El Shaddai

Tayana Vancouver 42 Sailboat

15 August 2010 | Merida
15 August 2010 | Jaji
15 August 2010 | Jaji, Venezuela
15 August 2010 | Venezuela
15 August 2010 | Merida, Venezuela
15 August 2010 | Merida, Venezuela
15 August 2010 | Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
07 July 2010 | Navimca, Venezuela
07 July 2010 | Venezuela
07 July 2010 | Cumana, Venezuela
07 July 2010 | Cumana, Venezuela
07 July 2010 | Makro Store, Cumana, Venezuela


15 August 2010 | Merida
Back in Merida we visited an ice cream parlour that has made it to the Guinness Book of Records for having over 900 flavours of ice cream. Of course not all the flavours are available on a particular day but the selections are shown on this wall. I don't know too many people interested in Polar beer or chicken and spaghetti ice cream and my palate was craving something traditional.

Welcoming Faces

15 August 2010 | Jaji
These children looked at us like they didn't see tourists often. As has been our Venezuelan experience, they were quite pleased to have their photo taken.

The temperature in Merida and surrounding areas gets very cold in the winter. In Jaji there were lots of decorative wool jackets, toques and mitts for sale. We also noticed the absence of palm trees and the presence of juniper, cedar and pine trees at this elevation.


15 August 2010 | Jaji, Venezuela
The typical Andean town was a little too commercialized for our taste. However, with the lack of tourists it was almost asleep. We wandered around town and enjoyed the ride there and back but the people weren't particularly warm and inviting. This has not been our Venezuelan experience so it rather surprised us.

Day Trip to Jaji

15 August 2010 | Venezuela
At the main bus terminal we boarded a 13-passenger van for Jaji (pronounced Hawhe), a small traditional Andean town 38 km. west of Merida. The countryside was beautiful winding through lush cloud forest but parts of the road were challenging to navigate. This stream didn't cause any problems today but the potential for a washout is very real.

Pico Bolivar and Teleferico

15 August 2010 | Merida, Venezuela
The view from our posada, Guamanchi, was amazing. We overlooked Pico Bolivar, the highest mountain in the Andes at 5007 m, along with the world's highest and longest Teleferico (cable car system) in the world. Unfortunately the Teleferico has been inoperable for the past two year, but there was evidence they are working onit.

We had a clean room with private bath, a hammock and use of the kitchen. This is the view from our room.

We kept entertained watching the activities in the park below. There was a trampoline, kiddy cars and live weekend entertainers. Numerous kiosks offered fast food such as empanadas, arepas, cuchapas, hot dogs, decadent desserts, etc. along with one of the favorites, strawberries and whipped cream. Other kiosks sold jewelry, handbags and souvenirs.

Merida is a popular destination. We had 27 young Netherlands' fraternity brothers staying in the posada as well. They had a month of high adventure activities planned for Venezuela.

Colorful Homes

15 August 2010 | Merida, Venezuela
This is a sample of some of the colorful homes in Venezuela. As we drive through villages we see every color of the rainbow yet there seems to be little duplication. Individuality is the key.

Trip to Merida

15 August 2010 | Venezuela
Imagine 22 hours on a freezing cold, air-conditioned bus... are we crazy? Yes, I think so. We left at 2 p.m. from Puerta La Cruz and travelled through the night to Merida, in the Andes. The ride was reported to be 18 hours but with accidents, detours, stops along the way, broken fan belt, whatever, it took 22 hours. There are no airplanes so options were limited. We started to get some lovely views after the sun came up.

People ride these buses dressed for the ski slopes. They wear hats, scarves, socks, carry blankets, etc. Nobody complains about the cold or, if they do, nothing is done.

Best Bargain in the Caribbean

12 July 2010 | Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
With the excellent currency exchange rate right now, Venezuela is a great bargain. We are living in the lap of luxury, enjoying this beautiful pool in the early evening, to ourselves most of the time, out of the hurricane belt and every convenience imaginable at our fingertips. We love it here and haven't found such a great deal since we started cruising in the Bahamas.

