Day 100, Year 1: A Success Story (not for the squeamish)
Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Air and Water Temperature: 82 degrees F
Location: Kralendijk, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

I must admit that I have been keeping a little secret from you. On Sunday, we discovered that we had a little critter onboard and our fear was that it was . . . yes, a rat or a mouse. Yuck! When we got up Sunday morning, I noticed that something that shredded part of a paper egg carton that I had left on the galley counter. We wondered if a bird had flown into the boat during the night looking for nesting material, but in the back of our minds the truth was lurking. We probably had an unwelcome rodent onboard. When we had dinner with Beth and Ken aboard Eagle’s Wings on Sunday evening, we mentioned this and they shared their horror story with a visiting critter. On Monday, they offered their arsenal of critter catching devices and we accepted as we had found more evidence of an intruder. Monday night, there were no takers, but last night I awoke to the “snap” of the trap. We had caught the critter. He was a very healthy looking little rat. We have no idea how he got aboard and we certainly hope he is one of a kind. We stopped by Eagle’s Wings today to return the “arsenal” and Ken asked if we had taken pictures. Pictures! No way. I didn’t want to admit to this invasion, much less document it. But he insisted. He asked if we had the little friend with us and indeed we did. We were on the way to the marina to dispose of the evidence. To make a long story short, we drug our little friend out of hiding and took pictures to document this episode of our story. Please tell me we won’t have a repeat performance.

Our day was a full one. We spent part of our morning exploring the Harborside Marina area to our north and part of the afternoon visiting Plaza Marina to our south. We stopped to talk to some folks onboard Galadrial from Coos Bay, Oregon. We asked how long they had been here and they said five or six years! They stay here for six months and then cruise the Venezuelan Coast for the remainder of the year. Owners of the boat next door to them, Bango, are petitioning to become citizens here. Evidently the charm of this place has rubbed off on others.

When we returned to downtown Kralendijk, we walked to the local hardware store about a mile from the waterfront to buy rat traps to fortify us from future invasions. No luck. But they sent us further north to the local Chinese shop. It was the Bonaire version of a Dollar Store, and they not only had the much needed traps for our arsenal, but they also had plastic boxes needed to store food when an invasion is underway. We got back in town just in time to check out through Immigration and Customs to prepare for departure tomorrow morning. In the Immigration Office, Mark met a couple that we had seen in Bequia. He learned that they are ending a seven year circumnavigation and returning to Eugene, Oregon. We hope to see them again in Curacao and get a chance to hear about their experience.

We stopped by Eagle’s Wings to leave some information on Curacao and to tell them that we hope to see them again along our way to the South Pacific. We also stopped by Sirius to give them an update on the weather and to wish them well on their trip east and then north back to the US. We then returned to Windbird to prepare for departure tomorrow morning. We are having a hard time prying ourselves away from here, but we know that that we must move on.

In between trips here and there today, we did get back to the boat in time to catch Southbound II’s weather this afternoon. Herb said that it looks like we can move on to Curacao, but that we need to wait there until we get the go ahead for the San Blas. Since we have to wait there for the delivery of our water maker parts that works out just fine. It is only 35 miles to Curacao from here, so we should be there by tomorrow afternoon. It is still a little windy out there, but we should be fine. We’ll update you on the trip tomorrow night.

As I close this log we are listening to music booming from the seaside avenue onshore in front of us. There is an election coming up here and the campaigning has been increasing during our stay. As we look onshore we see a parade of a couple of hundred people following a van blaring live music Caribbean style. May the best person win.

060125 Day 100 Caribbean, Curacao–Arrival