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

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told my children to wash their hands. I remind them ...
The new editions of PORTS Cruising Guides, from the publishers of Canadian Yachting will be ...
As the seasons change and we move from warm summer into cooler fall, many fanatic boaters ...
On the Friday before a weekend with a gorgeous forecast, I heard on the news that a boat had ...
A reader suggested we take a look at anchors. Anchoring seems simple enough. A weighted hook with a ...
If you’ve spent any time in a boat yard during spring commissioning season, you won’t find it out ...
As a busy marine mechanic, I tend to have the same or similar conversations often, and they’re ...
This time of year, great deals abound. That boat with the ‘for sale’ sign looks quite attractive. ...
For less than US$2,500, Jim Leshaw, a lawyer who lives and works in Key Biscayne, Florida, ...
Each spring, I tend to notice canvas. I wish it was because it’s been immaculately maintained and ...

CompassBy Katherine Stone

Not a hard re-installation - just line up the holes and replace the screws.

I remember vividly my first experience using a chart plotter and navigation system. Deciding that we should try the cruising lifestyle, we purchased an older boat and set out from Hindson’s Marina in Penetanguishene at dawn to sail across Nottawasaga Bay to Thornbury, Ontario for the Canada Day long weekend. It was a beautiful start to the day when we left and motored out of Penetanguishene Bay and rounded the corner, heading toward Christian Island, right into pitch black clouds. 

Read more about Your Compass........................

 

  

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
With a philosophy of quality and 'doing things right Ranger Tugs launches the all new R-25 at the ...
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 renews the spirit of the practical seaworthy cruiser. The ...
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...
ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
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 ...

J99By Katherine Stone

All set to pull out the Code 0 before dousing the jib.

It was a very cold and wet beginning to the summer and we never thought it would arrive in Southern Ontario. Doing a 100 miler race on Lake Ontario (billed as the COOLEST race on the lake) with my 8 layers of thermal clothing, woolen ski toque and ski mittens, along with a neck warmer kept me on the edge all night, just out of frostbite reach. I shouldn’t have complained, as we also had wind!

July and August arrived, and it has certainly warmed up, in fact, its too warm, AND we don’t have wind. We are now counting 5 Wednesday nights in a row without wind to race. 

Read more about the J99 Offshore Shorthand Speeder.....................

 

Wellcraft 242 FishermanBy Andy Adams

Boat buyers are gravitating to the latest centre console boats for a wide range of reasons but for the Wellcraft 242 Fisherman, you can sum it up by saying it’s about features, style and value.

This great-looking boat is just as capable on a family picnic cruise as it is doing serious blue water fishing. A wide range of options let the buyer tailor the boat for their specific interests, but it’s all there to choose from. Our test boat was well-equipped for that comfortable cruise with easy access via the swim platform and through the transom gate into the cockpit.

Read More about the Wellcraft 242 Fisherman..................

Destinations

  • Prev
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...
If you haven’t cruised the Rideau Canal before, you have missed a special treat and even if you ...
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...

KingstonBy Amy Hogue

Cruise into the city of Kingston, Ontario, and it will quickly become clear that this city and surrounding waterways have something special. Built around the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Kingston is the place to go if you love to explore new waterways, fantastic views, and exceptional boating opportunities.

Sitting at the intersection of three world-class Canadian bodies of water, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal (Cataraqui River from Kingston to Newboro), the water’s influence is deeply woven into Kingston’s culture and history. 

Read more about Kingston......................

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
The new edition of PORTS Cruising Guides: Georgian Bay, Lake Huron & the North Channel from the ...
Canadian Yachting’s Chartering Handbook, full of information and advice for heading off to a ...
Navigating the process of yacht care and maintenance just got a whole lot easier, following the ...
I will be honest, I am generally not a big fan of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV). My wife and I own ...
The FX model is Yamaha's top-of-the-line three seater WaveRunner and a totally new model for 2019. ...
In the April 2015 edition of CY magazine, I published an article on anchors and anchoring – Staying ...
The Seabin device part of the Oak Bay Marine Group trial, has had promising results so far while ...
When I took the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV down to Wednesday night racing, the people that came over ...
Protecting your boat from scratches and dents isn’t always easy. That’s why the Big Bumper Company ...
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Forespar has just introduced a new smaller size version of their ...