Welcome to Bahia Redonda

12 July 2010 | Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
We witnessed one extreme to another, from a fishing shack on Tortuga to a beautiful resort in Puerto La Cruz.

We left the empty anchoring spot in Tortuga and headed 70 miles south to the mainland, arriving in Puerto La Cruz about 11 hours later. Again, we had a quiet night on the seas, brilliant stars and no wind. We weren't sure what to expect as we had heard that cruisers were avoiding Venezuela due to the political uncertainty and this is the yacht capital of the country.

We maneuvered into a spot at the dock which was far from empty. A French Consultate has opened here at the dock and there is a 1/2 price hurricane special if you arrive with 4 boats together. Consequently, there are many French-speaking boaters at the marina and few English speaking cruisers.

What Could That Be?

12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
From a distance on these flat, outer islands next to Tortuga, we spotted spikes or spires which almost looked like high rises. We couldn't imagine what we were observing. On closer approach it was Venezuelan powerboat towers anchored in Cayo Heraduro, the most popular anchorage in Tortuga. There was not a palm tree, or any other kind of tree for that matter, on this little sandspit in the Caribbean.

It was still fairly early on Friday afternoon, which we later discovered was the start of the Independence Day long weekend. We were planning on staying here but the navigation was a little scary and on the horizon was a steady stream of powerboats, racing toward us. It reminded me of the Indy 500 and continued for the rest of the afternoon. We learned later there were over 120 boats staying on this tiny little island for the weekend.

Thankfully we made the right choice not to stay and found a secluded little bay about 2 miles away. We could hear the steady thump of a base player late into the night and from a distance it looked like downtown Manhattan.

Home Sweet Home

12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
Doyle's Cruising Guidebook says these shacks are occupied seasonally by the fishermen. Pretty simple lifestyle and very meagre living quarters on a dry, barren spit of land in the Caribbean ocean. One man's shack is another man's castle.

Yamaha Blues

12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
We had our Yamaha 15 hp motor serviced by the mechanic in Cumana before we left the boatyard as there was no Yamaha dealer there. It had been sitting for 1 1/2 years and refused to start. The mechanic said it was a simple fix, that the jets were gummed up with dried up fuel.

In Tortuga it ran fine close to shore so we took it for a run out near a reef in the very large bay we were anchored in. Suddenly it heated up and quit. We had a grueling paddle back to the boat against wind and current. Back on board Bill tried to determine the problem without success. It turned out the impeller was worn out. The problem with sailing is you often don't return to the last place a repair occurred, forcing you to start fresh at the next stop.

That was the end of our dingly exploration on Tortuga.

The dealer in Puerto La Cruz repaired it properly, reminding us to have it serviced every 100 hours or once a year. We will remember this lesson.

Tortuga Beauty

12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
This is the view we dream about from Canada.


12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
We spent one night in Laguna Grande which is spectacularly beautiful. The stars are so brilliant the constellations jump right out at you. Feeling secure that the boat was performing satisfactorily, we left around 4 a.m. for Tortuga. It was a calm day on the sea with little wind so we kept the motor running.

Tortuga is a flat, dry, scubby island with little vegetation. It's greatest attractions are the beaches, crystal clear water and snorkeling. At our first anchorage there was an airstrip, one lane wide, of packed sand. We're told locals from Caracas use it mostly on weekends. Other than a Coast Guard station and a few ramshackled fishing huts it was quite deserted.

Fishermen on Route to Tortuga

12 July 2010 | Tortuga, Venezuela
This must be where the fish are biting but it seems a little strange that the fishermen are all clustered together miles from shore. We are amazed at how far from shore we find these simple piroques.

Preparing for Splashing

07 July 2010 | Navimca, Venezuela
We had left the boat in Navimca for so long they had to prune the trees to get the boat out. We have had excellent care and service at Navimca and would recommend it to anyone.

