December 1-31, 2003 -- Roques, Aves, Bonaire

We had December completely written. Then the computer crashed, and we lost everything but our original notes. So, this is a reconstruction. It is very light on details though!

On December 1, after breakfast, we went in search of snorkeling spots. We tried one location that, at least on the charts showed a reef system. We tried there, and it turned out to be a sand bar with a very small amount of coral. We moved around the island and found a fantastic reef with tons of fish on it! We spent several hours snorkeling and exploring this reef. After we returned to the boat, we broke out the fish books to try to identify the many fish that we found. We had a leisurely lunch and a relaxing afternoon.

On December 2, we were slow to get moving, so around 10:00 am or so, we moved the boat back to Grand Roque so that Gary, Josefina and I could wander around town and see what there was to see, as well as checking with the airline to confirm what needed to be done for when they flew out. The town on Grand Roque is quaint, and much larger than we first expected. The tourist area is surprisingly large with many posadas (inns) and restaurants. There are also 2 grocery stores and several small bakeries and food vendors. We returned to the boat for lunch, and made plans to go into town for dinner at a pizza place. The drinks were good, and the appetizer was excellent. Unfortunately, the pizza tasted like flavored cardboard.

On December 3, Gary and Josefina flew out, bright and early at 7:00 am! We brought them into town, and saw them off. Next we did a little bit of shopping for things that we had run out of, and then returned to the boat and got it ready to move again. We moved to the anchorage at Namasqui and spent a few days there.

On December 5, The wind swung more to the south and the anchorage became choppy so we moved back to Crasqui. We were keeping an eye on the tropical storm that had formed to the west of Aruba. We knew that the storm would quiet the winds and it would and we would have a lovely trip back to Bonaire. We spent the morning making sure the boat was ready to get underway in case we decided to leave.

On December 6, the storm had not quieted the winds and seas, so we decided to spend another day in Crasqui.

On December 7, the winds had fallen, the seas had fallen so we raised anchor and headed for Barlevento in the Aves. It was a fast and comfortable trip. We dropped anchor at 2:00 pm, had a good lunch and a nap.

On December 8, taking advantage of light winds and seas again, we headed toward Bonaire. About 12 miles out of Bonaire, we were watching a squall ahead of us that started developing a funnel cloud. We altered course to move away from the squall. There were several other squalls around us, but we didn't get rained on until we were tying up to the mooring! We dropped the dingy, showered and went to the Lost Penguin for a late lunch.

On December 10, Went to dinner with Precocious Gale to celebrate my birthday late. Ton and Renotta (the owners of the Lost Penguin) stopped by and then Joe and Lisa (the owners of the pizza place) joined us to shoot the breeze. It was a fun night.

On December 12, we invited David and Virginia from Desire and Jan from Nerida over for cocktails. It was a fun evening. Jan was leaving for England and wouldn't be back until after the holidays.

On December 18, we started working on the boat again. Mike worked on stripping the house trim teak while I fixed our starboard head pump.

On December 19 and 20, in an effort to improve the teak, we put two coats of epoxy on it. This will make the 8th time we have stripped this teak to bare wood. It is the only teak on the boat that we have this problem with, because it was improperly cured teak from Trinidad. Unfortunately, the protecting tape was also epoxied. So, we had to dig out the tape and then repair the epoxy where it had been damaged. While all of this was going on, we were also taking our entry door back to varnish, prepping it and then filling the decorative grooves with black 4200 by 3M to make them stand out before varnishing.

On December 21, in the morning, it was rolly so we removed the tape from the door and then went to town. Unfortunately, it is Sunday and there is NOTHING open! So, we had Brunch at the Lost Penguin and then wandered down by the customs dock, and then walked up the water front road and watched the boats rocking on their moorings. We returned to the dinghy, and decided that today would be a good day to invite everyone over for a New Years Eve party. We managed to speak to every boat in the mooring field.

On December 22 and 23, we continued work on varnishing the boat.

On December 24, Bryan went dinghy caroling with Precocious Gale, Oscarina and Kelly Marie. It was a fun evening, though by the end of the night Bryan was horse!

On December 25, we saw a Christmas Turtle. Mike and I combined our talents to bake an apple pie from scratch! It turned out extremely well. We went over to Precocious Gale around 3:00 pm to enjoy Christmas dinner with them. Then, we all headed over to Nightwinds for a dessert of pecan pie and home made apple pie and vanilla ice cream. It was a great day!

On December 26 and 27 we continued working on varnish. We now had the goal of getting everything fluffed for the party on New Years Eve.

On December 28, we worked on the boat in the morning, I worked on logs in the afternoon, and we had cocktails on Kellie Marie in the evening. It was a lot of fun to get to know them better.

On December 29, we tried to speed the varnish work along by removing the door and varnishing it lying flat. This helped significantly.

On December 30, we woke up early so Bryan checked the oil in the generator, checked the water in the batteries and recharged the hand held spotlights. And all of this before 5:30 in the morning! We went to town for a few last minute things, then on the way back, stopped and invited 2 of the 4 new boats to the party. The other two weren't on board, so we will head back later to invite them. We dropped trash and used oil at the marina while Mike rinsed down the outside of the boat. In the evening we discovered that the CO2 on our soda system had a problem again. We are out of CO2 and the party is tomorrow night!

On December 31, we hiked up to Herrera to purchase another CO2 tank. Susan, one of our friends on land, was kind enough to give us a lift back to the dingy. We attached the new CO2 tank to the system, and made sure it was tight. It seems to be working again. We cleaned up the boat for the party tonight. It rained starting at 5:00 several times. The last time was about 7:30. The party started at 8:00 went off with out a hitch! We had about 40 people over. Happy the baby new year (Bryan in a quasi diaper) made an appearance around 11:00 pm, and rang in the New Year with everyone. Then, about 1:00 in the morning, his diaper was ripped off! Thank god he had a speedo on underneath! It was a lot of fun!