SS at Trellis
Farewell Lunch

 LEFT - Farewell Lunch with the "Plaza Group - Martin, Sheryl & Peter; Captain Peter Ratcliff - above right - before taking off on Swan Song. Notice all of the new electronics on top ! Dave is going to be Chief Engineer on this venture while I am Chief Cook & Bottle Washer - wouldn't you know ? Pictures of our farewell party are on the following pages - Bon Voyage - and our Many Thanks to all of you !

SWAN SONG’S PASSAGE TO VENEZUELA

DAVE'S VERSION ---

Hola , we’re sitting in the best Marina in Venezuela they tell us. Funny thing is that we arrived here without a tow and with all 3 of us still aboard!!

600 odd miles with one stop overnight in St Martin to pick up an EPRIB and some flares. Tough trip from the BVI to St Martin..that damn Anegada Passage never seems to be on my side. 70 miles of tough uphill water and wind. We left Cooper Island at 0330 and slipped into the 10-15 kts forecast winds with 2-4 ft waves. Somehow it was 20+ with lots of 25+ and the small seas were 4 with several well above the bow pulpit. We lost the dinghy when the tow line broke and took an hour to find it…lots of luck and those atomic binoculars. Lying beam to in the sea while we recovered it and put a new tow line on was a real test of the roll tank. We just sort of sat there going straight up an down with very little roll. Amazing!

 Rest of the trip to St Martin was uneventful and we got there and had the anchor down at 1930. First time the anchor had ever been dropped and all went fine. Good grab and put the chain hook on her let out some more line and shut her down. No leaks in the ER, none in the rudder and all was a whole lot better than I expected. Very little moved around. You can stand at the engine and you don’t feel any boat movement underway J

 We left St Martin at 1700 the 12th for our 500 mile non-stop, if all went well, leg. Once clear of St Bart’s the forecasted 2-5’ seas seemed to be a bit larger. Peter was sitting in the Port seat and they were well above his head which is 12’. We had a beam sea of this size all the way to south of Antigua. Again the roll tank made the ride pretty damn nice. Occasionally there would be a wave with no backside and we’d just fall thru it. No slamming or other bad habits were exhibited. Once we turned 30 degrees to head to Guadeloupe the ride improved even more.

 We just slid by all the Islands in case we needed and support it wouldn’t be to far away. Usually 1-3 miles offshore. I transferred fuel to the back tank every day so we always had 300 gales of nice clean diesel for the engine and genset to sip. Gorgeous sunsets and one green flash seen by all made the days slid by.

Once in the lee of Grenada, at 1700, we turned west in the actually forecast winds and seas. 10 kts and 1-3’! This is the longest leg at 150 miles of open ocean with a few small low lting island but no support services. At midnight the seas we a bit bigger and Swan Song was surfing along when Peter took over form Nancy. The yaw was pretty bad and the autopilot was having trouble steering, He slowed down a bit to 6.5 and all was well. I relieved him at 0300 and he told me about it but all seemed well and the autopilot was holding course fine. I worked around a few reefs and small islands and we were then clean to make the 50 mile run to Isla Margarita. I let Nancy sleep so was still on watch when the rudder reference indicator went crazy. Went to servo steering mode and I had no control. Throttled back and took a look in the steerage room. Yipes, all the hydraulic fluid was in the bilge!!!!! The steering pumps were running madly and the rams were hot and just flailing about. OK go to neutral, pull in the tow, have Peter watch the tow line and I dove down into the “mess”. The bypass valve had split the input fitting and dumped all the fluid. Put a hose in place of it and refilled the system and had to bleed the rams with the rudder just swinging in the big beam seas. Took the better part of an hour to avoid losing a finger when opening the bleeders as the sea would just move the rudder at will.

Had Nancy take over from Peter and sent Peter up to run the controls thru the paces and get the rudder centered so we could get back underway. Somehow Nancy lost her concentration on the tow and the tow line got into the prop which was just turning as we were making way drifting down wave. Looking at the radar the reels of a small island were getting uncomfortably close and now we were “powerless”. After a few moment it was apparent that one of us needed to dive in the clear blue warm 3000’ deep water. Peter’s straw was shrter than mine so in he went. In 3 minutes or so we had the line free and Peter back on board. We mad up yet another tow line as the shaft razor had chewed on the old one.. A few more quick checks and we fired up and got underway….2 mile to the surf line!! We had drifted 7 miles in 2 ½ hours while sorting ou the problems. Lots of current here.

