Zeezwaluw Post number 4
Well, well, where is Zeezwaluw at the moment? The columnist’s latest information is, that they left the marina of Curaçao Marine in Willemstad, Curaçao Sunday April 30 at 10 A.M. Thereafter it became silent. For the smart ones who looked at Marine Traffic’ site, Zeezwaluw’s position was at the west side of Klein Curacao for at least 8 days. Why???
The day they left the marina, it went all smooth until they passed the Koningin Emma bridge and came out of the shelter of the St Anna Baai, Willemstad The sea state just outside the entrance was rougher as the crew expected, according the weather forecast. The steep waves and the 20+ KN easterly wind, were not comfortable to sail on/in. They sailed with 3 reefs in the main sail and the high aspect head sail a little furled. It was like riding a wild horse during a rodeo show!
To gain eastern head way, the crew had to tack. The first tack of approximately 8 Nm was 180°, the second about 40°-50°. Due to the tacking the distance to sail became double the distance as the straight course on the map (as the crow flies). This tacking was continued during the whole morning and far into the afternoon. At about 3 P.M they were near the entrance of Spaanse Water, so only 10Nm in the right direction. In the afternoon the wind shifted a little to SE and the tacks NE were a little more in the desired direction.
As it was a real battle to conquer the waves and wind to gain headway, the crew decided to aim for Klein Curaçao and spent at least the night there. They knew there were mooring balls for visiting yachts to use. So, after many more tacks, the little island came closer little by little in the fading daylight. At about 8 P.M. they found the mooring balls at the west side of the island, due west of the lighthouse. A sailing boat with an anchor light at the mooring, showed the way where to search for the free ones. Half an hour later, the crew was safely tied to a mooring ball and the engine shut down. The 6m deep water in the lee of the island was almost flat although the Easterly wind was still screeching through the rigging at a speed of 24Kn. The comfort level is such a difference with only one Nm out at sea. Zeezwaluw and her crew sailed 42,4Nm (in almost 11 hours), instead of 20!
They were exhausted for they had steered themselves the whole way. The reason is to take the nasty waves in a better technique (they think) as the autopilot does. For it was pitch dark (the moon was still in bed) they were not able to see how the island looked like. After a beer and a hot meal they collapsed into their bunk. Tomorrow is another day!
The next morning they awaited the tripper boats coming in. The crew was not sure yet if the mooring balls were for visiting boats or not. You never know isn’t it?
Their view to the island was stunning, like a holiday picture postcard. A few old buildings and wooden structures thatched with roofs of palm leaves lined the shore. A bit further land inward was a derelict lighthouse but still in use as they knew from their approach last night. In the distance on the east side of the island they spotted a rusted accommodation of a stranded freighter. She must have been there already for a long time at the looks of it.
In the meantime the first motorboat “Mermaid” came-in and went to her own mooring. The next two small motorboats had their own mooring nearer to shore and tied up to. The next boats coming in were two large catamarans jam-packed with day tourists, also tied-up to their own mooring. All the tourists were ferried ashore by dinghy and the fit ones swam ashore. Every company has built his own “thatched palm-leave hut village” ashore and the tourists for the day spent their day in the water or near “their village”.
Nobody came to claim Zeezwaluw’s mooring. Fine the crew thought it’s really true, the mooring balls are for visiting boats and they relax.
The whole day they observed the crowd having fun on the island. Around 11 a delicious smell reached them, BBQ with roasted meat. Not long after a ships horn and a bell called the crowd for lunch to the BBQ area. Some more swimming after lunch and around 3 P.M. the crew from the tripper boats rounded up their own guests to ferry them back to the mothership. At 4 P.M. the beach was empty again; all the tripper boats and their guests had left. Till the next morning 9.30 it was peaceful again. The coming and going of tripper boats turned out to be the same every day.On Tuesday morning at 9.30 a tripper boat “MV Serendipity” came to Zeezwaluw’s mooring to claim “their mooring”. They had to run a hose to shore for water supply they told the crew of Zeezwaluw. OK, not them but Zeezwaluw moved to the next free white mooring ball.
Athis mooring ball Zeezwaluw stayed un-interrupted for the rest of their time (8 days) in Klein Curaçao. Due to the fact there was no mobile phone signal so no internet for weather forecast or other distracting social media they had an old fashioned (a before wireless internet time) leisure time. After 2 months of hard work on the hard & marina they finally could do what they love to do; reading good books! During those waiting days the crew was able to use the Iridium sat phone for receiving new Gribfiles every day.
