Thursday, March 29, 2007

March 29, 2007 - Curacao

After a few months out here we can immediately tell when a harbor has a rather static population of cruisers. Upon arrival at Spaanse Waters, we noted several boats with bottom growth creeping up their waterlines. One of them had a green beard. I turned to Sten and commented that "This place is ripe for a cruiser's net." The next afternoon, we met another cruiser while waiting for the bus into the capital to clear in. Within moments she told us when and which vhf channel the net was on in the morning.

The net is full of useful info, such as: there are daily free shuttle buses to the marine store and the grocery; on Saturday, there will be cricket (if we're still here, I'm totally going to play); and the local yacht club charges you for more fuel than you actually receive. Good stuff.

The boat behind us is clearly not just here waiting for a weather window. They've built (out of oil drums and wood) a rather good looking floating patio along the starboard side of their boat that wraps around the stern. It is complete with a table, chairs, planters, a grill and a cooler. It is truly fantastic. And now Sten is in trouble, because if we ever drop the hook anywhere for an extended period of time, I'm going to be looking to him to rig up something similar.

After a day anchored near the local fishing fleet's marina, we moved into a more protected spot for two reasons: a. we were tired of being woken by the wake thrown from the fishing boats, and b. we were seeking a better internet connection. We still can't upload our pictures to the blog, or download the latest episodes of 24, Lost or Grey's Anatomy, but we can email and cruise the net, if a bit slowly.

Curacao gets a bad rap as the most industrial of the ABC's, but we really like it. The capital looks like it was transplanted from Amsterdam. After clearing in at the cruise ship terminal, we found our way over to a boutique hotel comprised of 65 restored 18th and 19th century buildings ( that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The hotel has a museum on its grounds that houses the Middle Eastern and African artifact collection of Jacob Gelt Dekker, the founder of the hotel. The collection is both broad and deep, ranging from the evolution of man, ancient Mesopotamia and African Empires, to the slave trade. One of the more stunning exhibits was a lifesize model of the inside of a slave ship.

Such an excellent museum was a surprising thing to find on a small island in the Caribbean.

All that culture made us thirsty, so we settled down at the outdoor courtyard bar in the midst of the hotel's grounds and enjoyed chatting with a couple from Minnesota. After happy hour, we had dinner at an Indian restaurant at the hotel. There are antiques and artifacts scattered all over the grounds, including several astrolabes at the restaurant of the same name. It is the most interesting resort we've ever explored.

No comments: