Spaanse Waters - Curacao updated 2/7
20 June 2012 | We left Bonaire at 24h00 in order to arrive at Curacao during daybreak. The sail was very bumpy due to the direction of the waves in the strong wind. We did not sail with the main, but only the headsail with the pole. The wind was mostly from the stern
Total miles: 38
We left Bonaire at 24h00 in order to arrive at Curacao during daybreak. The sail was very bumpy due to the direction of the waves in the strong wind. We did not sail with the main, but only the headsail with the pole. The wind was mostly from the stern or a few degrees off the stern.
Johan tried to sleep whilst Eddie and I kept watch outside. We saw a light that we thought shoulde be the tip of the island. The light came too close too sudden and we were unsure of it's origin. Johan remembered about klein curacao island and thought that the light could be from the island. He changed course drastically whilst I started up the computer to look at our position on C-Maps. The computer started installing updates and took quite a while to boot up. Terrifying minutes where we did not know which light is which.
Everything calmed down and Eddie went to sleep for an hour or two whilst Johan took over the watch. I kept on following our track on C-Map until my eyes could not stay open anymore. I rested for an hour before I plotted our waypoints in the hendheld GPS in order for Johan to use it in the cockpit to enter into Spaanse Waters. The entrance is very narrow, trickiy if you do not know what you are doing - you might have to walk/fly home. Eddie was standing on the bow checking the clear water for rocks whilst Johan followed the waypoint and Francina was double checking the progress on C-maps. There was however a few additions that is not reflected on the version of C-maps that we are using - more anchorages and yacht clubs.
We were anchored at 8h30 in very windy conditions. The owner of Kimakalki Marina told us that the wind is always very strong in this region, especially during hurricane season. They mentioned 10 meter waves and boat that were recently lost at sea. One of the yachties told us that he sailed to this marina very recently - and he referred to September 2011.
Willemstad is the capital city of Curacao and also where we need to check in ourselves and the boat at customs and immigration. The historic centre of the city consists of two quarters: Punda and Otrobanda. They are separated by the sint Anna Bay, an inlet that leads into the large natural harbout called the Schottegat.
We took the bus to Willemstad in order to get the formalities with customs and immigration behind us. We were however sent from pillar to post, travelling on various different local buses through a few of the neighbourhoods on the island. We eventually got to immigration, but it was immegration office for residents which were wrong. They send us back to Willemstad, but it was too late to make it during office hours. Whilst we were waiting for the bus to arrive Eddie went to a shop across the street from the bus stop to find out about the time schedule. The shopowner's friend took us back to the dinghy. It was quite a distance and very good of them to offer this service for free.
On Tuesday morning we tried the same again. We were talking to yet another sailor who again mentioned that we are a bit late for the Panama. Eddie got scared and told us that he is not willing to take the risk to continue the sail with us. We used the shopping bus and then took a minibus to Willemstad, because the local bus took too long to arrive. Customs were very friendly and helped us in a jiffy. We took the ferry to the other side of Sint Annasbaai and walked along the pier to immigration. The ferry operates (for free) when the swinging pantoon bridge is moved away for big ships to enter the harbour.
They were also very helpful, even finding out about flights for Eddie to get to Panama and home. They recommended a travel agent close by, but we went to the airport instead. The offices for Cocos air is not open at the airport except on the days of the flight.
At least we were able to see most of the island by bus. On our way back we went passed the travel agent. Eddie however did not have his terun ticket with him and were therfore not able to buy a one way ticket to Panama. He will have to wait until the morning. On our way back a very friendly guy waiting for his wife gave us a lift to the bus station in Punda, Willemstad. We were exhuasted when we took the bus back to the dingy at 18h15.
Africa is in our blood, and we find familiar attractions everywhere in the world. Even Curacao has a real Soputh African restaurant, named Zambesi. Most of the dishes consists of their finest locally produced ostrich meat. They have a large selection of SA wines, Vrandy and Zambezi beer. You can dine in a relaxed ambiance and enjoy the nightly campfire, accoring to teir leaflet. They offer an Ostrich Aloe Safari with the main attraction a visit to the Ostrich farm and Aloe plantation. There is also an Arof of Africa shop that offers a great variety of African art, all handmade and authentic African.
The view of Willenstad from the natural harbour, St Annabaai, is but a tast of the delight sights that await as you stroll the historic streets of Otrobanda and Punda, the two neighbourhoods on either side of the harbour and Scharloo across the Waaigat to the north of Punda (opposite the bus station).
The Postal museum is Willemstad's olders building |(16393) whilst most of the newer buildings are 80 -100 years old. They are all well maintained and looks like nwe. An anthropological museum, Kura Hulanda has the largest African collection in the Caribbean.
The Queen Emma bridge was built in 1888 and connects the Punda and Otrobanda districts.
Points of interest--16 floating pontoon boats support the "Pontoon Bridge." Also known as the "Swinging Old Lady," it swings open using two powerful ship motors, allowing ships to access the port. From 1901 to 1934, people had to pay a toll to cross the bridge -- with the exception of pedestrians going barefoot. When the bridge is open to let ships from the harbour pass, pedestrians are transported free of charge by the ponchi, a small ferry.
The Queen Juliana Bridge was officially opened on Queen's day, April 30 1974 after almost a decade of construction.
Points of interest--One of the highest bridges in the world, at 185 feet above the sea level of St. Anna Bay to accommodate the tanker ships entering the narrow harbour, the Queen Juliana weighs 3,400 tons and has four traffic lanes. The view is breathtaking, and includes the entire panorama of Punda, Otrobanda, and the Schottegat.
The original Rif Fort was built in 1828. This area has been completely transformed by Renaissance Mall and teh Renaissance Curacao Resort and Casino.
Tamarind is a local fruit that surprises your tastebuds simultaneously with both sweet and sour flavours. But beyond sending your tongue into a pleasureable quandory of confusion and providing a distinctive tang to many culinary dishes, tamarind also contains a bounty of healthful benefits.
It is diffcult to describe tamarind's complex taste - it is sweet, sour, fruitey and almost spicy all at once. But you have probably tasted tamarind without even realizing it if you have ever consumed Worcestershire sause. They also make a unique candy but be forewarned, it is an acquired taste. I did not like it at all....
I read in the local newspaper that there are only 145000 people and 80 000 cars.
We gave Eddie or book, The Next Superpower from Mark Finley as a birthday present. Johan dropped him at the Fisherman's village in Caracasbaai in order to catch the 7h00 bus to Punda and connefction bus to the airport. we hope he managed to get his ticket sorted out and has returned safely to SA. We sould not stay any longer to support Eddie because our weather window is becoming very small as a result of the delay. Their was an e-mail from Eddie's son notifying hin tghat his (Eddie ) brother is not doing that well and still waiting for the mask to start his concer treatment. Mayybe it is therefore better that he left to be with his brother.
At Kimakalki Marina they charge US$1 for a shower and US$6 per gallon of water. In Bonaire they charged US50c per gallon.
I meant to hand a dvd to the owner of Kimakalki Marina but did not get the opportunity though. We were going to take one last shower before we leave, but did not have one dollar bills left to pay. Ron does not belief in God and does not understand His lover for us. It is so sad. Please keep him in your prayers.
We left at 8h00 as agreed with Immigration seeing that we were also not welcome on the island without a prior arranged Visa.