Story and photos by Mark Stevens

RaftCuracao boasts a wealth of secluded and gorgeous beaches far from the madding crowd.

It’s nothing short of spectacular, this view of Willemstad’s waterfront from the stone ramparts high atop Riffort, an eighteenth-century bastion guarding the sea approaches to St. Ann Bay, one of the Caribbean’s biggest harbours.

A long pontoon pedestrian bridge named for Queen Emma, though locals are wont to call it “The Swinging Old Lady of Curacao,” spans the great bay, joining Otrabanda on this side to Punda, the historic downtown core.


The bridge crosses sun-golden and royal blue waters, leading to tall narrow buildings (tax rates were based on their width, just like in Holland)lined up along a promenade called Handelskade, boasting Dutch architecture that could hold its own in Amsterdam but for one anomaly.


The facades of theseBaroque colonial structures are painted teal and turquoise, coral and buttercup.
These are but a few of the colours of Curaçao.

The SeaSheteBoka National Parks offers spectacular sea views amid a lunar landscape














Funny story, the chronicle of this particular man-made rainbow.


In the early 1800s Albert Kikkert was posted here as governor of the Dutch Antilles. Prone to migraines, he decided the harsh sunlight on the whitewashed fronts of those buildings exacerbated his condition. He demanded that they be painted different colours.


The rest is history. History, it should be noted, is yet one more Curaçao leitmotif.

Boats Lined upThe floating market in downtown Willemsted is a must-do for local shoppers.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Witness the lemon-painted former mansion that houses the Curaçao Maritime Museum, a must for visitors with a nautical bent. Discover the story of the Arawaks, a chronicle of invasion and occupation that dates back half a millennium. Check out the artifacts salvaged from a Dutch shipwreck.


Or head down the street to the walls of Fort Amsterdam, visit government house, equally vivid in colour, equally rich in history. Check out the cannon ball still lodged in the walls of this august building, reputedly fired at the command of Captain Bligh.


If you’re a serious history buff you can take a self-guided historic walking tour of this city that first saw the light of day in 1634.


Or just enjoy this conflagration of colour and sound without rhyme or reason.


Follow the shoreline here to the floating market. Here boatsline the seawall – green, red, blue – hawking the catch of the day. Stroll the market where red tomatoes compete for attention with green peppers and yellow bananas, where the sounds are a distracting as the colours: Papiemento, a hybrid language of Dutch, French, Portuguese and even African dialect; staccato bursts of Spanish as locals and those Venezuelan fishermen haggle for the best deals.
But compared to the countryside, Willemstad itself is downright monochromatic.


Rolling hills dominate this landscape, punctuated by scrub vegetation like nearby Aruba and Bonaire (Curaçao reclines deep in the southwest Caribbean between her two sisters), highlighted by jade and sage-coloured towering cactus plants.

LagoonThe waters of a blue lagoon nuzzle the shore hard by the Curacao Sea Aquarium, a Canadian-owned venture.

 

 

 

 


 


Colour Curaçao pink –a hundred flamingos, graceful, aloof, and vivid in the morning sun at the Flamingo Reserve at Willibrordus,stand sentinel in a smattering of ponds, ponds guarded by mesas that wouldn’t be out of place in Arizona.
Think desert beside an ocean.


Be titillated by thetints and huesof a place that’s combination kaleidoscope and history lesson: Nena Sanchez Gallery, housed in historic Landhuis Jan Kok – the Dutch answer to English colonial great houses.


Those ubiquitous cacti are littered haphazardly across the grounds, in contrast to the tiled pumpkin-coloured roof, the forest green shutters of the former plantation. They form dramatic backdrops to pastel-painted statues, whilethe colours inside come courtesy of the paintings of local artist Nena Sanchez, light-hearted works inspired by those Caribbean colours you’ve been inhaling for days, landscapes, seascapes and whimsical paintings of local fish.
For a first-hand view of those undersea colours that so inspired Sanchez, head to the Curaçao Sea Aquarium and nearby Substation Curaçao. Descend to the depths in a submarine or immerse yourself in those selfsame hues up close at the aquarium itself –maybe even take in a live dolphin show.