Off to Laguna Grande

07 July 2010 | Venezuela
We had to wait for high tide to leave Navimca and chose a short jaunt to Laguna Grande to ensure everything was running smoothly. Our chartplotter had to be downloaded onto our most recent computer but didn't recognize the drivers we installed. We called the company providing our navigation system just before we left and were told they didn't provide drivers for a 64-bit computer, that we needed an older computer. Also, the chartplotting program had been discontinued so we immediately purchased the replacement program which didn't do the same job. The next representative we talked to said "who told you that". Frustrations have been running high. Solutions are there but don't come easily.

Free Enterprise

07 July 2010 | Cumana, Venezuela
The buses are efficient and economical. A ride to town is about $.30. In the central part of town the traffic keeps everything moving at a snail's pace. This gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to board the bus, offer things for sale like chocolate bars or cups of sugar cane water and lime, and then step off the bus, while it is still moving.

The bus has designated stops but willingly picks you up along the route. A conductor collects the fare and calls out to potential passengers on the street announcing where the bus is traveling. When you want to get off you yell "parada" and that's where the bus stops.

Mi amiga

07 July 2010 | Cumana, Venezuela
It was Happy Hour on Friday afternoon near Navimca Boatyard and this lady was entertaining the men who had stopped by the local store for a cool drink. The patrons just hang around the storefront visiting. They were encouraging this lady who enjoyed the attention. She willingly posed for the photo and then kissed and hugged me, calling me her "amiga".

Tired of Shopping

07 July 2010 | Makro Store, Cumana, Venezuela
This little guy had enough shopping. Boy, wouldn't it be great if we could all do this some days.

Good to be back

29 June 2010 | Cumana, Venezuela
Miracles do happen! We are back in Venezuela, back shopping at the public market, back doing boat projects and getting ready to splash tomorrow. Prayers work!

We're heading to Tortuga which is an overnight sail, 10 to 12 hours. Can't wait to feel the sea breezes blowing.

Olympic Cauldron 2010 Vancouver

28 February 2010 | Vancouver, B.C.
This is spectacular. It was lit by Wayne Gretzky, Canada's pride and the world's greatest hockey player, at the end of the opening ceremonies.

It will stay lit for some time beyond the games and will serve as a landmark in the City of Vancouver, only to be lit for very special occasions.

The Vancouver Olympics had more people demonstrating their Canadian pride, spirit and support for the games than any other country in history.

Canada also won more gold medals than any other country in Olympic history.

Preview of the host of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia

28 February 2010 | Vancouver, B.C.
This mural was on the wall of the Russian pavillion featuring Sochi where the 2014 Olympics will be held. Very beautiful indeed!

They came to see what they could learn from Canada and to showcase their magnificent venue.

Flags of the World Vancouver 2010 Olympics

28 February 2010 | Vancouver, B.C.
Look at all those flags...

We didn't realize the excitement we would feel being part of this international event. Athletes and representatives from countless countries around the world, along with numerous celebrities, were frequently seen enjoying the sights and thrills of the Olympic festivities.

Vancouver made a special effort to put emphasis on the First Nations' people in the opening ceremonies.

Street Art 2010 Vancouver Olympics

28 February 2010 | Vancouver, B.C.
This wasn't the most sophisticated piece of street art but it was fun to look at. Robson Street and Square were the hub of the social center with live entertainment every day and night as well as fireworks. The street was absolutely plugged after the amazing men's hockey defeat of Canada over the USA. The women were victorious as well, finishing undefeated. Yeah Canada!

Street Art 2010 Vancouver Olympics

28 February 2010 | Vancouver, B.C.
What a thrill to be in Vancouver during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This is one of the many pieces of art displayed on Robson Street which was closed to traffic during the games. Every day thousands of people wandered around downtown sporting jerseys, flags and the famous red mitts.

Vancouver Island West Coast

28 February 2010 | Ucluelet, B.C.
Storm watching is another tourist attraction on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It never disappoints. These views are just minutes from where we live and we make a point of enjoying them almost daily.

