From: Marseilles, France
They look beautiful!
One comment: I am not sure how wide the inlet outside Maracaibo is, but given that we have a hexdot south of it (Lake Maracaibo) we are assuming that an enemy fleet could sail past the narrow part unhampered and that you can invade the Encontrados hex and that you can give Shore Bombardment in support during this.
First, let me say again that this is the same on the WiF FE map.
Now, investigating a little, from Google Earth, I see that the inlet is about 40 km long and from 6-7 km to 18-20 km wide. Thats more narrow than Gibraltar.
[Gibraltar is 15 km wide at its narrowest point, and the length of the "narrow way" (15-40 km) is 50 km long. Just to compare to other places, the Malaca strait eastern entry is not wider (a couple of 15 km wide "entries"), and the length of the "narrow way" (about 40-60 km wide) is 300-350 km. The Strait of Aden is 20-40 km wide, and about 100 km long.]
But Gibraltar is also on of the the most important (maybe THE most important) base of the British, and they occupy it since 200 years, so maybe their strong naval occuation & patrols and their fortification of the Rock lead to the "blockade effect".
As a side note, that's why I advocate having other rules for Gibraltar passage in WiF FE, because what is blocking the way is not the land, but the military installations.
From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Maracaibo) we learn that it was the theater of a naval battle in 1823, a battle in the Venezuelan War of Independence. So, warships from early 19th century can enter the lake.
Also, I learnt that Lake Maracaibo is made of Brackish water which means less salted than seawater, but slatier than fresh water.
Also, in Pirate Gold, the famous Sid Meyer's game about piracy in the Caribbean during the 16th-17th century, I remember that I could sail my fleet inside the lake and attack its inner shores easily.
Is this viable? As I implied, I haven't ever been near the place, but when I look at maps such as Lake Maracaibo at Encarta it looks like an awfully tight squeeze that might be comparable to the Strait of Gibraltar.
I know that the Oil hex in Venezuela has an all-sea side hex i WiF.
Well, I don't know if this is viable for 20th century warships, but given what I wrote previously, I think that Lake Maracaibo can stay part of the Caribbean sea and allow ships to interact with its shores.