Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"), is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its capital is Willemstad.
11 June 2013
We arrived in Curaçao after a very strenuous 50 hour sail across from Isla Saona on the south east tip of the DR. We expected we would have a boisterous reach with 15kt-20kts easterly winds forecast the entire passage. It turned out a little fresher than that.
At the start we had 25kt south east winds and 2m waves slamming hard on the nose. Fortunately, after 5 hours the wind moved east but the cross current kept us on a tight reach. The waves, which got bigger, were more comfortable but the reach resulted in increased boat speed which translated back to more slamming. We slowed the boat down with a second reef and took it as fast as we could tolerate. On the main leg we averaged a moderate 7kts or though we frequently touched 12kts with sustained gust of 30kts plus. We were taken once by surprise from a quick squall bringing horizontal rain and 41kt winds. The worst came when we reached the last 30NM leg along the lee side of Curaçao when we expected flat water, little wind and a chance to rest before making landfall. Instead we encountered a constant 30kts dead on head wind and a big short sea.
It felt like we had the worst of the weather at night. Since there was no moon and it was pitch black it was impossible to tell the angles we were at. The navigation screen tipped over for the first time ever. I am sure if we were on a mono hull it would have been a lethal weapon flying through the air. We didn’t feel like eating much the whole way and we didn’t get much sleep either.
The entrance to the Spanish Waters harbour where we arrived was a narrow 35m opening in a rocky coast line sheltered from the wind at the foot of a large mountain. What a contrast going from 30kts to 0kts in a few seconds. The tranquillity didn’t last long. The anchorage opened up into a large lagoon with many little islands, very flat water but very gusty wind nevertheless, very inviting!
12 June 2013
Spanish Waters is the only anchorage on the island. It is a lagoon well protected from the open sea by a long narrow channel. There are many boats similar to ourselves staying here during the hurricane season.
We found Aluna ship-shape almost Bristol fashioned, most of the dust was washed off by the rain. Renate und Lothar from “Catorion” looked after Aluna while we were away, all was well, apart from a seal of the Generator pump leaking, which Richard could fix after some painful hunting for parts. Santa Barbara is a long way from shops and Richard took his bike in the dinghy cycle to town, only to find the outboard on strike, had to go all the way back to town to get fresh petrol and spark plugs, arrived at the dock and the dinghy was gone. Well, I asked our friendly neighbor for help, he thought Richard had taken a taxi to the marina and he took the dinghy back to the marina. Richard was not a happy man, got it fixed alright.
We enjoyed the beautiful surroundings’ of “Santa Barbara Plantation Resort & Marina”, we went swimming daily, lounged at the comfortable beach, took long walks along the golf course, admired the unusual birds, and loved the fast internet connection.
Now, we are hanging on the hook again in Spaanse Water, Curacao. When the winds are favorable we will head towards Columbia. There was a window last week, but we felt, we wanted to get to know Curacao better. We hired a car and explored the Island. The Westcoast has lovely little sandy beaches and everywhere lots of dive sites. The Northwest and Southeast of the Island are sparsely populated and offer a lot for the nature lovers, hikers and even mountain bikers. There is an aloe vera plantation, which offers their own products, all organic, there is an ostrich farm where you could eat exotic dishes with ostrich meat, lots of plantation land houses are open as museums showing Curacaos sad history of the slave trade.
We decided to go to Curaçao when we were in Haiti. We could have sailed directly across the Caribbean Sea to Curaçao from where we were but it would have meant a hard sail beating to windward for 3 days. Instead we worked our way east along the south coast of the Dominican Republic to Isla Saona on toward the south east end of Hispaniola. This journey was itself difficult and required a number of day passages beating east against strong winds and waves. The passage across from from Isla Saona to Curaçao was 180° degrees directly south. It also was a tough one albeit a reach and not so hard on the wind.