We stopped by to say hello to some folks aboard the boat Gabriel. They are anchored way outside on the outer reef - being protected by the reef from swells - but very exposed to the wind. They've been at the Aves for ten weeks - and their line "four weeks short of being perfect!" This is indeed a beautiful place. They are doing some fish counting for an organization that works to preserve the reefs. Hopefully they didn't see Michael's spear in the dinghy! They later stopped by Astarte with a bagful of books for some book trading. We had lots to trade.
On Thursday, we made our way west about 12 miles to the other side of the Aves - to Aves de Sotavento. After threading our way through the reefs under power, we put the headsail up. We sailed - although slowly - unfortunately not a fish catching speed. We did put a line in the water nonetheless. The wind was light but it's always pleasant to not listen to the engine and save the fuel.
As we came to Isla Larga on the southern side of this island group - we checked in with the Guardacosta via the radio. Barbara had prepared her spiel in Spanish so she was ready. She called in and got through the spiel. It was obviously clear to the Guardacosta that she was not a native speaker - as they switched to English. But she continued to answer the questions in Spanish. All seemed good - though we did expect a visit from them around cocktail hour. But they never came by. Perhaps today.
We found a very secluded place in a bay surrounded by mangrove. Depths were about 10-15 all the way in - avoiding a few obvious coral heads. Though we are just a few miles away from the other Aves - this group has very few birds in comparison. We've seen a very small turtle stick its head up quite a bit - but it's pretty shy. We snorkeled from the big boat all around this bay - there are small reef and rock structures around the edges. Barbara saw a huge turtle underwater - nestled in some rocks. Michael spotted a large eagle ray underwater with the longest tail he'd ever seen. There was a giant lobster in one hole - and we actually thought about how good it would taste for dinner. But they are out of season and we do pride ourselves on not poaching - so we passed. (That was hard to do - lobster sounded soooooo good!)
We had a nice quiet evening in our new location. Today (Friday) we'll either stay in this location another night - or move out to one of the other little islands. The water in this bay is a bit murky for snorkeling and we want to leave early on Saturday to make the run for Bonaire - and getting out of this area is a little tricky in early light.