4AM Canvas work & Los Testigos
29 January 2008 | Los Testigos
We waited up for Johnny Sails until about 11PM last night but he did not come out to the boat. I called him at the end of the day and told him to drop off what he had because we were leaving at 5AM for Venezuela.
At 4AM we heard a knock on the hull. We could hardly believe our ears. Yet, sure enough, there was Johnny and his crew on the dock. It is not that I don't appreciate the valiant effort to complete the work before we left. Not at all. It is just that you don't take measurements for this type of work, show up and install it and walk away. You have to do things incrementally if you want to get it right and make everyone happy. Johnny knows this of course.
We allowed them to work on the boat and delay us an hour in our departure. In the end we had to cut them off. The work was perhaps half complete but to start up a new shop on the project would require a lot of effort due to the fact that the tricky bits were still remaining. I think Johnny is a capable canvas worker but I would recommend that you pay as you go to ensure the proper incentive.
We were looking forward to a long downwind sail to Los Testigos. We motored out of the Saint Georges lagoon and were surprised to see fog as we looked back! I had never seen fog in the Lesser Antilles before. The wind was light and sailing downwind made it lighter still.
Once we were clear of the port we raised the main sail, from the cockpit, on the power winch. It was so hassle free we both were thrilled with our new rig setup. We motor sailed along with one engine running at between 9 and 10 knots making up for our late departure. We wanted to be sure to arrive in Los Testigos before sunset.
On our way out a large pod of high jumping dolphins kept us company for several minutes. We saw a couple of sailboats far off to port about mid passage, going to Trinidad as best we could tell but otherwise had no contacts.
We sighted Los Testigos off in the distance a little before 14:00. They are a rocky group of islands with sandy beaches and coral crusted coves. Many birds ply the air in the vicinity. By 16:00 we were coming around the northern point of Testigo Pequeno.
Testigo Pequeno and Testigo Grande are almost connected by a sandy spit that turns into a sand bar in the middle of a shallow pass. The best anchorage we saw in the area is right between the two islands. The seas are completely broken down by the bar between the Pequeno and Grande but a little chop comes through if the waves are large. There is a fishing village on cove over to the north and we found several fishing boats anchored in the area and three or four cruisers as well.
Once settled into the anchorage I dingied over to the main pueblo on Isla Iguana Grande. You have to be careful in failing light here because the docks at Isla Iguana all have boats with lines ashore and nets and whatnot running to the dock and through the water. I ended up tying Little Star up on the windward side of the southern most dock and wading ashore.
The Guard Costa office was manned by a young man who spoke no English. I had my trusty Spanish for Cruisers book with me (which has been a life saver) but made a fairly poor showing. I did manage to get us checked in though. We were given three days before we would need to proceed to Margarita or a port of entry on the mainland for proper clearance. All they do here is write you into a big book.
The young guard of the coast wrapped matters up with a request for booze. Not what you like to see in the officials of a foreign country but not surprising given the remoteness of the location. I said "no comprendo" a lot, which seemed to get me out of most difficulties.
I dashed back across the sound as the sun set. Hideko, Roq and I enjoyed a quiet dinner and a beautiful sunset as we marveled at the picturesque islands of our anchorage. It was nice to be back out there.