We should be exchanging house contracts this week providing there aren’t any last minute hitches. In England and Wales, house buying and selling is a long drawn out process and it will have taken over 3 months from acceptance of my offer to us moving in.
I used DHL to post the contract to my solicitor and tracking the A4 sized package showed that it had been to Venezuela, then Panama, back to the same place in Venezuela, on to Barbados and then to Heathrow before being delivered within 4 days. Not bad for 50 pounds really, given the air miles it did.
In the meantime we have carried on diving and socialising in the sunshine. We got so fed up with the red dust one morning that we sloshed gallons of salt water over the boat, scrubbing the resulting red mud off as best we could. Beyzano looked better and we could see through the sprayhood again but I hoped for rain to give her a fresh water rinse. During the night it did just that, with the shower being long enough to remove most of the salty dust, leaving just a few red mud patches to rinse off later.
We have now made over 60 dives in total and still enjoy seeing the ‘usual suspects’ under the boat. In our logbooks we only note the more interesting fish and those whose names are new to us. Many look similar and without taking a photograph, we have to rely on our aging memories and try to find them in the Fish ID Book when we surface. Last time we were here, we saw quite a lot of lionfish, the venomous but beautiful fish, imported somehow by perhaps pumped out ballast water or having escaped from an aquarium in the USA but rumours abound. What we do know is that they decimate the reef in no time, being vicious predators at the top of the food chain. Apart from man. They are clearly intelligent fish, as they have quickly realised that we mostly dive during the day, so they hide until dark and we were told it is quite disturbing how many the night divers see. There are organised lionfish hunts and they taste good, so are appearing on local menus but it doesn’t look as if the battle is being won, yet.
Steven and Linda on ‘Moondancer’ left this week, so we squeezed in another dominoes session before they went, as they are so keen. We will see them again in December when we both join the OCC Rally but for their last evening 12 of us gathered at burger night, with new boats ‘Amelie’, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Spin’ joining ‘Blue’ and us. ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ leave this weekend and I have posted a couple of the photos they took of us during our approach to Bonaire last month. We don’t often get action shots and these are great as they show Beyzy under full sail, approaching ‘Puff’, flying along and passing. What a star she was!
In the cooler start to the day, Rob and I have been walking around town for the exercise but too often get enticed into having a coffee afterwards. Worse still, one morning we wandered around some of the great shops and ended up buying a few souvenirs to store for the future. They sell some really nice things, including salt scrubs and aloe vera creams and soaps which they make here. One shoe shop has all the top brands of sandals, such as Fit Flops, Birkenstock and Crocs and there are some lovely jewellers.
Our data SIM needed renewing but Rob had to visit Digicel 3 times and in the end asked for a refund instead. One particular member of staff was useless, didn’t phone when he said he would and when Rob went back to the shop at the time he was asked, half an hour before lunch, they had locked the doors because the queue was so long the staff realised they wouldn’t get a lunch break if they didn’t stop more customers entering the shop. Very poor service all round and you often need to bring a drink and meal with you as you can spend hours waiting.
So, for now, whilst Rob is watching the Grand Prix, I am using the fast and free WiFi at the marina bar, where Patrice is endlessly friendly and organises great food evenings and a Jazz night. Karel’s Bar is another good place to frequent, offering their dinghy dock without the necessity to buy a drink but they still do brilliant mojitos! As it is Father’s Day I’m taking Rob out for lunch, before we clear out. This evening we have been invited on board ‘Amelie’ for sundowners and will say farewell to a few friends.
Now our return dates are almost fixed, we will shortly book the flights to Gatwick, via Amsterdam with KLM and BA. Our kids have returned a few of the items we lent them in 2009 that they have finished with or can do without for 3 months and we have a bed and mattress in our garage but precious little else. Might have to buy a couple of beanbags and a kettle but I’m sure we can manage. It will be like indoor camping but probably best, as we want to paint the rooms in neutral colours before renting the house out in the autumn and it will be easier to decorate without any furniture to move around.
Yesterday we filled our diesel tanks to reduce condensation whilst we are gone and topped up on water just because it is a reasonable price here. The diesel was 52p a litre. What is expensive in Bonaire is cooking gas and we’ve been told it is far cheaper in Curaçao.
Tomorrow, we set sail at around 0700 for Curaçao, as it is the best weather window for some time, the forecast giving high winds of Force 5-6 for the next 10 days after that! At least it will be downwind and we can float west on just the genoa and it should only take 5 hours. The marina has space for us now, 3 weeks ahead of time, which gives us a week to prepare Beyzy for being left for 3 hot months. Also, our generator started spluttering and has a salt water leak, so that might need to come out of the locker in the stern and have a service and new parts. The main engine also needs extensive servicing as the engine hours are approaching 2500. Before we head to the more remote islands, off Panama and Honduras, we need to ensure the essential equipment is working properly and we have the opportunity to bring spares from the UK if necessary. I can see some additional luggage allowance being bought in October!