Friday, 24 October 2014

28/2014 Aruba

Hi from Clare,                          Thursday 23rd October, 2014

Our last week in Bonaire was very busy with four consecutive nights out to dinner saying goodbye to our cruising friends. We also went diving nearly every day and we sadly realized that we may never experience such easy and delightful diving on a daily basis ever again. So as you can guess it was with some regret that we left Bonaire on Tuesday 14th October and headed west forty miles to Curacao. We anchored on the island of Kline Curacao (some 10 miles out from our destination) for lunch and enjoyed a few hours swimming in sparkling clear aqua water alongside a stunning white sandy beach.
Crystal Casino and the Ralph Lauren annex

The purpose for stopping again at Curacao was to refill our cooking gas bottles, however this turned out to be tricky. The gas station said to be unreliable with both supply and opening hours could only be accessed by hiring a car. Some cruisers reported phoning before driving there only to find them shut upon arrival. We only stayed for three days, the first day to check in, the last day to check out and one in the middle to catch up with cruising friends and enjoy happy hour at the bar.
Shopping arcade

So we sailed 75 miles to Aruba which is the most western island of the ABC chain. We had heard that Aruba was very industrial and not much of a stop. This is true of one end of the island where the petro-chemical industry is present, but the other end of the island is upmarket and frequented by many cruise ships. There are numerous expensive jewelry and brand name shops, beautiful beaches and first class holiday accommodation. Customs and immigration came down to the wharf when we arrived and the check in process took about one hour. We dropped off our gas bottles at the ships chandlery and they took them away to be refilled at no cost to us - things were looking up.
Cruise ship at the dock
We have been here now for four days and all our business dealings have been a delight. We have spent most afternoons in town sitting in lounge chairs in shaded breezeways enjoying an iced drink and speedy free Wifi - all very civilized and greatly appreciated. The local people are very helpful and very customer focused. One commented that being last in the ABC chain they don't get a lot of business - what a shame.

Early 1920s house restored

We have been catching the very efficient local busses to shop and also have a look around this beautiful island. We went out to Budget Marine and amongst other things purchased a new fishing rod. When sailing to Aruba we caught a big Mahi Mahi but unfortunately he snapped the line and got away. We have lost a few fish recently and so we have now upgraded our gear - look out fish. We also went to a bulk supermarket Price Smart similar to Cosco in the USA. It is usually members only shopping but a one day pass is available for visitors. I was very glad of the opportunity to stock up on nuts and dried fruit and few other hard to find items.
Walkway and cycle path beside the runway

We are anchored next to English friends Mark and Sue on Macushla.  They are heading for the Panama and the Pacific early 2015. We had drinks on their boat a few nights ago and it is our turn to host drinks tonight on Eye Candy. We first met Mark and Sue in the Canary Islands as we exited the Med. After being on the water for nine years I suppose it is small wonder that we run into people we know.

Beach-side hotels

Well this is the million dollar question.
We are debating whether to come through the Panama in 2015 or spend another year here. We would like to visit South America and maybe Costa Rica and Nicaragua. So we are asking ourselves, what's the rush?
Anyhow regardless of the outcome of this debate, we will continue on to Colombia as soon as a weather window is available. At this stage it looks like it could be as soon as this weekend.
Love Candy cc

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

27/2014 Beautiful Bonaire

Hi from Clare,                                       Monday 6th October, 2014

So the weeks slip by in beautiful Bonaire and we are very happy and content. We have everything we need here, good friends, good shopping and wonderful warm clear water with great diving.
Honeycomb Cow fish

Grey Angel fish
When Aussie friends Patrick and Cheryl were here we averaged two dives a day. However since their departure we are now averaging one dive a day with English friends Jeremy and Susie on 'Joy of Shamrock'. Both Jeremy and Susie are fairly new to diving, Susie having just qualified a few weeks ago in Bonaire. They are both very relaxed in the water and we are having fun sharing the dives together.
Blue Chromis

Spotted Moray Eel
When Patrick came he brought some requested items from Australia for the boat. Andrew has been busy assembling and installing an ultrasonic Anti-fouling device which emits ultrasonic sound and hopefully prevents barnacles growing on the bottom of the boat. He spent one night soldering the components and two nights installing the device including gluing the transducer to the inside of the hull. When we are in the water under the boat we can hear it beeping. We will find out how effective the device is when we are in Cartagena, Columbia as the harbor has a reputation for healthy barnacle growth.
Spider Crabs
Andrew has also installed a switch to the AIS transmitter so we can turn it off and therefore not be seen if we so wish. He has also installed a switch for the radar so we can turn it off and save power, but still have use of the plotter. Patrick gave us some 12 volt USB chargers which Andrew has also installed. It is much easier now to plug in and charge phones, Ipads, kindles etc; no more crawling under the Nav station to turn on the inverter - fantastic. Patrick also gave us some big pegs to secure towels/clothes to the steering wheel or arch for drying. All these little improvements make life on the boat easier, but don't spoil us too much Patrick or we may never get off.
Juvenile Spotted Drum fish
So while Andrew has been busy installing I have been critically appraising the food stocks with the Pacific crossing in mind. Items considered 'nice to have' but no essential have been put to one side for eating before January. I have also been on the internet researching dehydrated foods and vacuum packing. The goal for the Pacific is to have the right foods without weighting the boat down. As we will be there for many months and food supply is variable, there is much to consider.

We will probably be in Bonaire for another week or so. We have had a wonderful holiday here and we will be sad to leave.

Love Candy xx

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