For some reason half of our E-mail list didn't transmit, so please excuse the delayed greeting.
It has been a while but the Josts and VIVA are alive and well. Since our last journal six months ago, we returned to CA for a visit in July/Aug/Sep. We had really hoped to visit with more of you, but our stay was quite hectic. Most of the time was spent ridding ourselves of the "Tenant from Hell" in our unit, assorted and much needed maintenance on our apartments and a few photo assignments.
We were quite lucky to have been wined, dined, housed and supplied with transport during our stay by numerous friends who we can't thank enough. We felt like true gypsies moving from house to house, but we did get to stay in our old unit for a month after our sweet eviction victory. It was great seeing all the gang at CBYC, and we really enjoyed our two trips to Catalina (although that water is pretty cold). Tom Payne even let me drive his new Schock 30/30 to a First Place finish on the first Wet Fridays. Hope that will instill a spot for me on his crew!
Also, thanks to friend Ron Geisman Advert/Design, we now have a web site established. For those of you desiring our past journals, they are available at: www.stevejostphotography.com . We hope to add a complete photo portfolio of our travels, for those of you bored with all the dialog. I purchased a decent digital camera during our visit home, and only have to figure out the best way to get the images organized on our site.
Our return to Trinidad was delayed two weeks by the tragic events of 9/11 in New York. Once again, Dick and Linda Braues picked us up again in Miami for another great stopover. On our way to CA we spent three fun-filled days with them catching up on old times and all our latest travels. We are hoping to link up somewhere down island.
It is hard to realize that we have been gone for over two years now, and have traveled almost 5,000 miles. We were pleased to find upon our return to Trinidad that VIVA faired quite well in our absence with no major leaks, growth or foul odors. The haulout went pretty well with a new bottom job, re-painted stripes, transom, etc.
After a hot, steamy, rainy month
in Trinidad, it was finally back in the water and on our way again.
We spent a few weeks anchored in Chaguaramas harbor, finishing up assorted
maintenance projects and have decided that September, October is definitely
not prime time in Trinidad. You can plan on hot, muggy days with little
wind and the inevitable, daily rainsqualls.
We did manage to
attend a really fabulous concert at Queen's Royal College, which was
composed of five of Trinidad's best Steel Bands. Each pan group had
a uniquely different style and sound and also featured some incredible
solo musicians on sitar, sax, flute, clarinet and some great calypso
We left Trinidad at dusk for the 96-mile trip to Islas Los Testigos and had a fabulous overnight passage with a full moon, calm seas, balmy trade winds on our beam and 2-3 knots of current in our favor. This was the type of passage you always read or dream about, but seldom experience. The small group of islands offers some calm anchorages, clear water for great snorkeling and some beautiful sand beaches. They are inhabited by local fishermen and you immediately notice the lack of trash and clutter found on so many other islands. We arrived the day after lobster season opened, and were able to trade with the locals for rum, T-shirts, cigarettes, etc.
The next stop was Isla Margarita to check in, and for a major provisioning of booze, wine and assorted staples. Venezuelans come from all over the country to partake of the duty-free products; and of course for we cruisers, it is the last of the good prices until Martinique or St. Martin. We linked up once more with the Lorenzens on SECOND KISS, who were returning to Trinidad, and after a couple days together catching up on the latest scuttlebutt, we decided to do a circumnavigation of Isla Margarita. First stop was the scenic little fishing town of Juan Griego, which is also the site of several local boat builders. Very laid back, isolated from other cruisers and a fun place to explore both by foot and dinghy.
After a couple of days it was on to the remote west end, where we spent Thanksgiving anchored alone at a very rolly, windy anchorage with the added bonus of dirty water. We had a tuna casserole without stuffing, gravy, mashed potates or cranberry sauce, and reminisced about Thanksgivings past.
We then gunkholed up the gulf to the little resort hotel/anchorage of Medregal Village. Owner Jean-Mark is very hospitable to cruisers, allowing full use of his pool, bar restaurant and trip to the local markets. The serenity of this spot is only marred by an overabundance of mosquitoes and no-see-ums at dusk. Well, I guess they can't all be perfect.
After a few days in this idyllic spot, it was back to Isla Margarita for the final provisioning before returning to Trinidad. After all of our travels, Venezuela probably still offers the most variety of landscapes from the coral, sandswept offshore islands to the mangrove-lined bays and lagoons, desert landscape of the Peninsula de Araya and the heavy rain forest of the Paraya Peninsula. and we haven't even covered the interior. Unfortunately, the country is being run by a president who emulates Fidel Castro, and would like to see Venezuela as another Cuba. His disapproval rating is currently at 80%, and many feel he may not last (or live) til the end of his term. Only time will tell.
After loading the hold and lowering the waterline, we had a very calm motoring trip for the 130-mile return trip to Trinidad. We elected to coast-hop with a couple of overnight stays as opposed to the direct overnight route. We buddy-boated with a very nice Czech/Australian couple on a 43 catamaran, who "throttled back" to allow us to keep up with them; and we ended up spending a couple of extra days. The last overnight stop at Cabo San Francisco is truly one of the most memorable anchorage in the Caribbean, with the steep cloud-lined rain forest descending into the bay. It seems to always rain there, but when the clouds start to lift, it is a truly awesome sight.
As a little side
note, we finally caught our first decent fish this side of the Panama
Canal in over a year and a half. A beautiful little Dorado, sufficient
for two dinners on the "barbie". It must be our new home-made
We are now back in the marina in Trinidad, getting in the "Trini" holiday spirit. Almost every night until New Years ("Old Years Night" in Trini-talk) there is some sort of musical entertainment, from steel drum concerts, parang music, and a variety of choral groups. Our good friends Bob & Connie Nixon just returned to CHARIS in time to help us celebrate the holiday season.
We plan to travel north to the Virgin Islands after the first of the year before returning south again for the hurricane season.
You are all in our thoughts during this holiday season, and we wish you all the best for the coming year. Drop us a line when you have a moment as we always enjoy news from the homefront.
Steve & Pam