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A week in a blog…

Wayne had to catch an early flight so we were up a zero dark thirty (440a) to load up the car and find the airport.  Luckily our handy dandy map made navigating so much easier than a few days ago.  Wayne left weighing  a lot less than when he came as he was kind enough to lug several necessities from the states for us (thanx again, Wayne).  After we dropped him off a little before 6a, Matt and I headed back to the boat to get a few hours of sleep.  Unfortunately, sleep evaded me so I cleaned until Matt go up just before 8a.  We decided we wanted to run some errands before we had to return the car at 10a.  So, we headed back to the dinghy dock, hopped in our Kia and went to find the Cost You Less and Best Buy Supermarket.  We loaded up on all the heavy stuff (5 gal. water jugs, diet coke, diet ice drinks, and bulk items.  We tried to swing by the Kooyman but time was running out and we had to get the car back.  As luck would have it, we rolled in just after 10a, but we did not have time to fill her up.  We were only about 1/8 of a tank less than what we received it at so we hoped she did not notice or care.  As it turned out, she noticed, but didn’t care.  We walked over to Van der Tweel supermarket which is the small one on the island but only 2 kilometers away from the dinghy dock.  Then headed back to the boat for a day of blogging and relaxation.

NEXT DAY…

We had heard that there was a free shuttle that picks up at Fisherman’s Harbor (the dinghy dock) and takes you to a grocery store and then brings you back 90 minutes later.  So, we decided to check it out.  We diligently arrived on time and found 8 other boaters waiting for the shuttle bus.  Interesting.  A big white bus came, loaded us all up and took us to a new grocery store called Vrugdenhil!  I could not help it, I gasped when I walked inside.  It was so big, clean and orderly.  They had tons of people working, restocking and helping.  Wowza!  And the prices were pretty reasonable (better than Van der Tweel).  So, we walked around a bit, then decided to visit a few other nearby stores since we were in the area.  We swung in to Budget Marine, then hit Island Water World, and then checked out the Het Washok laundry services before heading back to the market to catch our shuttle home.  Back on the boat by 11am.

We ate a quick lunch and decided to do a hike that would explore a little flamingo area.  Our favorite bartender at Pirate’s Nest told us about this amazing app called “maps.me” which offers world OFFLINE maps for travelers.  Yep, you read that right!  Offline!  So, armed with a really cool map guide we headed off to find the salt flat with flamingos.  Matt thought it looked like a short hike and there are tons of trails to explore.  We grabbed some water, phone charger and headed on our way.  We easily found the trail, but what we did not know was which trail to take.  At the start, there were orange and blue markers so we decided to follow those.  After about 20 minutes, we came to the Flamingo area but there were no flamingos.  Just a large salt flat and a few squawking birds trying to warn us away.  We kept going and came across a red trail – hmmm, wonder what happened to the orange and blue trail.  Oh well, this keeps going around the lake.  As we headed up the other side of the lake we did spot 6 flamingos on the far other side.  Sweet!  Too far away for an iPhone picture, but we enjoyed them for you.

Panorama of flamingo area we hiked

Panorama of flamingo area we hiked

Pretty yellow bellied bird who sang to us

Pretty yellow bellied bird who sang to us

It was really hot, we were low on water, and realized we could not walk around the entire area and get back before dark. So, we decided to find the nearest bus station to head back.  Our maps.me app said it was about 1.8 miles away – ok, here we go.  It led us up, down and around the back bushes, past a poor rotting dog (that just broke our heart as it still had its collar on-jessh!), past the correctional facility and up into town.  Great.  We landed exactly where the free bus shuttle drops us off.

Intended to walk @ Flamingo area but ended up walking into town

Intended to walk @ Flamingo area but ended up walking into town

Overall, the walk was about 6 miles and we were spent!  First, we needed some water and a drink so wandered over to It’s Lit.  Since it was only 4 in the afternoon, we were the only people in the bar except the bartender, Quin.  When we arrived, we were dripping with sweat and I mean dripping.  Not the sweet ladylike sparkle, but puddles and coming from everywhere.  My hands were sweating!  Gross!  But, we saddled right up to the bar, placed our order, and chatted up with Quin who was exceptionally nice!  He told us about the free buss website (autobusbedrijf.org)  that tells you when and where the buses are so we don’t have to wait outside in the heat.

One of many positive signs at Its Lit

One of many positive signs at Its Lit

Super cool bar, positive signs and décor, and really nice bartender – we will come back here again for sure!  We caught our bus and headed back to the boat.

