This is an interesting series of photos, contributed by Judi Krause, of a head-on collision between two tankers in Lake Maracaibo on July 11, 2005. They were taken by a crewmember on the bridge of one of the ships at the moment of impact.
According to the information that accompanied it, this collision caused the spilling of “an immense amount of Gasoil” into the Lake which went unreported in the local papers. Vessels in Puerto Miranda “...protested energetically about the immense amount of Gasoil in the waters by the docks and have even threatened to refuse to load ships...” because of it.
Incidents such as this, as well as the aging of the oil infrastructure (leaky underwater pipelines, etc.), have caused the Lake to become considerably more polluted over the years from what we once knew as there have been no wide-spread, concerted programs nor long-term efforts to reduce pollution levels of the Lake.



Previously, I had posted this image with the following text:

This is an image of a beautiful, vintage E. Evers GRACE LINE VENEZUELA poster showing a GRACE passenger liner sailing off the Venezuelan coast around La Guaira. The poster was originally 30 X 23 inches in size. Date of the poster is undetermined, but my guess is that it was produced sometime during the 1950's or early 1960's.


Soon after doing so, I received the following note & photo from Doug Becker:

I saw your GRACE LINE poster today. Only two GRACE LINE ships were of that size: the Santa Rosa and the Santa Paula (I'm pretty sure my memory is correct on the second of the two). These two ships could handle 200-250 passengers whereas the smaller ships, characterized by single stacks, carried only 50 passengers. Attached is a picture of the SS Santa Rosa taken in Willemstad, Curaçao, DWI, 29 June 1948. This is one of my Dad's old slides...

Thanks, Doug, for sharing with us a great photo of a grand old ship that will, I'm sure, bring back many fond memories for those who may have once sailed her.

The 2nd GRACE LINE Santa Rosa, built in 1958 (not the one shown above), still sails today. The Santa Rosa and the Santa Paula entered service in 1958, replacing the pre-war ships of the same name. They were both transferred to GRACE LINES in 1970, and were laid up the following year. Santa Paula eventually became a hotel ship in Kuwait. Santa Rosa was laid up in the USA for 20 years, finally being towed to Greece for rebuilding as a cruise ship. She reappeared, barely recognisable, as the Regent Rainbow for REGENCY CRUISE LINE in 1992, although surprisingly she retained her steam turbine engines. REGENCY was declared bankrupt soon afterwards, but in 2000 the ships sails on as the Emerald for THOMSON CRUISES.
The former Santa Rosa as the Emerald in 2000

I also recently received additional information (Feb. 2006) on the 1958-built Santa Rosa's sister ship, the Santa Paula, from John Rushing. He writes:

The 'Santa Paula' made her maiden voyage from pier 27 in New York Harbor in October of 1958, replacing the Grace Line ship, 'Santa Paula I'. She was in service under the Grace Lines banner until 1970 at which time she was sold to the Marriott hotel chain and some Kuwait investors. She was berthed at Kuwait City and renamed the 'S.S. Kuwait Marriott Marina Hotel'. She was bombed and declared un-seaworthy during the first Gulf War in 1990 - 91.....

My folks were passengers on her maiden voyage. Below is a picture I cobbled together for my mom to remind her of the good times she and dad had. There is also a picture of a sterling silver charm given to all the women who sailed on her maiden voyage.

Thanks, John, for the input!

John's parents on the right, taken around the time of the maiden voyage.
The beautiful maiden voyage sterling silver charm.


Probably not many of us are aware of what the flag & coat of arms of the city of Maracaibo look like. So here are the images of each along with a description of the flag.





These are two old wood-block prints taken from a late 19th century book showing the original “palafito” houses that used to dominate the Maracaibo shoreline, giving Venezuela it's name. When Alonso de Ojeda arrived upon its shores in 1499, these Indian villages reminded him of Venice, which was also built on piles, and so he called the country Venezuela, or “Little Venice”.
According to the author, offshore living was considerably more comfortable than living on the shore as the steady Lake breezes kept the mosquitos away. Reducing mosquito exposure and the cleansing effect of the Lake in daily living helped to reduce the rate of disease.



This recent photo was graciously contributed by Bibi Eissler who “...taught 3rd Grade at EBV from 1983-94. My daughter Eliana went to EBV from pre-kinder to 8th grade. I feel like if EBV is a big part of my life. I now live in Chicago and teach 2nd grade bilingual in the suburbs.

