Pages

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

BONAIRE AND CURACAO .................




Reaching BONAIRE and sailing around the end of the island brought us back into 'civilization', so to speak ...... Cars visible on land, high rise buildings, factories in the distance and houses on the hillsides ......So very different from the beauty of the reefs and atolls of LOS ROQUES and LOS AVES ...... Yes, we were back to communication and internet again, or at least we thought so ....... Customs and Immigration was warm and friendly, the friendliest and speediest we had ever had and free too .............. Saw some student artworks on a wall ... Brightly painted pieces of driftwood ..... Clever ... In KRALENDYK, the main town on BONAIRE, the sea water drops to 700 feet almost immediately along the shore and only by picking up a mooring can you stay there ....... Funny thing, that ..... 12ft deep at the bow and 50ft deep at the stern .... And 80 ft under the dinghy floating out astern ....



We caught up with Ray and Lea again on the catamaran 'EQUINOX II' and collectively all six of us went out for dinner overlooking the moored yachts ....... Ripped into 'ribs on the rack'..... Clearly we have all been meat deprived ....... We said our farewells once more and cleared Customs to do another 35 mile passage downwind to CURACAO ..... ARITA and FREYA side by side ........



But prior to that when we first rounded BONAIRE it was hard to miss the conch shell hills when we sailed close inshore, only this time it is not conch shells at all, but salt...... Mountains of salt, produced by evaporating sea water from the shallow flats .....



We sailed past this quaint house with what looked like a series of change rooms along a beach, all painted white and pretty .......... And then arrived in KRALENDYK only to discover that those quaint little buildings were former slave quarters for the thousands who worked and died in the salt mines ...... Manually hauling and racking salt that nowadays is done with machines ........ A torrid brutal past .....



Anyway, on to CURACAO, a much more developed island and our entrance into Spanish Waters through a barely discernable cut in the coastline ....... And so we waved goodbye to the last of the convoy, as "FREYA" sailed on further to get rigging work done in a marina in WILLEMSTAD ....



Inside Spanish Waters all is quiet..... Far too quiet and boring, for we are already missing the splendour and magic of LOS ROQUES and LOS AVES .... We look at the nearest hill and the oil platform anchored nearby in morbid fascination, fully realizing that with hurricane season now active in the Caribbean, we need to stay put and shut up ..... And yes, we also need to do Customs and Immigration again ........ We'll do that Monday, for it is blowing 25 knots at the moment, and a dinghy ride will be a wet one ...... Town and Customs is a 30 minute bus ride away .....



WILLEMSTAD is situated on another cut in the coastline, with quite deep water inside ..... Deep enough for cruise ships and town has a floating bridge that allows foot traffic access to both sides .... And when a ship approaches, one end of the bridge powers to the other side, dragging the bridge sideways ..... And if you are on the bridge you get to go sideways at no extra cost ..... Should the bridge stay that way for any length of time, then there are ferries that run you to the other side for free ...... all way too civilized, but very practical ....



We are still wondering why Customs is on one side, Immigration a mile away on the other side and the Port Office, where you pay $US 10.00 fee to anchor your vessel, is further away still .... Not only that, but the Port Office only works in US Dollars, while everything else in CURACAO works in Dutch 'Guilders', and the Dutch themselves in Netherland work in Euros ...... We have the whole hurricane season to work it out ...... Should be doable ....


Then again take a look at this fancy car parking meter box ...... Solar powered and the solar cells are still there ....... Amazing ...... Wouldn't like the chances if that system was tried anywhere else in the Caribbean ...... We saw the same parking meters everywhere in WILLEMSTAD ....... Free parking can probably be found where the parking meter is in a shady street ........ Hmmmm, a whole new interpretation for 'shady' .....

video

No comments: