A Travellerspoint blog

MAR 8 LAST DAY CURACAO

Time to Say Goodbye - Last Day, Last Post

OUR LAST DAY
All good things come to an end, and today is our last day before flying home. Don and I spend the morning snorkelling the tugboat area again. It is only.a 10 minute drive from home, so is easy to access. The wind is stronger today and the visibility not as good. We don't want to stop however, knowing it is our last time in the water down here. The water feels exactly the same temperature as the air and it is no trouble staying in for a couple of hours at a time, exploring the reefs. I try taking photos of myself using my Go Pro extension. Here I am just floating along.

SNORKEL BABE

We spend the afternoon resting and recovering from the music that entertained us till 3 am last night. Then a pleasant evening out, at a nearby local restaurant, sitting looking over the water beside us, enjoying the balmy evening air, while sharing an excellent goats cheese and walnut salad with tuna, sate chicken, and mushroom risotto entrees. Excellent food, a charming Dutch waitress, and a nice way to spend our last night together here.

The trip has been interesting. Full of adventures in Panama, more laid back on Bonaire and Curacao, with most adventures happening underwater. Both were fun, but I think I like the energy of Panama more.

FLYING HIGH
Tomorrow we begin the trip back home via Panama City, overnighting in Toronto, and then west to Vancouver and Victoria where Mani will be waiting to wisk me back to our Pender Island paradise, and the realities of my other life. I am sure I will be kept busy for a while, cutting the grass, putting out the mason bees, planting the garden, getting caught up at work, and at choir, and rehearsing my part in the play I'm supposed to have learned while down here (good thing the plane flight will give me lots of time to practice on the person sitting next to me ). Time to get back to yoga, practice for the upcoming Marimba Muzuva tour, and get ready to entertain all the kayak buddies who are coming over this upcoming weekend. Life was so easy here - a. bathing suit, T shirt, sandals, and snorkel gear. Makes one dream about just taking off and wandering the world. Actually it is a bit more complicated than that with cameras, tablets, cell phones, and a million connecting devices to keep batteries charged, plus the cost of actually living in these places where the cost of living is higher than back home. Oh well., you can always dream, and the airplane ride back home gives all kinds of time to contemplate the next adventure.
Namaste until then. Love you all. Roberto

Posted by RDILL 19:41 Archived in Curaçao Tagged day last post Comments (0)

MAR 7 TUGBOAT CURACAO

The Competition For Best Snorkel Spot Just Got Tighter

sunny 30 °C

FTUGBOAT TO DIRECTORS BAY
We saved the best for last. Today's snorkel was the best on Curacao and ranked up with the best of Bonaire and Isla Coiba. Each is different and unique which is why it is so interesting exploring new areas. Today we started from a small beach, went out and checked the submerged tugboat in about 15 feet of water. It was fun with lots of little fishes. The tugboat site is the most popular and well known dive and snorkel site on Curacao and we had company for most of the time we were there.

SNORKELLING THE TUGBOAT

The real treasure was a stretch between the next two points finally ending up in Directors Bay, another well known dive site for advanced divers, a kilometre or so from the Tugboat site, and more exposed to the current and wind. In our opinion the kilometre in between was the most spectacular - a steep dropoff, with walls that drop from 20 feet down into dark bue emptiness. The shallows and edge of the wall was full of staghorn and other corals, sea fans, rods, tubes, sponges, and lots of fish including flounder, barracuda, and squids. We swam in about 15 ft of water and could look 60 feet down the wall until it just disappeared into dark blue. Very magical. I like snorkelling walls. They have such a mystery to them and you can dream of wondeful mermaids and sea beings ascending from the depths to play with you. On the trip out against the current, we swam along the edge of the wall. On the return, with the current and wave action, we explored the shallows. It is interesting that we never see any other divers or snorkellers in these beautiful locations. everyone else is closer to beach access or mooring buoys.

MOVING WITH THE SEA FANS

I decided to stay home in the afternoon and do some acquarel pencil drawing post cards celebrating life down here - one for my sweetie, and one for my daughter Megan who is celebrating her birthday in a few days. She gets the Lion fish birthday card. The Lion fish is a beautiful but invasive species rapidly expanding in the Carribean, and destroying other native fishes. There are programs set up for divers and fishermen to harvest as many as they can find, and they are now being served in restaurants as a delicacy, so we all had grilled Lion fish for dinner. Just doing our part to help establish them as a new harvestable resource. They are quite small and very boney, but the meat is very nice tasting.

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Tonight is Saturday night, and we checked out the Jan Theil beach scene, which was already hopping by 9:00 pm. Now we have live outdoor Carribbean Latin music from across the water filling the night air as the clock strikes midnight. The music may go on all night. It's loud enough here - a kilometre away. I sure wouldn't want to be in the venue itself - it would be deafening. Sleep will be hard so maybe I should put on my fins and googles and swim over and join in.

Posted by RDILL 21:16 Archived in Curaçao Comments (0)

MAR 5, 6 MORE BEACHES, MORE SNORKELLING, MORE SEALIFE

Getting Up a Close and Dirty

sunny 30 °C

MAR 5 BEACHES AND SNORKELLING
Don and I are ready to write the definitive guide to snorkelling Curacao and Bonaire. Today we hit Playa Abou and Playa PortoMarie. Playa Abou had a nice sand beach, but we struck it off the list for the top 10 snorkel spots in the world. Playa Porto Marie did somewhat better. It had a good restaurant and a nice sand beach that was filled with sun chairs and umbrellas and Dutch sunbathers in various forms of undress, which made it great for people watching. It also had a rather nice reef offshore but not a lot of variety and a lot of It was in deep water (80 feet or more) which taxed our ability to get close. As we approached the right side it got a bit more shallow and more interesting for snorkelling. So far Little Knip has been our favorite. So now we have one more site to check out tomorrow " Tugboat". It is supposed to be at the top of Curacao dive and snorkel spotsm, but we have already relegated Curacao to last spot on our Panama, Bonaire, Curacao snorkle guide. It has some great beaches though. We spent the late afternoon exploring the Sint Michiel area which was nice in that it is not so touristy.

PLAYA PORTOMARIE
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PLAYA SINT MICHIEL
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MAR 6 SEALIFE UP CLOSEu
We spent the day getting closeup to all kinds of sea life. It was by far the best day yet on Curacao for encounters with ocean creatures. Here are some of the shoots of the day.

FLAMINGOS, SPOTTED EEL, LION FISH,
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SPINY LOBSTERS
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NURSE SHARK
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Unfortunately the up and close was at the Sea Aquarium here rather than in the wild but they were all creatures we played with in the wild over the past few weeks. It was my first experience with aquariums It was better than I thought. Quite informative and the staff were really nice and loved sharing information and stories. It was also neat cause there were only a few visitors so we got to interact with the staff and the animals. My favorite was feeding the nurse sharks and feeling how strong the bite was as it devoured the fish we fed them. Also loved feeling the texture of the skin of the sting rays and nurse sharks. Don had a sea lion give him a kiss. The sea lions are not native to the area but were left here In transit after the owner abandoned them over 30 years ago. It was interesting talking to the staff who obviously love the animals they look after, and have mixed feelings about them being held in captivity. Most of the dolphins have been born here and the staff have been trying to coax them to swim freely in the ocean, and have had some success in getting them to slowly move farther out to sea. But they always return since they regard the aquarium as their home territory.

DOLPHINS
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I WANT TO TRY THIS
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All you have to do is dive down deep under, turn to face upwards, balance, and the dolphin lifts you out of the water. Looks easy.

Posted by RDILL 21:41 Archived in Curaçao Tagged beaches sea and aquarium Comments (0)

MAR 4 MUSEUMS AND THE ARTSY CIRCUIT

A Little Culture Never Hurt Anyone

semi-overcast 27 °C

THE RIF FORT
It started out raining this morning. Rain is not something we have been used to., but it is raining here a bit each day. The rain here is interesting. It starts gentle for about 1 minute and then just pours for 5 or so minutes and then stops and the sun comes back out. Stays that way till the next dark cloud moves in. When the gentle rain begins everyone heads for cover, knowing the deluge is about to begin. Today is museum and gallery day. We head for Otrabanda. First stop is the Rif Fort but we head for cover as the rains hit. Here we are in sunny Curacao.

