"Although pirate attacks are reducing, they are still there...."
Enough of Starlink - it’s time to sail again
I wrote a post last week and we were hoping to publish it while out at sea using Starlink. Unfortunately we couldn’t get it to work - we think because it was put away in the stow position which made it too difficult for it to locate the satellites while subject to such great movement of the boat while out at sea. However, we are now on a mooring buoy in Bonaire and this post has been published using Starlink :-)
Back in Fort de France, we finally took possession of our new Starlink dish and checked that it was pristine. Then we handed over the old one which had arrived with a damaged antenna, to be sent back. We took it back and tested it with the new inverter that we have had installed and it works well. Hurray, we were good to start heading down to the Dutch Antilles, AKA the ABC islands. In fact they are the ACB islands really as from west to east you have Aruba, Curação and Bonaire. We are planning on spending a week in Bonaire before heading to Curação, the biggest of the three islands to work from a marina. Luciano’s contract is for eight months and our maximum stay in Curação is six months, so we are planning to go to Aruba for the last two months. We’re very excited about visiting Bonaire, as it is supposed to be one of the best locations in the world to go scuba diving.
We had originally planned (before Starlink sent a damaged dish and we had to wait another two weeks for a replacement) to head down south back to some of the Grenadine Islands. But in the end we have had to head straight from Martinique to Bonaire. We couldn’t leave it too close before our arrival date in Curação as we needed to ensure good weather for the crossing and that can never be guaranteed! The sailing angle from Martinique was not the best as the wind was dead behind us, so we had to keep gybing. However, on the other hand we felt more secure about coming from further north so that we could keep well clear of Venezuela’s coastline. As you may have heard, since Venezuela’s economic crisis took hold, piracy has developed in the southern Caribbean.
There are two Caribbean countries that we will sadly not be able to visit in the near future. One is Venezuela and the other is Haiti. Both are too dangerous to visit right now. Of course, they are also too dangerous to live in as well. We were both saddened to see quite a lot of anti Haitian graffiti around Martinique. As a nearby Francophone island, many Haitians fleeing the dangerous conditions in their country are trying to find sanctuary in a place where they can make a living. This graffiti seems somehow worse because it is so targeted against one particular nationality. However, we’ve also seen that people have been going around and changing it. Where the graffiti says ‘No Haitians,’ it has been crossed out and replaced with ‘No racists’. Where it says ‘Haitians are ****”, it has been replaced with “Haitians are our brothers”. Likewise Venezuelans - millions of whom have fled their country seeking relief from hunger and crime; in parts of Brazil they have been murdered. In the UK now there is an attack on people arriving across the channel, risking their lives in flimsy dinghies. There are no legal routes for refugees to arrive in the UK. What makes it even worse is that it is the government enacting these hostile policies and nasty rhetoric. What is it about some humans that makes them unable to see beyond ‘me and mine’ and offer basic sanctuary to those who have no option but to leave their countries.
As we look on our navigation charts, we can see numerous islands along Venezuela’s coastline. I found an old sailing magazine article that talked about the Venezuelan islands as being the best place to spend hurricane season. Now we dare not get too close. Although pirate attacks are reducing, they are still there and the desperation of the people there has not gone away despite the media losing its focus on the country. I sincerely hope that someday soon, those Venezuelans who have had to leave their beautiful country can return and enjoy it. I wish the same too for Haitians and they can share the natural beauty and culture of their countries with tourists from around the world, just as Aruba, Curação and Bonaire can do right now.
As for us, we enjoyed being out at sea again. It becomes strange when you live on a boat to be in one place for too long; you start to feel stuck, stagnant. To live on a boat is to move. By our third or fourth day, our bodies had adjusted to the movement of being at sea and as we drew close to the flat pancake of Bonaire, we were greeted by loads of dolphins, which jumped and pranced around our boat, staying with us for ages.
So we are now in the southern Caribbean and can’t wait to tell you all about the beautiful island of Bonaire next week - from scuba diving to touring the Greenpeace boat.
This week's Vlog.
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