Wild Pacific

28 February 2010 | Ucluelet, B.C.
We are on the west coast of Vancouver Island where the surfers and whale watchers come in droves for the year-round surfing and spectacular views. Next week is the Whale Watching Festival and 20,000 whales are expected to make their yearly journey along the coast.


25 September 2009 | British Columbia
These beautifully colorful painted eagles appear all over British Columbia. Each year a different foundation is used and this year it is an eagle. Every eagle is unique in its artistic creation.

Molly's Reach

25 September 2009 | Gibsons Landing, B.C.
Molly's Reach was one of the main stages from the famous Canadian television series, "The Beachcomers" that ran for 19 seasons back in the 1970-80's. It has been converted to a popular restaurant full of memorabilia from the ageless series.

Sunshine Coast Camping Trip

25 September 2009 | Sunshine Coast, B.C.
We went on a 5-day camping trip recently to the Sunshine Coast. The provincial campgrounds were officially closed but provided a few free spots for late-season stragglers. The weather was fantastic and the views stunning.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

07 September 2009 | Glacier National Park
We spent two glorious days in Illecillewaet camped beside the river. It was pretty cool at night at this higher elevation reminding us that fall was just around the corner.

This is Bill and our kids' dog, Vaquita, trekking along the trails.

Photo of Illecillewaet Glacier around 1900

07 September 2009 | Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is the only interior rain forest in the world. Much of the vegetation is the same as what we've seen in the Caribbean.

At the turn of the century there was a large hotel at the Illecillewaet Glacier that rivaled the Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise hotels. It was frequented by travellers on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many came to mountain climb with Swiss guides and to take in the spectacular views. However, due to the incidence of avalanches and the loss of 200 lives over a few short years, the railway was redirected by tunneling through the mountains. Hotel business slowly petered out with the eventual closure. The footings of the numerous buildings are still evident with a walking trail explaining the history of the area.

Illecillewaet Glacier

07 September 2009 | Glacier National Park near Revelstoke
This was one of our favorite hiking places when we lived in Kelowna. We managed another trip to the area and a hike along the beautiful trails.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge

07 September 2009 | Vancouver
Our daughter-in-law, Tara, spent the day showing us some sights we'd missed. The dog was very resistant to walking across the swinging bridge but loved the rest of the adventure.

El Shaddai

04 August 2009
El Shaddai in Laguna Grande, Venezuela

El Shaddai Interior

04 August 2009
More interior photos.

El Shaddai Interior

04 August 2009
Some photos of the boat's interior.

Swan Nesting

05 April 2009 | Vancouver, B.C.
We watched these swans in a mating ritual a few weeks ago but didn't have our camera with us. Never leave home without it.

Today we saw the result of the mating. The swan is sitting on a nest right next to a popular nature trail called "Lost Lagoon" in the famous and spectacular Stanley Park in Vancouver. It was a very mild Sunday afternoon and people were out in droves wandering around enjoying the great outdoors. The swan didn't seem the least bit distracted.

Winter Beauty

05 April 2009 | Vancouver, B.C.
Our frequent walks with our kids' dog, Vaquita, takes us to some beautiful parks. Vancouver has maximized its beauty and appeal by developing natural and man-made parks all over the city. This photo was taken in late winter but it is now early April and many trees are in blossom along with spring flowers. I didn't realize how much I missed the change in seasons and spring is my favorite. Bill, on the other hand, would love to be back on the boat. That's his home and anywhere else is a place we're visiting.


05 April 2009 | Vancouver, B.C.
If you have to spend time in hospital then how about a room with a view like this. I spent less than 48 hours in hospital in February having major surgery, have now completed chemotherapy and am officially in remission. God is good. Our faith is stronger than ever after the journey we've been on. Never underestimate the power of prayer.

We plan to stay in Vancouver until the fall before returning to our boat.

