Europe and Turkey

The anchoring and marina information about Europe developed along the way after we started travelling with SY Zeezwaluw (L 46ft, dr 7ft).

The information is divided into countries to make it manageable. Some countries have more than one PDF file otherwise the file would be too bulky. The year we started the info is 2004 going eastward into the Mediterranean, all the way to Israel. In 2008 we sailed westward again encountering new places and revisited old ones. The files have been updated along the way out of the Med. In the years 2010-2015 we have visited the Atlantic coast of Portugal and the Atlantic Islands. The Atlantic islands, Canaries (S) and Azores (P) have their own tab underneath the countries they belong to. Some of the early visited places are a long time ago, so there might have been changes we are not aware of.

We wish you happy times as we had in the places we visited.


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Sailing East or West ………….. ………… That’s the Quest

Zeezwaluw Post number 7

01a_PostmanWell, well, finally the correspondent has been given the green light to break the news! The Zeezwaluw crew has changed their sailing plans for after the hurricane season again.

This time it took a while for them to decide what to do after the newsletter of Panteanius (their boat insurer) came to their attention.

The sailing plans going farther westward into the Caribbean Sea were almost finished. There02_west_caribische_zee were only a few lose ends left to sort out. First detail was, about what time to start from Curaçao to Colombia. Until November Colombia has the rainy season (meaning tropical downpours). This can be a problem with certain outings the crew wanted to undertake.

Secondly, they had no clue yet where to spend the next hurricane season after visiting the countries of Panama, San Blas Islands, Guatemala and Belize.

Those Central America countries have high temperatures (30+C), a very high humidity due to lots of rain (again a rainy season to undergo).03_Tropical_downpour

This is not a favourite climate to the crew’s liking. To do things like hiking or maintenance on Zeezwaluw is similar to working underneath a salty shower with your clothes on! Also, due to this high & salty humidity, inside Zeezwaluw all fabric, wood and other materials are prone to mould and decay.

The flipside is, going back to well-known Curaçao, which is hundreds of nautical miles beating into the easterly trade winds and current. So the final decision where to “hangout” during next hurricane season was not made yet. All hard decisions to make for live aboard sailors aren’t it?

Before the final decision could be made, the letter of Panteanius came in by email. The crew read it and could not believe what was happening! Due to last year’s hurricane disasters of04_panteanius Irma & Maria, the Hurricane area, rules and premium would change drastically. The area of the Caribbean Waters was extended. Now the coastlines from Trinidad to all the western countries were included and not safe areas anymore. Also the rules, where and how to take care of the boat (live aboard and on the hard standing) had become so specific and were almost impossible to follow during H-season.

05_euros_FlyingNext bombshell was that the premium for Zeezwaluw would go up 80%! Of course the crew knows their beloved Zeezwaluw is an older lady (but very elegant) which influences the premium. But even after high deductible, to pay €500,=/month (almost 600 US$) is outrageous they thought. But without an insurance or only liability was also not an option to them. So, what to do then?

06_Euros_savingFurther investigation of the world wide changed insurance areas, turned out to be enlightening. To return to European Waters (already from a bit north of the Caribbean Island Chain), the premium would only be 25% with even less deductible! Comparing their expenses in European to Caribbean area for daily groceries and necessities as the always needed boat spare parts, would save another big lump of money. Together it would save up to almost €700,= (US$ ±880) of their monthly budget.

This outcome makes the crew think if it would be still worthwhile to be in these expensive waters for at least 2 years or not. Although they looked forward exploring these westerly countries with their long history they07_dicision also realised it was cheaper to take a plane from Europe to visit these countries. So it took not too long for the crew to make a new decision. Westward sailing was out of the picture. Eastward it will be.

New plan is; sailing Eastward in a stable weather window early November or end of October. See which island they make landfall due to wind and sea state conditions. At least they want to visit Martinique and Guadeloupe and from there north to the area of Saint Martin and Antigua.

