We had a pretty rough sail today from Curaçao to Aruba (25 to 30 knots with a peaks of 35 and a very agitated sea) but we were all fine and at least we got here fast! After a two night stop in Bonaire we continued to Curaçao where we left Gert and his 30 year old boat. He made it in one piece but we sailed beside him all the way just in case something went wrong. He’s now safely anchored in the bay in Curaçao and considering the repairs he needs to make.
The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) are part of the Netherlands but enjoy a large degree of autonomy. The Hague is now only responsible for defence and foreign affairs. Each island uses a different currency (although the USD is accepted everywhere and in Bonaire that’s their official currency). Dutch is the official language and the local language is Papiamento which has elements of Creole, Portuguese and some African languages. For me it’s been a treat to find lots of delicacies from back home in the supermarket and we’re now well stocked up after a big supermarket shop yesterday. Luckily the supermarket agreed to drive us and all the shopping back to the dinghy dock where we loaded everything into the dinghy and then ferried it onto the boat. Packing and storing everything took a few hours!
Clearing in the ABC has been the most cumbersome on our trip yet. As we arrived in Bonaire late afternoon we decided to check in the next morning. It’s what we’ve done everywhere else and it’s never been a problem. The authorities were not impressed though and threatened us with a 100 USD fine for not having checked in that same evening. Also, as normal, Seathan went to customs and immigrations on his own but they insisted everyone had to come along. So we had to wake up Aeneas (who likes a lie-in) and drag Tyrii away from his schoolwork (well that wasn’t so hard) and all make our way to customs and immigrations. At least they were only a 10 min walk away from the dinghy dock. In Curaçao we had to take a bus for 30 mins into town and then walk another 20 mins to find customs and after that we had to walk another 30 mins across town to immigration (luckily the boys had brought their scooters). If it wasn’t for Gert we would have struggled to find them as their office is in the middle of nowhere near the docks. Again we were told off for not having checked in the same evening we arrived… Even though the pilot book mentioned one can check in within 24 hours after arriving. What a palaver! We checked in and out at the same time and left early this morning. We arrived in Aruba late afternoon and it looks like we still haven’t learned our lesson as we decided to do the clearing-in tomorrow morning 😇