It’s been a while since we’ve hopped in the ocean. We’ve spent more time on the golf course than cruising the ocean. But today, we jumped in the ocean here at Blue Bay.
It was a bit cool, but we quickly adjusted to the temperature. One thing about the ocean, there are pockets that feel much warmer, so you want to spend a few extra minutes there!
The visibility was quite good, excellent in fact. We saw what we’ve come to call the “usual suspects.” One thing that was kind of interesting was seeing two octopuses. Not often we see two here in our little protected bay.
It was nice to get back in the ocean, and I can bet we’ll be back in much sooner than the last time!
Just a short note. We’ve taken Bailey to several places around the island, some loved her, some threw her out!
We went to a what was billed as a community market in the town of Barber. It is on Sunday, in the morning. It supposed to have plants, and crafts and fresh vegetables, and some stalls that sell food. Well, it’s not that. It’s basically a gathering of the town, with about 20ish booths. 17 sell food. One sells plants, one sells “crafts” and one sells a couple kinds of vegetables.
We were surprised to see kids screaming in fear of Bailey. Their mother was not impressed and tried to get the kids to appreciate a friendly dog, without much success. Every time Bailey turned her head, the kids ran screaming. An older woman confronted us and angrily demanded we get out. Dogs are not welcome here she angrily chastised us.
We take her with us to our daily WIFI ritual at the golf course, and she’s a star there. Everyone fawns over her, putting ice cubes in her water dish. The staff adore her, know her name, come over and pet her as soon as they see her. She just loves the attention.
She also loves to go in the ocean. She would always try to get in the Fraser River back in Vancouver, but only a few spots were actually good for her to enter. The cleanliness of the water is not that great on the Fraser sometimes, with al the industrial work. But here – Blue Bay is a great spot for her. The water is always gorgeous and blue. On the 11th of August we took her for a snorkel! Here’s a short movie to show what we mean!
We had a nice flight into Bonaire last evening. We had no one sitting beside us, so we were able to stretch out and grab a nap. We had a bit of trouble finding our single night residence, but found it.
It’s a lovely single family home, right on Bachelor’s Beach, called Renaissance by the Sea. It had a wonderful view out the over the large deck, with a private dock to boot. The room was large and cozy, with a very comfortable bed.
We had a nice first snorkel. It was great to be back in the ocean. Nice and warm and lots of fish to see.
Our photography is not great so I won’t bore you with second rate pictures. We saw some unusual things today. One thing that we’ve seen once in a while is an eel, being shadowed by a fish or two, while the eel is digging in the ground. The lurkers quickly grab anything that might be tasty. Today we saw that scenario at least a dozen times! And most of the eels had a barjack, a schoolmaster and a Spanish hogfish hanging around!
Our movies are not great, but I’ll try to edit a couple together and get it posted. BUT – my computer is in trouble – it seems to have blown the fan, and the computer is running super hot and and is vibrating like crazy. Hopefully it will make it through the trip…
We moved to the Divi Flamingo after our snorkel and had to dodge a bunch of jaywalkers. Man – dangerous! haha
We ran to the grocery store and got stocked up with food and drink, so we’re set for the next seven days! Pretty nice sunset too.
Here is a movie of compiled clips from various little movies we made on day one.
Yesterday was a bit windy, so Pam didn’t want to head in the ocean. I decided to try the wall, a section of beach where there is very little easy access to ocean. It’s guarded by an army of pelicans, which can be quite vicious, you know!
I was rewarded with a spectacular display by the fish! I don’t even know what to call it. I’ll just let his movie say it all. (ADDING THIS NEXT DAY – I should mention that this group of fish went on and on, for well over a kilometer. We’ve seen bait balls like this before, just never this big!)
I’m also adding this brief movie from yesterday that Pam took of a stoplight parrotfish munching on some coral. It’s a fairly large fish, in the two foot range. If you have your sound on, you can even hear him crunching the coral.
We were going to try the North Shore, but Pam read too many scary stories, so we headed back to Smith’s Reef. The water was super calm, almost glassy, so we thought we’d have a great snorkel. And we did, but wow, there was a current so strong, if you stopped swimming against it, you’d be moved twenty to thirty feet in mere seconds! Not for the poor swimmer that’s for sure!