Ovarian Cancer CA 125 Test

25 February 2009 | Medregal, Venezuela
According to the Ovarian Cancer Canada fact sheet, "the CA-125 blood test measures levels of a protein that can be affected by many health factors. It is NOT a screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. There is NO reliable screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. The CA-125 test is unreliable... because it produces too many false positive and false negative results."

That being said, the CA-125 test is a marker and in my Ovarian Cancer Support Group every woman consciously follows her CA-125 marker as an indicator of whether her cancer is still in remission or not. When I was tested in Venezuela my CA-125 marker was ballistic with only minor symptoms that I had checked out within a week.

I would highly encourage women to insist on the CA-125 blood test and an ultrasound on their lower abdomen during their annual checkup. If the medical plan does not cover it, is it worth paying for? From my perspective, ABSOLUTELY. If ovarian cancer is found early and treated, the survival rate is as high as 90%.

Listen to the Whispers

25 February 2009 | Medregal, Venezuela
"Listen to the Whispers" is a program developed by Ovarian Cancer Canada to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. The whisper relates to the fact that the symptoms are so subtle most women aren't diagnosed until Stage 3.

Here are some of the facts taken from Ovarian Cancer Canada.

"See your family doctor if you have one or more of these symptoms and they last longer than 3 weeks:

swelling or bloating of the abdomen
pelvic discomfort or heaviness
back or abdominal pain
gas, nausea, indigestion
change in bowel habits
emptying your bladder frequently
menstrual irregularities
weight loss or weight gain"


21 February 2009 | Vancouver
We have such fun taking Vaquita to the many, many beaches around Vancouver. There are countless beautiful parks scattered throughout the city but this one provides nature trails and beaches.

Stanley Park

21 February 2009 | Vancouver
Stanley Park is home of several magnificent totem poles. The First Nations people pass on their history through these carvings.

Horseshoe Bay

21 February 2009 | Vancouver
If we can't be in a tropical paradise then we want to be in Vancouver. When it gets cold you just put on an extra layer. It's February and the crocuses are in bloom. The folks out east can't claim that. Vancouver is a beautiful city.


21 February 2009 | Cumana, Venezuela
The navigation center serves multi purposes. With the magic of Skype we can talk to our family a world away and even see them. We're planning to spend more time with our family from now on which is our new sailing plan. It's all about balance.

It Sunk Too

21 February 2009 | Cumana, Venezuela
Yup, sinkings are a regular occurrence in Marina Cumanagoto.

Bill returned to our boat the middle of February for one month after leaving it for three months, and thankfully it was still floating.

It Sunk

21 February 2009 | Cumana
This boat was next to us at the dock while we undertook a major boat project. We never saw anybody come to the boat but when we returned to Cumana we were shocked to see it had sunk. This seems to be a regular occurrence with unattended boats in Marina Cumanagoto.

Zydeco in Laguna Grande

21 February 2009 | Venezuela
We had such an awesome time traveling with Elaine and Harry from Zydeco. We regretted having to say goodbye in Cumana as we headed back to Canada and they eventually headed west.

Laguna Grande

21 February 2009 | Venezuela
Our time in this peaceful anchorage has been a beautiful memory we've carried over the last three months as we've dealt with the devastation of being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.

It's comforting to know this life isn't the end and that whatever we face here on earth we have hope of a future with the Lord.

Uncle Jamie & Gabriella

21 February 2009 | Vancouver, Canada
Gabriella was fascinated by the salt-water aquarium at Uncle Jamie's place.

We are currently living in Vancouver with Jamie & Tara and loving it.

I've had surgery for ovarian cancer and am undergoing chemotherapy. With the power of prayer I'm doing amazingly well and surprising the doctors. We know our faith can move mountains and mountains are being moved.

Guacharo or Oilbird

21 February 2009 | Caripe, Venezuela
This is a nocturnal, fruit-eating bird that inhabits caves, living in total darkness and leaving the cave only at night for food. It has a radar-location system similar to bats. It has a curved beak and enormous whiskers and grows to about 60 cm long, with a wingspan of a meter.

