Las Aves, Land of Birds, Venezuela
20 December 2017
Even more remote than Los Roques, Las Aves are uninhabited islands, halfway between Los Roques and Bonaire. Uproar and Skabenga sailed the 50 miles to Las Aves in ideal conditions. These islands are so low that they are not visible until we were within 7 miles or so. But GPS guided us perfectly into the crescent shaped chain to a quiet bay to anchor.
Well it would have been quiet except for the thousands of birds squaking. Las Aves is a rookery for a dozen species of birds, notably the Red-Footed Booby. They were quite bold, flying so close they went inside our rigging. Uproar sustained a few bird bombs but not that many. Yes, we have found another hidden gem of the Caribbean.
Checking out of Los Roques meant we had no legal standing to be in Venezuela. But there was no one to care and guide books said that if the Coasta Guarda were to approach us, they would merely log our boat name and allow us to stay.
But we weren't alone. There was a camp of fishermen in tents on the beach. They numbered about a dozen and had six open boats. These boats are about 25 feet long with high bows and 70 hp Yamaha outboards. With rudimentary language exchange they explained that they travel from mainland Venezuela, about 60 miles away to fish. They have a cheerful disposition and existence. Yes, they would sell us the two giant lobsters they had for $20US. That is about $2.50/pound.
They wanted sugar so Skabenga donated a kilo for their coffee. The fishermen were very pleased and gave us two large Jacks. These Jacks were fresh and ice cold. They must have brought a huge stash of ice from the mainland. There certainly wasn't any power on the island. Strangely these fishermen wear balaclavas to protect their faces from the sun. They look like bandits but were far from it.
Skully (Skabenga's dinghy) took us touring the mangroves, packed with nesting birds. We got so close we could have touched them. They appeared completely unafraid.
Some of the best snorkeling we have seen was nearby. Water was only about 12 feet deep with rich corals and fish. I brought a spear but couldn't muster the desire to kill anything. Guess I just wasn't hungry enough.
Two days here were nothing but relaxing, eating, swimming and sunset green flashes. Then on to Bonaire.