Published: November 26th 2007
November 26th 2007
After dinner one night, sitting out back, dark, swirling water, swells rolling thru’, it’s so much spookier at night, the foreboding-meter ratchets up to 11, I chuck a piece of leftover bread out the back…suddenly a massive splash, flash of silver and gone!…quick!!….out with the line…. bit of somescrap on the hook and in….the line didn’t get 10’ down and whack…big fight…this one’s a real goer…..the handline is slipping thru’ dinner greasy fingers…I can’t hold it when it runs…slowly clawing back ground….finally fought it onboard, a big Horse Eye Jack…looks edible so I skin and fillet it…darkish firm flesh, a bit tunalike…we ate it next night….not too bad….would be good curry.
Next I let out a line with just a hook, floating on a piece of bread…10 mins and snap again…this time a nice sized snapper…can’t get any better than this!
I threw the Horse Eye Jack over the back after filleting and it sank down to the sand and coral with the little guys going at it. The next day I was snorkelling around the boat and noticed the fish head was between two clumps of coral and being tugged at by two spotted moray eels. This was
french angel fish
classic dipsy arrogance?
a pretty big fish head and eventually the larger eel got his mouth around the whole thing and swallowed it!! I think there’s a photo here of the act. I think there’s a lesson here too!
Ah, Bonaire…or Bone-air or Bon-eye-ree, whatever you can get your tongue around…what a treasure….a little hard to get attracted to at first…having come from the pristine isolation of the cays…but it is pretty cool….and the moorings, I think I told you already about the moorings…jajaja…getting around is soo much easier…english speakers!..actually dutch, español and English get you by…the locals also have their local patois (de fois gras?) to keep us in the dark…but tres friendly and helpful…..(I’m missing speaking español tho’)..
Just sitting on the back of the boat, floating, looking down 30’ or more…throwing bread for the sergeant majors (or should that be sergeants major??).its hard to get the fishing line down thru all the small fry to where the snapper roam free…and I can see them…I even went out snorkelling with the handline…trying to target drop the bait in front of a snapper…still the little tackers surround and suck the bait in seconds!…there are some bigger biters amongst them but
not the sort of fish you’d take home to meet Mother…the French angel fish…just have that je ne c’est quoi particularly off-putting dipsy/arrogant French pc look about them…..if I did get one aboard it would probably pay out on me for the way the line was tied incorrectly!
Monster cruise ships pull in to the little quay and thousands of touries swarm over the little town. The big one has 16 levels and 3,000 passengers, they stay only a day… The ship dominates the town, awesome….I was coming out of the WiFi office a few blocks back from the beach one day and as I looked up I could see the massive superstructure of a liner towering over the shops and offices along the malecon.
Some fish swim with rigid bodies and fins flapping wildly, others move their whole bodies, I’d never noticed that before….and little groups fiercely guard their bit of coral or empty can or whatever they call home….and soo many different types of fish…..hundreds of verieties…all getting along pretty well….v harmonious….just an illusion?…very harmonious until someone gets hungry?…and when I look around, diving or snorkelling, nearly always, just on the periphery, a barracuda.…underwater they are
transparent, almost invisible, sometimes when I think I am following a big one I’ll realise another is shadowing me…and they will come right up to check you out…and you’ve seen the photos…these guys have teeth!!
Bonaire is the diving capital of the world (like so many other places) but here even the number plates say “dive capital” or something like that….certainly lots of fabulous dive sites.
The first thing you see, sailing into Bonaire, are huge mounds of white powder…is this the cartel’s loading dock?…no, it’s salt..one of the island’s big earners.
There are little local birds, sort of finchlike with a clackety crackling whistle that is really penetrating….up close it is a racket and I can even hear them from right out on the boat!