It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work too. We immediately saw a turtle, and we knew he was different than the last turtles we’d seen, because he had a tag on only one flipper. Yesterday the two turtles we saw had none, and two tags respectively. This was a smaller turtle and all he did was hang around the bottom, eating sea grass.
It’s a great spot to see fish, and we saw tons. One grouper was nestled in a little hole, and just watched us warily as we approached as close as eighteen inches. So long as we didn’t make any quick moves, he let us snap pictures. Pam loves this fish – and we’ve seen a lot of them here in Providenciales.
We got a bit tired fighting the current, so we only stayed in for a couple of hours. After a quick lunch, of left over pizza, courtesy of Baci’s, we went back the Coral Gardens. The current was sharp there too, but we went in anyway. And what a swim that was! Within about two minutes of being in the water I saw a little stingray, about three feet across, with a short tail – I guess from some predator biting it off.
The reef was just alive with fish, and lots of HUGE schools of horse-eyed jacks. We thought we’d seen a big school the other day, but wow, this one was twice that size. There was a big school barracuda, mostly under two feet, but there were a couple larger ones. There was a school of ceros, a kind of racing car like fish, speedy and sleek.
We saw a couple of moray eels. We hadn’t really seen any, and today we saw two. We also saw two flounder, after not having seen any the whole week. Funny how that goes – see none, then get them in pairs!
We managed to spot a lionfish, out in the open mostly, and we managed to get a couple of good shots of him. That’s a first – usually the lionfish is under a shelf, hiding, and our pictures are not good. This one, is pretty good!
I saw a big stingray laying in the sand and called Pam over to see him. She took one look at him and turned away, and I’m calling her – Do you SEE this HUGE stingray?? And she just points… under a shelf was the biggest fish we’ve ever seen. About six feet long, and weighing about four hundred pounds was a HUGE Cubera Snapper. Unfortunately, our pictures are dark and unclear, since he refused to come out from under the shelf. But holy cow, that was one big fish!
We had dinner at the Tiki Hut. It was so packed for the Wednesday night dinner deal, we went to Baci’s, but we decided to give them a whirl tonight. The setting is nice, on the water, surrounded by big boats. It was a little breezy, so a light sweater might have been a good idea. The waitress, Raissa, was friendly and efficient. We ordered some conch fritters to start ($8.00). They were served with a tangy sauce and Pam pronounced them better than the ones we had at Shark Bites.
The Tiki Hut is famous for BBQ ribs and chicken, so Pam ordered the ribs ($18). They were a full rack, served with your choice of sides, and she chose onion rings and vegetables. They were fall off the bone good, and much better than the Shark Bite ribs. I had the West Indie Chicken ($21) which was a boneless breast of chicken pounded thin, then stuffed with tiger prawns, served with a rum cream sauce, fresh vegetables, and rice and peas. The vegetables were broccoli and carrots and they were cooked very well – not mushy and gross, but just perfectly done. The chicken was great. I’d order it again. For desert we ordered the bread pudding with vanilla ice cream ($8). It was a disappointment. It was not bread pudding, just some boring muffin with some store bought ice cream. Don’t order it. Total bill was $73, not including tip. A lot of places in the Caribbean put a service charge of 15%, but not here. It was a nice dinner, and I’d eat here again.
For some reason, there were fireworks when we returned to the condo. They were launched right beside our building, so we got a bird’s eye view! Not sure what it was all about, but a cool way to end the evening.
It’s getting to be old hat, but we jumped back into Caracasbaii again today. The ocean was too rough to head out to the Royal Sea Aquarium, so this has kind of been our “go-to” beach. The water was not that choppy, but definitely gave us some motion. We checked out the wreck, and spotted our first lion fish, hiding under a chunk of metal. Try as we might, we could not get a decent shot of him! All of them turned out blurry, or “white.” If you move the camera too quickly after pressing the button, you get this white streak. And since we had to dive down to get the pic, we just didn’t get one.
We swam toward the fort, a considerable distance and discovered a whole different look. There are a number of large pylons, 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet and towering at least a hundred feet. There were tons of fish around them, and we saw triggerfish (our first on this vacation) a large barracuda, French angels, flounders, and eels. There was a long swim across beautiful white sand, and we spotted this rather unusual fish. I’d never seen him before. Not sure what he is. They were situated around the the open sand, about six to eight feet from others of their kind. It was a tad strange.
