Interlude on the Orinoco
In the vast Venezuelan delta south of bustling, crowded Trinidad lie the distinct sounds and sights of the jungle.
Taking Carlos’ advice, we anchored at bocas, the mouth or confluence of rivers, and were delighted by twice-daily visits by pink Amazon River dolphins. These friendly mammals, with a brain capacity 40 percent larger than that of humans, have lived in harmony with the people of the Orinoco for centuries.
We visited three other lodges: Mis Palafitos, Orinoco Bujana, and the more resort-oriented Orinoco Delta, and enjoyed their different styles. All guests are brought in by boat on all-inclusive packages that maximize their time.
It had been an amazing week, connecting with nature and a non-industrialized people, a reminder of the rewards of cruising off the beaten track. Slowly we made our way north with the current. We couldn’t resist a last night with the ibis, then left early the next morning to clear out with the authorities and head to Trinidad on the ebb. I had one more mission: to leave between the red and green marker buoys even though all charts marked it as a drying bank. Sand banks continuously move, I rationalized. We went through the channel just after the bottom of a spring tide and never had less than 15 feet below us. Presumably dredged for oil-platform access, the entry marker was almost exactly in the same position as on our Nobeltec chart.
A racer and a cruiser, Liza Copeland has sailed more than 140,000 miles. She’s a lecturer and the author of three cruising narratives as well as Cruising for Cowards, co-authored with her husband, Andy.
Hit the jump for waypoint information about cruising the Orinoco