08_Sailing plans 2018-2019Crossing the Atlantic Ocean from West to East would be preferable in April, May or June. As the crew discovers a good weather window to start with, they will sail to the Azores and spend the summer months hopping along those wonderful islands, they have visited 3 times already before.

At the end of July or early August Zeezwaluw will sail from the Azores to Portugal were they will brood over new wonderful plans for the following seasons. Where in Portugal they will stay (hibernating) for winter is at the moment still a question mark!

They look forward to the new sailing plan and spend the next month preparing Zeezwaluw in Bonaire for the next sailing season.

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More news in Pdf form from 2018

New anchoring info of ABC-Islands, Curacao

The SPECIAL travel letter we promishedBonaire, Washington Slagbaai National Park

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ABC-Islands, Curaçao

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/5_FlagCuracao

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.

You can get more info at their website: www.curacaomarine.com or sent an email to: info@curacaomarine.com       Telephone number: +599 9 465 8936

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 Curaçao 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!

Pdf file of Curaçao

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Travel letters 2016 and beyond

6_First_sunset_in_Kralendijk_at_Bonaire

Mid-January 2016 we sailed from the Canary Islands across the Atlantic Ocean to “the other side of this Pond”, where our sailing explorations brought us to different continents. We still have to explore many new countries beyond the ever far away horizon, so to speak.

Therefore we decided to split-up the travel letters into continents as of 2016. The Continents have a sub tab for countries. But the Caribbean Sea does not belong to a specific continent or country, so it gets an own tab using the common known areas.

This means all the travel letters of the other side of the pond, got their own place underneath a sub-tab under the “Travel letters 2016 and beyond”, umbrella. We assume this will make the search to and location of each travel letter easier. You find the direct link to our “Atlantic Crossing” travel letter underneath.

All travel letters are in Pdf file format for easy downloading and reading. We wish you lots of fun, reading our adventures.

Travel letter 2016 –The Atlantic crossing to Surinam

  1. South America
  2. Windward & Leeward Islands
  3. ABC – Islands

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ABC-Islands, Bonaire

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/


Bonaire
In 1_Flag_BonaireBonaire 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 & 2018) 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 (if still there), but as soon as possible you have to move to an official mooring buoy or sail on to another destination. Sometimes there might be space in the little marina of the water taxi, VHF 68.

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!

01_Zeezwaluw_aan_de_mooring

We were in 2017 on mooring buoy 39 depth 4.4m, in 2018 on buoy 22 same depth (see the picture of the mooring field) both moorings have 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 the rope of each buoy and attach both ends of each line to your ship.Bonaire mooring field

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 2017 & 2018) 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, oposite Budget pontoon next to the sailing school or at HVM

In HVM is a dinghy dock at the end of the marina port side at the very end. It’s a bit akward to step off but doable. There is NO official dinghy dock along the quay. In-between the fishermans dock and Karl’s Beach Bar is a little floting pontoon. Sailors call it the “Budget dinghy dock”. You are allowed to tie your dinghy but leave it on a long line or chain for mobility. Its free of charge! You are also allowed to tie up at Karl’s Beach Bar (do not tie at flower pots) but it costs since 2018 $5,= each time you park or you have to order a drink or so at the restaurant. We never went there, always used the Budget pontoon.

To all other information about Bonaire we refer to the Facebook Page Bonaire Cruisers of 2017 Once you have joined them, you find the Pdf-file in the files section. The file contains lots of usefull info about Bonaire, like free shopping busses to the supermarket (fishermans dock or roundabout near HVM) and so on.

For the above info is an PDF file click HERE.

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Travel letters 2002-2004

49 Gulkrona (F), steenkunst

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-a-boards, 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. Therefor 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. In those days we did not gather anchoring and mooring information either that’s why you won’t find them under the special tab.


For the next travel letters go to: Travel letters 2004-2010.

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Mediteranean Eastbound Travels

054 CapoliveriFrom 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.and the anchoring and mooring information we gathered.


For anchoring and mooring information about the above area’s,  surf to Europe and from there to the specific country.

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Israel

049 Akko,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.

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