Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spaanse Waters, Curacao

Four, yes, count them, four times to anchor. The last time I wasn't sure if we really had a hook or Dennis was just tired from lifting the anchor chain back up! The first two times it was amazing the amount of seaweed we brought up. (You have to keep in mind that we usually get it right the first time since we have a manual windlass - which means Dennis does a lot of work!) Left the anchor alarm on overnight and, a week later, we're still in the same place. I do not like this anchorage at all. It's hard to get a hook and you can't swim off the boat. Well, some people do, but we aren't.

Took the 9 a.m. bus into Punda to check in to Customs and Immigration and then walked over to Curacao Marina to say hi to Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle and Murray and Nadine on Squiz. Haven't seen either couple since the summer of 2008 in Venezuela. We all walked over to the Chicken Shack for lunch and, for what reason we're not sure, except being friendly, one of the local workers bought us a round of drinks! Got lucky when we walked back into town and caught the bus before we had to walk all the way downtown.

It's nice knowing where to go and the routine, so we've been to Vreugenhill on the shopping shuttle; over to Jan Thiel Beach for a lazy Sunday afternoon and to see Sully, the baby whale; swimming at the new dock put in by the Santa Barbara Resort at the entrance to Spaanse Waters; and shopping downtown. Picked up our new anchor chain and bottom paint from Marine Warehouse, but can't put the new anchor chain on till we're ready to go, because I am not doing the anchoring dance again!! We thought about hauling out here to do the bottom, but after visiting the office at Curacao Marina, they told us it would be much better if we just emailed, and still haven't heard back from them. Oh well, at least we have the paint when we're ready.

When we were over to visit Sea Cycle and Squiz on Wednesday, we forgot to bring the flares from Bonaire for Sea Cycle, so that meant another trip. Walked over again Monday and left poor Murray working hard while Mark, Deb and Nadine drove us downtown and we had lunch. That was the good part of the day, since the rest was so frustrating. We had a package we wanted to send home and DHL and UPS were supposed to be downtown. I wish the people here would just admit they don't know where things are instead of trying to be helpful and sending us on a wild goose chase. Hmmm, that happened to us last time when we were looking for Curacao Marina! After walking in the heat of the day for over an hour we discovered that UPS had moved and DHL was now Western Union, sending money only , so decided to go to the post office and send it express. Oh, their computer system is down, come back tomorrow. Just missed the bus back and had to wait another hour. Yep, that kind of day!!!

Lucky day Tuesday when heading back to send our package. Took one of the mini buses at 8:40 (since the regular bus gets to the stop anywhere between 8:50 and 9:20), and he took a more direct route down to Punda, driving right by the UPS! Finally!! Had him drop us off, and then it was only a 20 minute walk downtown and caught the return bus - back to the boat by 10:10. Did laundry by hand, took inventory so we can shop tomorrow, had lunch, and off to the beach to swim. Hoping to check out Thursday, head up to Santa Cruz for a day or two and then head to Aruba.

Stay tuned. ~~~_/)~~~

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Family photos

Brooklyn, Parker, Emmy, Ryenn and Avory
at the Bounce House

Avory, Ryenn and Emmy at Halloween (is that Avy showing an attitude?)

Kelly and Shaun have been great and sent us photos. I'm posting them on the blog because I'm really missing family after 4 months and this is my way to keep in touch and keep them close.

Ryenn's 3rd birthday, Brooklyn at Halloween and Charlie, Kelly, Parker and Brooklyn at Halloween

Avory's first day at kindergarden and Shaun with Emmy

love my kids and grandkids and miss them tons

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fun times in Bonaire

So, on our walk around Bonaire, of course we had to stop into Budget. We talked to Karen and Cheryl on Interlude who were looking for flares for their friends in Curacao, who couldn't, for some reason, get flares. We said that yes, we knew what that was like, because we had friends bring in flares from Grenada to Venezuela when we couldn't get them in Curacao, Bonaire or Venezuela. Small world - they were looking for flares for Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle, who brought us our flares from Grenada! Interlude dinghied over and dropped off the flares since we were travelling this way and they weren't sure they were. Having friends in common, we had lots to talk about!

Listened to the Coconut Telegraph (love this SSB) and heard both Sea Otter and Dignity in the anchorage in Bonaire. Had heard of Dignity, but never met them. Met Britt on Sea Otter way, way back in the Bahamas, and then introduced to Terry in Grenada. Had happy hour with Sea Otter on Dignity, a beautiful 42 Lagoon Hybrid catamaran. Wow, what a beautiful boat, and so much room!!! Steve and Helen were wonderful hosts and it took me a day to recover from happy hour, getting home close to midnight! Terry from Sea Otter is an artist, painting beautiful watercolors. She gave a gift of a painting to Helen and I, and we both appreciated it so much. A fantastic watercolor of where they were anchored in front of Yellow Submarine. Such talent!!

