Posted by: catamarantwooceans | June 22, 2014

Curacao

I actually planned to publish this a few days ago but internet in Seru Boca marina is not that great yet. So here it is.

17.6.14 – Tuesday – We spent a few days in Piscadera. We did not go further northwest, thinking about the need to go back to Spanish Waters, against the strong wind and the rough seas. On Sunday we motored to Fuik bay, hoping for a quiet day there. We had a visit from the coast guard, who came to check our papers.

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As the hours advanced more and more motor boats came in, most of them sporting a number of huge outboard engines as well as very powerful sound systems which they used nonstop, playing Techno, or whatever that hideous noise is called.

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The one at the right of the pack has three 300 h.p motors, a case of "mine is bigger" if I ever saw one.

On Monday morning we motored back to Spanish and utilized the supermarket free shuttle to go shopping. "Budget Marine" is next door and we purchased a lot of stuff we needed including a new pressure switch for the salt water pump. I have a feeling that all pump manufacturers get the pressure switches from the same factory in China, where they make low quality products. This is the second pressure switch I had to replace in a relatively new pump in the last few months. Shopping over, we went back to Fuik; sharing the now quiet bay with a German/Austrian couple, Peter and Helga, on board a Dean 365 catamaran.

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This morning we came into Seru Boca marina. After we were nicely secured in our berth, Robert, the marina’s manager, requested that we move to another one. Right then the wind started gusting fiercely; we did a few approaches and aborted them, passing too close for comfort to the yacht we were supposed to share a bay with. Once that was over, the "clean the boat" project went under way. Gili is flying home tomorrow; I will stay a few more days, go to California to see my family there and then home.

We expected much more from the BC; I don’t suppose the A, Aruba, will be any better. We’ll plan the next leg, in September – October, accordingly.

Posted by: catamarantwooceans | June 13, 2014

Sailing in the ABC

7.6.14 – Saturday – I went for one shore dive with a club called "Friends of Bonaire" and it was 7 out of 10; I am clearly spoilt by the really impressive diving locations I’ve been to. Going out of the dive I slipped on some coral rubble and fell, finding it difficult to get back on my feet with the diving tank and weight belt still on me. The two guys whom I dived with rushed to me as one would come to the rescue of an old man falling in the street. Am I that old man? (I don’t think so…)

We took Two Oceans a bit to the north and tied to one of the yellow buoys designated for divers and snorkelers and finned around the area. Again, nothing to write home about.

8.6.14 – Sunday – We sublet Shay’s car and went to Washington Slagbaai park. Nice desert scenery and a lot of cacti greeted us, as well as some birds, including couples of green parrots. The fauna were mainly lizards and iguanas. I took pictures with my Samsung Galaxy and surprisingly my laptop did not want to communicate with it. No pictures of the trip until I fix it, sorry.

In the evening we had the Simon family for an Israeli dinner. A big salad, tehini, hummus and BBQ; a lovely evening.

9.6.14 – Monday – We set sail to Curacao. Easterly wind, 25-30 knots but no big seas. The entrance to Spanish Waters is very narrow, but once you are in, a huge bay opens up before you, with quite a few protected inlets.

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We started looking for Kima Kalki marina, where I planned to leave the boat for about two months. The free Virgintino guide for the ABC has it in two different positions on the charts. Finding it, we anchored nearby and I went ashore looking for the manager. An elderly gentleman named Ronald showed me around the small, not so modern marina and gave me the price; 17.5$ a day plus sales tax. It is supposed to be the cheapest marina in the area.

I had the 2013 season pricelist of Seru Boca marina, which is a modern one and they were lower! We decided to check it up.

10.6.14 – Tuesday – In the morning we dinghied over to Seru Boca, on the southeast corner of Spanish Waters. This is how a marina should look like! Modern, wide docks with water and electricity and the all important 24 hours security. We spoke to Robert Van Den Heuvel, the marina’s manager, finding out that the prices were the same as advertised and on the spot clinched the deal.

Next we had to go to Willemstad to do the proper check in procedure. The town has that Dutch architecture and the following photo could have been taken in Amsterdam.

