Tuesday, February 19, 2013

sprechen Sie dutch?

looong time no post! sorry about that, but it still amazes me that you guys are still interested in what feels like "the same old sailing-story" when i write it.
and on top of that...well it has just been way to nice to sit down below on the navigation-table when there were beaches to be conquered and reefs to be snorkeled, cocktails to be tested and hang-overs to be cured;)  - simply: we had a great time getting into the carribean nexus, where time is relative and worries evaporate like a cold beer from the bottle.

our second week in grenada already started to feel like being home.
after moving around a lot we were "confined" to this beautiful island, anchoring in Prickly Bay waiting for our sails to be repaired.

spending a longer period of time in one place has it's ups and downs. "up" is definitely that you get to know a place better, find your way around and know the logistics of getting some shopping done, doing laundry, getting those fancy stainless steel screws you were looking for forever...etc.

a slight downside would be that this means spending less time in another place that might be just as beautiful...or maybe better?

the best thing about it was having spent time with our new friends from fabiola, chillicat, senta and tegan before itineraries and (hopefully fair) winds would blow us in all different directions - what is left is great memories filled with months of laughter ringing through the nights, stories shared and also experience had together.

so a few sad and teary goodbyes later it's not all that sunny in the caribbean. 
but the same feeling and the same tears will make sure that our paths will cross again!

and luckily, some paths are shared and i can look forward to some more wonderful warm evenings...

after we got our sails back, new adventures awaited maloo, mark and i. 
we headed off for a a 2,5day sail - just the right length to get into the groove again - setting course to bonaire.
some surprise visitors got on the plane to meet us there and enjoy the 3rd best divespot in the world!

so we got the diving gear out and went submarine!

having christoph, marc and evenline with us was great great fun and no one would have guessed it was their first time on a sailboat - knowing their way around like old sailing pros after just a couple of days.

we snorkeled the beautiful reefs of bonaire and saw barracudas, porcupine fish, angel fish you name it!
the crystal clear water is just amazing and boniare will definetly be up on top of my list of places to return to.
just clearing in with the customs people is worth a stop - no charges and tones of information about the best carneval-parties on the island (including private photos to give proof!!!!) 

a warm recommendation if you visit is to book a rental car loooong before you get there as we were unable to get hold of one...but our friend from customs (the one with the photos)  organized a taxi for us so we could visit a few landmarks like the salt-factory or the slave-huts.

i probably could have stayed another 3 weeks in bonaire - just not getting bored with snorkeling the clear water seeing all these fish and beautiful corals....but curacao started calling out for us!

so off we went for a day-sail over there taking our guests out for their first real passage...."nice" and rolly in front of the wind with serious sea-sick potential...but no green faces to be seen - makes you wonder if austrians are in fact real sea-people!

curacao is unbelievably dutch...which is kind of obvious being a former dutch colony - still rather surprising though, when you come from the windward islands where a rather different culture has developed incorporating the (and i have to guess now) best of african culture.
if any other culture would have had an impact here on curacao it would have to be venezuela and columbia being the closest neighbors.
you see it in the people, you hear it in the music (the version of "gangnam style" played here is rather samba-ish ;)), you feel it on the streets.
nevertheless people are as friendly as on every other island in the caribbean we went to.
just a couple of days ago we missed the hourly bus going into Willemstad and after not seeing a taxi for quite a while, we decided to give it a try with hitch-hiking. mark and christoph said they would feel safe enough as i was there to protect them, so up came the thumb. the second car passing stopped for us and even though the driver had no intetion of going into town, he took us anyway, as it was his lunch break (honestly - i don't know how you are going. but i surely had better things to do in my lunch break when i still had a job!) after we arrived we wanted to give him a bit of petrol-money he didn't even wanted to take. we basically had to throw it at him and quickly shut the door;) - but this is just one of the exceptional stories we have in our "carribean diary".

sadly we had to send our "kids" christoph, marc and eveline back to a real life again - all our offers of staying with us were denied...oh well! it was great having them on board and for me to talk a great deal of german again, catching up on some news at home and just having a real ball together...thanks again dropping in and also for all the goodies you smuggled into the country for us. (if you expect drugs now you are kind of right! I reckon that manner schnitten, appenzeller-cheese, black bread and really really yummie strawberry jam classify as highly addictive substances for an austrian girl - mark preferred the salami over the cheese though)

tomorrow we will head of to santa martha on the columbian coast, leaving out the first island of the abc-s and even more important the first island in the beach-boys song "kokomo": aruba.

we plan to do a bit of columbia sight seeing...can't wait! - then it will be off to kuna yala (san blas) for us before we get to panama - leaving the great atlantic and carribean sea in our wake.

before we get that far though we will have to cross quite a bit of sea with a horrible reputation. the waters in front of the venezuelan and columbian coast are supposed to be the 5th worst in the world (the other 4 being above or below 50° north or south -according to Jimmy Cornell, one of the blue water sailing gurus)
the high mountains in columbia in combination with a rather permanent low system above it can create a great deal of breeze....but surly not when we are there - because we booked the "nice cruise down to oz 2013 - package" including some free drinks and flat seas - so not to worry for us.....or?

before going to petit saint vincent on our way to grenada, we had to stop in union island for a cold beer in this "crazy" bar
a taste of luxury - the high end (and high price) resort on petit saint vincent

georgetown on grenada

the crystal clear water in bonaire
snorkeling in bonaire
a porcupine fish - apparently puffs up when annoyed

still one of the nicest things - swimming with turtles

a brain-coral

changing flags (curacao and the yellow q-flag for "quarantine"  (needs to be up when entering a new country)

loud evenings at the carneval of curacao....
......and quiet days at the beaches
pelican on curacao
willemstad...or amsterdam?
going local for lunch
choosing from the pan
our neighbor in spanish water anchorage - a pipeline-laying rig