It is estimated there are 10,000 birds in the longest, largest and most magnificent cave in Venezuela. The cave also has a maze of stalactites and stalagmites.

Really an awesome experience.

Vancouver Snowfall

12 February 2009 | Vancouver, B.C.
Great to be back in Canada for Christmas but look at the snow. This is not typical for Vancouver. Actually we really had fun in it because now it's a novelty for us.

We were blessed to have our family together for Christmas which we hadn't had the privilege of doing in 3 years (although we had been together last March). I determined I need more family time each year and that although boat life is wonderful and exciting, it doesn't replace family time.

Hiking Near Guacharo Caves

07 February 2009 | Venezuela
Elaine and Harry (from Zydeco) joined us on an adventure to the Guacharo Caves. We rode in the back of a truck through some lovely jungle villages to the caves. The scenery was lovely with mountains and valleys. After exploring the caves with a guide we walked to a waterfall about 45 minutes away. This is in November, two weeks before I discovered I had cancer.


03 February 2009 | Vancouver, Canada
We had a wonderful time with our family at Christmas in Canada and especially with our almost 2 year old granddaughter.

What a blessing.

Christmas in Vancouver

03 February 2009 | Vancouver, B.C.
It doesn't get better than this. We were so blessed to have our family together last Christmas for the first time in over 2 years. This is our granddaughter, Gabriella.

We have been in Vancouver since the end of November for medical reasons for me.


18 November 2008 | Laguna Grande
We watched a few dozen grazing goats wander through the dessert-like vegetation along the water scrounging for food. They would only have water when it rained or from some of the plants they eat.

A Day in the Life

18 November 2008 | Laguna Grande
Elaine, from Zydeco, relaxes on her floatie, while still tied to the boat. Yacht life IS everything they say about it.

View from the Top

18 November 2008 | Laguna Grande
Bill & Harry went for a hike one day and brought back some delightful photos. They had some guy time which they both appreciated. Living 24/7, 365 days a year with one person on a boat demands some outsider time now and then.

Laguna Grande

18 November 2008 | Golfo de Cariaco
Just across the Golfo de Cariaco from Cumana is this pristine hideaway where cruisers take a peaceful break. Waking up to this view pretty much sums up how privileged we are to live this life.

There are many little bays so many boats can be here and not even know there are others. We have yet to see more than a couple though.

The Photographer

18 November 2008 | Cumanagoto
A friend commented that I needed to have more photos of myself on the blog so Bill took over my photographer role.

Dinghy Davits Complete

18 November 2008 | Cumanagoto
Bill stands proudly beside his designed dinghy davits. He did a great job and they work perfectly. The wind generator pours power into our batteries when the wind blows hard, the back light is useful when we are raising the dinghy at night and the loud hailer is for future use.


27 October 2008 | Cumana
The arch Bill designed required a lot of welding. Unfortunately the welder from the marina didn't wear protective eye covering this particular day while working on the arch all day and suffered burns to his eyes.

Zaporah (Zippy)

27 October 2008 | Cumana
This is our special Christian friend, Zippy, from Kenya. She has been living on a sailboat for almost a year, a startling change from her former life in Kenya. We have spent a lot of time together hanging out and I've loved her stories about life in Kenya. Her life has changed so dramatically since leaving Kenya but she says she's a "sailor girl" now.

Sunset in Cumana

27 October 2008 | Cumana
Right behind us is a rock causeway that we occasionally sit on with our morning coffee and watch the fishing boats in the distance. At night we see incredible sunsets as we enjoy a cool drink and wind down from our day. Hard to beat this cruising life!

Out for Dinner

27 October 2008 | Cumana
This is Bill in the restaurant we went to for my birthday. I had lobster and Bill had steak, a rare treat for us. We also celebrate our anniversary two days after my birthday. Should have spread them out more, I'm thinking, so we don't lump two possible dinners out into one celebration.

There's a fast food court at the mall next to the marina and McDonalds, but not up to birthday standards.

