Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Las Aves Archipelago (Barlovento and Sotavento)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Aves_Archipelago is a great link to look at - explains a lot more than I ever could! There are two islands that we wanted to see, Isla Aves de Barlovento and Isla Aves de Sotavento.

They were different from the others in that they (at least Barlovento) was a total bird sanctuary with a very different geographic layout (flora and fauna too) from the others.

After we anchored, Paul & Joyce were approached by a coastguard boat. "Uh oh" we thought immediately. However, we could see immediately that these guys were professionals, simply from how they tied up to the LadyH - they kept a respectful distance and 3 of the men stayed on their boat, with only one going onto the LadyH. We were going to the LadyH for dinner that night and Paul mentioned that to the coastguard, so the coastguard said that it would be OK if we dinghied over there and just brought our boat papers, which is what we did. What a true professional he was - charming, polite, efficient, just as they should be. Anyway, it was a relief to get that boat paperwork out the way and it was a pleasure to check in there. Nothing like the Juan Griego coastguard check-in where they rammed into your boat before tying up to your guardrail.












The catamaran anchored there is Selah - a cat we'd bumped into a few times before, usually spending a night or two in the same anchorage before one of us would leave. British flagged vessel (Yasmin is from Australia, Leo is from Rome and Lara the dog is from, actually, don't know where she's from) . We first saw them in Sarqui and our itineraries have more or less been identical except for a day here or there. They are heading off to the Pacific.




This is the island from a distance.


That night in Barlovento we played Mexican Train (Snake) on the Lady H. Another great night! We didn't swim or snorkel in Barlovento at all - there were probably some good areas to do it but I felt that with so many birds on the island, the water couldn't be that clean and I didn't really want to get in the water there.


We took our dinghy up one of the estuaries - not actually a river but a sort of lagoon mouth - the lagoon was long and narrow, sort of like a very short river, but ended abruptly with trees. Birds everywhere - really lovely.





The photo below was taken from inside the estuary/river mouth out to sea and Delphi and Lady H.


The baby birds were adorable - covered in fluff, as if they all had big fluffy hoodies on.


This was the tiniest island we'd ever seen, we actually pulled our dinghies up onto it for a few minutes because, well, it had to be done - how could you go by this island and not go ashore?

Spot the pteradactyl below. Talk about the land that time forgot.



And of course no trip to Las Aves would be complete without some video. These are all of Barlovento. For some reason I didn't take any photos of Sotavento - it didn't have trees or birds like this, it was very similar to all the other places - beaches, reefs, fishermen diving for molluscs of some sort, pretty flat, pretty waters.
video



video

and some more....

video

and of course, here we are pulling into Barlovento with Lady H ahead of us, both of her poles out.


video

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