 Back underway we now had to fight the current to fetch the SE corner of Isla Margarita. Once we did we were boosted by the current, down wave & downwind. A SOG of 6.5 kts at an idle!! We went from no traffic to mega traffic. Guardia boat, fishing boats, pleasure boats, ferries, tankers, etc. Then one passed us going 25+ kts with a flashing yellow…hovercraft fast ferries. Cruiseships, casino boats and tankers. Nancy was having fits on her watch…..help help help ;-)

Peter again took over the 0000 from her and I from him at 0300. Nice late night ride closing on Puerto La Cruz. You cannot anchor there with all the tankers so we needed to slow to arrived at daylight. 3 large circles ate up the time so we arrived at 0700 in the huge harbor with an escort of many dolphins and floating lily pads that had been flushed down the rivers in the heavy rains. About 20 tankers in easy view and I think we missed a few. A VTS scheme is in effect so everything is controlled by Port control. We slipped thru and pulled the dinghy up close, put up our VZ flag and the q flag. Called the Marina at 0800 and told them we were outside in the harbor. Called them again at 0830 entering the breakwater and they had an escort boat for us. Nice touch.

 Looking down the fairway it looked awfully tight to me…especially as I had only moved Swan Song twice before in close quarters at Nanny Cay. Glup $$$$M of boats everywhere all ready to run into!!

Then came the realization that the person standing way up ahead between two sailboats was saying this is where you need to dock…stern to between those boats and back between those two pickup buoys without fouling the prop…or hitting the boats or shitting my pants ;-)

First step is to do a 180 with 65’ of boat in an 80’ channel with a following breeze. Managed to pull that of without scraping the boat in front of our bow or sucking the mooring balls into our prop. Then will a little reverse and some thruster work we were in, not touching anything. Gee this heavy stuff likes to just ease along nicely.

 So here we are….1.65 nm/gal on the trip. Fuel here is cheap but right now we can’t buy it. Seems they passed a law and forgot to include foreign flagged vessels. However once they have worked it out it is 46 Bolivar’s per liter. We get 2550 B’s per dollar……..so that makes it $.0188/liter or $.07/gal!! Cheaper than water in the BVI. If we really needed some today we’d have to pay $.28/gal for black market diesel but they say the situation will be cleared up soon. We have 800 gals currently and can go over to Comuna and get 1000 liters at $07/gal which is the old way. So no worries on that.

 Food is cheap and good, everyone we’ve met so far is very nice, and the El Morro lagoon complex is massive and very Venice like. Our Spanish needs to improve as not much English outside the marina.

So Swan Song performed very well, the roll tank is even more awesome than I thought and the crew seems to be able to handle her OK. Slow and big fenders ;-)

 Hope all is well with you guys.

NANCY'S VERSION --
We left Nanny Cay on Sunday, August 7th and motored over to Norman Island where we anchored at the Bight. Dave was so excited to get off of the dock after all of these years and the thousands of hours of labor that it took to make our trawler ready for our off-shore retirement. Peter was excited for us also. We picked up a mooring ball on the outside so that we could watch a spectacular sunset in the west which seemed to be saluting us on our progress. We spent a lovely night at anchor loving every minute of the motion of the boat. Early the next morning we pulled up the anchor and headed out for Trellis Bay.

NORMAN ISLAND TO TRELLIS BAY
The seas were rough and the weather terrible for this trip. One squall seemed to follow another. Even though the roll tank is really wonderful we still rocked back and forth. I was taking a power nap when both the computer keyboard and the four TV trays fell to the floor. This really undid me and I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into if this was the weather and we hadn’t even left the BVI. I was not a happy camper and as SS only goes at 5 – 6 knots the trip up took several hours. However, coming around the point we saw that the harbour was not full so we again picked up a mooring ball and settled in for the night. There was a lot of traffic even though this was the period of the BVI Holiday August Festival and the shops were closed.

In the morning I went in to Jeremy’s Café and checked my e-mail as my keyboard was totally broken which obviously meant that I would not be able to use it during the entire trip. I updated my webpage and answered some of the 43 e-mails that were there. As I write this, one week later upon entering Venezuelan waters, I wonder how many hundreds of e-mails will be waiting for me. I am going to have to cancel a lot of newsletters – I can see that. Peter and Dave worked on the boat and after lunch we motored to North Sound.

