Our First Days in Curacao

We arrived in Curacao on Saturday afternoon and unexpectedly ended up in a marina rather than anchoring due to a malfunctioning windlass. We are at the Seru Boca Marina, which is far removed from most of the cruiser activity, but it has been a nice change of pace. It is a very nice facility and is very, very quiet. We’ve enjoyed evenings sitting on the bow, staring at the hillsides and surround scenery. Although, one evening as we were preparing for bed, our serenity was interrupted by loud explosions which turned out to be a fireworks display over the water. Why? Good question. But, we enjoyed them nonetheless.

Our view from the salon looking out through the cockpit.

Our view from the salon looking out through the cockpit.

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Why?  We don't know.

Why? We don’t know.

We’ve repaired our windlass. After getting a little help in troubleshooting, we discovered that our handheld remote control wire was broken. Unfortunately, this could not be repaired; but, fortunately the local Island Water World (marine supply) had one in stock! So, now our windlass is operational once again. We also replaced our grill. When I started to grill our sailfish, it was non-operational. It had seen its better days, so we replaced it and purchased a dedicated propane tank instead of using the small green throwaway cylinders. We replaced both the wireless remote for the windlass and the grill, just before starting cruising, so it looks like both had a two year life-span.

Head wound sustained while troubleshooting the windlass.  That's what happens when a hatch falls on your head.

Head wound sustained while troubleshooting the windlass. That’s what happens when a hatch falls on your head.

Our new grill with its new dedicated tank.

Our new grill with its new dedicated tank.

Curacao, like Bonaire, is part of the Netherland Antilles. It’s landscape is filled with cacti and is reminiscent of the American west. It’s quite dry. Beatitude is already covered with a layer of dust. The people have been very friendly. It is an island of polyglots. Most speak at least some Papamiento, Dutch, English, and Spanish. All are taught in school. This island is much larger than Bonaire. There is a lot more traffic and many more stores, restaurants, etc. We’ve enjoyed the little time we’ve explored the island thus far.

Sunset at Seru Boca Marina

Sunset at Seru Boca Marina

On Monday afternoon, we rented a car for a few days. Our afternoon was filled with mainly running errands. We visited the two chandleries on the island, Budget Marine and Island Water World, where we purchased the parts necessary for the above repairs. We stopped by one of the many (yes, I said many!) McDonalds on the island for a meal. And, we did some grocery shopping at a large, well-stocked grocery store.

Tuesday was mostly a fun day of exploration. We started out with a visit to the Curacao Ostrich Farm, a little bit of Africa in the Caribbean. It was quite interesting and educational. We got up close and personal with these odd birds. Two themes were constantly repeated by our guide: Ostriches are extremely stupid and unable to be taught anything… and they are very dangerous. One kick and you may be dead. Who knew?

The emu -- Although he can't fly, we learned he's a pretty good swimmer.

The emu — Although he can’t fly, we learned he’s a pretty good swimmer.

A male ostrich at the farm (The males are black, while the females are brown in color).

A male ostrich at the farm (The males are black, while the females are brown in color).

Female Ostrich

Female Ostrich

A cute little ostrich on the farm

A cute little ostrich on the farm

Macaw at the Ostrich Farm

Macaw at the Ostrich Farm

Macaw Two

Macaw Two

Hello!

Hello!

Cindy feeding a young ostrich.  Ostriches have no teeth which is why they eat and carry over two pounds of stones in their gizzard to help digest food.  Very sloppy eaters.  The farm bought pigs to roam the grounds to clean up after them.

Cindy feeding a young ostrich. Ostriches have no teeth which is why they eat and carry over two pounds of stones in their gizzard to help digest food. Very sloppy eaters. The farm bought pigs to roam the grounds to clean up after them.

This ostrich is doing his defense dance.  He bends low, spreads his wings and does this funky side-to-side sway that means, "You are about to be kicked!"  An ostrich defends itself with a forward kick which is strong enough to kill you.

This ostrich is doing his defense dance. He bends low, spreads his wings and does this funky side-to-side sway that means, “You are about to be kicked!” An ostrich defends itself with a forward kick which is strong enough to kill you.

Cindy and an Ostrich Egg.  These are so strong, you can stand on it without it breaking.

Cindy and an Ostrich Egg. These are so strong, you can stand on it without it breaking.

From the Ostrich Farm we stopped by Serena’s Art Factory, home of the “Chichi” doll, a rather well endowed piece of folk art unique to Curacao. Since Cindy would not be here for the next workshop, we were hoping to buy an unpainted doll for Cindy to paint on her own, but they would not sell unpainted dolls to us. So, we moved on down the road to stop at the Curacao Aloe Vera Plantation. There wasn’t much to see there other than aloe vera plants growing in the fields and a few informational boards telling us about Aloe Vera and its “miraculous” properties.

