21 July 2010 | Curacao
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
We are currently anchored within the protected waters of Spanish Waters in Curacao. This is home to nearly 100 cruising vessels. The vessels are mostly long range cruisers who are using this "Hurricane Hole" to wait out the sever weather that plagues the Caribbean during the summer and fall.
The high concentration of voyagers makes for a busy social schedule. The VHF radio net announces the daily activities. We have attended the weekly happy hour to get to know our neighbors. There the children are able to get together to plan their own social activities. There are quite a few children here so birthday parties and beach BBQ's are high on their list. Water sports within the bay are also a priority and the children enjoy wake boarding, knee-board surfing & surfing behind the dingy.
The entrance to the bay is dominated with a just opened Hotel/Resort. The resort has dedicated a portion of the beach to the public. The children enjoy the clearer water and sand beach several times a week. Outside the entrance to Spanish Waters we all enjoy snorkeling around the sunken tugboat. The fish are regularly feed by the tourist dive boats at this site. Each time we snorkel there, we are surrounded by huge numbers of expectant fish.
Daily boat necessities are simplified with the local food markets providing free bus shuttles daily. The public buses allow us easy access into Willemstad. Willemstad is divided into two sections with Punda "the point", is the oldest part of Willemstad and a unique mixture of Caribbean and Dutch influences. Otrobanda lies on the other side of the Annabay and means "other side". The majority of shopping and entertainment is located here. Punda & Otrobanda are connected by the Emmabrug also called the "swinging old lady", a floating bridge constructed in the 19th century. The children love to get caught on the bridge when ships either enter or exit the main commercial harbor via the Annabay channel.
There are many boats from the United States of America here. This is the first time in many years where we are not the only US flagged vessel. It was a real treat to have July 4th, Independence Day BBQ at Caracasbaai. Caracasbaai is a beach just to the west of Spanish Waters. The US is not the only country represented by visiting yachts. There are vessels from Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland & Venezuela.
Phoebe and Drake are having a challenge learning Dutch. They also communicate with other yacht children in French, Spanish and German. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to practice so many different languages. There is also the local language called Papiamento which is a compilation of several languages. It is really a tongue twister!
The future has Aruba, Cartagena, Columbia & the San Blas Islands of Panama in that order. The voyaging life style is one where a change of plan is always possible so we'll see if we make the next three countries before we transit the Panama Canal.