TRELLIS BAY TO NORTH SOUND
Again the weather was stormy and seas were choppy. We left Trellis Bay and took off up the northern coast of Virgin Gorda to North Sound to spend the night This is a route that I always love to take however as I love the northern shore of Virgin Gorda. We have had lots of rain this spring and summer so the foliage is a hundred hues of lush green. The roll tank was working well but it was still not a terribly comfortable trip. I was glad when we reached Leverick Bay where we took on 300 gallons of water @ 15 cents a gallon and I went to the store to pick up items that I had forgotten. I am loving my new bread machine and am averaging a new fresh loaf about every 35 hours. The guys love it also so the large tub of butter that I bought will surely be used during the trip.

After leaving Leverick Bay we motored over to Saba Rock and the Bitter End where we picked up a mooring and had drinks while watching another lovely sunset. As a treat, we went into Saba Rock Restaurant for dinner although the guys just had hamburgers and I a Caesar Salad. I have been cooking large one pot meals in my Crock Pot, which is stabilized in the sink, which we eat at mid-day. The bread machine is now located in the right side of the sink so that underway I can use the left side for my Crock Pot. It is much easier this way but means that I really have to have meals planned and prepared right after breakfast in the mornings.

NORTH SOUND TO SPANISH TOWN & IMMIGRATION TO COOPER ISLAND

We had decided to leave North Sound and head south to Immigration at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda where Peter and I would take Leda in and check out with Immigration. While he was doing this I bought some baby shampoo (they were “finished” with all of their adult brands) and jotted into the showers at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour Marina to take a shower and wash my hair. I felt so much better as it has been really hot and we have been swimming a lot so there was still salt on my body. We take very brief showers aboard SS as we are all so very conscious of water.

Dave just drove SS around while we did this. After we rejoined him we headed over to Cooper Island where we picked up another mooring for the night. I might mention here that each of these trips was a “sea trial” during which the guys were fine-tuning just about everything on the boat. Although we were mucho prepared for this venture there were still things that needed to be done, systems to be checked and overall maintenance to be done each morning before getting underway for the 650 mile passage to Venezuela. We took an outside mooring so that we could be off the ball before dawn and head out to St. Maarten.

COOPER ISLAND TO ST. MAARTEN

Everything was fine for this 90 mile passage until we were about 29 miles off shore. Although we had waited four days for a good weather window, the weather was still horrendous as we were heading east and the winds, which were between 18 and 25 knots, were blowing right on our bow. Poor SS was just bouncing into them and during this Leda somehow came loose from her tow line. When we looked back to check on her and she wasn’t there our hearts truly sank.

Fortunately, Dave has an MOB (Man over Board) button on his new radar equipment which turned the boat around and headed back towards the BVI in the exact same route that we had taken out. About 20 minutes later we spotted Leda through our multi-high powered binoculars and rescued her. We spent another hour splicing new lines and re-outfitting her with a great double bridle to a tow. It took 2 hours off of our passage but she was secure for the rest of the trip – of course, whoever was on watch was responsible for checking her every five minutes for the next week.

Although we left the BVI at four in the morning the weather was rough and we didn’t arrive at Simpson Bay, St. Maarten until 7 that night – we were really tired and felt that we had been put through our paces. We anchored, for the first time, outside of the Simpson Bay Bridge and were delighted to see that all systems were perfect and that the anchor held beautifully during the night.

We slept well on board and had a delicious breakfast on board – again due to the bread from my new machine. Peter and I took Leda, our dinghy, over to Marigot and did some shopping. It was just great to be back in the fancy French shops for pasty, wines, cheeses and of course – perfumes and clothing. Not being a size 4, I obviously didn’t shop and as I had provisioned in the BVI there was very little that I needed. Dave bought an Epirb for the boat plus three fire extinguishers and some boat parts that we couldn’t find at home.

We finished our shopping, boarded Swan Song, and began the five day cruise to Venezuela. We took the lee passage, by each of the Caribbean islands – all of which we have visited many times. The winds averaged 18 to 20 knots and the trip was long, hard, rough and generally unpleasant. My old mom used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice just keep your mouth shut”. Enough said.

However, Swan Song did beautifully and she is one ocean going, sturdy vessel. We had only one mishap and that was a leak in the hydraulic fluid. David was able to fix this quickly. We towed Leda all of the way and she held up beautifully. The highlights were having a school of dolphins escort us into Venezuela, rainbows and the most spectacular sunsets that I have seen in a long time.

