September 2021

Grenada is a peaceful little island. Lots of fruit I did not know of, just hanging beside the road. Not many tourists are visiting. I got the impression most tourists are sailors visiting year after year. Some spent years in the Southern bays. It grows on you. Hurricanes seldom hit the island, but Tropical Storms do. One night I woke up due to a harsh wind. I checked my gear and saw it hit 50 kts at times! Wow, that is a serious storm. I checked everything, but all held well. Incredible that a simpel anchor and chain can withstand such forces. The next morning the wind had weakened but still hit 35 kts.

Grenada has been spared from serious Covid infections, but suddenly the number went sky high. I was not allowed to leave the boat from Friday evening until Monday morning. It was a good thing Ellen will get to Curaçao! The Ellena stayed for over a year here in Grenada. I left with mixed feelings. Leaving very nice people and a beautiful island behind, but on the other end there are curfews, rain and there is poverty, which is getting worse during this pandamic.

The anchor chain is somewere between all this fouling.

But after a long time I can finally sail again. With this wind I did sail with the spinnaker. This is a large sail of around 100 m2. In the video this size is hard to notice, because of the very wide angle of the camera.

The weather was excellent. Although there was only a light wind. But it could become a nice trip passing several uninhabited islands belonging to Venezuela. Although these islands look very exciting on the map, shallow waters still looks like just water as I noticed passing by. On this image you can see some land in front and in the far distance. In between is just very shallow water. This all far from the coastline which makes it special. Even with my catamaran it is too shallow to go there, but snorkling should be awesome!

Shallow waters

And the fishing was great. Every day I caught a small tuna or similar. Catching and eating within the hour!

It took me four days in a row to reach Curaçao. I was surprised by the number of freighters I encountered, although the borders of Venezuela are officially closed.

And then, finally, Ellen arrived. I realy looked forward to holding her again. Picking her up was a bit tricky since there is a curfew in place on Curaçao and that means there should not be any public transport after 8 pm. Ellen would arrive at 7 pm. But I could make an arrangement with a busdriver and we were picked up and arrived at the bay the Ellena is anchored.

Ellen brought lots of stuff I ordered through the internet. About 18 kg of parts, equipment and tools. And she brought the delicious Spanish fuet sausages!

Hi. This is Ellen.

When I arrived on Curaçao to stay with Roel on the Ellena from 23 September on, we had not seen each other for 3,5 months. After Roel had left the Netherlands in early June (two vaccines in his arm) he again had to pick up his life as a sailor later on restricted by COVID, meaning that he had to stay in one particular bay in Grenada. Until finally bans in Curaçao were lifted and he could sail to meet with me. Nicely in time to celebrate both our birthdays together. On my birthday we stayed at a nice hotel and at breakfast guests even sang for me.

­Roel, the quintessential sailor, muscular, tanned, with an enormous wave of salty hair and another beautiful sailing trip from Grenada to Curaçao in his log, was pleasantly surprised by the degree of organisation on Curaçao. As well as by Dutch influences as drop and other delicious food stuff is available, like bitterballen and frikandellen :-). For that was something he dearly missed in Grenada, guilty pleasures and luxuries like nice terraces. It is a funny thing, to see all these very Dutch customs and architectural relics of colonial time that you also can find in Sri Lanka and other places the Dutch once colonized or temporarily held. And the language! Many people speak and understand Dutch as Spanish, English and Papiaments and every possible mix of them. Signposts and bill boards are often in a puzzling mix of words and then again you see he typical street names like , Surinamesteeg, Breedestraat, Regentesselaan, and no one seems to be bothered by this language mix. A great quality.

We walked through Willemstad with the colourful buildings on the Handelskade, the famous Emma Draaibrug, the Fort Amsterdam at the entrance of the great waters in town, Waaigat and Schottegat, Otro Banda on the other side of the water with the Kura Hulanda Museum on the slave trade and history of African people in the Americas. Internet everywhere, capuchino and veggie spring rolls with drinks, all a Dutch tourist desires. The heat was mostly stifling, humidity sometimes over 80%.

On the first day I lost my bank card, it must have fallen out of my phone cover while taking pictures. I ran back the whole way we had walked, through Surinamesteeg and over the draaibrug, searching the ground, the longer it took, the more convinced I became it was gone. But then, there it was, lying right in front of the office of the prime minister within the Fort, on his parking space! Nothing seems to ever happen there, a whole hour it had been there on the pavement, waiting for me to be picked up again. Lucky bastard I am.

