Curacao after Christmas
12 March 2010
After Christmas, we flew back to Curacao via Amsterdam where Henk and Angela, Dutch friends we met whilst sailing, gave us an incredible four days of sightseeing, with food and drink being offered at every opportunity! We visited Amsterdam where we took a canal trip which really gave us a good insight into this beautiful city. Some of the canals were frozen and snow and ice were on the ground so it was incredibly cold but we had a great time. They also took us to two very old villages on the Eislemere where we enjoyed coffee and cake on Angela's birthday. We saw a huge barge which an eccentric man has turned into a floating castle, clad to give the impression of stone walling, and with turrets etc. He keeps a horse (yes a real one!) on the upper deck and walks around all the time dressed in full regalia of a knight. We saw him mount his horse and ride around the deck for a few minutes - it was one of those "I can't really believe I'm seeing this" moments, quite surreal, this knight in shining armour riding a horse on the upper deck of a "castle ship" and all around was snow and ice.
We arrived back in sunny Curacao on 12th January and settled down to wait for a weather window to open for our passage to Jamaica. Unfortunately, Fi had a problem with pulled muscles which prevented us leaving straight away and then the weather turned bad just after we'd checked out of customs and immigration (which is a very convoluted procedure here) so we had to go and check back in!
When out walking one day we saw a Greenpeace ship moored alongside and later met three of her crew when they came into a beach bar. We all got talking and they invited us onboard the next evening to have a tour of the ship and stay for a drink and evening meal. It had been intended for them to do some crew training but they had been given orders to leave a day or two later to take some aid to Haiti so we hope that all went according to plan. They are all great people, from all walks of life and lots of different nationalities, but all with a common goal.
We also got to know Maribella, a lovely lady who ran the small snack hut at the fisherman's wharf where we used to leave our dingy. She makes the best rotis we've ever had in the Caribbean! Whilst her partner was over from Holland they took us out with them, and her little boy Justin, to another bay with a beach bar one evening. It was great to be out with them and also to get the opportunity to go somewhere else on the island, as public transport on Curacao is almost non existent so there aren't many ways to explore.
Dave was inspecting the bilges one morning and discovered a leak. I won't go into technical detail but it meant we had to have the boat lifted out for the repair to be undertaken . Luckily, Curacao Marine could haul us and they had engineers on site who fixed the problem so we were back in the water in a couple of days but of course this delayed our departure even further.
However, on Thursday, 4th February we finally slipped our lines and sailed out of Willemstad Harbour through the swing bridge and into the Caribbean for the 600nm passage to Port Antonio, Jamaica.