Every day the wind stayed E at 20-25 kn or more. Not favourable the crew thought. Its 480 Nm to Sint Maarten, on a 30°-40° course approximately. Up-wind and against a current it would be a hard battle so they waited for a more favourable wind. Read; less wind for the trade winds would persist from the east of course. But sometimes it has a south component and the crew crossed their fingers for that one.
Finally there came light at the end of their waiting tunnel. At Monday (May 7) or Tuesday (May 8) there might be an opportunity to leave. Who knows for sure ….
The second try started Tuesday at 2 P.M. for the forecast was 15-20 kn and the next days also or less. But again the wind not die and the battle against wind, waves and current was even worse at the first try. At a 40° course it was not like sailing comfortably but diving in and down the steep waves spraying the crew and Zeezwaluw from bow to stern. Plan B was set into motion, head for Bonaire. Tacking again all the way they arrived Wednesday 1 A.M. (of course in the dark hours) at the mooring field at Kralendijk. Luckily there were many empty mooring buoys to choose from.
So they are in Bonaire now as they informed the columnist. According the weather forecast of Thursday May 10, the weather will not change till the 17th. Waiting time starts again and maybe made plans will change also.
More news in Pdf form from 2018
Ne anchoring info of ABC-Islands, Curacao
The newest travel letter: Bonaire & Curacao
The pilot to the ABC Islands we used was one of the Gotto Go Cruising Guides; “The ABC Islands” written by D. Waterson & D. van der Reyden (ours was an old edition). Another possibility is using “A guide to the ABC islands” from Frank Vigentino; this is a free download on http://freecruisingguides.com/
The island Curaçao has several anchorages from east to west at the south side, as the ABC-pilot will show. Nevertheless most cruisers are anchored in Spaanse Water. It is a very save and enjoyable anchorage.
Spaanse Water anchorage: 12° 04′.835 N 68° 51′.743 W
When you enter Curaçao waters, anchor in Spaanse water flying the Q-flag. The next day you do the check-in at Custom & Immigration. That’s the easy and official way.
Spaanse Water is divided in several sectors where you are allowed to anchor. A and B are separated by a fare way, which should be free at all the times. VHF hailing channel is 72, with a cruisers net 6 days a week at 8 a.m. (end of February 2018 it stopped, no netcontrolers available)
For more and specific information and pictures about the Anchoring areas, see the Facebook page; Curaçao Cruisers Information. This is a closed group but join them and you will have access to all the important information. In the file section Documents, or follow the link and you will go directly to the Pdf file. In the Pdf file is all the important information you like to know; for example, where to find Custom & Immigration and where to obtain the anchor permit (USD 10,=) and many other things. To repeat it here is useless for it’s too much.
The information below is our experience during the time we have been there.
We were anchored at the above coordinates which is in sector A, the nearest to the dinghy dock at the fisherman’s harbour. The holding in mud was excellent, but be aware that some places have grass where the holding is not that good. Zeezwaluw was anchored in + 6m with 35m of chain in the water. Have a swim to be certain where your anchor is. The winds are commonly from the E between 15-20kn. In the afternoon the wind picks up but dies at sunset again. Occasionally a reversed wind will turn you 180°, so anchor a safe distance from your neighbour boats.
The dinghy dock in the fisherman’s harbour is where the free of charge shopping bus to Vreugdenhil supermarket is, leaves Mon-Sat at 8.30 a.m. next to the gate. He returns from the supermarket at 10 a.m. Other shops (Budget, Pharmacy, hardware shop etc.) are in walking distance of Vreugdenhil and can be reached with the same shopping bus. We were very content with the bus and the supermarket’s extended and very good stock and prices.
Bus to Willemstad number 6A stops at the roundabout opposite Pirate’s nest. Latest schedule of all busses (change regularly) is available at the main bus station in Willemstad.
Internet: Free Wi-Fi at the restaurant Pirate’s Nest and you can tie-up at their dingy dock. We used Digicel 4G prepaid SIM card (15 Gb/month, Naf 90) for the internet. You have to buy the SIM card in Willemstad at their office at Brion Plein, just across the Pondjes Bridge to the Otra Banda side.
Water boat: Delivery day is Wednesday. Call “Water boat” at Ch 72 for a delivery on Wednesday. Unfortunately, at the end of February 2018 the water boat went out of business. We do not know if they are coming back at all.
Curaçao Marine, marina & hardstanding 12° 06′.5 N 68° 55′.3 W
Curaçao Marine uses trailers of different sizes for getting in and out of the water which works great. The staff is very careful in handling your boat. The yard is divided in long term storage and short term. At the short term storage you are allowed to stay on the boat and do your own work. Short term storage is a few $ cents more as at the long term. They provide a ladder to get on and off your boat for free. There is water and electricity 220/110V near every boat. Free Wi-Fi. Toilet and shower block. No washing machine but a laundry pick-up. A free shopping bus runs from Mo-Za to Vreugdenhil supermarket. The chandlers Budget Marine and IWW are in walking distance. Guarded 24/7.