ARRIVING AT PUERTO LA CRUZ AND BAHIA REDUNDO MARINA
We arrived early on Thursday morning and we escorted to our slip by the dock boy in a dinghy. Imagine getting someone to do that at Nanny Cay? We are delighted with the marina as it is everything they advertised at one third of the price that we were paying in the BVI – plus we are away from storms. As Dave checked in they informed him that they were sorry – they could only sell him 1,000 gallons of diesel at 7 cents a gallon. If he wanted more than that he would have to pay 27 cents a gallon. Imagine.

The pool is lovely, I have not yet been to the spa, the laundry lady washes and folds 3 loads for $5, a full meal costs $6, wine and beer is $1, the grounds are gorgeous, the people friendly and I have never met so many international cruisers anywhere. The yachts here are really equipped for cruising. There are not a lot of trawlers but I am sure we will meet their owners soon. All in all we are both delighted by everything so far.
We are still getting Swan Song back in shape and will begin venturing out, into the community and other islands soon.

DAVE'S COMMENTS

We arrived here in Puerto La Cruz after a very nice trip from St Martin. Swan Song performed very well, the Fly By Wire system didn’t miss a beat and the roll tank is awesome. Beyond words to describe the effects of it. We were lying beam to with no way on in 6-8 ft seas and could move, about work on things and generally no have a concern about the roll. We were in Trellis Bay when a ferry wake came in. Rolled the two sailboats in front and behind us badly and it was a non event for us. Chocolate Blanc the 42 foot cat, was to lee of us and saw his keel he rolled so badly. We pitch, we yaw but we don’t roll. On the trip down we did roll a couple of times when the short seas had no back sides. We just fall thru them.

 We towed Leda the whole way, 600 odd miles. She wasn’t happy but followed us all the way except for a brief walkabout she did in the Anegada Passage when the ¾” tow line parted. Took us an hour to find her and an hour to get back to where we were when we noticed she’d gone. She now has her own radar reflector on a post and shows up very well on radar J

 Everyone is super nice so far and the marina even sent out a boat to guide us in. Stern to docking Swan Song had my heart rate up a bit but she handles very well. Put her in between two pick-up buoys and a couple of sailboats and didn’t even touch them with the fenders….al in a 15 kt cross breeze! I think Swan Song and I are going to get along fine ;-)

 Know that we send you our greetings and love and keep you in our hearts while we are sharing this wonderful retirement experience.

***********************************************************************************More below

AUGUST 5 - After a perfectly lovely day yesterday it is raining today. This morning we filled the roll tank, paid bills at Nanny Cay and will depart for Norman Island right after lunch. Norman is one of our most favorite venues and is a wonderful mini-cruise to test out all of the new systems aboard - particularly our roll tank ! It is festival time in the BVI so everything is closed and the entire island is in Mardi Gras the island way !

AUGUST 4 - After a very successful haul-out yesterday we put Swan Song on the end of the "T" Dock at Virgin Traders (Thank You so very much, Chris & James) and will spend today tuning all of the fine systems plus doing last minute banking, etc. in town. Martin and Pat came over last night, brought champagne, and wished us a happy farewell so we were a little late starting this morning. I bought a new bread machine last week and have discovered the most delicious recipe so by 9 am I had the bread machine going plus the slow cooker for a great vegetarian pot roast. I am relying on these two machines to get me through the next weeks for delicious meals for two hearty men and myself. During the afternoon we re-checked systems, measured the cockpit for texaline enclosures to be made in Venezuela and secured the dinghy hooks as we will be towing the dinghy for the entire trip. We just haven't decided on which way to board the dinghy - ah well, practice makes perfect.

AUGUST 3 - Well, our departure has been a lesson in patience if there ever was one. As most of you know, Dave is trying to outfit an old trawler into a 22nd centruy water ship. We have added every conceivable wireless gadget, that is not in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, to Swan Song that is possible. Departure has been delayed waiting for these devices - such as the wi-fi steering set being sent from Switzerland taking days to install - its all in the ethers - well, not really but you know what I mean.

First Dave went to China in April. He came home sicker than I have ever seen him so that was a delay of several weeks. Then we went to the states for a month to attend Adam and John's graduations (see these under the Cooper Family on the left.) I continued on for another month of travelling and I returned really sick. Of course by then David was well so I reinfected him and he was sick again. This is the first time we have been really under the weather in years and wouldn't you know it is when we are rushing to leave before hurricane season really begins.