Bank card over an hour on this parking lot
Willemstad is a good town to relax and wonder around. With nice local bars
A market place where years ago the Venezualian came over in there boats filled with vegetables and fruit. That came to a hold after Maduro closed borders. Now the Columbians are taking over.
The Dutch architecture
I also noticed lots of art activity. Teatro KadaKen, sculptures, grafity.
And of course the famous floating bridge

We rented a car and explored the island and were amazed by the dry vegetation of huge cacti and other prickly plants.

We hiked to the roaring Bocas on the east coast,

swam with turtles at Piskado Beach, which was amazing, visited several beautiful beaches with aquamarine water and white sand.
Some were worthwile snorkling. At the end of this video you will see a master in disguise.

And spent two nights in nice Ocean View Hotel near Soto, dined with kaasfondue at Klein Sta Martha estate, a former plantation and salt factory.

Best cocktail ever!

At night in the round Market building in Willemstad we picked up loud music. After walking around we discovered a karaoke event. We entered and danced to the karaoke-songs of aspiring singers.
But the best was yet to come: 3 nights in the unbelievably blue and clear waters of the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao, 15 km to the south-east of Curaçao.

There is one remarkable stone building which is the old light house from the 19th century, delapidated but still functioning. Strangely located in the middle of the island with a very straight walkway as in a surreal painting. Next to that just some palm leaf palapas for day visitors. On the east side of the island a rusty shipwreck stands up straight as if it was placed there on purpose, like a weird ugly monster with a large mouth and tentacles. Only birds and iguanas live on Klein Curaçao, and rats so it seems.
But in the seas we saw sea turtles. We could even swim with them!

Many fish and, the top highlight, a large group of dolphins surveying the waters for food (and fun?) and at the same time treating us to a wonderful show of their friendly majesty, over and over again. It was sheer happiness! We dove in and they just swam right below us.

Sailing back to the Spanish Waters – which is a large inland bay that is Roels base here in Curacao – we passed Fuikbaai. People told us this should be a very nice stay. This bay is mostly hidden by a narrow stretch of land between the bay and the sea. While passing, it does not look very appealing as there is a concrete factory near a limestone quarry, right across the entrance of the bay. But if you do enter and go left you encounter a beautiful calm expanse of clear water and small white beaches and mangrove bushes below Curaçao’s white table mountain (that is being mined away so it seems for the concrete factory).

I spent hours snorkling the mangroves

We spent the night here and went snorkeling between the roots of the mangroves.

That was awesome! As if in an aquarium! The shore and the trees and roots were like the backdrop in an artificial aquarium and there were so, so many fish! The sun shone brightly through the stilt roots in the clear water, it was fascinating. Very beautiful and relaxing.

Peaceful Fuikbaai was a great place to end my days with Roel in Curaçao, an interesting and

in terms of our national history, an educational place, with beautiful sea scenery and fauna and friendly people, always in for a chat. It was fun!

It was great beeing together and enjoying Curaçao.

We regrettably ended our time together on the best terrace in Willemstad.

14 Replies to “September 2021”

  1. Hi Roel, wat een geweldige blog! Prachtige verhalen en mooie foto´s. Ik ben nog enthousiaster geworden om zelf te gaan zeilen. Mocht je besluiten naar de Europa terug te zeilen, ik hou mij graag aanbevolen als dekknecht 😉 Groetjes

    1. Hey, hoi Norbert,
      Wat leuk dat je het blog leuk vind. Hele onderneming, maar je krijgt er een heerlijk leven voor terug.
      Jij hebt ook plannen begrijp ik?
      Zeker doen!

  2. Wow what a journey – that I also felt now as I read it. I went with the turtle and with Ellen in the mangrove forest what a beauty! Nature we have to take care of it I am so grateful now that I saw all this. Thank you! Lena 

    1. Hey Lena. Nice of you to respond
      And indeed. Most of the earth wildlife is not on land but below the surface. There where we do not see it. The damage of fishing and polution is not seen either. Most disturbing.