WEDNESDAY

Many of you know, I am a certified project manager (PMP).  I’m super proud of this license and designation as it was tough to obtain.  In order for me to maintain my license, I have to take 60 hours of PDU’s (continuing education) over 3 years.  In the states, that is pretty easy to do as I can just attend a few all-day seminars a year and a couple of PMP monthly meetings to easily get the 60-hours.  However, out at sea, in another country, on someone else’s internet is another thing.  I found an all-day virtual seminar that I signed up to take today.  It was on how the Internet of Things (IoT) converges with project management.  A very interesting topic that merges two of my favorite subjects.  They had a pretty decent cast of presenters and it was scheduled from 830a-5p EST (which is the same time as my time ATL).  This was a huge draw on bandwidth with the running chat session (with all of the hundreds of participants from around the world), the video presentation with animated slides and of course audio.  For the most part, it was ok. I had downloaded all of the presentations so when the video got stuck I could still follow along.  It was just dealing with the broken audio that was a bit frustrating.  But all in all, I managed to sit through 6 solid hours of lecture and happily claimed the last PDU’s to get me to 60 before my August 2017 deadline.

As I was working away, Matt decided to spend the day cooking.  He wanted to try a new recipe that he obtained from our friends on Contrary Mary, chicken roti!  First, he seasoned the chicken and let it marinate.  Then he made the flatbread from scratch!  Then the rest…

Chicken Roti in the making.

Chicken Roti in the making.

Let’s just say that it was a spectacular way to celebrate the completion of my PDU’s and the renewal of my PMP certification! Yum Yum

THURSDAY

We grabbed the free shuttle back to the store as we needed a few items and wanted to explore Curacao Marine, Budget, and IWW (Island Water World).  We picked up a few items at Curacao Marine (new drink holder for the port helm station and some on/off to clean the bottom of the dinghy) then headed over to Budget and IWW.  We “needed” 1/4” line for the tramp when we replace it and would like a new piece of stainless chain for our dinghy – so this was a pricing exploration.  We did not find what we needed so we headed back to the shuttle and caught a ride back to the dinghy dock.  Since we had no plans, we decided to explore the other areas of Spanish Waters.  Several days ago, we checked out Asiento Marina, Curacao Yacht Club, and Kima Kalki Marina.  We still wanted to explore Seru Boca Marina, Santa Barbara Marina, and a few other alcoves.  So, we took Sweet N Low on an adventure.  We met a new friend, Steve who is in a slip at Santa Barbara Marina but he did not look like he was on board when we swung by so we decided to check out Boca 19 as it was close to lunch time.  We climbed up to the 2nd floor, saddled up to the edge of the bar that overlooked the beautiful, private swim area and ordered a pineapple, ham, and cheese pannini – oh so delicious!  We then continued our tour and came across our friends on “Chapter Two” who were preparing to stow their boat for season.  Down the dock from them was this fixed sail trimaran.

Pretty house with LOVE artwork

Pretty house with LOVE artwork

As we entered one of the private bays, we noticed a small private island called Isla Kimiw (see brochure) which you and your loved one can rent out for the week!

Isla Kimiw in Spanish Waters, private resort

Isla Kimiw in Spanish Waters, private resort.

We headed back to the boat to clean up a bit as we had invited our friend Steve to come over for Roti.  It was great fun to hear about all of his adventures over good food and drinks.

Yum Yum!!!!

Yum Yum!!!!

Sunset off Spanish Waters

Sunset off Spanish Waters

A Mermaid’s Tale

Today we wanted to circle back to the bays (or baais) that looked like they had good snorkeling so we headed back to the north side of the island.  Our first stop was Playa Lagun which looked like a fun place to come back to have lunch.   We grabbed our snorkel gear, found a nice rock to leave our clothes and jumped in. Wayne was off to the races and quickly deserted us.  But, Matt stuck by my side and we enjoyed the beautiful little bay’s reefs and sea life.  This bay is also used for diving and many groups of people were learning how to dive and practicing their dive skills.  We met some lovely people who told us about a bay where you can swim with a lot of turtles.  So, we added Playa Piskado to our list.

Please don't swim away, I want to play with you.

Please don’t swim away, I want to play with you.

On the way to Playa Piskado, we came across Playa Kenepa Chiki where we hopped out, did a quick snorkel and got back on the road.

Playa Piskado

Playa Piskado

Next, we came across Playa Kenepa Grandi. There were tons of cars and two tour buses letting their passengers experience the amazing photo opp on a large overlook onto the bay. Since this was a pretty crowded place with lots of people on the beach we decided to continue onward.

