Curaçao as a Cruiser

We got back from Klein Curaçao with a boat-load of laundry and a bunch of deferred projects. So we got ourselves a rental car for a week, filled the dinghy with bags, and headed to the only self-service laundromat on the island. (Driving is fairly US-typical around here, but with a few differences in signage.) After that massive task, we rewarded ourselves with some delicious Indonesian food at Batik Asli.

Having a car meant we could get out to some dinners, so we took Drew and Patricia to Punda with us to hear some live music. (We couldn’t really see it, and the COVID restrictions still didn’t allow dancing, but still nice.) After dinner, we got to see the famous floating bridge all lit up.

We had seen our friends’ boat, O, before leaving for Klein, but we hadn’t had a chance to say hi yet. We finally connected, and they had us over for sundowners that turned into a full meal and evening. Captain came along, but declined to be social and instead spent the whole time exploring the inside of their boat.

Jane and Jan introduced us to the Captains’ Dinner at The Pier, which is a weekly sailors’ event. We ended up going a few times and meeting a few other people, as well as the occasional baby tortoise.

They also saved us from a serious emergency. We ran out of Sriracha, and realized that we didn’t have a spare on board. After the third supermarket we checked didn’t have any, they graciously donated us a bottle, and saved our breakfast! We eventually found more of the real thing, but not before seriously contemplating a knock-off when we found it at store number 5… And speaking of breakfast, we continue to “experiment” with breakfast soup, by which we mean using whatever veggies we can find, and it turns out that purple cabbage results in blue soup.

It turned out that the real Sriracha was within our grasp all along. One of the bigger supermarkets, Vruegdenhil, runs a free shuttle from the dinghy dock most mornings, and they carry the genuine Huy Fong article. Here’s the bus, definitely getting good utilization from the local cruisers.

A couple other things about supermarkets. First, self-serve candy is universally available in plastic cones. Here, this one is full of “school-kids licorice”, so named because it looks like chalk. Second, deli meat is sold in tiny portions, roughly enough in each packet for a sandwich, while cheese is more often sold by the kilo. This isn’t that cheese, though; this is a representation of what the rest of the world thinks about Americans’ cheese.

We’d met another young couple in Klein, when Lee dropped by our boat to ask about diving. His dive buddy, Jennifer, is currently out of commission, as she’s six months into constructing another tiny human, so he was excited to have potential dive buddies. We would end up doing several dives together, but we also spent a good amount of time hanging out above the water with the trio. Here we are back at Batik Asli, where we convinced them to join us in the tasting menu. Which we all loved, with possible exception of the youngest member of the crew, who was mostly interested in the rice and peanuts.

Early in our relationship, we did a terrible thing, and sent them a funny video. Which Ayla decided needed to play on loop for a very, very long time. I think Lee is still bitter about this.

Occasionally we’d ride into shore together. They had a longer-term rental car, so once our rental ended they had to cart us around if they wanted to go anywhere together. Here’s Jazz waiting patiently as Ayla gets used to her presence.

On these occasions, we’d pull up to the dock (more of a ramp, really) where they parked their car, unload, and tie the boat around the other side of the brand-new-looking but clearly structurally flawed house.

One such outing took us to Equus, a Friday-only, no reservation, no plates, no utensils barbecue eatery in a converted stable. Excellent grilling, if maybe a little more expensive than it ought to be given the fully DIY service.

Did you notice Andrew’s terrible haircut above? Andrew’s hair was getting kind of long and tending to point into a fauxhawk whenever he slept or put on a hat (i.e. most times.) He ducked out of our second visit to the laundromat to visit a barber, who decided that what he needed was a bigger, more lopsided fauxhawk and damn the consequences. You might think Lee’s laughing about the scene on the right, but he’s definitely laughing at Andrew’s hair under the hat.

Just kidding; we’re actually laughing at Jazz’s attempt to screen Jennifer from prying eyes as she changes out of a wet bikini on photo-shoot day. We drove up to Playa Kalki to do a pregnancy shoot with the turtles. This was a really interesting experience for us, as we’d never tried to do “professional”-style portraits under water. We brought Jazz’s smaller dive equipment, and ended up with Andrew mostly wearing it, sitting on the ocean floor taking the pictures while Jazz gave direction at the surface. We had a really wonderful model, holding herself on the surface with impressive stamina, taking direction willingly and competently, and diving on command with no goggles and perfect trust. So while there was a bit of a learning curve, we ended up with some great shots of Jennifer and turtles at the same time. Which we’re mostly not sharing, but here are some snaps of Jazz as we did camera checks, and one above-the-water result that she particularly liked.

We had planned to hop between a couple of beaches, but ended up finding Kalki very comfortable, with cheap and clean beach chairs and umbrellas, plenty of food options, and free rinse water for both humans and gear. So we stayed until sunburn chased us away. By the time we left, the locals were starting to arrive in force; it seems this is quite the Sunday afternoon party spot.

A couple of other tourist stops. First, one day we took a walk along the waterfront by the anchorage, checking out the signs and street art. Of particular interest: Jazz was super amused that the Papiamentu word for trash is sushi (you know, because she doesn’t like fish). Also, the sheer size of this tire-covered fender, and the state of the pothole-ridden road to this part of town.

The “destination” over there is a little fort, with nice views out over Caracas Bai.

A totally unrelated stop: at some point we passed Super Dushi Blvd, which was a road to nowhere, and that absolutely required a picture.

Another notable stop was Cafe 10, and the attached Cathedral of Thorns. Jennifer introduced Jazz to the cafe, which makes an excellent coconut chai latte. The cathedral is somewhere between a building, labyrinth, and art gallery. They’re also a performance space, with live music every Friday night. We tried to visit, with Lee and Jennifer, but turned back when we realized that there was a steep cover and we wouldn’t be able to stay long with Ayla’s bedtime rapidly approaching.

Spanish Waters had a couple other notable things. First, not that you need reasons not to swim in that water, here are some jetski-style boats with big outboards, because being hit by a jetski isn’t bad enough without an exposed propeller. Second, maybe every fifth boat had a facebook and/or youtube logo on it. We’ve been a little further from the beaten path, I guess, because we haven’t seen as much of this, but it seems like this is a hangout for a lot of aspiring sailing channel stars. Why advertise on your boat, though? The people you meet sailing are not your target audience, are they?

Spanish waters would also be where we finally said goodbye to our Hogwarts, Earth, and United Federation of Planets flags. They had a good run, but the wind won in the end, as it always does. In happier departures, the cactus needle that had spent 72 days in Andrew’s finger finally worked its way to the surface.

Two more Curaçao stories. First, we went with Jennifer and Lee to Cafe Tijd, where we failed to get a table, but did see a street cat guarding their back door and waiting for leftover ribs. Second, we noticed while driving around that there are a lot of little lottery houses. This is something we haven’t seen in a few islands, and it’s always a little disheartening when we do. The density wasn’t quite at Dominican Republic levels, but there are way more of these than we’ve seen anywhere in the eastern Caribbean.

So what was Captain Cat up to while we were being social and exploring? Well, sometimes he was arguing with Andrew about who got the box.

But mostly he was doing his normal thing, lying in various uncomfortable-looking positions in various parts of the boat. Sometimes hiding, but usually sitting somewhere where he can keep an eye on Andrew.

And that’s all the adventures we had! At least, all the adventures we had on land.