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WAITING OUT THE RAIN
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THE RIF FORT

The museum there is closed but we get to sample all the little boutiques that cater to the cruise ship traffic. I check out Delft china, and realize my antique Delft kitchen pieces must be worth a small fortune based on what they are charging for the new stuff. Then we cross the only floating pontoon bridge in the world, that links Otrabunda to Punda. Part way across it begins to swing open to let a boat through and we patiently wait till it links us with land again. We check out some galleries downtown, including the Plein Air Art Festival. Painters travel to Curacao and spend 10 days at different sites painting and then subsequently exhibiting and selling their work. Tommorow they paint the salt flats by moonlight. Should be interesting.

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THE FLOATING BRIDGE

THE CURACAO MUSEUM
We hit the Curacao museum and spend time delighting in their exhibits. The art is an interesting mix of local and international artists work. I like Helen Kruythoff's water colours of Willemstad in the 1940's. There is an excellent painting by Han van Meergeran, who became famous as a notorious forger of Dutch Master Vermeer. The Vermeer experts thought the paintings were originals and were quite embarrassed when he finally admitted and was convicted of producing the forgeries.

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HELEN KRUYTHOFF
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HANS VAN MEERGAN " HAVENZICHT ROTTERDAM"

There was some nice scuptures and a fascinating 4 metre x 10 metre stained glass map of the Carribean showing Dutch trade routes on it and made for the 1939 World Exhiibition in New York.
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ERNEST EBERLEIN "GIRL ON A SWING"
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W BOGTMAN " MAP OF THE CARRIBBEAN"

There were a number of rooms furnished with period pieces from the past. The most interesting was the polka dot walled kitchen. According to local folk history, the walls were painted this way to keep the flies away. They believed the white dots made the flies dizzy. Might of had the same effect on humans too. I also liked the Dutch archways that linked room to room, and the old poster beds

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LANDHUIS HABAAI AND ALMA BLOU GALLERY
Our last vist was to a high end art shop in a Landhuis house, which were the old plantation houses. Most have Been turned into galleries or restaurants now. Some of the work in the gallery was breathtaking, especially some of the wood sculptures. The prices were equally breathtaking. 197,000 guilders or a little over $100,000. I fell in love with one painting. It was only $9,750 US. Good thing it was too big for my pack! Here are some photos of more outdoor whimsy.

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Posted by RDILL 15:14 Archived in Curaçao Tagged art museums and galleries Comments (0)

MAR 3 BEACHES BIRDSEYE AND WHIMSY

Heading to the Western side of Curacao

semi-overcast 24 °C

WESTPUNT BEACHES
Curacao is a big Island. We drive for 50 plus kilometres and spend the day exploring the beaches of the West Coast. First is Playa Laguna tucked into the rocks, then Kenepa Grande with its beautiful sand beach, and then Little Knip, a little cove off the beaten track. Of course we snorkle them all, and check out the local scenery. The waters here are the calmest and clearest we have been in so far, especially on Little Knip, where we can see down 100 feet when swimming out far from shore looking for the drop off. Except for Little Knip, the coral and fishes do not rank up to any of the sites we explored on Bonaire. We have been spoiled. Little Knip however has some nice coral, especially lots of elk horn formations, and more fish including some bigger fish further out. The water is calm and gentle and we enjoy its sensual softness. We lunch at a quirky restaurant in Westpunt, full of birds and whimsy. I decide to forego the iguana stew and decide instead to adopt one as a friend. We even found some interesting tree paintings while exploring the area.

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CURACAO BEACHES

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DON LOOKING THE WRONG WAY

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DONT BLINK

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NEW MEANING TO TREE PAINTING

Posted by RDILL 20:30 Archived in Curaçao Tagged beaches and more Comments (0)

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