Bonaire and Curacao and all the islands around here are defined by coral. There’s almost no sandy beaches, just differing heights of coral…5 - 10 metre cliffs in the north….1 metre in the south…..and where it’s flat-to-the-water, broken coral is all!!…bit sharp on the arse for sunbaking….and awkward to walk on even…where does the coral end and the rock begin?…is the rock old coral?…some of it looks basaltic and there’s
certainly been volcanic action…not a lot of sand and in the few places where it has gathered it is guarded carefully. Even muddy silt substitute sand seems preferable to the wall of coral. I don’t understand how it gets so high out of the water…obviously the rock formations, the same 20 - 30 degree slope from Los Roques, is tectonic action but how does the coral rise above the sea line?….lots of the shoreline is a metre high wall-of-coral, some v pretty with little inlets and shelter places, other parts are quite fiercely jagged and uninviting….sea walls are built right on top of the old reef coral…..and around the bays here in Curacao the natural coral foundations blend sublimely with the concrete and wooden structures of such a wide range of architectural designs….also obvious is the wide range of income brackets from the ultra$$ in great flash mansions on the hill to the more humble fishermens’ shacks…..there are hills, or rock outcrops around the bays, and some pretty shmick houses up on the tops…maybe the Dutch have a predilection for heights after the flatness of Holland(?) while the locals don’t mind being lower down by the water…
main town here…on it’s own bay and a fabulous little microcosm of Amsterdam with total faux dutch buildings, narrow lanes, little bridges over the river, or maybe it’s just another arm of the bay!….and you know, clogs, tulips, cheeses…jajaja….the city is divided by the riverlike entrance to the bay…you can cross by free ferry or walk over this really clunky floating bridge…like a series of pontoons and this thing opens!!…one end has a prop drive and when a ship approaches, even small boats and yachts, the whistle blows and they drive this end out in a huge arc, pivoting on the anchored side until there’s enough room for whatever vessel is coming, to get thru’…fantastic….
And it’s all very colourful, it really boosts the friendliness factor, all these buildings in bright colours, all different, it has the appearance of a toy city, something out of a kid’s colouring book…fantastic!! ..and they really have the last word in bright paint here….in fact it looks like they’ve cornered the market on the brightest paint around…it is glowing!..the terracotta roof tiles are usually bright enough but here they are painted an even more intense orange!..and the buildings….pinks and greens, purples, yellows and greens..extraordinary
colours…..and even out in the backblocks and poor areas they still paint their houses, in fact all buildings, in whatever bright colours they can find…
Across the walkway the big open plaza is filled with the usual crapola stalls and hippie bead sellers…but this is another notch up in colour and brightness…you need the sunnies to look at this stuff…extra!!……and there is some pretty classy crapola amongst the regular stuff… …I am planning to add some classics to my collection of ultra-garish Hawaiin shirts…whoo hoo…
Altho’ it’s nice being back in English-speaking-land I am really missing my español….fortunately there is a large español speaking section of the community here with many of the workers coming from Colombia and Venezuela…in fact someone told me there are some 50+ nationalities here!!…are you kidding?..in a population of 130,000…c’mon…I reckon there’s 1 norweigen, 1 somali, 1 ethiopian etc etc …..but the majority are dutch and indian….so dutch, español and English get you by and the local patois keeps their secrets from us!
And there’s an animal welfare refuge in town, it’s on Abattoir street!!! Ha, I like that..
So, Curacao….nearly a week here now…it is amazing how so different these
islands are in culture and life in general when they are so similar in climate, population and area. Curacao has 2 major bays, each with a narrow, riverlike entrance and then opening out into extensive waterways with lots of bays and inlets, ragged hills of rock with the big houses perched there, several marinas, a yacht club, and houses all around the shoreline…much colour again. Lots of yachts and lots of action…dinghies, motor boats, little yachts, sailboards, fishing boats, rent-a-launches, jetskis…furious, chaotic and colourful….be careful!…suddeny a higher level skill set kid will come knifing thru’ the rest, transparent ribbed sailboard sail like a giant insect wing..unreal…
There are some rocky peaks, up the other end there’s one over 300m high….down our end the big hill is only 200 or so and getting less every day as it’s being mined….the whole face on 2 sides has the stepped and scalloped shapes of the excavators, some white rock they’re taking out, from a distance as we sailed in it looked like an Aztecian cityscape, high rises and all…..another darker rock hill has some interesting looking caves up high…not today I think!
And a brief note on food….here in Curacao the
stupormarkets are just too much…I reckon there’s more here than in my local s’market back home…an incredible range of goodies so I’ve been stocking up on exotics..all the curry pastes and condiments from India and Indonesia, basmarti rice, real butter, cheeses, cold meats..deli tucker…legs of Uraguyan lamb….fresh herbs like mint and rosemary and basil…in fact everything you could want…and the fresh produce…jajaja…more than you could poke a stick at…fantastic…so we have been surviving…unfortunately my cerveza bebe is showing…crikey, it’s almost crowning!
So much for now…time to get some pics up and get this off…we’re leaving for Cartagena in Colombia in a few days and that will be my next contact I guess….it’s always a bit of a hollow feeling, getting to the arse end of a blog…sort of drained, washed out….it all just dribbles off the end of the page……..and I see there are some new blogees on the dist list…don’t be shy, say hello!…..and all of you…thanks for the responses…even just a hello is nice…Love to you all…B
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