Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Slave Museum

Before we left Curacao we took a walk across the floating bridge to the north side, Otrabanda. The Kura Hulanda Slave Museum ( is here, located in a former slave yard and slave merchant’s home. The 18-19th century buildings have been restored for a 3 or 4 block area of the old town. The museum is large, much bigger than I expected and covers a huge range of history from tribal Africa to the Babylonian times, some Egyptian artifacts and, of course, much on the slave trade itself, and its after effects up to the 20th century. It was much more interesting than I had expected and well worth a visit if you find yourself in Curacao.
 curacaoIMG_5849 This sign showed a timeline of slavery. It was tucked behind a large bush, so it was hard to see the whole thing. The interesting part to me was the note at the end showing abolition of slavery in the USA. Its date is set as 1863 to 1964. It took us a long time to actually commit. (The dates shown above it are from the Dutch point-of-view).
curacaoIMG_5858I come from the niggeryard of yesterday, leaping from the oppressors hate and the scorn of myself…”   Martin Carter
The leg and arm shackles make an impressive display.
curacaoIMG_5859  A sea chest full of hundreds of shackles.
This is a model of the area below decks on a slave transport ship showing the few foot high area where 5 or 6 slaves would be shackled and kept for all most the entire passage across the Atlantic  -- weeks on end. Even though this took place hundreds of years ago, the merchants were very advanced for their time. You can see the security camera they setup in the upper right to keep an eye on their cargo.
curacaoIMG_5861 The legal end of slavery was clearly not the end of oppression. These are genuine US of A  Ku Klux Klan (KKK) robes.
Along the restored narrow streets around the museum is a really nice hotel. The rooms each have separate entrances along the alley.
curacaoIMG_5867  There’s a few restaurants and cafes. I stopped to read my paper and talk about local politics with a dapper local.
curacaoIMG_5874 I was completely minding my own business when these two floozies tried desperately to pick me up. (“Trouble ahead, a lady in red, take my advice you’d be better off dead” as Jerry Garcia advises, although I’m pretty sure he was talking about drugs at the time.)
curacaoIMG_5878 Do you think this balcony on this old store front could hold one more air-conditioner? It was already drooping with the current cooling load.
Walkers on the Willemstad, Curacao floating bridge at night.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Octopus Spotting

bonaireDSCN1143 Isn’t she beautiful? These guys and gals change color to match their background seemingly almost instantaneously. She’s white in this picture because of the white light from my underwater flash.
bonaire_2_DSCN1143 She was a little shaky this morning with the eye-makeup, but overall looking ready for the day.
bonaireDSCN1153 Chris heading into the deep to check out an old anchor.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bonaire Philosophy

bonaireIMG_5903 From the temporary wall in front of a building site along the malecon (beach walk) in Kralendijk: Always be yourself, unless you can be a … Unicorn
Enough Bonaire land philosophy. Time for some gratuitous underwater shots and turtle watching. We dinghied up the island a ways to the Andrea I dive site. We like this area because it is good for snorkeling (as well as diving). This morning we caught sight of two turtles just trying to get some underwater rest.
bonaireDSCN1134 bonaireDSCN1135 Chris cruising with a meandering turtle.
“Don’t bug me, OK?”
Down periscope- after going to the surface for some fresh air.
This small spotted moray eel was sticking about 6 inches out of a hole on the reef floor, dancing back and forth like he was a piece of seaweed in the current.
I’m all eyes for you… a small porcupine/puffer fish.
Christmas tree worms on a bright yellow star coral…
We plan to leave Bonaire by early November, hoping to make the San Blas islands before Christmas time. Its nice to see that the folks on Bonaire are already decorating the reef for XMAS. At least it is non-commercial.
Georgia is sitting on a mooring on the protected West side of the island. The tradewinds blow from the East pretty much continuously all year. Now is the season when the trades finally slow down – under 15kts– and occasionally some other wind sneaks in.Yesterday morning at about 4am a rain squall came through and the winds blew out of the SW for 4 or 5 hours straight into the mooring field. This caused the boats in the mooring field to be incredibly rolly and blow toward the shore, which is very close. The small local fishing boat who are generally moored closer to the beach or on a dock near the shore, made a hasty exit and headed into the marina to get out of the surf. We stuck it out and by about 10am all was nice and it was time for a snorkel. The water temperature is in the high 80’s and the air is about 90*F.
We’re working on boat projects and just hanging out

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

OK, we’re back on the water

curacaoIMG_5894 Curacao on the way out

After spending 10 great weeks in the great US of A, we are back in the water. We watched TV and took long hot showers while in the US. I’m pretty sure that the hot-shower thing is going to catch on – might even go viral. I just need to find a start up company to invest in so we can take advantage of this new fad. As for TV, I doubt it will         catch on. Mind numbingly boring. I did like the the drug company advertisements.  Especially the one that shows a side-by-side graph of the drug they are selling versus the placebo. The drug they are selling out performs the placebo by a few percentage points. Ask your doctor for one today!
We spent a very hot, sweaty week in the Curacao Marine boat yard. New bottom paint, a waxed hull and the rudder re-installed. Glad to have it done and be out of there. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a good yard. Rocky, the yard manager and tractor driver is very careful and helpful.  But Chris kept hearing the Cole Porter song It’s Too Darn Hot floating in her overheated brain. Being continually bathed in sweat (literally) is just not her idea of a good time.
After the boat got launched, we waited a few days in a slip – getting the canvas and sails back on and cleaning up. We did get in some sight-seeing while we were in Curacao with Maria and Maurice, our friends on Cattiva. They’re heading off to Santa Marta, Columbia, soon and we hope to catch up with them again in the San Blas Islands, Panama, for Christmas celebrations.
Mostly we were  waiting on some light weather to make our passage back to Bonaire; the trade winds seem to be relentless here… We still have a month’s worth of small projects to do on the boat. Doing them in Bonaire means we can invest a few hours a day on projects and still get in a snorkel or dive. It’s also a lot cooler in Bonaire– the wind blows through the boat nicely when we are on a mooring, and the water is clear and inviting right off the stern of the boat for a quick cooling off with the fishies. 
We left Curacao Marine in Willemsted at about 6am. Got hold of the Port Authority on the VHF 12 and requested that they open the floating bridge for us. A 15 minute wait and they swing her open and we off for a 7 hour motor sail into 12-15kts winds to Bonaire. We grabbed a mooring on arrival (anchoring is prohibited here to  protect their reefs) and headed into Customs and Immigration for a quick check in. Then back out to the boat for a snorkel.
Its good to be back in Boniare.