Curacao                                                   June-July 2010
The entrance into the protected bay of Spanish Waters is very narrow and could easily be missed. There is a brand new Hyatt Hotel on the south side, which made a good land mark.  Once inside the harbor, we were amazed at the amount of yachts anchored in the bay.  Spanish Waters is a well known protected hurricane hole, so most of the yachts that cruise the Caribean come and hide out here during the off season. 
After ten days in Bonaire, and paying a mooring fee of $10.00 a day it was time to make a move for Spanish Waters in Curacao. As we departed we noticed a rainbow over a cloud, something we had never seen before.  The half day sail was uneventful, aside from being buzzed by the Coast Guard Helicopter
Phoebe stolls passed a colorful fish mural painted on the side of an abandoned building on our long walk to immigration.
The following day after we arrived, we caught the local bus into the capital of Willemsted to check-in.  Curacao is part of the Netherland Antilles and the refurbished buildings downtown are of Dutch style. After we found customs, we needed to cross river and walk approximately 1/2 a mile to immigration and the Harbor office. Passing a Dutch war ship, at dock for provisioning, we found the offices we were searching for.  Only to discover they were closed until 11:00 am.  Deciding to venture back into town and treat the children to McDonald's, which we have not seen since South Africa.  After lunch Jim strolled back to Immigration, only to find out  that the Harbor office was closed until two.  The children and I waited at a small playground for Jim, they pose in front of a phone box, the likes of which you do not see anymore.  Behind them a container ship navigates out the narrow channel.  Finally we all ventured back to the Harbor office to get our cruising permit, three's a chame. The office was open and we filled in the appropriate paper work, then paid our $10.00, thankfully we had the exact change, as we would have had to walk back to town again if we did not.
The library in town was large and air-conditioned, so we took the children there  one day to do school.  Only to find out it was closed on Mondays!  We did manage to find a spot to sit and study much to the children's dismay.  After school we explored town, the narrow channel has a bridge that opens when ships enter or depart, if the bridge is swung open you take a ferry to the other side. Drake and Cosmo are on the ferry next to the bridge.
The tour consisted of climbing the many set of stairs up to the engine room, then continued on to the helicopter pad. The rig is a maintanence ship that drives to drilling rigs and proceeds to assist in the repairs that they require.  Currently it is docked in Curacao to avoid the hurricane season, but will head off for Brazil or Mexico.  The best part of the tour for the children was the ice cream they were treated to at the end.  Captain Laurence was scheduled to fly to New Orleans to see his family then back home in two days. He mentioned we were lucky he was on duty as the other Captain, probably would not have let us on.
The atmosphere in Curacao was exciting during the FIFA world cup.  For the final game between Holland and Spain the local watering spot was crowded with all the dutchies sporting their orange shirts. We opted to go to a smaller bar right on the water, the children swam and played on the beach, while we enjoyed watching the match.
One day we took the children on a field trip with Colin, Zinnia and Cosmo from s/v Pacific Bliss. Our main goal was to find Flamingos. Taking two local buses to Boca Sami, we found the lagoon and what appeared to be a flamingo in the distance. Much to our dismay it was a red oil drum.  We did see a turqoise tailed lizard, above.  After our hike the clear blue water of the ocean was inviting and refreshing.  On the bus ride home, Cosmo spotted a flock of flamingos off in the distance.  Our trip was a success. 
The s/v Blue Sky crew sport their t-shirts and hats while posing with their favorite natural beverage, "Blue Sky Soda".  We have been without since Malaysia.
Drake in search of Flamingos. The clear blue waters of Boca Sami. A fence made from Cactus.  Curacao has a very dry climate and reminds us a little of Arizona, with brush and Organ Pipe Cacti growing wild.
After a hot day walking around town, we found a fountain that the children could play into cool off.  Drake, Cosmo, Phoebe and Zinnia enjoy running through the water spouts.   On the dock in town was a large mega-yacht that we had seen in Bonaire, called "A",  it was a very unique design. 

To the left are Fin, Drake,Cosmo and Phoebe, as we explored the roads above our anchorage in Spanish Waters.
While on our hike with the children we tried to find a trail up to the top of hill. Unable to locate one, Jim went on a mission. We decided to dress ship for the fourth of July and Jim found the trail to the top.   Blue Sky is just to the left of him in full colors.  The view of the oil rig and Beekenberg fort from the top. 
One day Colin and I took the children to the oil rig to see if we could possibly get a tour of it as a field trip for the children. 
Captain Laurence Farquhar answered the call, being from England he was happy to speak to another Englishman (Colin)  and was pleased to give us a tour. 

The view of Spanish Waters from the helicopter pad.
Colin, Phoebe, Zinnia, Cosmo and Captain Laurence.
Around the corner from the oil rig is a sunken tug boat for divers and snorkelers to enjoy.  The fish swim right up to you as they are accustomed to the dive operators feeding them.  Their prefered food is Cheese Whiz from a can.
Jim, Phoebe and Drake swim upside down next to the tug boat.  Drake shows us how far he can free dive, something he is getting very good at.
In the anchorage was a small island that the children enjoyed exploring.  One day the men held wood-shop, where everyone could hammer nails into two by fours. They created their own fort.  While the children were in action the adults relaxed and enjoyed a BBQ.  Once again we were in the United Nations, with Gaynor and Fossy from South Africa, below.  To the left England and  Brazil were also represented.  Phoebe and Drake introduced Schmores much to the other childrens delight.
The weeks passed quickly in Spanish waters.  Our days were filled with home school in the morning and activities in the afternoon.  Above, with children from Switzerland and France, we enjoy a hike to a lagoon. 

Below, Cosmo, Liz and Zinnia from
s/v Pacific Bliss explore Beekenberg Fort. 
Joy from Switzerland off s/v Iron celebrates her eigth birthday with a party on the beach. Drake is pictured with Marvin, also from Switzerland, off s/v New Life. They went to the other side of the island to see model airplanes fly.   Below is Beekenberg Fort, which was built in 1703.  Phoebe and Drake climbed to the top of the fort up a rusty ladder.
The clear waters of Curacao as seen from the top of the fort. One of our favorite afternoon activities was to visit the beach off the new Hyatt Hotel.  The children built sand castle's, played soccer, baseball and snorkeled.

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