Even though Harvey and Irma both threatened to change our friend’s travel plans, Matt and I were determined to head toward Aruba. After our massive provisioning run we were ready to head to Santa Cruz Bay which is the closest bay to Aruba. This will shave 25 miles off our trip to Aruba. Our thoughts were to sail to Santa Cruz Bay and then get up early the next day and sail to Aruba (which is about 50 miles). We said “good-bye” to our Curacao friends, pulled up anchor and headed out. It was a beautiful day providing a nice trade wind – perfect for a spinnaker sail. Matt pulled out Betty, our smaller spinnaker sail and off we went. We enjoyed an absolutely spectacular sail day – which we had not had since we arrived to Curacao almost 3 months ago!
We arrived at Santa Cruz Bay a little over 3 hours later and there were no other boats around nice. This is where Captain Good Life has his shop and rents out canoes and kayaks to those who want to visit the Blue Room and Mushroom Forrest. He also provides guided tours on his boat if you are interested. It took us a few times to hook the anchor as the ground is very hard with patches of coral. Once we hooked, we jumped in checked the holding, and snorkeled a bit.
As we were making dinner, I started texting with Sharon, our friend who was to meet us in a few days in Aruba. Their original flight was out of Houston which was rerouted a week ago to Orlando due to Hurricane Harvey. Then on Friday (4 days prior to their trip), the airline cancelled their flight. They were able to reschedule their trip to Aruba for October. So, we had a decision to make. Do we stay in Curacao (where we have already spent 2 months), head to Aruba (where it tends to be pricey), or go back to Bonaire? It did not take long to decide as we both wanted to go back to Bonaire. The beautiful water, upcoming regatta, and idea of more dive adventures was too alluring for us. So, instead of getting up early to head to Aruba, we got up early to head to Bonaire which is a beat into the wind and waves.
The alarm went off at 445am, anchor was up by 5am, and we were out of the bay by 515am. Good start! We were actually able to raise the sails to one reef with the thought we could shake it out if the winds behaved. We managed to hold our course, with the sails for about the first 4 hours. However, several rain storms had a different idea – they kept pushing us off course, further and further North. When we were -7 VMG and wet from the rain, we decided to drop the sails and motor to course – directly into the wind and waves. It was not our best day, but also not the worst. We encountered several more storms that kept the boat wet, rocky and rolly.
Since we just provisioned, our fridge and freezer are full, and I mean FULL! But Matt could not resist putting the fishing lines out. He justified it by not putting out the teasers – (don’t worry that logic did not make sense to me either). After about 8 hours (2 hours to go), of nothing, we noticed a huge flock of birds circling around movement in the water. Fish! We headed in that direction and low and behold, one line went “zing” and then nothing – no pulling or bending of the pole. Hmmm, As Matt reeled it in, we realized we did have fish on, but it was a little fish. Even though it was a Mahi, Matt’s favorite, we set her free to grow up big and strong.
We got one more bit on the hook, but it was not meant to be. As we were pulling up to the mooring field, where we were hopeful to find a mooring, we were greeted with a fabulous welcome party. Manuel, Nadja (and a new friend Sean) from Manado were in their dinghy to help us secure to a mooring, then Thea (from Kattimi) came over in her kayak, Cindy (from tranquility) came by in her SUP, and Susan (from Nomad) swam by while doing her laps. Of course some of these peeps were just out enjoying a nice calm afternoon – but they ended up swinging by to welcome us back – good to be Sugar Shack!
We tried to clear in to customs and immigration, but they closed early (it was Saturday after all), so we stopped by Illy Coffee for a treat and wifi. I have to admit that it was really tasty ice cream, but I am partial to Gio’s. Afterward, we stopped by Karel’s for happy hour (and more wifi) and then headed back. Before the sun set, we had been invited to a birthday party the next day, another day out on Ad Astra and drinks with friends.
It’s hard to call “Bonaire” a “Bust” especially since we are so happy to be able to return to this beautiful island.