“I have such fond memories of Maracaibo, the open class-rooms and ceiling fans, and of the iguanas which sometimes ventured into the rooms. My daughter Eliana, poor kid, knew that whatever she did wrong would get to my ears in a matter of minutes. When she was in 7th grade, one of her teachers would make her stand by the window when she was in trouble. My kids would see her and interrupt the class and say, Ms. Eissler, Eliana is in trouble again. Please feel free to write. (This is) a recent picture of Eli and me.

If any of her former students see this photo & recognize her, or if any of Eli's classmates recognize her, please send them a message as they'd love to hear from you!


As the years have passed, Maracaibo has progressed and many improvements to the city have been made. Bernardo Garcia Carrillo has been kind enough to share one of them with us.

Bernardo is a born & raised “Maracucho” who left Maracaibo for Caracas for job reasons about 10 years ago. He, his wife Maria Alejandra, and 2-year old son Maurício have recently returned to live once again in Marcaibo after this long absence, where they're now living about 3 blocks from the Lago Maracaibo Club in the former “Colónia Shell” area.

So in a sense, they're now in the process of 'rediscovering' Maracaibo and the changes that have taken place over the last 10 years. This is one of them, and it's quite impressive!  A new “Monumento Chinita” has been built in the city center where “El Saladillo” used to stand. And as can be seen by these photos, it's large, impressive, & obviously built with love and great respect - a lovely homage to La Chinita, who has always figured so prominently in the history of Maracaibo.

Our thanks to Bernardo for allowing us to share it here.


Monumento Chinita - full view.
Monumento Chinita closer up.
The famous “Basílica Chiquinquirá” visible in the distance from the “Monumento Chinita”.




Barbara Bonham, who was born, along with her sister & brother, in Anaco, found this interesting old National City Bank of New York advertisement illustration. Painted by artist Adolf Dehn in 1944, it's entitled "Oil Wells in Lake Maracaibo" and was originally released as an illustration from a book printed in 1957.

Barbara Bonham's father worked for Socony and worked in Anaco & San Tomé for 15 years, leaving Venezuela in 1962. We appreciate her taking the time to let us all share this illustration.

For more unique images of American impressionist Adolph Dehn of the oil camps in Venezuela painted during his visit there in 1944, please click here.



These photos are a bit unusual, but I thought I'd post them here because they're interesting from a historical point of view. I stumbled upon this cover on eBay.

This cover was posted at Soengei Gerong, a refinery complex in the then Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). It then passed through Leipzig, Germany. The rubber stamp cachet on the face of the cover is that of the Hindenburg.

The red typed notation on the front of the cover indictates that it flew by “airship” to North America and that it went by air from New York, the ultimate destination being a Mr. W. E. Franks at Lago Petroleum (later CREOLE) in Maracaibo. The pink stamp shows a replica of the airship.

The Hindenburg , 800' long & 236 tons, was launched in 1936, the same year as the postmarks on this cover. It completed 10½ round trips between Germany and the U.S. before it exploded & burned at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937. Since the postmarks show August & September of 1936, this Maracaibo-bound cover flew on the Hindenburg 9 or 10 months prior to its destruction.

It's now believed that it was the flammable aluminum powder-filled paint varnish that coated the infamous airship, and not the hydrogen, that started the fateful fire after its tossed grounding lines resulted in an electrical discharge. The chemistry of the varnish resembled the chemistry of modern solid booster rocket fuel.

Perhaps an old-timer will recognize the name "W. E. Franks", or someone in the "Franks" family. If anyone does, please let me know.

•     •     •    •     •     •

I did receive a message from a gentleman by the name of Houston Floyd. In it, he says, “... I am pretty sure that there was a Franks family in the Creole San Joaquín camp in the 1940's. I have a picture of my Father standing in a yard with the FRANK's HOUSE written on the back taken in 1946. He is the only one in the picture. He was trying to show mother what kind of house we were getting. I don't remember much about them. I was going on nine years old at the time.”





These photographs have been generously donated by Laurie (Cleaveland) Leiker. Laurie's father was Principal of EBV during 1971 & 1972, when these photographs were taken.

I found them interesting in that the school appears pretty much as I remember it when I left four years earlier, in 1968. All of the major changes that have since taken place happened quite a few years later.





This is a famous shot of the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge taken at night, beautifully lit up with multicolored lights. I don't know whether or not the bridge is always lit up like this, or whether it's normally lit with white lights, but I suspect the latter, with the colored lights being used for special occasions only.

This photo was generously provided by Leonardo Salcedo, a “Maracucho” now living in Salt Lake City.  Leonardo advises that he used to live across from the (new) Roberts School building on Calle 61, which is now known as “Avenida Universidad”.  ¡Grácias, Leonardo!





