Today we tried out a new beach called Boka Sami. It’s in a small fishing village just up the coast from Blue Bay. It’s also referred to as Snake Bay, and for some reason Pam has been leery of trying it. But with Mike in town, we decided to give it a go. It’s a nice sandy beach, with a super easy entry into the ocean.
There are lots of fishing boats around the bay, and there turned out to be lots of fishing traps in the bottom of the bay. I find it tough to see the traps with all the fish stuck in there, knowing they are going to be someone’s dinner. sigh Wish that didn’t happen, but what can you do? If humans didn’t eat them, they’d wind up as dinner to some fish or bird.
Anyway – it was a nice snorkel. Lots of flying gurnards in this bay. I think we saw at least a half dozen. I think it’s alternatively called Snake Bay because of all the moray eels we saw though. They were everywhere! (Even in some of the traps.) We also saw turtles, some ceros, and a coronet fish.
This is definitely a beach we’ll be back to visit. Nice and peaceful.
We have been doing all those things one needs to do when they have moved into a new apartment. Namely renovations, including expanding the size of our suite by stealing space from our patio. Our patio is 18 feet x 12 feet, and we’re going to convert about half of that to inside space.
We decided that we wanted a second air conditioner added, so that any guests will have air conditioning – quite important at night. Makes sleeping so much easier. During the day, you live outside, eating, drinking, playing. It’s always warm, sunny, and breezy.
Construction on the new doors should start next week. We had an architect (Henk Bolivar) come in and examine the place, and he suggested that we don’t install an additional set of doors, but move the current set out to the new location.
Adding the new airco is a complicated process, with the compressors stored in a room near the front of the apartment building, while the control unit needs a place to discharge water. In order to add an additional unit into the apartment, we would have to go through another apartment – something that they could reject outright of course – and that could potentially add months to the process. Instead we have devised a plan to add the unit through the new construction! The result is that the entire renovation will solve all the problems, and look completely seamless and built in, rather than some jury-rigged add-on.
Henk, the architect, was one of the nicest fellows I’ve ever met. Jovial, forthright and funny, he couldn’t be a better fellow to work with. He kept saying, “Look, as an architect, we want things to be perfect as possible for the owner.” The idea we had had to add the second set of doors he described as a nightmare, and something we would not like. We were very pleased and surprised when he said just do it the right way first. Don’t settle for something – get what you want, and have it done right by professionals!
Everyone we have met on this island have just been great people. When they discover we are here to live, rather than just winter here, they are so excited! Welcome welcome welcome has been their response!
We’re becoming more and more comfortable here. Believe it or not, Bailey has made the transition easier. People are just completely charmed by her. A lot of Curacaon dogs are guard dogs, and are not friendly. Bailey of course, is a charmer. All the staff all ready know her name. When they see me without her, they wonder where she is, is she sick? They bring her a bucket of water with ice cubes in it! And she loves the attention they lavish on her.
There is an off leash beach here on the resort and we’ve jumped in the ocean a couple of times with her. She’s great with it, but a bigger wave spooks her and she gets out of the water. She always wants to drink from the ocean! The first time she did, it was a big mouthful that made her start coughing. She still takes a taste, but much smaller now. Her favorite activity is chasing the geckos – not much luck for her there tho. There are a number of cats on the resort and she tries to give chase, but they don’t run.
She prefers to lay outside in the sun rather than inside in the air conditioning. We were worried she wouldn’t like the constant heat (every day is around 33-35 C) but she loves it. The other big thing with her are the birds – there are so many large birds here. She literally stops in her tracks to follow the flight of a pelican or heron or flamingo.
Here is a brief movie of a pair of green moray eels – I realize we’ve uploaded a couple of moray videos already, but this one is quite cool. They are both sizable morays, with a slightly different color. I wonder if one might be female and the other male? I don’t know, but one was quite a bit bigger than the other – not so much longer, as it was thicker than the other. And watch how wide his mouth gets when he scarfs down that fish!
Today we decided to go to Playa Porto Marie, a beach that was Pam’s favorite last year when we were in Curacao. Naturally, we missed the turn off – it’s marked for St. Willibordrus, so I guess we can be forgiven for that! We found a great beach called Cas Abao.
They have a small fee, just like Jan Thiel – three bucks a person. We got a beach lounger like before. There was a nice busy little restaurant, a souvenir shop, a dive shop – all things you usually see on a beach here in Curacao.
The snorkeling was simply phenomenal. I never thought we’d find a place like Caracas Bay, then we found Jan Thiel. And here Cas Abao – at least on a par with Jan Thiel, but perhaps better on this day, because the water was so crystal clear.
We saw some fish we had never seen before, one which we’ve tentatively identified as a Coney. It’s a beautiful fish, black with tiny gold polka dots on it, with flowing pectoral fins. We saw one taunting a golden moray eel. I’m uploading a movie of it doing that!
We saw lots of eels, four different kinds, but at least ten in total. It seemed they were all over the place. Pam said to me, “let’s go in” and then another moray would show up, and we’d stick around for a picture or two. “Ok time to go in…” Another moray!
We were the last people out of the ocean. When we left the beach, there was only one other car in the lot! We shut the joint down! It was quite an amazing sunset too. We would have stayed a while longer, but the bugs chased us away! The bugs have been the worst ever this year. I’m guessing it’s from all the rain.
