Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Curaçao - The "C" in the tiny ABC islands with a little "Amsterdam" looking town
Leaving Bonaire towards Curacao at sunrise we thought it was a good thing we hadn’t checked in Customs at our arrival as we did all proceedings at the police station after hours.
Tortuguita stayed behind for a later departure as they have to wait for Customs business hours to check out. Dave had to hand over all the flares when they checked in Customs and obviously he wants them back.
It is a nice sail with the trade winds on the back and we are doing well with full main, wing on wing with the full jib. Wind is variable, 12 to 18 knots and we can see some squalls around but so far none has caught up with us.
Later the wind picked up to 25 knots and we happily sailed with main on second reef all the way to Curacao.
It was nice arriving to Spanish Waters, the entrance is a bit tricky but beautiful. There is a canal up to the anchorage and being Sunday, it was busy with many boats coming and going, full of teenagers in small crafts and sailing hobby cats.
On our way in, Linda and Gary from Rainbow Rider gave us a welcoming hello while passing by in their dinghy; we haven’t seen them since PLC. It is always nice to see a familiar face when arriving at a new place. They told us where they were anchored and we headed that way to find Beduina and Migo already there. Such a busy anchorage, and quite deep, we had to lay out all of our 45 meters of chain to anchor in 10 meters of water. The holding proved to be good when we got 30 knots of wind in a squall during the night. We quickly caught up with Hugo and Gyslaine from Beduina.
Spanish Waters - 23 November 2008 - (12.04.60N-68.51.50W)
Willenstad - 24 November to 2 December 2008
We left early towards Curacao Marine for our haul out. There is an old bridge to cross to get into Willenstad, it opens sideways and it is big enough to let big cruise ships in and out. Luckily we didn’t have to face one of them.
This bridge was built in 1888 and connects the Punda and Otrobanda districts. It is an interesting bridge, 16 floating pontoon boats support the so called “Pontoon Bridge”, also known as the “Swinging Old Lady,” it swings open using two powerful ship motors, allowing ships to access the port. When the bridge is open to let ships from the harbour pass, pedestrians are transported free of charge by a small ferry.
After crossing the bridge, alongside the canal the small town of Punda looks just like a little Amsterdam. The place looks charming with bars and restaurants along the shore.
Approaching Curacao Marine we go crazy as nobody answers VHF, nobody is there and it is not clear where we have to go. Apparently you are supposed to call by phone, which of course we don’t have.
Maybe we are back in ‘civilized’ world and are supposed to have a phone. We ended up tying up in front of the haul out dock as everywhere else was taken. Later on we found out there is a bit of anchoring space to the port side of the marina yard.
On the afternoon all was sorted out and Zenitude was out of the water but work could only start on Wednesday due to the weather.
We find this yard very good and we are happy with the work they are doing so far. They fixed the seacock and the fuel cap that was stuck and we haven’t been able to open since Grenada (Oscar has been fueling straight into the hose since then).
The town of Punda
The streets in Punda
It is back to work to finish up and the plan is to have Zenitude back in the water on Monday. Initially we planned to travel from Curacao to Puerto Rico with Tortuguita but Dave thinks there is a small weather window on Saturday and he has decided to go for it. We are not so sure about this window and we sadly say good bye to our friends.
We rented a car during the weekend and drove around the island, visiting places. The Northern part of the island was a bit disappointing. We found lots of resorts and some beaches but no atmosphere. We couldn’t find a nice place for lunch. The rented car was awful without air conditioning and we finally gave up and came back to the yard. That night they were celebrating 10 years of the yard and had a very nice party with great service, food and drinks. We particularly liked a very tasty Dutch soup.
The yard, living on the dry
Next day it was time to visit the South part of the island where there is an aquarium and you can swim with dolphins and sea lions. Despite being terrible expensive, once we got there, it didn’t look that appealing.
Then we visited the Breezes Resort where you can stay with all inclusive, it could have been a nice place to stay while Zenitude is on yard as by now I’m really tired of leaving on board on the dry.
On Monday all work in Zenitude is finished but now the trailer to put her back on the water is not working!
Finally on Tuesday we go back to the water and all is working fine.
We immediately leave for Spanish Waters where we’ll be waiting for a weather window to sail to Puerto Rico.
Spanish Waters - 2 to 5 December 2008
Back in Spanish Waters we meet Rainbow Rider and Never Land. We get good internet but other than that we don’t like the place. It is not good for swimming and there is no much to do here.
We talked with our weather guru, Chris Parker, and he recommends we leave this coming Friday. He says it is not easy to find a good window this time of the year for this trip and this one seems to be “as good as it gets” with east winds to push us up north and with calm seas. Decision is made and we go by bus to Willmstead to take care of exit procedures. It is a pain to get there but we finally got it all done and we are ready to leave.
On Friday morning we say good bye to Curacao and with some doubts about this window we leave the southern Caribbean heading north towards Puerto Rico.
The resorts in the south part of the island
In the meantime Thanksgiving is here and Oscar goes to town and gets a turkey big enough to fit in the oven. We invite Beduina, Ubatuba (a Brazilian boat also in the yard) and of course Dave and Booker from Tortuguita as they have arrived and are at anchor in Spanish Waters. Booker brought a beautiful vegetarian dish. As vegetarians, they are not good candidates for the turkey.
Thanksgiving dinner was great, food was fantastic, everybody loved Oscar’s turkey stuffing and sweet mashed potatoes. Everybody brought great dishes and despite the rain (we were 10 inside, hiding from the pouring rain) we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.