We first sailed across the channel to Grenada to give ourselves a better sailing angle to Bonaire and avoid the Venezuelan coast (pirates!). Trinidad had provided an unfortunate wind shield until about 20 miles offshore when we finally picked up the trade winds again and started sailing. The west/north west going current was strong but helped us achieve good speeds, for 3 hours we sailed at over 9 knots so made really good time. Several squalls passed overhead on the way, one had water spouts whipping up the sea beneath it.
We caught a huge dolphin fish (mahi mahi) but it broke free from the lure as we got it to the boat. Probably just as well, it would have been a little too big to handle!
When we reached the oil refinery we set our course for the headland beneath St Georges, Grenada, arriving into the anchorage just after midnight. Carnival was in full swing the following day, so with all the shops shut we had no choice but to enjoy the party and wait another day before provisioning for the 3 day sail to Bonaire.
The sail to Bonaire was a mixed bag, the wind was constant – apart from the occasional squall passing over – but the sea was a confused mass of swell coming from different directions. Sailing downwind in these conditions is very tiring, it resembles being in a washing machine and you are thrown and lurched about the boat as you try and go about your daily chores, and of course sleep. We had quite a few visits from dolphins, sea birds and flying fish which land on the deck overnight making you jump out of your skin when you are on watch. So after 3 days and 3 nights sailing we arrived at the south coast of Bonaire just as day was dawning and as often happens we were followed in by a pod of huge dolphins just visible in the dim light. It was a relief to get into the lee of the island out of the swell and sail along the coast to the main port of Kralendijk, and as we approached a huge squall came over dumping a vast amount of rain on us. Anchoring around this island is prohibited as the island has been protected since the 70’s, so mooring buoys are provided off the town, and once secure on a mooring and the rain had eased we ventured ashore to find customs and immigration.