Sunday, 31 August 2014

25/2014 Matt's short stay

Hi from Clare,                       Friday 29th August 2014

The highlight since our last newsletter was a visit from Matthew (Andrew's son). He arrived in Bonaire Thursday night 21st August and soon relaxed with an evening dip and a few beers in the cockpit.
Happy Hour at Karel's

Even happier

Andrew, Matt, Bruce (Vixen) and Johan (like Dolphins)
Friday we took Eye Candy out to Klein Bonaire and had two dives from the back of the boat. Matthew enjoyed the warm water and easy diving conditions and spent hours chasing fish with his video camera. That evening we joined twenty cruisers for happy hour at Karel's Beachside Bar, see photos.
Spotted Drum fish

On Saturday Andrew and Matt went for two more dives from the dinghy. It's a bit crowded with three in the dinghy plus dive gear so I opted to stay at home. Saturday night Matt, Andrew and I went out for BBQ ribs. The family restaurant is only opened at the weekends and is situated in their back yard. It's very nicely decorated with potted plants and hanging lights. It's a firm favorite with the cruisers as the price is right and the food is good or lecker in Dutch. This is one of the few Dutch words we have learnt but it seems to be used quite a lot, so we are doing OK.
Matt and Andrew

Sunday we left Bonaire and had a very pleasant thirty miles downwind sail to Curacao. We were booked into Curacao Marina on Sunday night in preparation for our appointment with the rigger the following day. It was very hot and the water was too dirty for swimming. Fortunately for us we are on the outside pontoon and in the breeze.
Harbour front entering Curacao
The high bridge at Curacao

Monday morning we took the dinghy into town and checked into the country. Andrew had to get back to the boat for the rigger. Matt and I stayed in the city and enjoyed strolling around the tourist area and taking refuge in the air conditioned shops when we got too hot. A morning coffee in air conditioned comfort was rejuvenating and lunch in the shade by the waterfront was also very pleasant. We got back to the boat late afternoon and wondered what sort of a mood we would find Andrew in. Thankfully the rigging inspection went very well and Andrew was greatly relieved and ready for a cooling sundowner.

Sadly, Tuesday was departure day for Matt. We decided (that as the marina is out in the middle of nowhere) a hire car was the best way to get Matt to the airport. After many aborted phone calls, due to either language difficulties or non availability of cars, we eventually got a hire car from Budget. Andrew and Matt were picked up and taken to a hotel to collect the car: so far so good. The rot set in when seven minutes after they got the car the gear stick disconnected. Andrew bumped the car up onto the curb and there they sat. After a few more phone calls to Budget it was evident that a speedy rescue wasn't happening and Matt, who was running out of time, should walk back to the marina, collect his bags and get a cab to the airport. Poor Matt had a very hot walk back and was dripping with perspiration when he arrived. He only had time for a quick shower and a bite of lunch before the taxi came. Meanwhile Andrew stood in the sun waiting for the tow truck to arrive and a lift back to Budget. We eventually got a replacement hire car around 1pm but it was too late for Matt.

Last night we had drinks with German friends Robert and Ursula on 'Yara'. They were part of the cruising community in Bonaire and like us are now in Curacao Marina for some maintenance. We had a very enjoyable evening and it was good to put the work aside for a few hours and just talk boats - I can't believe I said that!
In our last newsletter I said that with regard to the rigging inspection we were hoping for a speedy, inexpensive and excellent job. Well just for once our wish was granted. The only thing that needed replacing was the starboard D2 and our whole experience with the rigger was a good story.

Tomorrow morning we will leave the marina and travel eight miles to Spanish Waters to join the cruising community anchored in the bay. We have some friends there and I believe it is easier to get into town. We will wait there in the hope of calmer conditions to travel back into the wind to Bonaire.
Our Aussie friends Patrick and Cheryl are arriving in Bonaire on 6th September to spend a few weeks with us diving. It will be funny having a dive holiday with Patrick as he won't be able to talk under water. For those of you who know Patrick - you know exactly what I mean.

