It’s OK to Travel with a Bathrobe #20: Los Roques III – Venezuela

Los Roques III

Have you ever been marveled by the images they show on Discovery Channel, or National Geographic? Those bird’s eye views taken from a plane where the landscape seems almost unreal? “It’s the filters they use, it can’t be that pretty” Well…it is.

Most of the flight I spent sleeping over my companion’s shoulder, on a six seat propeller plane. I loved the fact that you can sit behind the pilot and see all the action. Once we were up there, though, I couldn’t keep awake. Fabien woke me up to look at the postcard beneath us. A salad of sand banks, turquoise water and the dark blue sea surrounding everything, shades that went from white to dark blue, no boats in sight, no nothing, just plain gorgeous. For a moment I suspected I was probably still dreaming.

The island of Gran Roque is the only inhabited spot in Los Roques National Park, a small village lined with posadas for the tourists to sleep in, eat and have a home base for day trips to the rest of the cays. A Venezuelan called Oscar runs Oscarshop (so you can’t get confused) and from Oscarshop you can do almost everything you are able to imagine. He organizes whatever you feel like doing, change money, rent a sailing boat, obtain a permit, take a water taxi or dive with a neon green wetsuit. Everything’s possible for Oscar, the king of Gran Roque.

We swam on the beach, or, actually, walked on it, because there’s absolutely no depth, we paid an outrageous amount of money to eat some grilled fish knowing there was sooo much fish that they jumped in the boat, but, we were hungry, and when you are hungry there’s no expensive fish…until you eat it, of course, when you fill the hole in your tummy you feel the one in your pocket.

Found the Austrians by accident, Fabien had swam I don’t know how far into the sea to reach the catamaran because it was almost dark and the guys were still missing. In the meantime, I heard some harsh sounding language and saw sunburnt shoulders in Oscarshop. EUREKA! The Austrians! Half on them remained at the bar keeping company to their beers… Fabien was already back on the beach and some of us headed for the boat, got changed and ready to go out for a last dinner, as biblical as it sounds. On the way back, the outboard engine broke down, we started drifting away, there were no oars on board, no one in sight, completely dark. How exciting! How are we gonna get to the shore? So, drifting, drifting, trying to start the engine. Fabien lost patience and ended up diving and pulling the dinghy by the rope like one of those rescue dogs in the movies.

One of the Austrians was a PhD psychiatrist with a minor in mechanics who went bing, bang, boom! and repaired the thing and they departed happily the day after. We left a bit later that day, a lot later actually, but that’s another story…

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