2023 ABC Islands
January 10th to February 2nd
Or rather the BCA islands as we sailed first to Bonaire, then Curacao and finally Aruba.
"ABC...as easy as 123...' according to the Jackson Five. Certainly sailing from Grenada to Bonaire and between the islands was characterised by perfect, following winds, few squalls and a favourable 1-2 knot current pushing us along. Add to that, the Bonaire and Aruba anchorages are well enough lit up that arriving in the dark is no issue.
The entrance to Spanish Waters, Curacao takes some care and should not be done in the dark. But the hardest part is the arrival at Aruba Customs and Immigration. It is the first place we have been where you must turn up in your boat and moor on a specific dock. Yet the dock is not fit for purpose being only 2.2m deep at the most favourable end. With one boat already there, just past it the prescribed dock was too shallow. We ended up reversing, stern first, between two fishing boats and, once we had a line ashore, pulling the boat alongside. We had less than one metre gap to the fishing boats at either end.
The ABC islands are a convenient stepping stone en route to Panama so most RTW cruisers visit. In our case we did have specific things which we wished to do on each island.
Bonaire was about diving. There is a blog post describing our time on Bonaire. Also, we added many more underwater photos to our 'Snorkelling and Diving' Page. We did learn that, although a GoPro is great for snorkelling, to take photos deep underwater you need a bright light source or the colours on the photos will be terrible. So thanks to Larry (Bonaire Scuba) for lettting us use the pictures he took during our dives.
We had been told that Curacao was a great holiday destination with lots to do and we had initially planned to stay two weeks. The fact we left after four days tells you how disappointed we were with the island. Maybe Bonaire had just been too perfect!
Aruba is known as up-market and expensive and cruisers typically avoid it. But research taught us there was a marina with the same owner as two large hotels. For the (very reasonable) cost of the marina, we had free use of the hotel facilities, including three swimming pools, gym and boat trips to their private island. Given that the next leg to Panama is renowned as potentially one of the five scariest passages in the world, we decided we needed some 'relax' time. It also gave us a chance to make arrangements for the Panama Canal, Galapagos Islands and apply for our New Zealand visas.
Double click on the photos below to get the story behind the picture