Friday, December 05, 2008

Away from it all in Klein Curacao & then "On The Hard"

Friday morning after Thanksgiving was a busy one. Scott had cleared out of Bonaire with Customs & Immigration yesterday but we still had to fill out our tanks with water, do some last minute shopping and pay our bill at the dive shop. It was 10 AM before we finished battening down the interior and dropped our mooring. Ellen & Cal were joining us for a few days at Klein Curacao,
a small flat island 17 miles away. At one time this had a mining operation but now it has a picturesque lighthouse, a breathtaking white sand beach (that's our dinghy to the right with "Patience" behind) and a small day bar/restaurant for boats from Curacao that come for a few hours. We've been here before three times, once alone, once with Sean & Sarah, and last with Brent & Wilma. It's great downtime (from our "stressed out days???") with nothing to do but swim, snorkel, walk and read. Ahead, particularily for Scott, is the dreaded repairs "on the hard" for nine days in December and then three weeks when he returns in February.
He's planning to rebed all our windows and hatches among other big projects. Without me there he can leave his tools around, the floor boards up and work without interuption (cleaning up). We're hardly ever apart for even one night, so that'll be the hard part!

Willemstad is the capital of Curacao and a very charming colorful Dutch city. A cafe lined canal connects the ocean to the big industrial lagoon in the interior. Connecting both sides of the city is a 1900 walking only bridge that floats on pontoons and is motored open to allow traffic to pass. That's the bridge opening on the left above and the view right as we motor through.

Curacao Marine is the haulout facility and now a small marina with the addition of 15 slips. Our boat was pulled from the water by a John Deere tractor! Shades of Vermont! Tony and Hilary of "Miss Charlotte" were there to greet us. We've been hearing about them for years from Bob & Barbara so it was lovely to get to know them.


A Cruiser's Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day started off beautifully with a lovely sunset and no threatening clouds. It has been unusually rainy for this time of year in Bonaire and the last few days have seen some heavy precipatation. It has resulted in a much greener countryside though!

We were leaving for Klein Curacao the following morning so we had our last dive on "Little Wall" not far north from our mooring. We've managed several times to dive from our dinghy but it's no easy task getting in and out of it! I would be horrified if anyone but Scott saw me flopping into it. The water clarity if amazing here - you can see down 40 feet easily and this
was a lovely spot. In several places towering coral "islands" with a multitude of varied fish residents caused us to hover there obseving their civilization in action. Surprisingly we don't seem to cause the slightest concern to any of the fish. Well, French Angel Fish are very curious and keep you under survellience from the corner of their rather large eyes.

A parade of dinghies left the mooring area together to motor over to Barbara and Bob's condo at 4:30PM Four presently cruising couples were attending and two retired cruisers. Audrey's husband was in Texas working and so this holiday she was alone. Very sadly for all of us, Luray from "Pizzazz" was ill and so she and Randy couldn't come.

At the top left Ralph and Dave help themselves at the buffet. On the right Ellen & I pose and in the group picture just below, on the floor, left to right, are Audrey, Valerie, myself, Ellen and Barbara. Bob is in the chair. On the couch are Dave, Scott and Cal. Standing in the back are Ron & Bonnie, and Ralph & Karen. From top to bottom, a group shot out on the
porch, Ellen & Cal, Scott pontificating with Ellen and Audrey, the desserts, Barbara, and Valerie & Dave. Ellen & Cal have been friends for a year while we've been in Cartagena and arrived from there just after we did. They'll be sailing with us tommorrow and will also be hauling out at Curacao Marine. Valerie & Dave "Angel" were our buddy boat friends on our trip last year from Grenada to Bonaire. We've known Bob & Barbara "Enkidu" for several years and spent a summer in Trinidad with them at Cruz Inn Marina. They visited us last August in Vermont.

Although our thoughts strayed more than occasionally to our families back home, it was a wonderful cruiser family holiday!