It's time to leave this comfortable part of the Caribbean in search of new places. We stayed another ten days in Antigua to host our son Eric for a well-deserved vacation from his professional life in Los Angeles working in the film industry. Now, we all agree it's time to move on and make some progress on our circumnavigation.
Our first stop will be the island nation of Curaçao (part of the ABC islands... Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. It's about 500 nm or so southwest of Antigua and we're planning on 2-3 days to arrive there. There appears to be a number of nice anchorages and the customs fees seem simple enough. Not a lot of good information on this but it seems to be a worthwhile stop-over on our way to the San Blas Islands in Panama.
The scuba diving looks to be quite good so we might spend some more time there if the conditions seem nice enough.
So, we decided to return to Bonaire (slowly motoring) to arrive by morning light when I could tender into the marina and try once again to see if they had room for us. We had been told they were full for Carnival weekend so it seemed hopeless. Amazingly enough we did secure a spot for two nights and later that day the harbor-master came over to say we could stay as long as we wanted.
Having to give up on Los Roques and Cocos Island, we decided to take advantage of a nice marina and stay over the upcoming holiday weekend. Rest and fun for us until we leave on Monday for Panama.
Sailing along in fabulous conditions with light swell and 18-20 kts of trade winds. We have the full main and genoa up and are moving along at 10-13 kts all the time. About 17:30 we spotted Bonaire and a little while later the island of Curacao came into view. With full darkness upon us, we steered a course between Curacao and Klien (little) Curacao. Once we arrived on the leeward side of the island we looked for our selected anchoring site but the charts, internet, and google earth views were all wrong. The bay we were to anchor in for the night was full of oil tankers and oil terminals, obviously no place for us to be!
We went onto our second choice of Spanish Waters and took a look at the channel leading in. The chart showed a depth of 6.0 meters at one spot that we needed to be cautious about. Not fully trusting the chart, we launched the tender (in big swells!) at 02:00am and Andrea and I went in to scout it out. As it turns out the channel in not 6 meters but 3.7 meters so that canceled that anchorage for us.
By daylight the winds picked up again and we set the sails for a course almost directly to Curacao. Doing about 9 kts we've really enjoyed the sailing. Occasionally the wind shifts and we have to compensate a bit to maintain a good course but other than that, it's just moving along at a steady rate. Hot daytime temperatures have us all thinking about getting some kind of bimini system in place over the crew area before we arrive in the Pacific. It's going to be really hot sailing for months and months so we better prepare something or we'll all look like raisins by the time we get to New Zealand. Andrea hooked two gigantic fish who promptly tore out 400 meters of line and snapped the lure off. We definitely need a bigger rig when we get to a good fishing store in Panama.
by Art, 'Antigua'
Just after lunch we pulled up anchor and motored out of Falmouth Harbour. With a nice wind of 15 kts we set the sails and headed off toward Curacao. We had one of those extremely pleasant sails in almost flat seas for quote a number of hours before the winds dropped off. Finally we started the engine and motored through the night in calm seas.
This passage was crewed by andrea, art, carmen, giamma and tracy
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