Me and a very large "Chichi."

Me and a very large “Chichi.”

Aloe Vera at the Plantation

Aloe Vera at the Plantation

After our morning fun, we next went out on a wild goose chase trying to fill our new propane cylinder. Eventually, we found the only place on the island (apparently) that can fill a new cylinder, Curgas. After a quick trip back to Beatitude and a change of clothes, we were off again. This time, our destination was downtown Willemstad, the capital of Curacao. In order to park, we had to obtain some Netherland Antilles Guilders (the local currency which has an exchange rate of about $1.78 for $1.00 US currency). This wasn’t easy, but eventually a bank exchanged five bucks for us. Willemstad is actually a pair of twin cities, Punda to the east and Otrabanda to the west. We parked and walked through Punda enjoying our stroll. We stumbled upon the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel, the oldest synagogue in continuous use in Americas. We walked across the Queen Emma pontoon bridge which connects the two halves of the city. This entire bridge rests on pontoons and completely swings over to the Otrabanda side for passing marine traffic. We walked across and enjoyed magnificent views of the colorful buildings lining the Punda waterfront.

About to go to Willemstad

About to go to Willemstad

At the entrance to Synagogue Mikvé Israel-Emanuel

At the entrance to Synagogue Mikvé Israel-Emanuel

The oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Americas.  The congregation dates to 1651 when many fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal.

The oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Americas. The congregation dates to 1651 when many fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal.

The Synagogue's Floor is Sand.   Why? Three reasons: 1. Modeled after the Hebrew encampment in the Sinai desert, 2. In Spain and Portugal, the Jews had to put sand on the floor of the secret rooms in which they worshipped to muffle the sounds, 3. God's promise to Abraham that he would "multiply your seed as the sands of the seashore."

The Synagogue’s Floor is Sand. Why? Three reasons: 1. Modeled after the Hebrew encampment in the Sinai desert, 2. In Spain and Portugal, the Jews had to put sand on the floor of the secret rooms in which they worshipped to muffle the sounds, 3. God’s promise to Abraham that he would “multiply your seed as the sands of the seashore.”

Cindy in the "C" of Curacao.

Cindy in the “C” of Curacao.

Walking across the pontoon bridge from Punda to Otrabanda (the twin cities of Willemstad).

Walking across the pontoon bridge from Punda to Otrabanda (the twin cities of Willemstad).

Waterfront buildings of Punda (reminds us of Copenhagen a little bit)

Waterfront buildings of Punda (reminds us of Copenhagen a little bit)

While walking in Otrabanda, we passed beneath these two involved in some sort of mating ritual (I think)

While walking in Otrabanda, we passed beneath these two involved in some sort of mating ritual (I think)

The Venezuelan Market on the waterfront in Punda.  I believe all fresh vegetables on Bonaire and Curacao come from Venezuela.  The desert-like, dry conditions is not conducive to vegetable growing.

The Venezuelan Market on the waterfront in Punda. I believe all fresh vegetables on Bonaire and Curacao come from Venezuela. The desert-like, dry conditions is not conducive to vegetable growing.

To finish our day, we planned a splurge dinner at the Fort Nassau Restaurant which is, as the name implies, housed in an old fort dating to 1797. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch built a number of Fort Nassaus around the globe, of which this is one. It was briefly taken over by the British and actually, the last military forces housed in the fort were American. It is now a very nice restaurant with magnificent 360° views of the surrounding area. It was a very romantic conclusion to a hectic day.

Just outside of Fort Nassau, overlooking the harbor.

Just outside of Fort Nassau, overlooking the harbor.

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View from Cindy's seat at our table at the Fort Nassau Restaurant.  Willemstad is in the background.

View from Cindy’s seat at our table at the Fort Nassau Restaurant. Willemstad is in the background.

Sunset from Fort Nassau

Sunset from Fort Nassau

Fort Nassau

Fort Nassau

11 thoughts on “Our First Days in Curacao

  1. I so look forward to reading your blog and following your adventures!! Thanks for sharing your pictures and adventures with us!!

  2. As always Barry a great blog. Hope your head gash heals soon. Love the sunset and fabulous dress Cindy is wearing
    Much love
    Sian & Steve Xx

  3. Nice, you will have to send us the must do list for Curaçao!!!!! We are getting ready for our departure from Bonaire Sunday morning!!!! Zim and Kim

  4. Stopped there on a cruise to Panama Canal in 2007. Thanks for sharing brings back good memories. Glad you continue safely with God’s protection to explore His world.

  5. We stopped there on a cruise February 2015 and really liked it there. You have already seen much more than we were able to see in one day. So glad you are sharing with us. Sandy and Everett Foss

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