Playa Kenepa Grandi view from overlook

Playa Kenepa Grandi view from overlook

Posers in our swimwear came in for a photo op and left without snorkeling.

Posers in our swimwear came in for a photo op and left without snorkeling.

Playa Kenepa Grandi crowded beach below

Playa Kenepa Grandi crowded beach below

Playa Piskado which is also known as Playa Grandi is where many local fishermen return with their catch of the day, clean the fish, and toss the left-overs in the water.  The interesting thing is that there were not a lot of fish eating the unwanted fish parts (or birds) like we’ve seen before.  But rather there were lots of turtles.  The young turtles are omnivores and eat both meat and plants.  As they get older their diet changes to just plants.  We quickly hoped in the water and enjoyed a rare opportunity to swim with large and small turtles alike!

Matt trying to say hello, he did not touch the turtle.

Matt trying to say hello, he did not touch the turtle.



It was getting close to lunch time so we decided to head back to Playa Lagun and try out the restaurant at the top of the cliff called Bahia Beach Bar.  We sat down at a table near the railing so we could watch the snorkelers and divers.  But what we didn’t know was that the iguanas were going to provide the entertainment for the afternoon. There were a few tables in the direct sun which were occupied by a couple of young ladies.  We decided to sit in the shade as we were already burning up.  As the food arrived for the girls, the iguanas came out in full force and were pretty aggressive.  One jumped on the table and the other sat at their feet like a dog begging for left-overs.  It was pretty funny actually, but only because it wasn’t happening to me.

Wayne, the great lizard hunter catching his lunc

Wayne, the great lizard hunter catching his lunch.


After we left Playa Lagun for the 2nd time, we headed to Playa Santa Cruz where we thought mushroom forest and the famous blue room were located.  Mushroom forest is what they named the coral reefs as they appear to be tons of mushrooms on the ocean sea bed.  The blue room is a cave that divers usually frequent but we had heard that snorkelers can get there as well.  We jumped in the water and snorkeled all around the bay but could not find either of them.  Wayne, being the little fish that he is, swam half way to the next bay and came up empty handed.  They remain elusive, but I will find them before we leave!  It was still an ok snorkel spot, I mean how do you complain when you are snorkeling in Curacao?

We were pretty snorkeled out by the end of the day so we decided to head back into town to check out Mambo Beach.  Even though this is a man-made beach, it is really beautiful with its white sand beaches, crystal blue waters.  There is a boardwalk with tons and tons of nice shops, bars, and eateries that fit just about anybody’s taste and budget.

Madero Ocean Club on Mambo Beach

Madero Ocean Club on Mambo Beach

Another ocean club on Mambo beach

Another ocean club on Mambo beach

Can I get this for anyone you love?

Can I get this for anyone you love?

We stopped at the Aqua Beach Bar, enjoyed the passing scenery and shenanigans of the beach goers before heading back to the boat.

Enjoying a drink at Aqua Beach Bar

Enjoying a drink at Aqua Beach Bar.

Great day to be a mermaid!

Three Blind Mice

Curacao is a large island with over 159,000 inhabitants including 50-60 nationalities and 20 different religions.  Most of the population is European and African.  We learned that all kids learn 4 languages in primary school including Dutch, Papiamentu, English and Spanish.  In secondary school they can elect to take 2 more languages which is usually either Spanish, German, French, or Portuguese.  So, with our limited linguistic skills we can get by with “American.”  Sure, makes me feel “less than” considering I only know English and a bit of Spanish so I am trying my Papiamentu out as much as possible and the locals sure seem appreciative.  I found a bartender who teaches me something new every day.

We decided to walk to the car rental place which was in the Papagayo Beach Resort.  We had stopped by yesterday but only Jan Theil Car rentals was open and they had a 3-day minimum.  Avis had a car for a total of $68 per day which included tax and insurance.  Matt would take on the challenge of driving around the island, but the good news was that the wheel is on the left side of the car and you drive on the same side of the road as the U.S.  But, there are tons of round-a-bouts and very few street signs.  Unfortunately, we did not grab a map from Avis so we were trying to find our way around the south side of the island with a hokey tourist map which only had major cities and no roads or streets listed.  It grew frustrating very quickly.  We did manage to find Fort Beekenburg which was built in 1703 with stones from Walloon region.  The ships used the stones as ballast on the way here and then filled their ships with salt on the way back.

Matt hanging out in the guard shack.

Matt hanging out in the guard shack.