Love Candy xx

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Monday, 18 August 2014

24/2014 A Birthday in Bonaire

Hi from Clare,                          Sunday 17th August 2014
It is now week five in Bonaire and we are very contented. This is most unusual as over the years we have become sea gypsies and we tend to get restless after a week in one spot. For us it really does prove the theory "time flies when you are having fun"

Yellow Frog Fish
Eyed Flounder
Spotted Eel
Blue Tang
Yesterday we planned to have a day off from diving to varnish the bathroom door. The plan half worked, the door was sanded and two coats of vanish applied. So what else is there to do while waiting for the varnish to dry? Go for a dive of course. I photographed a yellow frog fish (see photo). The first time we saw this fish I couldn't make head nor tail of it. It just looked like a piece of yellow coral but yesterday it was out in the open more - what a strange looking creature. The flounder sleeping on the rock (see photo) was also wonderfully camouflaged; such sights are a thrill. Unfortunately my little camera is not up to taking panorama photos or you would see that often we are surrounded by many fish. It is truly a beautiful experience and one I doubt we will ever tire o

This week we celebrated Andrew's 62nd birthday. According to him the bad news is, he is getting older. The good news is, Andrew thought he was already 62 so his birthday didn't change a thing. We commenced the day with an early morning walk along the boulevard by the waterfront followed by a leisurely coffee on 'Acapella' and an unexpected birthday gift from friends Ellen and Martin. We went for a dive in the afternoon and then out for the evening. We had pre dinner drinks at Karel's Beach Bar with Ellen and Martin and also Maria and Maurice from "Cattiva" followed by a very nice three course meal at the Patagonian Steak House (see photos).
Maria, Andrew, Clare, Martin, Ellen & Maurice
Dinner at the Patagonia Steak House
So while I'm typing this newsletter Andrew has given the bathroom door another couple of coats of varnish. He is now pumping water out of the bilge as the hot water heater has a leaking seal or maybe its the watermaker. So rest easy folks - it's not all fun here, sometimes we work all day.

When touring the island with Ellen and Martin they took us to a remote cave to see some rock carvings/paintings which date back to 300BC. This particular cave called "Mati" (meaning high up there) faces north and from there an 'ancient astrologer' looked at two northern horizon lines - the sea horizon and the horizon of the coastline. He then used the large rocks on the coastline, in combination with the stalactite points hanging in the outer edge of his cave, as star tracking co-ordination points. We thought this was pretty cool.
Ancient Astrologer
Ancient rock paintings showing the stars
Andrew's son Matthew will be joining us for a few days later this week. He has a meeting in Bogota in Columbia and has organized (clever lad) a five day break before returning back home to New York. Unfortunately his wife Mim won't be joining us, which is a great pity, who's going to make the cocktails? However we are looking forward to Matt's visit and I'm sure he will enjoy a break from his busy professional life for some diving and a sail to Curacao.

We have an appointment with the rigger in Curacao on 25th August. We are hoping for a speedy, inexpensive and excellent job - what are our chances?

love Candy xx

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

23/2014 Fun in the Water

Hi from Clare,                           Saturday 9th August 2014

We have enjoyed another busy week in sunny Bonaire. I have photographed the map of the island so you can see the number of dive sites along the west coast. We are on a mooring ball between the small island of Klein Bonaire and the main town of Kralendijk marked orange on the map. Sometimes we dive from the dinghy and sometimes we take Eye Candy to a dive site. However yesterday whilst still on our regular mooring we dived just off the back of the yacht. It doesn't seem to matter which we do, all the dive sites are wonderful. We found numerous fish and extensive coral directly under the boat. It is like swimming in a garden and the fish are having a lovely time darting in and out of the coral.
Bonaire Dive Sites
Martin & Ellen Picking up the dive mooring on Eye Candy
The garden behind our boat

