08 December 2010 | Curacao
We arrived at Curacao in the Dutch Antilles Islands from Bonaire a day later than planned. We were anxious to meet Benno and Marlene on the M/V Diesel Duck. They were heading off to the San Blas and had made a point to wait for us in Curacao. We left Bonaire on a beautiful day with about 10-12 knots of wind. We let out the jib, the main sail and let the paravanes down due to expected swells. We are about to round Klein Bonaire when a slight noise and smell alarmed us. The tachometer on the control panel was slightly moving. John ran down to the engine room and the message was. "Jerie, shut off the engine". This is never a good message. It seemed that we had a leak of transmission fluid. Not a problem, we just have to tighten a clamp. We have extra transmission fluid. Problem: It was completely empty. How much transmission fluid could it take? We have two quarts on board. Problem: We used all the engine transmission fluid on board and it still wasn't registering on the dip stick. No problem, we will put the outboard transmission fluid in. Problem, it was still not registering. We finally put any kind of gear oil we would find into it and limped back to Bonaire expecting to ruin our gears at any moment. We arrived back at the Village Bay Marina and the staff let us tie up on the fuel dock to assess the situation. Jerie rode her bike to the Napa store and bought out their complete supply of engine transmission oil. We had to get all the stuff we had put into the transmission out, flush the unit and fill it up again. Now we are talking gallons. John was satisfied that all was well and the following day we headed out for Curacao.
Benno met us in his dinghy and we anchor off the stern of his boat. I must say that Benno and Marlene have been our heroes for years. We had never met them but had followed their adventures from the time we were having Peking built. Benno's comments on the internet were always filled with good advice as well as entertaining commentaries. Another attraction to them is that we both had the same marine architect design our boats. George Buehler is the guy with the concept of the "Diesel Duck". Because Benno and Marlene built one of the first ones, George let them name their boat "Diesel Duck". Meeting Benno and Marlene was a wonderful experience. They walked us through the check-in process as well as showed us where to get almost anything that we might need in Curacao. Within a short period of time, we felt that we had known them for many years. It was truly a highpoint of our cruise. We got some great information and advice from them. They think nothing of a 10 day crossing. As of yet 3 days had been our longest cruise. They had been up rivers in South America, gone around Cape Horn and still looked forward to hopping up to Canada to see a new grandchild and getting back to the Caribbean before the weather turned bad in their lovely 41ft Diesel Duck. We had a great time with them. They left for the San Blas islands to meet friends and enjoy the water activities there.
Curacao is the largest of the Dutch islands, now independent. We were able to find some boat supplies that we had been doing without: mainly, the dinghy plug that had gone missing during our episode with the Venezuelan fishing nets. We were also able to get some charts and the Eric Bauhaus book about the San Blas islands which by all accounts is a must.
Gary and Kaija aboard Kaija Song arrived and we were happy to see them and our canine friend Doc who we had cared for in Bonaire.
We started planning for our trip to Colombia.