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In contrast to Bonaire, where everything was done in the same office, quickly and efficiently, the situation in Curacao is not so simple. Customs are in Punda, the eastern part of the city; immigrations are in Otrabanda, the western part, to which you cross a pontoons bridge. Once you finish with those two, you have to go to the port authority, make a "Float-plan" indicating the exact itinerary and locations you want to visit. You pay 10$ for the privilege of anchoring in each of those bays good for three days, except for Spanish Waters, where the permit is good for three months.

Back at the boat, we upped the anchor and went over to Seru Boca for the night. 

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11.6.14 – Wednesday – Searching for the enchanted bay, we motored to Fuik Baai, less than 2 miles from Spanish Waters exit. Fuik is a narrow lagoon with some mangroves on shore; it is very well protected, which was a good thing considering the strong winds that keep blowing all the time. Fishing – Nil.

12.6.14 – Thursday – Fuik was not the real E-Bay we were looking for so we decided to go to Piscadera, about 10 miles further west. But first we had to do some provisioning. The Vreugdenhil supermarket has free shuttle service each week day at 1000 from the dinghy dock at the fishermen wharf in Spanish Waters.

At 1200, shopping done, we left the protection afforded by Spanish Waters and with wind of 25 knots, gusting to 32, we opened the jib to first reef and sailed to Piscadera. On the way we saw a big motor boat and a coast guard helicopter near it lowering a man and taking up two. Training? Real?

Just past 1330 we entered our destination; passing the big Hilton hotel on shore, a local restaurant boasting to be the best around. A decrepit yacht on shore had a "For Sale" sign. It seemed to have been there for ages. Anyone interested?

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We found a quiet spot near the eastern bank and anchored.

13.6.14 – Friday – Walking in the direction of the Hilton we discovered Pirate Bay", a bar restaurant with a small beach and WIFI!

Posted by: catamarantwooceans | June 6, 2014

Sailing from Carriacou to Bonaire

2.6.14 – Monday – We left Tyrrel bay around 0630. Our hope was to get to Bonaire on Wednesday; our concern was centered on the possibility of strong winds on the approach to that island. In any case the wind was to come from the east, right from astern, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Wing and wing we sailed west at a good rate. When evening came we lowered the main to first reef, just for comfort and peace of mind.

3.6.14 – Tuesday – 24 hours run – 186 n.m. During the day the wind went down in a way that had us questioning whether we will reach our destination in daylight. We didn’t have to worry; evening brought 25 knots and a very fast ride. We were sailing north of the islands of Venezuela, keeping our distance. Too many reports regarding violent crime against yachties preclude the potential beautiful cruise in those islands.

As we went into our watch system, with me doing the 2100-0100 one, the wind and sea changed gear; Two Oceans started surfing down waves in an alarming way. During the night we went down gradually to second reef, still sailing at 8 knots and more.

4.6.14 – Wednesday – In the morning the seas built even more; main reefed to 3rd position with wind seesawing from 15 to 36 knots. Rough ride! 24 hours run – 167 n.m. At 1300 we reached Lacre Punt, the southern point of the Bonaire and soon hid behind it from the waves; the wind remained strong. In Bonaire there is no anchoring, moorings are provided and cost 10$ a day.

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We decided to go into Harbor Village marina for at least a day, until we get organized in the new place. Not a lot of boats in that marina and the cost explains it.  1$ per foot per day for a mono, 1.5 for multihulls.

Getting into the berth allocated to us, a man came and told Gili that we had a rope dangling in the water; Gili passed the message to me in Hebrew and then the guy identified himself as an Israeli. Shay Simon, his wife Orly, sons David (Dudu) 11, Ben not yet 4 and daughter Gali, 9 years of age, chartered a yacht in the BVI for 18 months (!) planning to sail around the Caribbean.

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they had the misfortune of having their dinghy and its outboard motor stolen, the safety wire cut by the thieves. The dinghy was found later on Klein Bonaire, the small island near the big one. They ordered a new outboard and are waiting for its delivery.               What a nice family!

5.6.14 – Out of the marina we took a mooring in front of Friends of Bonaire dive club. It’s quiet here and we could snorkel right off the boat, seeing all sorts of fish and coral.

We’ll stay here a few more days, diving, snorkeling and going to Washington Slagbaai park.

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