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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.