Old discarded cannons

Old discarded cannons

Wayne admiring the view

Wayne admiring the view

Prisoner shackles up here?

Prisoner shackles up here?

Cannon can shoot a long way out there.

Cannon can shoot a long way out there.

Matt always has to find the tallest peak and climb it

Matt always has to find the tallest peak and climb it

After driving around aimlessly, we got lost a little and made several wrong turns, so we decided to head to the airport to try to find a map.  Somehow, we managed to find the airport and I scored an island guide road map book which had detailed maps of several main cities including a great overall island map!  Wayne, our navigator, is fully armed now!

We tried to find Koraal Tabak because we heard there was a nice hike to a cave.  We found the bay, but we could not find the hike entrance.  We finally gave up because we had gotten too far off the main road and were bumping up and down on dirt roads in our small Kia.  Matt and I will circle back to this area as I want to find this hike and explore the Hato Caves which are nearby.

We did stumble upon a great little find in St. Joris Baai, a place called Fundashon Sint Joris Baai which helps children learn to windsurf who do not have the money to pay for lessons or gear.  They also teach kids how to kitesurf, kayak, mountain bike, and do art. There was nobody home when we visited, but we looked around anyway.

 Fundashon entrance

Fundashon entrance

Entirely made of recycled products.

Entirely made of recycled products.

View from the upper balcony

View from the upper balcony

Shacks where people can sleep - little better than under a bridge.

Shacks where people can sleep – little better than under a bridge.

There are a few other places I’d like to come back and visit on the South side of the island, but we just did not have time to get to them all.  I’d like to see the ostrich farm, do the hike at Koraal Tabak and find the cave, visit the aquarium, Mambo Beach, a few art galleries, and the Hato caves.  Good thing we are here for a few months.

We headed north toward Boca Ascencion to find another hike that lead to turtle beach.  We found Ascencion, but did not find the trail entrance and frankly got tired of driving on the bumpy dirt roads again.  At this point, we were hungry so food became a high priority.  We drove through a small town called Soto and there were no places to eat, no restaurants, nothing.  The next town was Barber and we were certain we would find a thriving metropolis.  Well, no not really, but we did hope to find several places to eat.  We did not find a selection, but we found “4th of July Snack” on the corner of a closed strip mall with several locals hanging out in the parking lot.  When in Rome!  Ruby our super friendly helper, ordered a burger for Wayne, chicken stew for me, and a cabbage dish for Matt.  The burger was Caribbean style on Curacao bread, the chicken stew had a curry sauce and was really tasty and Matt devoured his cabbage with pork that fell off the bone.  A really wonderful local experience!  I’d include a link to this place, but it is so small I could not find anything on the web about it, but you cannot miss if when driving through the small town of Barber.

As our day was coming to an end, there were two more stops we wanted to make.  We were looking for the mushroom forest and the famous blue room  which we thought were located on Playa Santa Cruz.  But alas, we did not the forest or blue room.  Not a problem because the beach on Playa Santa Cruz was beautiful with thatch roofs over picnic benches.  We will come back here tomorrow to snorkel and explore some more.  (Several days later, back at the boat and online, I learned that mushroom forest and the blue room are located at Playa Santu Pretu which is not reachable by car.  You park at Playa Santa Cruz and hike 10 minutes to Playa Santu Pretu).

Playa Santa Cruz

Playa Santa Cruz

Off to the next stop, Playa Lagun which is a small beach with a few fishing boats, free lounge chairs, huge covered cabana, and a restaurant at the top of the hill overlooking this quaint little bay.  The water was absolutely gorgeous a crystal clear turquoise color.  This is at the top of our list for a return visit tomorrow.

Playa Lagoon nestled between two large cliffs.

Playa Lagoon nestled between two large cliffs.

A few fisherman call this bay home.

A few fisherman call this bay home.

Someone stuck fish parts into the rock - what do you see?

Someone stuck fish parts into the rock – what do you see?

Bahia Beach bar overlooks the bay - a mere 42 steps up

Bahia Beach bar overlooks the bay – a mere 42 steps up

We decided to head back to town to try a new place out for happy hour.  We had heard about a local bar called Pops Place which is within walking distance from Fisherman’s Harbor.  We found a breezy table, ordered a couple of drinks and admired the scenery.

Pops Place Bar and Grill

Pops Place Bar and Grill

They must have just caught some fresh fish as there was a bit of a smell coming from the kitchen so we packed up and headed back to the Pirate’s Nest to capture the sunset and the last remaining minutes of happy hour.

Me being silly

Me being silly