We finished up the last 4 days of the Best trip in Los Roques with just two guests onboard, Ian Huschle, the CEO of Best, out for his second trip on The Best Odyssey, and Michael Bigger, one of Best’s investors. We’d had nearly perfect conditions for the first 10 days, but somehow the winds got even better and really cranked for the final go. Jody still wanted to nail some shots on the outer reef with two of the wrecks, so we headed east out to the barrier reef one last time.
I’m not much of a spectator when it comes to sports, but I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun watching two guys have one of the best days of their lives. Both Michael and Ian came back to Discovery at the end of the day with shredded shorts and rash guards and sporting massive grins. They’d both gouged boards on the reef getting as close as they could to one of the wrecks before heading off downwind 6 miles to the other to try to run an insane gauntlet between a large wreck that had been split in two. With winds nearing 30 knots the waves on the outside of the reef had grown enormous, making the area a mess. Michael paid little regard to either the reef or the wreck, preferring to launch the new Nemesis HP into the lower stratosphere- and one time landing in less than 12 inches of water. Ian made a valiant effort to make the run, but thankfully decided that killing himself while on The Best Odyssey might not make for the “Best” press. But Jody got the pictures she wanted. And we all had an incredible day.
The next couple days we spent further exploring an area of the Caribbean that easily goes down as the best we’ve visited thus far. In fact, Los Roques is one of the best places I’ve sailed in the world and it was with some remorse that we finally had to depart, after spending over two months. And I guess Michael was sufficiently impressed as he bought a share after his 4 day stay!
We wouldn’t have to go far though to discover an area that rivals Los Roques for picturesque beauty, but incredibly has almost zero population. Ian and Michael headed north back to the States and we sailed west to Los Aves, a smaller archipelago which has two groups of islands, separated by 10 miles of open ocean.
The one furthest east is home to thousands of sea birds of various types, a few abandoned fishing shacks, miles of reef, and a few sandy islands. The second is more of the same and has a small coast guard station, but otherwise the only people around are those who come by sail.
We only stopped in Los Aves for a night on the way to Bonaire but the short stop was enough to completely alter our next two trips to include the archipelago in our plans (more in the next log).
Bonaire is a stunning island, just 35 miles west of Los Aves and although quaint and certainly laid back, completely first world compared to where we’d been. Bonaire is a shining example of what happens to a place when it’s ecosystem comes first. Bonaire’s extensive coral systems and waters have been totally protected for 35 years. You can’t anchor anywhere on the island. You can snorkel right in front of town in the clearest and cleanest waters I’ve seen in the Caribbean. And while Bonaire is world famous for it’s diving, we also found it quite appealing for kitesurfing. Jody, Nico and I had a busy week prepping Discovery for our next trip, but we found some time to get some time on the water as well.
Los Aves and Bonaire. 45 miles and a world of discovery to be had. Makes me realize that even after this 5 year expedition, we’ll have barely touched the surface of this planet we all call home.