There’s a small marina too with the same facilities as on the hard standing.
We have been in Curaçao Marine on the hard for just over 4 weeks doing our own work and were please by the staff. They are very friendly and helpful. We can highly recomand Curaçao Marine.
Klein Curaçao, mooring ball: 11° 59′.30 N 68° 38′.823 W
The island Klein Curaçao (means little Curaçao) is approximate 6 Nm E-SE of the southern tip of Main Island Curaçao. This island is as flat as a pancake, with only a working lighthouse some trees and bushes. There are no people living on the island except the security guards for the day tripper companies who frequent the island every day from ±9.30 A.M till 15 P.M.
At the west side of the island, approximate due West of the lighthouse are many mooring balls in 4-6m of water. It is easy to spot the buoys when you head straight for the lighthouse. Most of them are from the day-tripper companies but after they are gone for the day, you ae allowed to use them. Vacate them before 9.30 A.M. the next day.
The 4 white ones (north of the other moorings) with the blue band are for visiting boats for free. The blue band will brightly reflect after your search light hit it in the dark hours.
3 white mooring balls have long thick lines with a loop to pick-up and attach your lines through. The moorings are safe to use.
Note: The 4th mooring ball (second from the north of the island and opposite the wooden dock) has no line attached. This one has been claimed by the tripper boat “SV Serendipity”, which will use the mooring 5 days a week.
They chased us away on a Tuesday with: “You are using our mooring ball, you have to move”. Well, we are Dutch so we said in Dutch: “These white mooring balls are supposed to be for visiting yachts and are not owned by private companies”. There were still 2 other white buys available. The reply was: “We have to run a long hose up to the shore to supply water and we can’t reach shore from the other buoys”. Apparently they have no own mooring ball like the other tripper boats have and use the free white ones for their convenience. So, we moved to another white mooring buoy. Monday’s and Saturday’s are “SV Serendipity’s” days off, so you can use all 4 white mooring balls. Tie a line to the mooring ball without the line, through the eye on top of the mooring ball, it’s a bit of a hassle but due able, we did (in the dark).
We have been at the third white mooring ball at Klein Curacao for 8 days (May 2018) without a problem. We were waiting for a good weather window to sail northeast to Sint Maarten. It is safe and was only a bit rolly in 25-30Kn of wind. Only a few nights we had company of another sailing yacht. No mobile phone signal consequently no internet or weather forecast in an easy way. We used our Iridium sat phone instead to get new Gribfiles. We liked it here, but did not go ashore to see the wooden structures with roofs with the palm tree leaves the tripper boats had build for their guests. The view is like a picture out of the holiday catalogues!
In 2017 we only had 7 months of traveling. Zeezwaluw has been on the hard in Clarks Court Bay Marina & Boayard untill the end of May 2017, almost till the start of hurricane season. For we did not want to spend a second hurricane season in Grenda we started to move north during “good weather windows”.
Hopping along the west coast of Grenada north via Carriacou Island to Martinique. From there a jump across the Caribbean Waters to the ABC-islands. First Bonaire and 2 months later to Curaçao, where we are at the moment.
- 2018-1: Bonaire & Curaçao
- 2017-2: Martinique, a French Island in the Caribbean
- 2017 -1: Grenada, spice island, hurricane hole and more
The pilot to the ABC Islands we used was one of the Gotto Go Cruising Guides; “The ABC Islands” written by D. Waterson & D. van der Reyden (ours was an old edition). Another possibility is using “A guide to the ABC islands” from Frank Virgintino; this is a free download on http://freecruisingguides.com/
In Bonaire anchoring is forbidden at all times. You have to use the little red & white mooring buoys profided by the National Marine Park (NMP). Harbour Village Marina (HVM) collects the fees of $10,=/d (2017) for the NMP. No reservation of a mooring bouy, rule is first comes first served. If non available, you are allowed to use one of the orange diving buoys, but as soon as possible you have to move to an official mooring buoy or sail on to another destination.
When you arrive during the dark hours, it is very difficult to spot the mooring buoys or to monouver to pick-up one. You are allowed to go into the HVM and tie alongside the starboard quay side. (we moored in-between two hugh motoryachts just for the night). Report to the HVM office as soon as its open.
Normal procedure on arrivel is:
• Pick up a mooring buoy (if available)
• Check in at customs & Immigration
• Go to the HVM to pay (in advance) for your moorng buoy for the time you like to stay.
The water is cristal clear and heaven for divers and snorcklers!
