Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Goodbye to Donna and Bruce; almost time to move on

September 5, 2007  Wednesday

Goodbye to Donna and Bruce.  They left mid-day for the trek back to Texas.  As always, it was good to visit with them.  They are welcome to visit us aboard any time.  It was a shame that we didn't get to do any sailing while they were here.  We spent the first 3 days exploring the island by car.  Turned out that those were the best 3 weather days during their entire 8 days with us.  Guess we should have gone out sailing first and then explored the island by car.  But with the hurricane and then higher winds and rougher seas that are so typical of the ABCs, there simply was not a good day for sailing.  But we enjoyed their visit even if we didn't get to sail.

CaribWX website posted several images from the hurricane center showing Hurricane Felix as the storm progressed across the Caribbean.  These images graphically show why the Curacao area was spared damage from this hurricane.  The eye wall changed shape as the storm passed north of Curacao and all the energy was moved up into the NE quadrant of the storm.  Since Curacao was about 40 miles south of the eye and all the energy was up in the NE quadrant, we had no bad effects from the storm.

Lucky us! 

This has now happened twice with hurricanes while we were aboard boats.  One could become complacent and think that as long as one is 35-50 miles south of the eye of a category 2 or 3 hurricane, then one wouldn't suffer damage.  How dumb that would be to make such an assumption!  We realize that we were extremely lucky during both Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 and Hurricane Felix in 2007.  We hope never to be so close to another hurricane while aboard a boat.

We are checking out of Curacao Yacht Club in a few minutes and will move out into the anchorage.  Bruce drove us into Willemstaad on Monday so we could obtain an anchoring permit from the Harbor Authority.  The anchoring permits are free but it is a pain in the butt to have to go all the way to the city to obtain a permit.  And you must have a permit for each anchorage that you plan to visit.  We planned to obtain permits for several anchorages so we could sail around Curacao a bit, but that wasn't possible because you must tell them the exact dates that you want each permit for each anchorage.  Isn't that one of the dumbest things you have ever heard!!!  How can we possibly know what the weather will be like on any particular day in the future!  So we couldn't provide specific dates for specific anchorages.  Therefore, we got a permit only for anchorage section E in Spaanse Waters.  Curacao really needs to rethink this permit restriction if they want more sailors to visit their island.  It would be too cumbersome to have to find transportation all the way to the city each time you want to change anchorages.  Cruisers will merely go somewhere else where these restrictions do not exist.  I understand why Curacao wants to know where each boat is located at all times, but there must be an easier way to track the movements of visiting pleasure craft.

We will stay in the anchorage until the proper weather window presents itself to begin the passage toward Cartagena.  S/V SCOTT FREE should arrive here in Curacao in a few days.  We will then decide whether to wait and buddy boat with them or not.  Depends on how long they want to hang around Curacao.  I am ready to leave on the first good weather window after we receive the Colombia rider from the insurance company.

Don't know if we will have internet access out in the anchorage, so might not update for awhile.

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