So now we are sitting here in the Marina Santa Marta, the rain that Hurricane Matthew brings to the area is pouring down on us and we hope that it goes north soon.
Just one week ago we saw this system in the atlantic moving westwards towards the ABCs, so we decided to move on even though we only just arrived in Curaçao few days before.
But first let me tell you what happened in between in the past 4 weeks…
Advancing our Dive Skills in Bonaire
In the week before our visit arrives we make an Advanced Open Water dive course with Matt from Gooddive, we learn a lot and have a lot of fun 😉
Then Felicitas and Jannick arrive and we enjoy showing them Bonaire. First thing of course is a jump into the water (for them) and the documetation with the GoPro camera that they brought (for us).
The first few days Jannick needs to learn theory and do the first dives, since he also makes his Open Water Dive Course. Then at the end of the week he is trained, so we can go diving together.
Of course we also do the obligatory visit of the island and see the national park, visit the Cadushy Distillery in Rincon, take a break in the Lac Bai beach bar and drive round the south of the island.
As last diving highlights we do Angel City, a nice “double reef” dive, the Salt Peer, where the salt cargo ships collect the salt and finally a wreck dive, the Hilma Hooker, which sank in the 80s.
The very last dive we do again the night dive looking for the Ostrakodes, this time together with Gabrielle and Thomas and we are lucky again and see millions of these blinking strings and feel like in the middle of a christmas tree.
Moving on to Curaçao
After 10 days we move on to Curaçao where we go to the marina since our visitors have only two days left before going home.
Already the entrance to the Schottegat bay is a show.
First we pass the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge which is opened only for us, and we enthusiastically take pictures, just as the tourists on the bridge take the pictures of us passing through…
Then we pass underneath the Koenigin Juliana Brug, but in this moment I am too busy to have the fenders and lines ready.
The next morning we combine the marathon of checking into the country with a nice long walk into the city and back and a good visit of the city centres Punda and Otrabanda. Fist we visit customs, then it is quite a walk over to immigration and just as we want to get the anchoring permit at the third office they clos for lunch (at 11.45 am…).
Then we need to go back to customs, because the officer forgot to press “save” and printed the information from Sailclear system that we have entered in February in Grenada…
We need another two trials until we finally have the anchoring permit which ironically in the end we don’t even need because we directly leave Curaçao without going to the Spanish water anchorage.
Even though it was by far the longest check in that we have experienced so far, all officers were very friendly and we have seen the city in the meantime.
Really fascinated we keep on watching the Queen Emma Bridge which opens and closes for several large freighters, being pushed and pulled by up to three tug boats.
The last day of our visitors we spend relaxing on Kokomo beach, chilling in the beach chairs, enjoying the water and the restaurant.
Well, int he restaurant we are not always so relaxed, as up to 6 iguanas approach our table, especially after they find out that they also like nachos 😉
Then the two weeks are over and we have to bring Felicitas and Jannick to the airport, good idea that we have kept the car for that, because the incoming flight is 6 hours late, so we have another afternoon to explore the north of the island.
The next morning, we are just taking advantage of the car and doing some stock up in the supermarket, when Reto asks “so what if we already leave today?”. Well, I am sad, because we had planned to meet in the next days with our friends Petra and Ben who are just on home holiday, but previous experiences have thought me that it is not always what one wishes to do but rather what is best and safest for the boat and crew what we need to do…so we decide to leave immediately in order to avoid the tropical storm/hurricane which a few days later is called Matthew.
In the end Curaçao was lucky because Matthew went more north than expected in the beginning.
And what is going on now here in Santa Marta?
Well, we sit here and wait…currently Matthew is 120 miles north of us, but he stopped moving southwards and we feel somehow protected with the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta next to us, She San in a spider net of 20 lines on 10 clutches on trustworthy pontoons in a new marina..
Apart from the storm we are happy to finally heave reached Latin America, the people are so naturally friendly, we feel welcome – it really makes a difference and we look forward to explore more of the country!