Sunday, December 20, 2009


We are amazed at how quickly these past 2 ½ months have flown by. The Immigration Rules allow us to stay for a maximum of 90 days total between Bonaire and Curacao. We have been told to provision in Curacao before heading further west as the assortment is better and prices more reasonable.

It's very easy to take the boat into Harbour Village Marina to fill up on fuel and water.

And we have to get in one more day of snorkelling with Tom and Bonnie (Toujours)

This Flying Gurnard has iridescent blue lines and dot markings.

Wed. Nov. 4th
Goodbye to Bonaire at 0400hrs.
We’ve got very light winds.

By 0800 we can see Curacao pronounced "Cure a so "
We've had no luck with our new fishing gear.

1440hrs. N12*04.681 W68*51.584 We’re anchored in Spaanse (pronounced Spanish) Water. This 36 nm trip took approximately 8 hours, one hour working our way into Spaanse Water.

It looks like we may be in a channel….markings are not clear…..We called over a passing dinghy, Pam & Bill off Songbird who we met in Grenada (not Pat & Carol whom we met in the DR)…They say, Yes, we’re pretty close so we decide to move just to be on the safe side..,
1515hrs. We’re re-anchored across the “channel” . Sure enough a local comes by in a sailing skiff---“You’re in the channel; you have to move”.. Two hours later this fellow comes by again by dinghy with a “map” in hand stating we along with a number of boats are anchored in the wrong location. We say no problem. Of coarse by this time we are frustrated and say we’ll move tomorrow morning as Song Bird plan to leave at 0900hrs, so we’ll go up to their spot.

By 0940 We’re pulling up anchor and hopefully for the last time will be re anchored at N12*04.653 W68*51.466. We’re in 30.4 feet with 130 feet of chain out.

Now we need to make the trip into the Capital, Willemstad, to check in with Customs, Immigration and then the Harbour Authority for an anchoring permit. (This is a first)
We make our way to the dinghy dock which is located at the Fisherman’s wharf and then the short walk to the bus station. We asked a couple if we were at the right place. They said yes, but we just missed the bus and the next one would not come by for an hour. We decided to start walking. By the time we reach the next “Bushalte”, we are hot and tired. Who are to become our new friends Hank and Diana stopped and kindly offered us a ride down town. It turns out they spend half the year on Curacao and the other half in Upper State New York.

Before we know it it’s lunch time so we stop at a restaurant and are entertained with the floating bridge. This pedestrian bridge has to be opened every time a vessel needs to enter the Willemstad canal.

Customs is very straight forward. We did take a couple of wrong turns finding Immigration. We stopped and asked a few people but they had no idea of the correct location. Finally, there was a very official looking gentleman at the cruise ship dock. We stopped and asked him if he knew where Immigration was….Sure enough we were at the location; just needed to walk down to the dock and make a left. Again forms were easy to fill out and no cost. Last stop is the Harbour Authority who want to know on their map exactly where the boat is and how long we are planning to stay. Now firstly, their map is different from the one the man in the anchorage had, and two, we are under no circumstance allowed to move without prior approval from the Harbour Authority.
Curacao is only 35miles north of Venezuela and 43 miles from Aruba. The origin of this islands name is under debate, One explanation is it is derived from the Portuguese word for “heart” which is Curacao because the island is heart shaped. Curacao is 37 miles long and between 3 and 9 miles wide. The population is over 150,000 with the official language being Dutch. English, Spanish and Papiamento are widely spoken.
We found Willemstad delightful and made a point of travelling the 45 minute ride by bus into this historical city. It is unfortunate it is so far away from the Spaanse Water anchorage.

We are disappointed with the wi-fi signal on the boat. Time for a strong antenna. We did however enjoy the supermarket’s private bus. It would arrive at 1000hours daily and take us to “Vreugdenhil”. They had a very good selection filling most of our needs.

As far as the anchorage; we are very thankful we spent most of our time in Bonaire. I honestly think the locals who use Spaanse Water would prefer us not to anchor here. The cigarette boats speed by as do the large motor boats kicking up huge swells and then all the small sailboats and sunfish boats sail through the anchorage not bothering to use the channels..,,Even the Yacht Club that has a cruiser Happy hour twice a week handed out a notice saying it is okay to use their dock for the Happy hour but one must join the club to use the dock at any other time. The fishermen’s dinghy dock was friendlier with a 24 hour guard, but could be lengthened three times from its 15 feet.

It was fortunate there were public garbage cans across the street from the fisherman’s wharf as no garbage was to be left in the fishermen’s garbage cans.
We explored Spaanse Waater by dinghy and came across this small channel where we found a golf coarse.

Many of the homes reminded us of Shawnigan Lake at home.

The Venezuelan boats arrive with fresh produce at a downtown market.

Nov. 12 We felt very priviledged being invited to Hank and Diana's home .

The next evening we went out for dinner for Hanks Birthday

Nov. 14 Water delivery from Bridgette was well worth the 12cents a litre.

Nov. 16 An impromptu lunch break with fellow cruisers. The majority of us had gone into Willemstad separately to check out and ended up in the same restaurant.

Nov. 17th. 0500hrs. We’re up trying to send a couple of emails but keep loosing the signal. We’re heading for Santa Cruz Baii with a two day stay permit.

We are in fact concerned the Swiss boat that anchored in front of us may have their anchor lying on top of ours. We had contacted them last night stating we were planning to leave this morning around 7am. They too were planning to leave but not until nine. They were in fact up early getting organized but by 0710hrs they did not have their engine on so we put all our fenders on our starboard side. The woman yelled over they couldn’t get their engine started while the husband looked like he was reading a novel?? So, slowly we moved forward, Randy slowly raising the anchor cleaning the chain along the way. Six feet apart and alongside them our anchor is up, but we both are stressed.
By 0800hours we’re through Spaanse Water channel. We’ve got only a bit of wind and a gentle swell off our port stern.
Rand has spent the past forty-five minutes re-doing the foresail roller furling line that has come off its spool. Thank goodness it is calm.
We’re anchored in the gorgeous Santa Cruz Baii. There is only one other boat, the Canadian vessel “Dorothy Ellen”. We had met Pam and Don in Trinidad so we snorkelled over to say Hello.

Even with the Baii being very nice we’ve decided one night is enough and we should take advantage of this good weather window and head on for Aruba.

1 comment:

Dance Aweigh said...

Enjoyed reading the very informative blog. If we ever make it to Curacao we'll be prepared for anchoring restrictions in Spaanse Water.
We've noticed cruising the Bahamas, that French boats tend to anchor right on top of us - sounds like the Swiss may also have that tendency??
Regarding WiFi antennas, we've had good luck with our Engenius EUB 362 - on line prices run about $40 including shipping in US.( We use it with a USB extension, so we can put the antenna in the cockpit.
Keep enjoying the good life.
Margaret & Rich.