offshore islands of Venezuela and eventually reach the island of Curacao. The tricky part here is Venezuela. The coast between the continent and the large island of Margarita has the bad reputation of not being the safest place for the sailors and the temptation is to simply jump directly to Curacao on a three day trip and to skip entirely the Venezuelan territory. However, Venezuela has many islands that are pretty far from the continental coast and are beautiful little paradises. To go there we need to go first to Margarita in order to clear the customs and then risking some unwelcomed encounters. However, last week we went to the Venezuelan embassy in St-George’s, Grenada and found out that we can get a visa at the embassy that allows us to go to the offshore islands without clearing the customs in Margarita as long as we still report to the local authorities at each island, which is mandatory even when you clear the customs. This makes our trip much simpler and much nicer.
We already installed two of our four new solar panels and with the new controllers/boosters we doubled our charging capability, which now makes our life much easier. We will install the two small ones that remain as soon as we have a chance along the way. The places we go now are going to be almost inhabited so we don’t expect to have Internet and we don’t know when we will be able to post again. You can always follow our position by clicking on the “Where we are” button at the top of the page, which is the most up-to-date position report. Remember that the map on the left side of the page requires an internet access to be update and is likely not showing our latest position. Provisioning in Grenada was very easy so we filled up the boat with everything we need for the next three weeks until we reach Curacao. We are now getting very anxious about our backpack trip to Peru. We still don’t speak Spanish so it will be quite interesting how we will deal with that!