We were on mooring buoy 39 depth 4.4m, (see the picture of the mooring field) this mooring has 2 concrete blocks (others have sand screws) from each block/screw runs a line to a red-white buoy. Attach your own lines through the eye of each buoy and attach both ends of each line to your ship.
The mooring field runs from east of the Harbour Village Marina to Karl’s Beach Bar. In some places is a double line of moorings of which the inner ones are in more shallow waters. In the picture you will find the depth in meters of each buoy.
We were not able to use/recieve an open WiFi signal but used instead Digicel. A prepaid Sim card and an internet package is very cheap (15Gb/month for US $32) and works fine. Digicel shop is in the main street behind the waterfront behind Karls Beach Bar.
Garbage disposel is opposite Karl’s Beach bar in the green dumpsters or at HVM.
There is NO official dinghy dock but you are allowed to tie up at Karl’s Beach Bar (do not tie at flower pots) or in HVM. There has been a duscussion lately (oct 2017) where to tie up in the marina. To be sure you are not in the way, ask the manager in the marina office where to park your dinghy. We never had a problem at any of the two places.
To all other information about Bonaire we refer to the Facebook Page Bonaire Cruisers. Once you have joined them, you find in the files section the PDF file with lots of usefull info about Bonaire, like free shopping busses to the supermarket and so on.
For the above info is an PDF file click HERE
April 2002 we moved from a house to Zeezwaluw and started our live aboard life. Due to the fact we sailed the first year north to the Baltic Sea we met few live aboard, only weekend sailors or holiday people so for travel letters was no need to.
But once sailing south we met live aboard of many nationalities and from the start there was a bond between likeminded people. There for only from 2004 we started writing travel letters on a regular basis. But we had a great time in the Baltic Sea and want to share those experiences with you. These travel letters are written in hindsight so to speak but we hope you will enjoy them.
- 2003 – 1 The Start of our Travelling
- 2002 – 2 From Rostock to Narva Yyussu
- 2002 – 1 Farewell journey and Germany
For the next travel letters go to: Travel letters 2004-2010.
From 2004 to 2008 we traveled with Zeezwaluw eastwards through the Mediterranean Sea. We were hopping along Spain, Italy and Greece and their islands further on to Turkey and Israel at the end. At the start we thought spending 2 year at the most in the Med. Well, it turned out to be so amazing due to the country’s history; we spent 6 years in the Med before we managed in 2010 to untie ourselves. We hope you will enjoy the travel letters with our adventures.
- 2008 – 4 & 5 Israel
- 2008 – 3 Discovery of Northern Cyprus
- 2008 – 2 Wandering around the southwest Aegean Sea
- 2008 – 1 2nd Wintering in Fethyie
- 2007 – 3 Via Istanbul back to Fethiye
- 2007 – 2 From Fethiye to the Dardanelles
- 2007 – 1 Wintering in Fethiye
- 2006 – 4 The Greek islands and mainland Turkey
- 2006 – 3 Sailing into the Gulf of Corinth and the Peloponessus
- 2006 – 2 Summer in the Greek Ionian Islands
- 2006 – 1 Spring sailing in Italy
- 2005 – 5 Evacuation in Fiumicino
- 2005 – 4 More Italian Islands
- 2005 – 3 Beautiful Sardinia, Elba and French Corsica
- 2005 – 2 Angels and demons in Rome Special photo safarie through Rome as in the book of Dan Brown
- 2005 – 1 Wintering in Fiumicino
- 2004 – 2 From the Balearics to mainland Italy
- 2004 – 1 From the Atlantic coast into the Mediteranean Sea
At the end of August 2008 we reached Haifa in Israel. We stayed a month in this town and saw a lot of the northern part of Israel due to our sailing friends who live there. End of September we sailed to Ashkelon to winter. It is the most southern marina in Israel and near the Gaza Strip. We enjoyed our stay very much due to the friendly people, many historic sites and of course the weather. Our stay was cut short due to the Gaza problems early 2009 as you can read in the last travel letter of Israel. We hope you have fun reading our adventures and enjoy the many pictures.
- 2008 – 4 Israel, first footprints and some guided tours
- 2008 – 5 Visits to famous historical sites in Israel
- 2009 – 1 Leaving Israel due to Gaza problems
From our departure from Israel we have been travelling westwards out of the Mediterranean. Not as quick as we thought we would but we had a great time in visiting new and old places again. So, travel with us out of the Med to new horizons.
- 2010 – 2 The last part of Europe
- 2010 – 1 Wintering in Cagliari & spring sailing
- 2009 – 4 The Italian Islands Sicily & Sardinia
- 2009 – 3 From Greece to Italy
- 2009 – 2 Greek adventures