Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This marks the official
beginning of our GREAT ADVENTURE
We left the anchorage at
Curacao Marine at 0730 in company with Karen and Ralph aboard KARA DREAM. We each had a lasting souvenir of our stay there in the
form of the exceptionally thick and viscous mud on our anchors. The Curacao Port Authority at Fort Nassau
had given us permission to proceed into the canal behind an outbound
barge. We came to a bit of a
dilemma when we found ourselves AHEAD of the barge and decided, with approval
from Fort Nassau to lead the way out.
We were thrilled to be able to exit with the entire pontoon bridge
open. Normally sailboats rate only
a tiny crack through which we must manouevre. It was a thrilling race to the sea, with one eye on the
fast-approaching tug and barge to our stern. We waved enthusiastically to the passengers of a Princess
Line cruise ship moored alongside the canal. Fortunately the outgoing tide or current swept us along
It was such a relief to be
at sea again, if only for a 20 nm run!
For most of the passage to Santa Cruz Bay (one of the most northerly
anchorages in Curacao) the winds were too light, but during the final hour we
put out the sails. After all these
years aboard, it is still a magical moment when the motor goes off and suddenly
the only sound is the winds in the sails!
This serendipity was
momentarily disturbed when we kept hearing an alarm from the autopilot, which
also kept shutting itself off. Our
first hint should have been when it was first engaged and informed us that
“calibration” was “necessary”.
However, until that final hour, it seemed to function well. Then we were informed “Rudder not found”. Apparently, the control unit attached
to the rudder had died, leaving us to hand steer the rest of the way. No worries!
After dropping anchor in
gorgeous Santa Cruz Bay, where we also found DARRAMY (Brian and Sue) and BREAK
AND RUN (Joan and Al), Dave spent a couple of very hot and awkward hours
finding the spare rudder control and then installing it (working upside down
inside and under my bed). The
outcome, however, was a success!
Now we need to order a new spare part.
Upon restoring order after
this procedure, I was ready for a good swim. Uh-oh, my mask and snorkel were discovered to be still in
the trunk of the rental car we returned in Willemstad yesterday! No problem. There is a small dive shop in the bay. We unstrapped the dinghy and motored
towards shore. Unfortunately, as
we reached the rocks along the shore, the outboard motor died. The gas line was installed
backwards! Lessons learned: don’t rush when you are tired and always have the
oars handy for fending off of the rocks.
Having reached the dive
shop, we found they had just received a box of masks and snorkels- hooray! Unfortunately, while I was trying them
on, Dave fell into the hole in the floor which leads to the storage area! To make things worse, the mask and
snorkel are less than ideal. But will suffice until we reach Aruba.
It was a relief to finally
get wet and exercise. I DID,
unfortunately misread the current and ended up taking twice as long to return
as to go out. But, I DID see a
lovely turtle and a Spotted Eagle Ray en route- wonderful!
After a shower and dinner,
with the dinghy back on the davits, we snuggled in the cockpit beneath a
star-filled sky with a magnificent sheet lightning display to the southand
decided that THIS is what is truly wonderful about the cruising life and that we
are truly happy.
But, if this is an
indication, our trip may be more adventurous than we had imagined!