Paint Curaçao cobalt at Shete Boka, a National Park where you clamour across lunar landscapes and stare in awe as the seas throw themselves suicidally at cliffs and water-carved sculptures, where tympani roll sound track serenades you, where those tones take on a darker shade.

P-shermanVenezuelan fisherman regularly put in to Curacao, selling the catch of the day to the highest bidder.

 

 

 

 



 


Marvel at the tapestry of tints at one of the island’s thirty-plus beaches, a wealth of watercolours worthy of Gauguin, of Matisse.


Colour Curacaosapphire at Playa Kenepa, snugged down at the base of rugged steep slopes, where those hues are so beautiful they could make a landlubber cry.


Colour it neon lime off Playa Porto Mari; think blushing accents to frame your view that are provided by blossoming bougainvillea, even more shades and tones adding to a resplendent painter’s palette that best defines this Dutch outpost, vivid as a rainbow, bright as a Caribbean sunset.
These are but a few of the colours of Curaçao.
.
NOTE: For more information on this vivid Caribbean oasis log on to www.curacao.com

 

 

 

CYOB Destinations: We Visit the Hilton Beach Marina

Hilton BeachBy Amelia Morris

Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population 200!), which I am lucky enough to call my cottage country, is located on the north-east coast of St. Joseph Island. The Hilton Beach Marina is one of the largest and most major ports of call in the Western North Channel. It also has a long and rich history dating back to the 1850’s.

I spoke with Marina Manager, Laura McRae and got the full scoop on what goes on in this inconspicuous but busy marina.

Read more about Hilton Beach Marina....

 

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
On Thursday last week, at age 88, Bruce Kirby has been invested into the Order of Canada for his ...
The Olympic Qualification Regatta is now being held in Aarhus Denmark with unlimited entries. That ...
The demographics of sailing are changing, and more women are getting involved and are often rooted ...
Whether he’s sailing celebrities around the BVI’s or sailing an Etchell back home at his native ...
POTW input is irresistible, so this time you get a couple. And don’t forget to send your own Photo ...
After a good night’s sleep, it was a lot easier to work my way through checking into the US. I ...
This photo from a CPS member shows how talented boaters are. Brenda Cochrane from Kelowna BC, a ...
The first part of this blog will show that not every day is blue sky and sunshine in the Bahamas!
This beauty came our way from Reel Deal Yachts in Bahia Mar, Florida. Why not charter for the ...
This new legislation from Washington State Department of Fisheries applies to boats launched in ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...
Jeanneau’s newest NC model is the NC 33, and it’s an exciting and innovative inboard cruiser ...
The Four Winns H290OB combines two of the most popular new big boat trends to come up with a great ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...

 

Scarab 255 Open

Scarab 255 OpenBy Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You can imagine,at the GroupeBeneteau dealer meeting in Michigan last fall where all the Four Winns, Scarab, Wellcraft, and Glastrondealers had come to see the latest new models, the docks were lined up with gleaming brand-new boats to show the dealers and media – and they certainly put on a show! But for me, the Scarab 255 Open was an immediate stand out. This is a boat that breaks new ground and brings fresh thinking and interpretation of the boating experience to a wide range of buyers.

We had a quick look around but the test drives would have to wait until the next day.

Read more about the Scarab 255 Open....

 

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
CYOB readers often ask questions about their boats and system. For this issue, I’ve answered a ...
Modern marine engines run at very high temperatures and rely on a few methods to keep their ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
In the early spring, just after launch, with the hustle and bustle of engine checks, antifouling, ...
All engines, including marine engines (inboards, outboards and stern drives) have many moving parts ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
I once heard an argument at a yacht club. Two old salts, patiently itching to let go lines and ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.
The 2018 Northwest Boat Travel Guide just arrived. This time of the year is the perfect time for ...