A visit to Klein Curaçao requires the right weather window and a three-day permit, which you have to obtain in person at the harbor control office downtown. It looked like the wind might die down enough to make the trip comfortable, so we hopped on a bus to get downtown. Well, actually we got offered a ride while we were looking for the bus stop, because Jazz has magical hitchhiking skills. But we took the bus back home afterward, and had a nice quiet evening. Well, we mostly spent the evening restoring our boat to pre-guest state, but Captain had a nice quiet evening.
The next morning, we hauled anchor and headed out, with Nautilife following close behind. The wind didn’t die as much as we’d hoped, nor turn to any useful angle, so we spent a hard, pounding five hours motoring into the wind and waves. (Nautilife tacked back and forth, nearly keeping up while traveling significantly faster in long zigzags. It seems they point a little better than we do.)
Somewhere around halfway through the journey, Jazz went to wash her hands and found that there was no water coming out of the sink. Normally the pressure drops when a tank runs dry, but we notice before it’s bone dry. On investigating, we found that the tank of water we’d made the previous day was gone. Between the heat and vibration, a hose collar attached to the calorifier had popped of, dumping some thirty gallons of water through the heater and into the engine bilge. We hadn’t heard the water pump working away over the noise of the engine; one more reason to prefer sailing. Anyway, we’d planned to make dinner for Nautilife, but that plan would have to wait until the next day.
Eventually we came in sight of the island, which blocked a little bit of the waves and made progress a little easier. Look at how flat it is! Barely any land to pick out of the horizon.
We dropped anchor in twelve feet over a sandy bottom, at the south end of the anchorage where the only mooring in site looked fishing-boat sized. We had a swim, made dinner, and renewed our vows never to go east ever again. But by the morning, as we woke up in crystal clear water, we were pretty happy we’d made the trip. We watched the tour boats arrive for the day, and had to laugh when a power cat and definite party boat picked up the tiny mooring directly in front of our boat.
We took the day to relax and run the watermaker, alternating between reading and snorkeling. After a game of bocce on the beach, we made the pressure-cooked pulled pork dinner that we’d promised from the day before. With no internet access on the island, our phones stayed put away, which meant we went most of the day without taking pictures. It’s a beautiful spot, but a little bit of roll wraps around the bottom of the island, and the motion of the boat tends to sap your energy a little.
The next day alternated between beautifully clear and thunderstorm, causing us to set up our dive gear and then retreat inside on two separate occasions. More on the dive later, but here’s Andrew setting up the gear, while a kitesurfer eats it spectacularly in the background.
Back out of the water, we took a walk with Nautilife to see the east side of the island, with its turtle nests and shipwrecks. That trail in the sand that looks like a treaded vehicle? Turtle track.
On the way back, we stopped at the lighthouse, for the highest viewpoint on the island.
We headed back to the west side, and took the dinghies over to Nautilife, where Drew cooked us a delicious dinner. We had a little bit of trouble getting the boat started, but a little spray of carburetor cleaner into the air intake was enough to get us there and home again.
We were about to get in the water the next morning to give the boat bottom a much-needed cleaning (not even two weeks in Spanish Waters and we had a good beard going), when a lady stopped by in her dinghy. It turned out she was a masseuse from the Lady Anne, and had some slots to fill for the day. So we made an appointment for later in the day, figuring it would be a just reward for our morning’s gross labors.
We finished the day strong, with beers, barbecue, and a bonfire. As the sun went down, the hermit crabs came out, and we had an impromptu crab race in the sand.
We’d planned to leave the next day, as we had only a three-day permit. But when we woke up, there was an uncomfortable amount of lightning, and we decided discretion was the better part of valor and took a lazy day on the boat. Chilling out, a little foredeck yoga, reading, and licking ourselves in the Captain’s chair. (OK, that last part was just Captain Cat.) We’d hope for a second dive that day, and we set up our gear in the dinghy twice in hope of a trip to the north end of the island, but the weather never cleared up and we have a firm no lightning rule, so it was not to be. Nautilife took off in one of the windows while we were setting up our gear, and had an uneventful sail back to the mainland while we huddled in the salon in the rain.
We got up the next day to leave… and found that our windlass motor wouldn’t turn. OK, no problem, it’s probably the brushes, because it’s always the brushes. But when Andrew ducked into the chain locker, he found he couldn’t turn the screws to get to them. Fortunately, we had a spare motor on board, so we took the whole lower unit apart and swapped them out. In the process, we discovered that there was an uncomfortable amount of corrosion around the outside of the gearbox. A thin or distressed edge means the possibility of a bad seal, which means water in the gearbox, which is not what you want. So that went on the to-order list, for when we were back near town with internet access.
With the new motor in place, everything worked fine, and we hauled up the anchor and headed back towards town. It was a later start than we’d planned, but Villa loves going downwind, so it was only a couple of hours to get back to Spanish waters.