These vintage photos were contributed by Tanya Lopez Duchild. We thank her for making the effort & taking the time to scan them, allowing us to share them here.
Bobby Taylor on his motorcycle, circa 1957.
Taken in 1952 at EBV. Tanya Lopez Duchild is second from left.
L to R: (?), Yvonne Wenzelmann, Helga Ramirez, Ms. Evans, Graciela Echols, (?), Sheila Gorman.
Frank Ashford dancing with Ann (Lambert?) during a party in 1957.

Pat Garret, Sheila Gorman, & Kathy ? - 1957 party in Maracaibo.


Pat Garret, lower left; Bobby Taylor behind Tanya Lopez, Rubin; Rose Marie (Tanya's cousin); Ken Baebel - 1957 party in Maracaibo.

Ricky & (?) with Frank Ashford in the background - 1957 party in Maracaibo.


Unidentified. Can anyone help?





This is a lovely shot of a “chubasco” taken in the late 1990's while looking east, at 8:30 in the morning, from an office located on Calle 72, esq. Avenida San Martín. This photo was generously contributed here for all of us to share by Marcos Salom.





The photos in this section come to us courtesy of Alfredo Pérez, a 2003 Senior at Escuela Bella Vista. He has attended EBV since the 1st grade in 1992, and plans to attend Florida State University after graduation.

Alfredo is a sports enthusiast and was this year's Volleyball Team Captain for a team that, “after three long years”, placed 1st in the VANAS tournament at Colégio Internacional de Puerto La Cruz. They also won three games against Colombian teams. He also belongs to the Softball Team, which beat Colégio Internacional de Carabobo in Valéncia 3 games to zip. Go EBV! He is also a member of a regional Rugby team which finished in 1st Place in western Venezuela last year.

His father, Ricardo Pérez, graduated from EBV in 1968, and currently serves on the Board of Directors.

I originally became acquainted with Alfredo through an entry he made in my Guestbook. He very graciously offered to send some photos of the changes that have recently taken place at the school, then made the effort to come through with his offer. The results of his hard work are visible below. And what a story they tell of all the recent improvements to the school! He also provided a good description of the changes so that each picture could be adequately described. These photos were taken this summer, 2003.

All of us are sincerely appreciative of his efforts for allowing to see how much things have changed since my last visit to the school in 1995. If you have any questions you'd like to ask him, Alfredo can be reached by E-Mail by clicking here.


This is how the front building of EBV looks today, in 2003. It has a new paint scheme, and the plants in the planters have grown even larger.
This photo of a new guard building at the entrance at first really surprised me. But in retrospect, it makes all the sense in the world considering the security issues facing Venezuela today.
The front driveway and parking area has undergone a major change in size and landscaping. It appears to be considerably wider now, the fencing seems to be brand new, and a concrete wall appears to have been added to the end of the driveway.
The rear staircase has really changed in appearance with the new paint scheme - even the concrete stairs have been painted. It's also amazing how large the trees have grown, blocking out the view from the upper walkway.
This shows a view from the upper walkway between the front and back classroom buildings. It appears that a whole new wing has been built that spans these two buildings.
Same view as the previous photo, with the camera panned slightly to the right.
I'm not sure of the exact location of this shot, but I believe it's back by the two gyms. It appears that the two tennis courts are being re-worked or resurfaced..
A small field has been added to the large field at the back of the school. This small field has a rear exit attached to it.
The gym dressing rooms have been impressively modernized and expanded in the summer of 2003. They include new lockers....
.....and brand new shower facilities..... well as sinks and updated stalls for the toilets.
The gyms also now include an exercise room complete with modern excercise equipment. What great improvements!




This is a photo that I recently received from Bruce Finley, who lived in Maracaibo during the '60's. For those of you who remember Bruce, he's on the right, standing next to his brother Ken on the left. Bruce's family left Maracaibo in 1964. He's now living in Keller, Texas, and is in the mortgage business, and his brother Ken lives in San Juan Capistrano, California, where he owns an electronic components company. Bruce's sister, Anna, who was born in Maracaibo, now lives with her family in College Station, Texas. Bruce recently celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary!





Here's a miscellaneous shot I've added myself.

This photo pair shows the Los Andes Yacht Club taken in the summer of 2002. I found it interesting as the shoreline photo really shows how the skyline has dramatically changed over the years, incorporating so many new apartment, condominium, and high-rise buildings.




This area reserved for your pictures!