We go to happy hour and hamburgers ever Wednesday night at the village marina. The cruising community books a large table so we can sit together. It's a great way to keep in touch. However it pays to get there early as the volume increases along with the crowd and by the end of the night we are all nearly shouting to be heard.
Cruisers at Happy hour
Village Marina Bar

Last night we joined Canadian friends Maria and Maurice at the lovely bayside restaurant "It Rains Fishes" for a very tasty fish dinner. We had a front row table to watch the sunset across the bay. Maria was celebrating the completion of her Open Water Certificate for diving. She was very excited and plans to hit the dive shops today to purchase all the necessary gear to enjoy diving here and beyond in the Pacific.
Maria and Clare at It Rains Fishes

Andrew and Maurice at It Rains Fishes

Jibe City is a very relaxed and laid back windsurf center at Sorobon Beach in Lac Bay on the east coast of Bonaire. The warm waist deep water is ideal for windsurfing and perfect for beginners. At the same time it provides ideal conditions for perfecting jibes and freestyle maneuvers. We had lunch with Martin and Ellen in the Hang Out Beach Bar and watched the young perform. In June this year the Freestyle World Championship were held here - what a sight that would have been.
Windsurfers in action
The Hangout Beach Bar with Martin and Ellen
A collection of thongs at the front gate
Jibe City

We have arranged to sail to Curacao on 24th August to have the rigging replaced which is required by our insurance company after ten years. Our ten years is up in July 2015 and by then we plan to be in the middle of the Pacific, so now's the time. We expect this will take a few days and then we will return to Bonaire for more fun in the water.

Love Candy xx

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Monday, 4 August 2014

22/2014 Settling into Bonaire

Hi from Clare,                        Sunday 3rd August 2014

We have now been in Bonaire for two and a half weeks and we are settling in nicely. We go diving most days and yesterday we had two dives. There are more than 100 dive sites and we are enjoying the tropical fish and colorful coral. The water temperature is around 28 degrees and the visibility is good. We run the risk of being thoroughly spoilt, but I'm sure we will cope.
Ready to go
Lion Fish
Banded Butterfly Fish
It has only rained once since we arrived and after the humidity and regular rain in Grenada it is lovely to have an uninterrupted night's sleep under an open hatch. The daily temperature is in the low thirties and the nights are warm.
This week on the mooring balls just off the main town of Kralendijk the cruising community has dropped to twelve yachts. However there are many tourists staying in holiday apartments, hotels and resorts. In Kralendijk there are also many good restaurants, bars, coffee shops and ice cream parlors. Last night we enjoyed a delicious dinner and ice cream ashore with five Dutch friends. We could only speak English but they spoke mostly English and Dutch when they forgot. They were very apologetic which of course is unnecessary. Martin and Ellen are suggesting we learn two Dutch words a day - I can just see it now, 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing' we could get ourselves into terrible trouble.
Happy hour at the Karels bar
Last week we had difficulty posting the photos on the Blog. We couldn't get two photos to sit side by side. We tried making the photos smaller but that didn't work either. You wouldn't believe how frustrating it is; let's hope we have better success this week.But if not, I apologize in advance.

In 1636 the Dutch arrived in Bonaire. They imported slaves from Africa and settled them in the town of Rincon. The slaves worked on the plantations around Rincon and on salt pans on the opposite side of the island. It took ten hours to walk to the salt pans from Rincon and so the slaves built huts near the salt pans. They would occupy these huts during the week and then walked back home to Rincon for the weekend. In 1850 these huts were replaced by little stone houses as pictured. Slavery was abolished in 1863.
Salt mine
Blood pressure pills?
Slave huts
Andrew is negotiating to have the rigging on Eye Candy checked and or replaced before venturing into the Pacific. If we receive a favorable response we will sail 30 miles to the next island of Curacao to have the work done. We will then return to Bonaire for more diving.

Love Candy xx

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