No such luck - it is already here. Hurricane Chris passed by only yesterday, which delayed Swan Song's haul-out to have the bottom cleaned, by three days. If all goes well we will haul out at noon today, anchor for the night, checkout our 1,000 mechanical systems on this vessel and head for St. Maarten this weekend. Our good friend and captain, Peter Ratcliff from the UK, is with us and will be captaining while Dave is Chief Engineer.

And to think that we sailed for years with just our skills and a boat - this is what I get for living with the Mad Hatter from "Back to the Future IV".

More tomorrow - you will just have to read up instead of down.

Love to you all - Nanc

AUGUST 9 - Well, Murphy's Law is in effect. After spending the last four days cruising the BVI we are still waiting for a "weather window" to make our 90 mile passage east to St. Maarten, French West Indies. We have had a wonderful time just "gunk holing" though so I will not complain. I have never seen David so relaxed. as you can tell by the picture of him with Peter and the Pirate at Saba Rock below. He has time to make all of the necessary repairs each morning, wherever we are anchored, and is generally delighted with the condition of our vessel. I like the picture below of Swan Song at Anchorage at North Sound, Virgin Gorda, through the palm trees.

The roll tank is working perfectly and we are so glad as the wind has been averaging between 20 and 35 knots each day - which is why we are hiding out in lovely bays, under a gorgeous moon each night, rather than attempting the long passage in this weather. All in all, it is most relaxing. We are just hoping for a lowering of the winds soom so that we can really "take off" on Friday morning. We will check out of the BVI tomorrow morning, spend the night at Cooper Island and leave early Friday. I will write more when we arrive in St Maarten.

Our love to you all. We do appreciate your good thoughts and prayers for our voyage. Thank You. Nanc

Caribbean
Peter on Swan song
SS at Saba

SWAN SONG’S PASSAGE TO VENEZUELA

We left Nanny Cay on Sunday, August 7th and motored over to Norman Island where we anchored at the Bight. Dave was so excited to get off of the dock after all of these years and the thousands of hours of labor that it took to make our trawler ready for our off-shore retirement. Peter was excited for us also. We picked up a mooring ball on the outside so that we could watch a spectacular sunset in the west which seemed to be saluting us on our progress. We spent a lovely night at anchor loving every minute of the motion of the boat. Early the next morning we pulled up the anchor and headed out for Trellis Bay.

NORMAN ISLAND TO TRELLIS BAY
The seas were rough and the weather terrible for this trip. One squall seemed to follow another. Even though the roll tank is really wonderful we still rocked back and forth. I was taking a power nap when both the computer keyboard and the four TV trays fell to the floor. This really undid me and I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into if this was the weather and we hadn’t even left the BVI. I was not a happy camper and as SS only goes at 5 – 6 knots the trip up took several hours. However, coming around the point we saw that the harbour was not full so we again picked up a mooring ball and settled in for the night. There was a lot of traffic even though this was the period of the BVI Holiday August Festival and the shops were closed.

In the morning I went in to Jeremy’s Café and checked my e-mail as my keyboard was totally broken which obviously meant that I would not be able to use it during the entire trip. I updated my webpage and answered some of the 43 e-mails that were there. As I write this, one week later upon entering Venezuelan waters, I wonder how many hundreds of e-mails will be waiting for me. I am going to have to cancel a lot of newsletters – I can see that. Peter and Dave worked on the boat and after lunch we motored to North Sound.

TRELLIS BAY TO NORTH SOUND
Again the weather was stormy and seas were choppy. We left Trellis Bay and took off up the northern coast of Virgin Gorda to North Sound to spend the night This is a route that I always love to take however as I love the northern shore of Virgin Gorda. We have had lots of rain this spring and summer so the foliage is a hundred hues of lush green. The roll tank was working well but it was still not a terribly comfortable trip. I was glad when we reached Leverick Bay where we took on 300 gallons of water @ 15 cents a gallon and I went to the store to pick up items that I had forgotten. I am loving my new bread machine and am averaging a new fresh loaf about every 35 hours. The guys love it also so the large tub of butter that I bought will surely be used during the trip.

After leaving Leverick Bay we motored over to Saba Rock and the Bitter End where we picked up a mooring and had drinks while watching another lovely sunset. As a treat, we went into Saba Rock Restaurant for dinner although the guys just had hamburgers and I a Caesar Salad. I have been cooking large one pot meals in my Crock Pot, which is stabilized in the sink, which we eat at mid-day. The bread machine is now located in the right side of the sink so that underway I can use the left side for my Crock Pot. It is much easier this way but means that I really have to have meals planned and prepared right after breakfast in the mornings.