  3. Hoi Roel, goed gevoel he weer op de boot te zijn!

    Alle fotos zien er bekent uit , ik weet niet of je nog in het spaanse water bent, maar het resort in de ingang MAG je de hele dag liggen van zonsop tot zons onder !

    Je hebt mazzel dat je niet werd overvallen in venezuela , ik bleef wel bij n paar eilandjes overnighter en gaf de vissers lui koffie en suiker en ze gaven mij lobsters!

    Wat lekker is de breadfruit he je kan er patat van makes en aardappelen en in soep stukjes  Erin heerlijk.

    Ben je op weg naar panama? Misschien de zuid pacific in ? Kom je me opzoeken in Ozz?

    Wat zijn de plannen?


    1. Hey Marcel,
      Leuk! Ja het fruit in Grenada was geweldig.
      Tja wat ik ga doen weet ik nog niet. Colombia en Panama liggen wel voor de hand, hoewel die vochtigheid nu niet zo leuk is natuurlijk.
      Australie trekt ook, maar ik moet eerlijk zeggen dat ik ook wel een beetje heimwee heb naar de Meds.
      Ik zie wel.

  4. Hoi Roel,

    Goed te lezen dat je weer heerlijk een stukje aan het zeilen bent toegekomen, lekker weer eens een andere omgeving.

    Fijn dat Ellen ook weer de gelegenheid had om over te komen. Wat een  mooie foto's en video's, wat is de natuur toch prachtig, weten we weer waar we zuinig op moeten zijn. Met jouw "fishing skills" zit het ook goed zo te lezen, regelmatig verse vis op het menu… heerlijk.

    Heb je al plannen voor de komende maanden qua bestemmingen?

    Bij mijn boot wordt het onderwaterschip nu, eindelijk, onder handen genomen, daarna nog even klussen in een loods en dan dit voorjaar het water in.
    Kan niet wachten, want een boot hoort gewoon in het water.

    Geniet lekker verder, we kijken weer uit naar een volgende update..


    Cees & Monique





  5. Hoi Roel, goed van je te horen en te zien! Na zo'n lange tijd Grenada is het goed te verkassen, voor dat je het weet kom je daar niet meer weg. En dat is volgens mij nooit de bedoeling geweest toch? Tenminste nog ff niet. Fijn ook om weer te kunnen zeilen lijkt mij. Dat gebied is toch wel heel prachtig. Al lijkt me het raar om zo dicht bij Venezuela te varen in zo'n mooie omgeving, terwijl het daar toch echt niet goed gaat. Wat een tegenstelling. Wij zijn lang geleden op het noordelijkste puntje van Zuid Amerika geweest, Punta Gallinnas. Prachtig en ook heel dicht bij Aruba, Curacao en dus Venezuela. Je komt er overigens langs varen als je naar Santa Marta gaat. Je zou er een kijkje kunnen nemen, het is een schiereiland. Hier is alles oke, de chickies leggen elke dag hun ei, Bas is nu echt gestopt met werken en wij zijn YOOS de koffiekar aan het verkopen. Tijd voor nieuwe dingen. Zeilen? 😉

    Lieve groet, Bas en Joke

    1. Hey Joke, jammer van Yoos, maar goed aan alles komt een eind ook het goede!
      Punta Gallinnas ziet er mooi uit. Gedoe is alleen wel dat ik me officieel eerst moet melden bij de douane. En dat kan pas in Sta Marta. Nou ja, ik zie wel. Ziet er wel mooi uit!

  6. Hee Roel,

    Ik heb weer ontzettend genoten van je verhalen en van die van Ellen! Maar het meest bijzondere waren toch de video’s , wat super mooi om dat mee te maken!!

    Fijn dat het goed met je gaat, blijf genieten en zeilen!!?!

    Liefs Joke

    1. Wat leuk Joke. Ja videos zijn wel lastig op een schommelende boot, maar het geeft toch een beter idee he?
      We zijn verwend dit keer met dolfijnen en schildpadden. Curacao is wel wat plat toeristisch, maar t’is wel een mooi eiland

  7. Hoi Roel, wat een prachtige update en zo fijn dat er weer gezeild kan worden en jij en Ellen elkaar weer hebben kunnen zien om samen te genieten van al het moois in en rondom Curaçao! Ik heb genoten van de prachtige natuurfilmpjes.
    Lieve groet uit Friesland, Ada

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