Our last two stops in the Eastern Caribbean are St. Barth’s and Nevis. St. Barth’s strongly reminds me of the Côte d’Azurs luxury marinas and resorts and I am happy to immerse myself for one last time in the down to earth and close to life Caribbean atmosphere of Nevis. For example, a haircut in St. Barth’s is 80$, one in Nevis is 8$.
Friends have been telling me how fabulous Los Roques, Venezuela is. A giant archipelago of small and smallest palm islands surrounded by reefs, inviting you to snorkel them - sounds enticing, were it not for the fact that they are part of troubled Venezuela. All the same we decide to sail directly there and can’t help but notice we feel a lot safer here than in many Caribbean islands. After obtaining clearance (from four different offices) we can chose our own islands to anchor. There are only a handful of other yachts here and they tend to congregate in a few select spots. Even more deserted are the Islas Aves on the way to the ABC Islands. Here we meet a few fishermen who are camping out here. Everywhere else it is white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and a deep blue sky.
We would have liked to linger but Andrea must catch a plane soon. We sail overnight to Willemstad, Curaçao. The harbor entrance is grandiose: An ancient pontoon bridge is being swung aside just for us within minutes of arriving and we pass under a very high freeway bridge that looks more like part of a giant roller coaster (and feels like that when driving over it). The marina situated in the industrial harbor has a less glamorous feel.
Tara and I say our goodbyes to Andrea and motor all the way back to Bonaire against the wind. We have heard that some of the world’s best snorkeling and diving is to be had here. I am always a bit suspicious about such tall announcements, but in this case… wow! Since 1979 all the coastal waters around the island are a protected marine park and anchoring freely is prohibited. Instead, there are a number of well-maintained and secure mooring buoys. Directly off the back of your boat you can marvel at the intact and lively coral reef, surrounded by numerous and colorful fishes only slightly shy of humans.
We are booking a diving course with Hens. He guides Tara on her first dive and literally holds onto her all through the dive for safety making sure we all have a great experience under water!
But soon Taras time on board is up as well - in short: she does not want to leave and I do not like to see her leave.