June 28-July 6, 2010 -- Los Roques, Venezuela

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

Cayo de Agua

Cayo de Aqua is the southernmost of four islands forming a little archipelago on the western extreme of Los Roques.  West Cay is to the west -- connected to Cayo de Aqua by a walkable but wave-splashed sandy spit; Elbert Cay and Bequeve  lay to the north.  Agua is an island with tall sand dunes, a small palm grove, mangrove trees, and lagoons.  Many many types of birds use the island for nesting;  click here for some of Chuck's photos of the avian residents.

In the vicinity of the palm grove the land is pitted with holes; Cayo de Aqua is named for the fresh water that is just a few feet down under the sand, and ever since the Amerindians the island has been used as a source of "fresh" water.

We did a number of major walks on the islands, and Hunter did some harvesting of the coconuts on the lone palm tree just opposite of our anchoring position.  A nearby path crosses over the dunes to the reef side; we took that path and waded out through a small gap in the reef to do some snorkeling.  There we found lots of healthy hard coral in a by-now familiar configuration:  a near-shore barrier band reaching just over or just under the surface, and then a falloff to more deeply-submerged separate heads that are on a gentle slope leading out to deeper water. 

Looking for a gap in the reef through which to snorkel

Setting a flag to mark the gap through which we would enter/exit the reef

Lonely palm in morning

Lonely palm at noon

Lonely palm in afternoon

Lonely palm at dusk

Equipment Hunter brought along -- but mostly didn't use -- in order to skinny up the palm tree

When trunk proves too smooth to scale (too many previous raiders), other means are employed

Hunter cuts open one of his prizes

Collecting coconut water

Devi being buzzed by protective Laughing Gulls

Palm grove where water pits are found

Hunter digs for water at the bottom of one of the already-present pits

He soon finds water

... and this is how it looked


Lighthouse on West Cay

Tusen Takk II in the Cayo de Agua anchorage

Another view

Telephoto shot of TTII from east end of Cayo de Aqua

As we left Agua, passing by the spit connecting it to West Cay, we saw this commercial fishing boat at anchor on the other side

Isla Carenero

On July 3 we moved over to a small protected anchorage just off the east end of Isla Carenero: Isla Remanso.  Protected to the north and east by mangroves, and to the west by a shallow reef, the anchorage is a popular spot for yachts and fishing boats to settle for a while.  There were three sportfish and one yacht when we arrived; later three more fast fishing boats arrived.  Some of the boats seemed to be occupied exclusively by males out on a fishing expedition from the distant mainland; others were populated by extended families out on a holiday.  We dinghied over to Carenero for a long walk (and photo expedition), and also took the dighy out around to the southeast corner of Remanso where we found some spectacular snorkeling.  Just adjacent to the near-shore band of coral was a milky school of silversides that stretched for hundreds and hundreds of yards.  Mindboggling to think of the numbers.  Certainly worthy of a Carl Sagen adjective or two.

Looking eastward from Carenero toward the distant anchorage on Remanso

Telephoto view of Remanso anchorage

Sportfish and on the right garbage left by another boat on its departure

On their way to the smooth waters of Carenero

Coral debris on the windward side of Carenero

Windy northern shore of Carenero

These black lizards are everywhere on these islands

Uncharacteristically light lizard

Red algae on coral debris

Turtle shell on the beach

Walking back toward the dinghy...

...on Carenero

Dos Mosquises

On July 5 we moved yet again -- this time to the small islands of Dos Mosquises.  The significant site of an ancient settlement of Amerindians that came from the mainland and stayed to harvest conch, Mosquises Sur now hosts a small landing strip and a research center that focuses on the one hand on archeological research concerning the Amerindians and on the other on marine biology.  In connection with the former there is a remarkable display area whose panels describe (in Spanish and English) the facts and presumptions concerning the Amerindian settlement.  Some of the panels picture figurines found on the island -- figurines that identify the Indians that settled here as having come from the inland Lake Valencia area in Venezuela.  The marine biology portion of the center features a number of buildings available as laboratories; they were all vacant on our visit.  But there was a large active area in which turtles from center-hatched eggs are kept until they are one year old and then released.

The second Mosquises island, just to the north of Sur, is called Tres Palmeras, and it features two conspicuous palm trees that huddle together like pre-teen girls, viciously excluding the third which sulks way off in a corner.

Research Center seen from our anchorage

Barb poses beside interesting foliage at the Center

Turtle shed

Green turtle

Visitors from China arrive at the Center

They pause in the shade behind the turtle shed, and opt to NOT follow the sunny path to the archeological display

But we follow the well-tended path ..

... and look back briefly at our vessels ...

... before arriving at the extremely informative ...

... and well-done photographic and textual displays

dos of the tres palmeras (at dusk)

Tusen Takk II in the Dos Mosquises anchorage



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