Co-ordinates: 11° 56’07”N, 66°40’26”W
Weather: Warm, light 10 knt winds from the North and partly overcast
Air Temperature: 30°C
Sea Temperature: 24°C
I started my day early in the morning and was ready for the adventure. After the day at sea, nothing better than jumping on a Zodiac looking for new towns, beaches and wildlife. At 07.30h the Silver Explorer arrived to Los Roques Archipelago, a National Park created in Venezuela in order to protect the marine wildlife in a fragile ecosystem of coral and mangroves. It is a large National Park, in fact, with over 221 thousand hectares it is the largest protected area in the whole Caribbean Sea. The biodiversity of the area is simply huge, including tens or hundreds of fish, corals, crustaceans, mollusks, sponges, seabirds and even endangered marine turtle species that regularly nest there.
The first landing site was located in the actual town of Isla Gran Roque, where some 1,000 people live. Most of our guests took the option of a walking tour along the colorful and picturesque blocks of the town, and the most energetic continued uphill to get a vantage point. The view from there was fantastic with the little town, the busy beach with other visitors waiting for their rides on the boats to other islands in the archipelago, and good number of small islands and inlets all over the place.
At mid-morning our operations started as well in Madrisky Cay, a small island nearby Gran Roque, part of the National Park and populated by few families. I cannot find the words to describe that beauty: white sandy beach, turquoise waters, calm perfect weather and all set for our guests. Few umbrellas here and there to provide some shade, and local food and drinks, certainly needed in the heat of the mid day and early afternoon. I (and many others) loved the ceviche, a traditional dish in the Caribbean, Peru and Ecuador, made with raw delicious fish “cooked” with lime juice and some onions.
Some of our guests did not even return back aboard for lunch and stayed the whole afternoon in Madrinsky Cay, also taking the option of walking a couple of hundred meters to get a nice snorkeling spot, with some corals and an abundance of fish. Brown Pelicans were fishing along the coast and a frenzy of Laughing Gulls followed them waiting to get the opportunity to steal some fish already taken by the pelicans.
The last guests stayed ashore until sunset, around 18.15h. The colors of the sky, the sea and the beach were stunning. All in all, this was a fantastic and certainly very Caribbean day with music, colors, local people and wildlife. Tomorrow we have a day at sea to recover as more expedition adventures aboard the Silver Explorer are waiting for us.