Blanquilla, Venezuela
Our stay in Blanquilla can only be described as idyllic; the sugar-white  sand beaches, the beautiful coral reefs -
all alive and flourishing, as opposed to the sad examples in the majority of the Eastern Caribbean, plus the
luxury of sparsely populated anchorages.  Blanquilla is about 55 miles straight north from Margarita.

We made our crossing first thing in the morning, after an overnight stop in Juan Griego, Margarita, and made
the 55 miles by late afternoon after a spinnaker run most of the way.  Unfortunately for us, our friends Bev &
Ross on s/v
Raft chose to stay an additional day in Juan Griego, so we had no one to take our picture!  We'd
dearly love to have a shot of Dreamtime sailing under spinnaker next time
Bev & Ross check out a cave
The venezuelan vessel Don Andres
Playa Americano on the NW coast
Leaving Porlamar, Margarita
The next day we headed by dinghy around the northern corner to visit a small bay called Playa Americano,
due to the American who built his remote getaway here back in the 70's (it's falling down now, though).

A neat series of blowholes and caves are strung along the sides of the bay, and the crown jewel - a limestone
We set up our picnic fixings in one of the caves, and settle down to enjoy the day. After lunch and the
obligatory (and delightful) social soak we head back to the mother ships.

On our way back to the anchorage we stopped to check out a cave and took a shot of Bev and Ross in their
dinghy, then snorkeled on a great patch of coral heads where we saw a beautiful pair of French Angelfish and a
magnificent specimen of Queen Angelfish - not to mention a huge school of pacific blue tangs, a moray eel and
countless other beauties
Crested Caracara's eat the scraps
After a day of light chores and rest, we are invited to a beach BBQ as Bev & Ross have befriended Andresi the
captain of the Venezuelan fishing boat sharing the anchorage with us, and he has 'gifted' them (yet again) with
fresh catch of the day.  Ross steaks it, Bev puts the steaks in foil with orange slices and fresh rosemary.  All set
for the coals.

2 other boats join us: Liv 1, from Switzerland with the parents from Sweden and Norway, their  daughter
Filippa born in Switzerland and their son Emil born in Canada, plus a couple from France on Pedro.

We toss the fish scraps to the large raptors that have come to investigate.  These birds are Crested Caracara's
and they look like a cross between an eagle and a vulture - very handsome and powerful.  A nice evening was
enjoyed by all.
Overnight in Juan Griego
The next adventure was to head around the corner with Raft to the south coast to check out the fyords
mentioned in the cruising guide and to spent the night at Playa Caranton in preparation to heading out for
parts south in the morning.  Bev and Ross are geology majors and were very informative, pointing out igneous
versus sandstone and those details.  You'll see a shot of an igneous carved figure, still in situ.  We saw many
examples of this type of artifact up in Grenada, collected by Joe Gaylord, the proprietor of the resort 12
Degrees North.

After 'dinking about' for a hour or 2 we pointed the trusty dinghy back towards the boat and made it back to
the anchorage in time to see the day's catch delivered from the small fishing smacks to Don Andres, (the
mother ship).  Wow, how impressive that was - these guys show up day after day with huge tuna, mackerel
and wahoo.  One vessel had 7 fish each probably on the order of 35-50 lbs.  The catch gets weighted, then
stashed away in the refrigerated hold for transport back over to Maragarita, where there is a processing plant.  
We've bought the canned tuna at the local grocery store and it's tasty.
Anchorage's beach & our picnic spot
Bev & Ross with our boats in back
See the standing figure in the middle?