Dennis wanted to take Audrey Paige over to Klein Bonaire to snorkel the next day, but I so wasn't up to it. Way too much fun the night before. Interlude had said they'd like to picnic at Klein Bonaire and snorkel, so we went over and asked if they'd like to join us the next day. Arranged to pick them up, chained the dinghy to the mooring ball, and off we went. We let Dennis troll his fishing lines for an hour before we headed into one of the mooring lines to snorkel at the north end of the island. (Not a bite!!) It was okay, kind of rolly. Back to the boat to head down to the south end. So nice to have people who sail on board! I was down below getting lunch put together (with great stuff from Interlude), so Dennis took the helm while Karen and Cheryl cast us off. Tied up to a mooring down at the south end of Klein Bonaire, had lunch, then went snorkelling again. Out of all of the snorkelling we have done in Bonaire, we still say the prettiest and best snorkelling is at the south end of Klein Bonaire. Off the mooring line and into the mooring field fully charged, at last. That is the frustrating part - all of a sudden, there's no wind. After 3 weeks with continuous wind and never having to start up, running the stereo, computer, anything we can use ... we have no wind and little sun so have to start up every day for at least an hour. This was our chance to blow out the exhaust.

Boats coming and going in Bonaire, but we choose to stay here, waiting for our stuff to arrive in Curacao before we head out. Interlude wanted Sea Cycle to fly in and visit while they were waiting for their shipment (which was our shipment as well). They would fly in, stay with Interlude and sail back with us. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're trying to get work done) the shipment arrived Friday, so they stayed in Curacao and continued to work, and we got things together to head to Curacao and pick up our chain and bottom paint. Okay, shipment in, time to go! Karen and Cheryl had rented a truck and invited us to snorkel while they went diving. We went with them to the Salt Pier area and saw some pretty neat stuff. Then went out for Chinese food after, much to Dennis' delight. The owner was wonderful and extremely talkative, so it took Cheryl to say, 'So, okay, can we have the bill? Time to go."

Up Monday morning, listened to Chris Parker on weather, did laundry (they need a better system - we met up with other people ...Margaret and Hans on the Formossa we met in Venezuela... and were so busy talking, forgot to pay for laundry and had to walk all the way back later!), I walked to Bonaire Warehouse to pick up stuff they didn't have at Cultimara, picked up more at Cultimara, checked out at Customs and Immigration and turned our key in to Hank at the dinghy dock. Swam off the boat, and then Karen and Cheryl picked us up for dinner at Casablanca. Wow, what a deal. For $40 US you get 2 steaks, 2 pork chops, 2 sausages, pork ribs, beef ribs and a whole chicken. Then, you each get a baked potato and veg to go with that. How can you go wrong. I haven't cooked in 3 days with the leftovers we had!

Up at 6 on Tuesday morning, and off the mooring by 6:50 on the way to Curacao. Motored at first because there was no wind and we needed to charge the batteries. Really nasty looking storm system out there, and we were lucky enough to only get a few drops out of what could have been something really bad. Sailed for a few hours and they back to motoring.

Into Spaanse Waters - anchoring tales to follow! ~~_/)~~

Thursday, November 05, 2009

In the Aves

Well, we talked with Chris on the SSB and he told us that if we wanted brisk winds of 20-25 and 8 ft seas on our downwind sail, then Saturday would be a good day to leave. Hmmm, I think we did that the last time and we passed. Ended up leaving the main island after a couple of days and anchoring over by Isla Oueste. I think we found the only sand spot to anchor in! Snorkelling was okay, but because the wind was a continuous 20, with gusts 22-25, there was a constant chop behind the reef, which made swimming off the boat a little challenging. How to drown beside the boat! Walked around Isla Oueste ... now we're ready to leave.

Left Monday for Sotovento. Jibed back and forth and not a bad sail, pulling in early afternoon. Had planned on staying a day or two, then changed our mind. We've been out 3 weeks, we're ready for civilization and company!

The seas were still 4-6 ft., with an occasional 8-10 thrown in. It was, 'Wow, where did that come from?' We did get a double hit on the fishing lines - one on the handline and one on the pole. Both mahis!!! Got the larger mahi from the pole on deck first and then had the handline right next to the boat when the hook actually snapped off the lure. Frustrating, but it was the smaller fish. The one we brought aboard was about a 3 ft. mahi that we divided up into 5 meals, so we were happy. Dennis realized it wasn't really fun to be fishing with the poles, so we brought those in and just left the handline out for the rest of the trip. Tried to heave to to get the fish on board and just couldn't with the current. There's just times you don't put the poles out!

We were buzzed by the Coast Guard plane 15 miles out of Bonaire, and that was interesting. Attached to the mooring ball around 5 p.m. (after dodging 2 cruise ships leaving the harbour), and decided to wait until Wednesday morning to check in. Note to others - don't lie about your check-in time to Customs, especially after you've been buzzed by Coast Guard and reported as arriving by them. They were diplomatic about it, but knew that we hadn't arrived at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, but had been there since Tuesday night.

Dennis decided we needed to do all of our walking in one day, since we'd been on the boat so long. I wish he'd let me know ahead of time which shoes I should be wearing! Checked in with Customs, Immigration, picked up our snorkelling tags, walked down to the marina to pay for the mooring ball, and then over to Bonaire Superstore to look for some spray bottles. Why do they all die at once?

We do love Bonaire, especially now that we have a 15 hp dinghy motor instead of the 5. We can go farther and faster! The mooring ball that we took is closer to town than the last time, and that can be challenging at times with the bands playing well into the night. It's funny what I can shut out and what Dennis can. I have no problem not hearing the really bad karaoke, which Dennis hears and can't get out of his head. Tonight we have a drum contest, and that's interesting!

More Bonaire to follow. ~~_/)~~