Sunday, January 26, 2014

Shore Leave – Willemstad, Curacao

Running out of port time so excuse the lack of continuity between pictures and words!

I don’t think I’d heard of Curacao before this trip which is too bad as it’s a really nice place!  Curacao is one of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) that make up the Netherlands Antilles.  Although they gained independence, that only happened in 2010 and the Dutch influence was clear as soon as we sailed in.  I love the architecture and the colours on the buildings, a great mix of European (Dutch specifically) and Caribbean.  The city we docked in, Willemstad, was very pleasant to walk around it, lots of little streets to wander down.

Waterfront in Willemstad

In Curacao I had two afternoons off, I spent the first one exploring Willemstad and on the second I travelled down the coast to the beach at Jan Theil.  Again it was a little bus adventure to get there.  I had the right bus but got off too early.  There were a couple guys who made the same mistake and after asking at a local café we got headed in the right direction and made it to the beach about 15 minutes later.  The beach was full of cafes, lounge chairs and white sand.  It was a resort area but very pleasant.  I had borrowed snorkel gear from the ship and after stashing my stuff in a locker at the dive centre I spent about half an hour floating around the little bay looking at fish.  I don’t know the names of any of the fish I saw but there were about 20 different species, some the pale colour of the sand, others that looked like they were wearing camouflage, blue fish, little fish, bigger fish, a brown and white spotted eel, a tiny black fish with brilliant yellow stripes.  There was also lots of coral and a small shipwreck.  I found getting out of the water after snorkelling a much stranger sensation then stepping onto land after a sail! 

Queen Emma pedestrian bridge

After snorkelling I went to the grocery store I’d noticed on my way down to the beach (I love visiting grocery stores in foreign countries even when I’m not working as cook’s mate).  It was lovely! Definitely Dutch and I quickly realised I was going to have to catch the later bus.  Of course I didn’t really need to buy anything, meals are provided on board, but I found some things to snack on (Doritos, raspberry chocolate granola) and some yogurt drinks and chocolate milk juice boxes that don’t need refrigeration. I also got a cake slice (white, with fruit) which turned out to be as delicious as anticipated.

Vendors at the round market

Finding wifi is always a premium port activity and we were very lucky in Willemstad that the city provided free wifi about a 5-10 minute walk from the ship.  That makes is so much easier to keep in touch through e-mail, Skype and Face Time.  

Sorlandet docked in Willemstad

Unfortunately our stay in Willemstad was a day shorter then planned due to our late departure from Barbados but I enjoyed the time we had there and would definitely go back.

Beach at Jan Theil

Another beach shot.  Not a bad place to spend an afternoon!

Bus stop!

1 comment:

  1. sounds like you are having a great time.