The Venezuelan Diaries
Staring out across the turquoise bay, I watch as the sun spreads its glitter across the perfect water a gentle south easterly breeze assists the Venezuelan water babies in their aquatic ventures. Their little bodies tanned the colour of molasses. They splash and call to each other in the presence of turtles in Cayo Noronquises, serenely bobbing up to the surface before exploring the depths where barracuda, snapper and a million luminescent fish languish.
I arrived in a launch whose deaf captain deftly navigated around the reef into paler water helpfully pointing out two turtles gliding below the surface. No doubt my captain and his mate would join the jamboree of the island’s procession of the sacred virgin, Santa Maria.
A flotilla of boats brimful with families, laughing, eating, dancing and drinking rum to the slow rhythm of the ocean. A dozen or so boats with spirited Venezuelans turned into scores as we visited the islands inhabited by fishermen. An exchange of Virgineffigies took place, accompanied with a prayer to keep the fishermen from harm. Our boat captained by La Cigala’s Angel was no exception to the party, children and their mothers sang, shared rum diluted with ice borrowed from neighbouring boats clinking with Coke. We set course for La Boca…the mouth of the island, Gran Roque, it hosted a kennel like construction in the rocks into which the Virgin Madonna was set to rest. Bravados leapt from the rocks into the frothing sea, high spirited and honoured we returned. Our weary frames cradled by our bed, shook to the bass of speakers tweeting in the plaza to Venezuelan Cumbia…bold, unapologetic and loud, that’s the sound of the islands.