We had dinner at the Wine Cellar. If you ever come to Curacao, or your cruise ship stops at Willemstad, you simply must come here. It’s a family run business, and truly impeccable in every detail. It’s strictly indoors, and air conditioned, and with all the bugs, that’s a good thing! The service is truly personable and professional. The food is amazing. I had a pumpkin and sweet potato soup with curry, and it was so good, I have no words to describe it. I told Pam that if this was a Gordon Ramsay blind taste test, I would not have been able to pick out one item, but it was truly a taste sensation. Pam started with the mushroom soup (her favorite) and it was creamy and delicious with big chunks of mushrooms.
For the entree, I had an Argentinean steak, and it was better than El Gaucho’s by a mile, which I would never have dreamed. Pam had a giant shrimp dish and it was spicy and herby and very good as well. Tiramisu for desert was not necessary, but really a special rendition done with amaretto. Truly a memorable meal.
Monday started with a one hour cruise from our condo up to the capital of Curacao called Willemsted. It is a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site. It has centuries old architecture, with uniquely painted buildings. The story goes that the wife of the governor suffered from migraines, and the stark white homes, with the glaring sun reflecting off of them triggered her migraines.
So the governor decreed that all the homes must be painted. So the people took it to heart, and created a dynamic, vibrant palette. The result is that, the islanders were forced to develop quality paint, given the harsh sunlight, tropical rain storms, and high humidity. Consequently, their expertise in manufacturing paint has made them a world leader in paint technology, even to this day.
It was a nice cruise and we went right into the harbor, up to within a few feet of the swinging bridge. The island is also a center for many nations to practice their search and rescue operations. The US Navy, the British, Canadians, Dutch and Russians all train their teams on Curacao. It’s another source of income for Curacao, so they are not as dependent on tourism as other Caribbean islands.
After the cruise, we headed to Caracasbaii – or Caracas Bay – and we had intended to head out to the tugboat wreck. But the road was full of potholes, and we were worried about taking our rental on it. (Did I mention we got a NEW car from the rental place? It’s a brand new Yaris, so new it still has that new car smell! It only has 260 kms on the odometer!) So we stayed at the main beach, and boy are we glad we did!
This was definitely the best snorkeling we’ve had this year. There was abundant coral, and just tons and tons of fish. There were lots of fish we had never seen before, and lots of fish we’d seen of course. We saw a type of moray eel we’d never seen before, a golden moray. We saw some damselfish with unique coloring we had not seen. We saw a new fish called a blackbar soldierfish, which was bright red, with a black bar down it’s head, that hung in big schools.
There were a number of schools of glassy sweepers, an unusual copper colored fish, with a prominent belly. There were tons of trumpetfish, a long thin fish, that often swims with his head pointing down. He can change color at will, and tries to hide among long stemmed coral.
There were many types of damselfish, from little bitty ones no bigger than the nail on your little finger, up to a couple of inches long. Colors ranged from a brilliant blue, with bright blue polka dots, to half black, half white, to yellow with blue, yellow with purple – you name it, it was there.
We will definitely be back there, that’s for sure!
There are too many pictures to post here in the messages, so do check out the Curacao 2010 gallery for more pictures. (You can get to the gallery by clicking on the Galleries link at the top of the page.)
We had a busy day Monday. We started by snorkeling in Caracas Bay (Caracasbaii). It’s a beautiful big bay on the South coast, with very clear water for swimming. The picture we took was taken from a hill, near a souvenir shop, that is the best signed attraction on the island! haha
Once we got to the beach, we were looking for a submerged tugboat. It’s in about 20 meters of water, and it’s easily visible once you get there. It’s only about 50 meters off shore, so it’s a simple little swim, by some HUGE steel towers. We were rewarded with some very cool fish to see.
One of the coolest was this three foot long spotted moray eel. It’s not often you see morays out in the open, since they are usually nocturnal creatures, and the spotted moray is usually in sea grasses. We followed him around for quite a while, and he posed nicely for us! Apparently this is the most dangerous of all the morays… who knew? He seemed friendly enough!
After a couple hours in the ocean, we headed downtown to do a bit of shopping and site seeing. I didn’t buy any jewelry (but the week is young!), but we did see some fun handicrafts and checked out the floating market. The bridge in the picture yesterday is a movable bridge, and here’s a picture of the bridge in motion. The ferry is a people ferry, running from the Punda (literally – the Point – the main business part of Willemstad) to the Ortobanda (literally – the other side – meaning the other side of the bay). This part of Willemstad is on the UNESCO World Heritage protected sites list.
After lunch, we headed back to the Seaquarium, and took an afternoon dip in the ocean. We cruised around the bridges and saw lots of barracuda, including a school of about 30 tiny barracuda, no more than 10 inches long.
Here is the better picture of the spotted drum I promised! He was still in the same spot we saw him yesterday. Guess it’s his house.
BTW, there is a link at the top of the page to “GALLERIES”… this has all the photos available on the website, divided into Albums, so you can see every picture we upload. Some of the pics uploaded don’t make it into the text of a message, but they are online. You can view them as a slideshow (full screen even!) or as thumbnails.