Birthday Girl

27 October 2008 | Cumana
At your request, Norm Allen, here is a photo of me (on my birthday). At the end of September I moved into a new decade of numbers (big numbers I'm afraid) and we went out for dinner at a lovely outdoor restaurant at the marina to celebrate.

As I looked for something to wear I dug out 3 dresses, which all smelled of mildew (I haven't worn them in a few months). Mildew is wicked on a boat. Bill offered to spray them with lysol but I didn't relish the idea of going out for dinner wearing Eau de Lysol. Fortunately I found a dress I could wear for the special occasion.

Boat Project

27 October 2008 | Cumana
This boat is two down from us and we've watched the pilot house being constructed from the beginning. It is being overhauled for the owner who lives in Spain and uses it for vacations. Some vacation home!

Boom Gallows

27 October 2008 | Cumana
The carpenters working on two boats next to us, Luis and Phillip, impressed us with their incredible skills so we asked if they would consider building us a new boom gallows. They brought a beautiful piece of wood, either mahogany or teak (we're not sure) and spent one full day building it. What a lovely job they did and for such a reasonable price. The boom gallows, including the wood, cost us less than $150.

Arch Beginnings

27 October 2008 | Cumana
When Bill decided to build the arch this is literally where it started. He pieced together the stainless steel and designed the arch. We'll never see another like it.

Crowd for Araya

26 October 2008 | Cumana
We just returned to Cumana and had to squeeze our way through the crowd of people waiting in line to get on board to cross to Araya. The fare was less than $1 for the 20-minute ride.


26 October 2008 | Araya
These two friends were thrilled to pose for a photo.

Lunch Close Up

26 October 2008 | Araya
The name of the fish currently escapes me but when I remember I'll let you know. It was yummy though.

We've turned out to be lousy fishermen so we're excited about lessons from Harry. We'll be leaving the marina in a couple of days for another journey down the Golfo and hopefully some fresh fish.

Lunch Break

26 October 2008 | Araya
After our fort exploration it was time for lunch with our friends, Harry & Elaine. This was the only thing on the menu and turned out to be a delightful meal.

Peeking Through the Walls

26 October 2008 | Araya
Trying to get creative with my camera looking through the coral rock walls of the fort.

Huge Fort

26 October 2008 | Araya
This is the biggest and oldest colonial fort in Venezuela commonly referred to as El Casillo. Pretty impressive considering its history.


26 October 2008 | Araya, Venezuela
At one time this fort was equipped with 45 cannons and defended by a 250-man garrison. When the salt ponds were temporarily destroyed by a hurricane in 1726 and Spanish abandoned the area, they first tried to blow up the fort to prevent it from falling into foreign hands. Despite igniting all the available gunpower, the sturdy structure resisted. Damaged but not destroyed, the mighty bulwarks still proudly crown the waterfront cliff.

Bill and Harry

26 October 2008 | Araya, Venezuela
We are heading up to the fort and Bill and Harry are pulling up the rear. Looks like they are walking at quite a clip and it isn't even lunch time.

The Vota No is probably from the Venezuelan referendum last December. There is so much publicity with the upcoming election on Chavez's behalf that the Vota No's are highly outnumbered. Be interesting to see how the election turns out.

We've been told to be ready to leave Venezuela with 6 hours' notice in the event of a political uprising. We've heard that most people ignore those warnings as they usually amount to nothing but fear mongering. However, we could leave immediately if need be.

Beach in Araya with Fort

26 October 2008 | Araya
There are some lovely beaches in Araya. The mighty fortress in the background and we are heading up there with our friends, Harry & Elaine, on Zydeco, whom we met back in Trinidad.
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana Vancouver 42
Hailing Port: Vancouver, Canada
Crew: Bill & Bev Bate
Extra: Our mission is to participate in the development and spread of goodwill between countries and peoples through Schools Beyond Borders Foundation.
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Album: | El Shaddai

El Shaddai

Who: Bill & Bev Bate
Port: Vancouver, Canada