The flight back from Holland was long and tiresome. I was forced to check in my backpack because I had, on Elisbeths orders, bought two bottles of bee-wax which were not allowed as cabin luggage. Unfortunately my backpack didn't appear on the baggage belt once at Hato-airport so I had to make a claim, and missed the bus because of that, at the 'lost baggage' counter where a very nice and helpful gentleman took care of me. After I had passed through customs he phoned me and told me my backpack had been found. It had fallen of the belt. He met me in the customs area and after that I could walk to the bus stop and start the long bus trip back to Spanish Water with 2B to Punda (the bus station in Willemstad) and from there with 6A to Caracasbaai (bus stop: Vissershaven), total cost under 2 €. The whole trip from my mothers house to the Vissershaven took 18 hours door to door.
I travelled lightly this time, carrying only a backpack and a computer-bag, so I wouldn't be tempted to buy a lot of things in Holland. I had already ordered some spare parts to be send to my mothers address though, a spare pump head for the watermaker weighing one kilo, a spare propellor for the outboard and some stuff from OCC (http://oceancruisingclub.org). While walking around in Dordrecht I found some books and DVD's I just had to buy. At Mediamarkt I got temped to buy a new action camera, the old one being a very cheap one which takes irritatingly bad pictures, so maybe you can watch a nice vlog in the future. My mother had some Dutch and Swedish flags lying around which also fitted in my bag. Her friend, Mejda, gave me a teapot with matching cups in a nice Chinese 'East Indian' style which was too beautiful to leave behind. With some more books, bought in a antique shop, my backpack was both full and very heavy.
It felt wonderful to be back under the Curacao sun and to get lots of cuddles from Elisabeth. One of the first things I had to do once settled on Bengt again was to cut Elisabeth's hair, she wanted it 20 centimetres shorter. When you sail like we do you should not be afraid to take on things which you are not an expert in, it usually turns out alright. Just do it! Off course changing the brushes in an electric motor is not the same as cutting one's wife's hair which is a much more delicate and dangerous operation, but I took scissors and comb and cut of 20 centimetres of her long red hair. It took some time to get it all cut even but after Elisabeth had a long look in the mirror I got a thumbs up and I could wipe the sweat from my forehead.
We had long talks the first days after my homecoming but then we started 'work' on Bengt's teak with bee-wax which gives a very nice and smooth surface. It was not easy to find colourless bee-wax in Dordrecht, most furniture shops I visited sold 'antique wax' which has brown pigment but 'Blocker', of all places, had two bottles left which I bought. During my absence Elisabeth had cleaned and scrubbed all teak and oiled it with cedar oil from the Azores which has a wonderful scent. We filled all the small and some larger holes on the walls with teak filler and moved or took away some souvenirs and paintings, you easily get to much stuff on the walls. A few lamps were also moved. Obama, our cat, followed me like a dog the first days but soon settled in his old routines again. The anchor light had stopped working and was replaced by a new one which we had bought for this occasion on St. Maarten. The old light was a LED encapsulated all-in-one which had got moisture inside, the white LED had turned blue and died later, so it had to be replaced by a new fitting, LED-bulb and wiring. While Elisabeth continued waxing teak I changed the wiring of one of our solar regulators so it also charged the starter battery which normally only gets charged when the engine is running which, nowadays, is very seldom. This particular regulator can charge two independent batteries and takes care of 100 Watts of our 400 Watts solar panels.
In this way we are keeping ourselves busy a few more weeks until the twentieth of August when we have to leave Curacao (our tourist visa expires then). Hopefully our new windvane rudder will have arrived by then as well as the Aquair 100 combined wind and water generator which we bought second-hand from Florida. The reason we bought the Aquair 100 is that we wanted a (towing) water generator which produces electricity when sailing. It will give 5 ampere at 5 knots of boat speed (according to the manual). Sailing downwind our wind generator is not so effective, the relative wind is less than the true wind, and the sails often give shade on the solar panels making them ineffective. When at anchor one changes to 'wind mode' and hoist the generator up with a spare halyard. In this mode it will give 5 ampere at 10 m/s (according to the manual). This will be great for the windy but sunless anchorages in Chile.
The engine was taken care of, new filters and oil, and we stripped our two tables from the many layers of varnish with the help of a paint remover. The little table in the doghouse turned out beautiful once oiled and waxed but the big table in the saloon was severely damaged and its nice beech surface could not be saved. Elisabeth has spend days removing the one millimetre thin beech layer from the plywood surface using a thin knife and water. After that sanding, filling and more sanding. Finally when ready, next week or so, we will paint with antique-white polyurethane semi-gloss enamel. Hopefully it will last some years.
All is not work though. This week we took a long sweaty hike round the Jan Thiel Salt flats to be able to spot the flamingos residing there. We followed the very shallow lake to the sea. There is an old sluice which, in the old days, regulated the water intake. It was very interesting to see how they used to get salt from this method. Nowadays only the flamingos take advantage of the shallow lake. It was one of the hottest days since we came to Curacao so we stopped, stripped, took a swim in the ocean, had lunch and let our t-shirts dry in the wind. Walking back by another trail we finally spotted a large colony of flamingos. After the four hour walk we ended up at Albert Heyn in Jan Thiel where we bought an ice-cold drink before walking the last two kilometres back to the dinghy dock.
We also attended the 'Captains Dinner' at 'The Pier', one of the restaurants at the Fishermans harbour. They have Happy-hour with dinner every Thursday for 10 USD per person. This Thursday we were served a nice piece of grilled Wahoo with fries and salad. The beer was half price so we and the thirty or so other sailors had a good time. While sitting at the bar one could easily imagine oneself sitting in a 'bruine kroeg' back in Holland, mainly Dutch was spoken. We met some new people and could finally say hello to some of our neighbours.
!!!!!!!SOME PICTURES, MORE IN GALLERY!!!!!!!