We stayed in the water a long, long time… probably too long. But it was going to be our last long snorkel, if not our last period, so we just didn’t want to get out.
For dinner we decided to go to the Argentinean steakhouse El Gauchos which is on a hilltop overlooking the city. They have a shuttle from the hotel, so it was nice to just hop in and let them do the driving. The road up to the restaurant is not great, and I’m glad it wasn’t me driving! Prices are about you’d expect for a steakhouse, but include a salad bar, and a fresh daily soup.
Pam and I have had dinner here before and totally enjoyed it. This time, not so much. My steak was not good. I order their “Famous El Gaucho” and it was rather pedestrian. They do not serve it with a potato or vegetable, so we ordered the “grilled vegetables” which turned out to be steamed, in some kind of sauce. Not very good.
Our first waiter was a nice fellow, but difficult to understand. Half way through the meal, he was replaced by a woman, who for some reason had a chip on her shoulder. I said to Mike, what did we say that offended her?? It made the rest of the meal very uncomfortable. Desert was something called Pyramide, a cake of some sort, served with ice cream and whip cream. It was nice. Mike had the tiramisu, but it was merely ok, and he said he’d had better on this vacation. I would not return to El Gauchos based on this experience. From the poor food, to the horrific service, it was simply too much money, too much effort. This movie is of a flounder, that I saw as I was about to get out of the water. It was in about 8 inches of water, and I think it gives a pretty cool view of his eyes swiveling, and his cool color, and how it changes as he moves across the bottom.
Today, Wednesday, we headed up to Westpunt, and tried out Grote Knip. It’s a lovely beach, apparently used quite often for postcards of Curacao. It is a long beach, with beautiful white sand.
There are palapas and tables and it’s very popular with locals. There is a large parking lot, so you know it gets busy on the weekends! There were not many people when we were there, only about ten.
It looked like there would be very good snorkeling along the sides, although in the middle we knew there would little to see, since most fish don’t hang around the white sand. The water looked very inviting indeed! It’s easy to get in, as the sand slopes gently down in the water. The water was a bit “cloudy” from the sandy bottom. Heading to the left, I saw a rather large barracuda riding shotgun on a school of fish. The visibility was not great, and the snorkeling was mediocre.
This is a great beach for swimming.
I’ve had a couple of people wonder how you say “Curacao” so I’ll try to explain it phonetically. Most Europeans say it “Cure-A-Sow” and that’s acceptable. Far better than the women at the New Jersey airport who announced our flight to “Crack-Cow”. The second “c” is never hard, always like an “s’. However, the locals spell their island Korsou and they say the name of their island Cur-sew. It’s done quickly with no rolling of the “r”. So there you go. If you want to appear like an in-the-know local, go with the two syllable version Cur-sew, but if you want to be spotted as a tourist, or a European, say it in the three syllable version “Cure-A-Sow”. (Note the local way is Cur – like a dog…. the Euro way is Cure like in medicine.)
We headed back towards Willemstad, the capital city, and stopped at Playa Lagun. It’s a small cove, with an easy entrance to the water. We saw some neat fish, but most of the best fish viewing is down too far for snorkelers. The visibility was fine, just that the fish were 20-30 feet down for the most part. When we entered the water, we headed to the right and saw some fun things – the usual suspects.
We had a brief lunch then headed to Caracasbaii, where we’ve been before and can expect lots of fun things. It didn’t disappoint. The wreck is so easy to swim to, and there is always plenty of action to see.
We had dinner at the Rib Factory. It’s a small eatery, that is full of locals, for lunch and dinner. It does a booming take out service as well. They have a small deck that has ten tables or so, and a few more inside, with air conditioning. We sat out on the deck in warm evening air. I had the chicken fajitas – not a big rib fan – and they were excellent. Mike had the ribs and he said they were very good. Fall off the bone tender, with a great sauce – you could choose from three different kinds. Service was fun and good. Prices were reasonable. Would definitely eat here again.
This is a brief movie of Grote Knip, the first beach we visited today.