We got up early on Saturday, March 16th to sail to Bonaire for the next crew change. Bob will fly home from Bonair and we will pick up Beth and Kat Donnelly. As we were approached the entrance of Harbor Village marina, Bonair harbor, I called the marina only to find they were closing in 5 minutes. Seeing our boat approach, they helped tie us up at their Quay and said we could do our paperwork on Monday. We pleaded for Electric and Water hookup and the marina office staff rebooted his computer and set us up with internet. What a relief. We spent some time cleaning the boat, taking trash out, filling our tank, and setting up the dinghy to go across the marina bay to the one of two open restaurants. Kat and Beth made contact with us but would meet up with us later.
Sunday, March 17th, I did boat laundry (hot water on our boat due to our electric hookup) and had a lovely dinner in the evening at the Dockside Restaurant where Beth and Kat met up with us.
Monday, the crew went to see the Flamingos and the Salt Mines while I stayed behind. Scott and I took a taxi to drop off the dinghy motor for some minor repair (it leaks gas terribly) and then I got dropped off at a local large wonderful Super-Market. We had dinner at “It Rains Fishes” near Beth and Kat’s hotel. Bob will stay at their hotel using their room, and they will move to the boat for our early departure to Curacao in the morning.
Tuesday, March 19, we planned our sail to Curacao of 35km. Looking at a 6 hour sail, we made peanut butter sandwiches to eat early in the day during the sail. We had a easy departure from our dockside tie-up and were off around 9AM. The day was full sun and everyone lathered up with sunscreen and the day passed easily.
We arrived at the south end of Curacao and decided to check out Spanish Waters to see if we could find a small marina to stay for the night. One of the cruisers we met in the Aves had recommended this area to us. We did not have any chart books to go by so this seemed to be a good option. We spent about 2 hours motoring all through this area of small inlets and bays inside of Spanish waters. Most proved to be anchorages and small resorts in very shallow water. There were several areas with water sports happening and we were getting a bit discouraged at our options for anchorage or marina. As it happens when we first entered the channel into Spanish waters we had passed Sera Boca, a very upscale hotel/resort and Marina that had several spots for mega yachts in front of the beach side. In Ken’s wonderful fashion, he suggested we just “tie-up” there and see what would happen. I sometimes just have to just close my eyes and go along with his ideas for my own sake. After tying up, we looked for the Harbor master and had the dive shop that was located on the same dock give him a call. After a bit of negotiations we decided that the cost of the slip wasn’t much different than a very nice meal out with some good wine so why not go for it.
Staying there would be a treat because we had access to the resort restaurants, bars, market, and best of all the pool! It was a great 2 night stay before we had to leave for our last stop, Aruba. Kat and Beth were convinced they would bring their family back the Serv Boca Resort and marina
Thursday, March 21st, at 4AM, we left our slip and motored out the channel to make our way to Aruba. The early morning motor kept us on our toes as we went alongside of Curacoa where many ships were entering the area. Just outside of the shores of Aruba, I caught another Mackerel to the delight of the crew. I think they liked my use of the silver bat to “numb” the fish when it was inside the boat. Nothing worse than a flopping fish. Such a mess!
About 30 minutes outside of the Renaissance Marina where we planned to keep the boat, I hailed them and we were instructed that we would not be able to approach until we “checked in” at a dreadful commercial port filled with large, ugly looking fishing and commercial boats. We turned around to get to this Port to check in. By far the worse Port Authority we had ever experienced. We tied up to a concrete wall with large tractor tires as fenders. Ken and I walked through a sand and gravel yard to look for the customs and immigration offices. Found them, checked in, and hurried back to the boat to get to the marina just short of their closing time. (sounds familiar doesn’t it!)
X.J and Sander greeted us, guided us to the slip they wanted us to tie-up to and waited to close in order to give us our wifi, shower cards and general information for the marina. Beth and Kat rented a room at the Renaissance Resort Hotel right next to the marina and then came back to help clean and scrub the boat. Now it was time for the swimup bar at the pool!
The next few days, we would make contact with Jorge at Nikki Beach, Z from Talk of the Town Hotel, and the manager of Pinchos, all locations for our upcoming annual party. Scott was given a list of projects to do while we head back to Wisconsin for Easter. He will be on the boat in Aruba for 8 days with plenty to do, and plenty of time to relax.