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Welcome aboard “SY Zeezwaluw”

From 2002 the Dutch Sailing Yacht “Zeezwaluw” took Ineke and Riens Elswijk to many remarkable countries and countless wonderful people.

Follow them in “the Zeezwaluw Post” and “Travel letters” or share their experience with anchorages or ports from St Petersburg to Haifa and from Holland to the Azores & Madeira Archipelago & the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Very new are South America (Suriname) and Caribbean Sea (Grenada & Martinique) and the ABC-islands (Bonaire & Curacao)

You will also find information about these sailors, their galley secrets and “SY Zeezwaluw”.

For more information or specific questions, contact them via email.

Zeezwaluw Post, latest news   Newest Travel letter:  Bonaire & Curacao

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Pit-Stop Bonaire

Zeezwaluw Post number 5

 

Well, you thought you would never hear from the Zeezwaluw crew from Sint Maarten …. And that is true! They are still in Bonaire and decided not to proceed with their Sint Maarten and Leeward Island plan any more.

May 25, after 3 weeks in Bonaire, there had not been a suitable weather window, or was in the next 8 days. So, early June already (and the start of hurricane season) before leaving Bonaire, gives them a too short time window to explore the Leeward Islands and come back to Curaçao as planned.

Therefore Zeezwaluw plans are turning 180°! The door to the East is locked, but opens the one to the West. For this part of the Caribbean is unknown territory to the crew, they have to study these countries, gather detailed information, learning the weather patterns and so on to sail safely to and in these waters. As of the crew has learned so far, Colombia, Panama with the San Blas Islands (not the Panama Canal) Honduras and Belize are the next countries to sail to.

It is a lot of info to process. This time the hurricane season is not the problem in those waters for these countries are far out of the main path of hurricanes, but they have wet- and dry seasons. The wet season is really wet, tremendous downpours which are no fun. OK you can fill-up the water tanks easily but exploring inland doing wilderness tracks for example, is not possible.

The plans for now are; Zeezwaluw will sail to Santa Marta in Colombia in November where after to Cartagena and the Colombian islands before they head to San Blas Islands. More news and info will be gathered in Bonaire the next month or 2. After Bonaire, Curaçao will be visited again for a month or 2 before they set off to Colombia.

That said, the crew does some fun things in Bonaire of course! There are at the moment 11 Dutch sailing boats in the mooring field of 42 moorings. It looks like the Dutch took over again! Many happy hours and “Burger nights” will spend together chatting and absorb the plans of their fellow sailors.

Fun also last week,  a new and exciting happy hour event they joined, “Dutch Dinghy Drifting”. The crew told the correspondent all participating dinghy’s gathered at the stern of the Dutch Catamaran Zanzibar. All dinghies were tied one way or another to a neighbour. When the last rope slipped from the Zanzibar, the bunch of dinghy’s started to drift with the wind, out of the mooring field into the direction of Klein Bonaire.

While chatting having a sundowner and a snack the flat water became a little rough (for dinghies). They were bouncing on the waves and against each other but it was fun! The 12_Dinghydriften_Klein_Bonairefetch and the wind force of 6Bft pushed them quickly to the little island without sandy beaches. The island shore has only reefs and coral sand. Just before they reached the reefs, they untied the dinghies from each other and swiftly returned to the shelter of the mooring field. Not to their own boats but near the marina was a diving-buoy to tie boats too. In the lee of Bonaire the water was quiet again and Happy Hour started all-over again! It was an enjoyable Happy Hour this one the Zeezwaluw crew thought and liked it very much. See the fun movie by Tineke Petter© of SV Zanzibar

More news and adventures in the next Zeezwaluw Post!

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More news in Pdf form from 2018

New achoring info of ABC-Islands, Curacao

The newest travel letter: Bonaire & Curacao

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ABC-Islands, 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/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 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!

Pdf file of Curacao

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Travel letters 2017 –

 

I6_First_sunset_in_Kralendijk_at_Bonairen 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.


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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) 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!

01_Zeezwaluw_aan_de_mooring

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.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) 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

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Travel letters 2002-2004

49 Gulkrona (F), steenkunstApril 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.

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.

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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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Mediterranean westbound travels

27 Sardinie, Castelsardo

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.

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