NORTH SOUND TO SPANISH TOWN & IMMIGRATION TO COOPER ISLAND

We had decided to leave North Sound and head south to Immigration at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda where Peter and I would take Leda in and check out with Immigration. While he was doing this I bought some baby shampoo (they were “finished” with all of their adult brands) and jotted into the showers at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour Marina to take a shower and wash my hair. I felt so much better as it has been really hot and we have been swimming a lot so there was still salt on my body. We take very brief showers aboard SS as we are all so very conscious of water.

Dave just drove SS around while we did this. After we rejoined him we headed over to Cooper Island where we picked up another mooring for the night. I might mention here that each of these trips was a “sea trial” during which the guys were fine-tuning just about everything on the boat. Although we were mucho prepared for this venture there were still things that needed to be done, systems to be checked and overall maintenance to be done each morning before getting underway for the 650 mile passage to Venezuela. We took an outside mooring so that we could be off the ball before dawn and head out to St. Maarten.

COOPER ISLAND TO ST. MAARTEN

Everything was fine for this 90 mile passage until we were about 29 miles off shore. Although we had waited four days for a good weather window, the weather was still horrendous as we were heading east and the winds, which were between 18 and 25 knots, were blowing right on our bow. Poor SS was just bouncing into them and during this Leda somehow came loose from her tow line. When we looked back to check on her and she wasn’t there our hearts truly sank.

Fortunately, Dave has an MOB (Man over Board) button on his new radar equipment which turned the boat around and headed back towards the BVI in the exact same route that we had taken out. About 20 minutes later we spotted Leda through our multi-high powered binoculars and rescued her. We spent another hour splicing new lines and re-outfitting her with a great double bridle to a tow. It took 2 hours off of our passage but she was secure for the rest of the trip – of course, whoever was on watch was responsible for checking her every five minutes for the next week.

Although we left the BVI at four in the morning the weather was rough and we didn’t arrive at Simpson Bay, St. Maarten until 7 that night – we were really tired and felt that we had been put through our paces. We anchored, for the first time, outside of the Simpson Bay Bridge and were delighted to see that all systems were perfect and that the anchor held beautifully during the night.

We slept well on board and had a delicious breakfast on board – again due to the bread from my new machine. Peter and I took Leda, our dinghy, over to Marigot and did some shopping. It was just great to be back in the fancy French shops for pasty, wines, cheeses and of course – perfumes and clothing. Not being a size 4, I obviously didn’t shop and as I had provisioned in the BVI there was very little that I needed. Dave bought an Epirb for the boat plus three fire extinguishers and some boat parts that we couldn’t find at home.

We finished our shopping, boarded Swan Song, and began the five day cruise to Venezuela. We took the lee passage, by each of the Caribbean islands – all of which we have visited many times. The winds averaged 18 to 20 knots and the trip was long, hard, rough and generally unpleasant. My old mom used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice just keep your mouth shut”. Enough said.

However, Swan Song did beautifully and she is one ocean going, sturdy vessel. We had only one mishap and that was a leak in the hydraulic fluid. David was able to fix this quickly. We towed Leda all of the way and she held up beautifully. The highlights were having a school of dolphins escort us into Venezuela, rainbows and the most spectacular sunsets that I have seen in a long time.

ARRIVING AT PUERTO LA CRUZ AND BAHIA REDUNDO MARINA
We arrived early on Thursday morning and we escorted to our slip by the dock boy in a dinghy. Imagine getting someone to do that at Nanny Cay? We are delighted with the marina as it is everything they advertised at one third of the price that we were paying in the BVI – plus we are away from storms. As Dave checked in they informed him that they were sorry – they could only sell him 1,000 gallons of diesel at 7 cents a gallon. If he wanted more than that he would have to pay 27 cents a gallon. Imagine.

The pool is lovely, I have not yet been to the spa, the laundry lady washes and folds 3 loads for $5, a full meal costs $6, wine and beer is $1, the grounds are gorgeous, the people friendly and I have never met so many international cruisers anywhere. The yachts here are really equipped for cruising. There are not a lot of trawlers but I am sure we will meet their owners soon. All in all we are both delighted by everything so far.
We are still getting Swan Song back in shape and will begin venturing out, into the community and other islands soon.

Know that we send you our greetings and love and keep you in our hearts while we are sharing this wonderful retirement experience.

Dave,ghost,Peter
Haul-out4

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