Curacao 23rd November 2013

Da Capo
Arne and Leonie
Sat 23 Nov 2013 01:16

Hello all,

We have been here just over a week and I have only just started to sleep through the night Arne does not seem to experience jet lag. We have put the bimini up, installed some new blinds that have fly screens built in, and a new water meter. Our boat is on the hardstand right next to a fence that has a piggery on the other side. It smells and you can hear the pigs crying. Lots of flies and mosquitoes as well.  The joys of living in a boat yard…Two different species of tiny yellow birds are competing for a nest in the boom on the boat next to us. Fun to watch!  We have to climb up and down a three meter ladder to get into and out of the boat. The temperature today is only 29 degrees and there is hardly a breeze. If you work or even walk or sit in the cockpit water pours out of you. 

As you make your way to the shower and toilet block there are various boat people and workers sitting outside the office in the hot sun trying to access the internet.  Arne has installed a wifi antenna on the boat so we can get good connection on the boat. I do not know if Australians are too willing to say hello you invariably feel a bit pissed off when you say hello and they either look away or smile as if hello is too familiar.  And as I unlock the bathroom door I hope no one is in my toilet or shower when I get there.

We switched our AIS on when we got here so people could find our location and for testing.   For those of you that are interested in tracking us via AIS  ( Automatic Identification System)                             It is now off, because we will be here for two, three or four more weeks  waiting for the new propeller and a new fridge to arrive.   The new propeller finally got ordered a week late due to the incompetent person in England. I had him all set up with my credit card details before I left Sydney and then he eventually emails me today to say “You have given me the measurements but I cannot go ahead until you give me your cc details. When I told him that he had them already he said “oh yes I do have it, I will put in the order today”.  In the mean time the dollar has gone down. The prop is manufactured in Denmark and takes up to 20 days, so they say!

After filling the fridge it then it decided that enough was enough and it kicked the bucket.  So I decided that as it is 20 years old I will get a new one. Fed EX wanted $300 to send it from America so I found an airline to do it for $87. It took me 24 hours to get the shipping order in as their internet system is full of bugs making it impossible to do it online. I ended up organizing it via email. They say that I will most likely be contacted by their IT department for me to try and help to sort out their problems. This is an American airline cargo company. Not a Curacao company, mind you. 

Talking about Curacao, To get a gas bottle filled you have two options, one is to take it to a depo and then come back for it a couple of days later on to pick it up. The other is to go to this other place and they do it on the spot.  I went for the first option as I knew where it was, it was Monday. He said come back Thursday to pick-up. So I decided then to go for the other option which is way across town. We got there at 3 pm and there was a queue of about 40 people some with more than one bottle to fill. “Come back tomorrow” I was told.

Tomorrow comes and I got there about 7.45 am. The little office where you pay was not open yet and there was a queue of about 40 people and at least two of them had Ute’s full of bottles.  So I decided to take my bottle back to the other guy. I would rather wait till Thursday than queue up for what most likely would be four hours. A boy, first in line was about twelve years old nursing the tiniest gas bottle you could imagine, I wonder what time he got there!

I get to the other place and being Saturday he is shut.  So on Monday morning I thought that the ‘fill on the spot’ might be less busy. But alas the queue was still there. So we went along to the first guy.  He said go and pay then you come back tomorrow to pick-up. Tomorrow what happened to the Thursday, wow, this is good.    So, I see this queue of people with gas bottles and I stand at the end of the line. After a while of wondering what was going on as absolutely nothing was happening.  We were not moving along, just standing. I asked the feller in front of me what was going on and he just raised his arms into the air “I don’t Know”.                              I went back to see the gas Guy to ask if I can pay when I come back to pick-up. “No you have to pay now” So back to the nonmoving queue which had grown by two people.  I stood there trying to contain my patience without success. I went back to the gas guy and told him it was a waste of time, there has to be a better way of doing this. He said to me “take your bottle” “what” I said thinking that he was telling me to piss off.  “Take your bottle and come with me” he said. So I follow him to the other corner of the building and he points out to an office way over the other side of the yard. “Go in there and pay” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me that in the first place” I say. Not a word was said as he went back to stacking bottles.   I trundled across to the office. It was a locked door opened by  a security guard to let me in, a roped area for the queue to snake along except that there was no queue here, just one person at the glassed in teller area. Air conditioned as well. I thought that I was home in the Commonwealth bank.   “Next” she politely says to me. I plunk the gas bottle on the shelf, “25 Naf please”, I produce a credit card, “only debit cards or cash” “Oh ok here is my plastic bag full of coins”, she cheerfully empties and count s out the 25 naf. Here is your receipt take your bottle over there, pointing in the general direction of the gas guy.

Next day mid afternoon we go back and pick up our full bottle. How easy is that?   Piece of cake!

We went to the beach for a swim and a walk overlooking a bay called Spanish Waters, late in the afternoon. A young couple was trying to get their tiny son to let go of his mum and use his floaties he was very frightened. Arne suggested that she just throw him in.   We enjoyed our swim so much we decided to go back the next day.  King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima (of Holland) happened to be visiting the Island.  The traffic was so bad we decided to detour and go to Mambo beach where we watched a beautiful sunset and walked around a new complex. Here they have free movies on the beach every Tuesday night.  On the way home the traffic was stopped just before we got to the intersection.  We could not work out what was going on. A local police woman was stopping everyone. It turned out King Willem and Queen Maxima were on their way through.  Arne like the local people is not very impressed by royalty and he cannot tolerate Ques.  If the traffic island had not been so high and our muffler so low he would have jumped to the wrong side of the road. After the convoy went thru we ended up joining the royal convoy in our rent a wreck and as we passed thru the next set of lights a police man flashed his small torch at us.  Arne was unfazed as if we had every right to be a part of the royal entourage and go thru all of the red lights with Willem and Maxima.

 This news letter was a joint effort.  Till next time….

 Arne and Leonie…