Guest Crew – Curacao Days

Jill Venema

As mentioned in another post, we met Jill and Joop in Curacao and had a great time with them. Here is Jill’s guest post about our adventures.

It was Joop my husband, who first happened upon Neil and Heidi. He works as a maritime pilot in Curacao port and came across them as they were trying to get an anchor permit having just arrived here. They were suffering from the usual frustrations of trying to make contact with the right people in order to do this and not getting very far, so he offered to help. I believe he wasn’t able to do much for them  as it turned out so he did the next best thing he could and that was to drive them to a supermarket so they could at least stock up on supplies.

When he got home, he told me about this intrepid couple who had turned up here on their round the world sailing trip.(they actually didn’t like to call it ’round the world’ as when they set out they were not sure how far they would get, but anyway they were here having set of from Scotland and it seemed pretty far round the world to me !  I was very impressed and hoped I could eventually meet them.

After a few weeks had passed, due to them  entertaining friends, we were able to meet up. We met for a beer or two and ended up almost switching off the lights in the bar as we left.  The night just flew by, such was the very convivial conversation and enjoyment of each others company.  We all had so much to say and Joop and I loved hearing all about the journey so far and the wonderful places visited. We were both so pleased they would be staying for a few weeks and wanted to show them the island . We were so impressed that they rode their bikes everywhere to see the sights of wherever they went , Joop  is a very keen cyclist so it was decided they come to dinner and the next day he would take them out for a sight seeing ride. (I decided to sit this one out as although I like to ride, I only had to look at how fit the three of them are to know I would probably embarrass myself !

So as planned both Neil and Heidi rocked up one afternoon and stay overnight . They were very complimentary about dinner and especially enjoyed the beers in the pool after riding over in the heat. Heidi enjoyed the shower she said as there was  no limit to the water and she could wash her hair and take her time, something I hadn’t considered to be a luxury but I suppose when you think about it…and the bed, amazing to think they hadn’t slept on land for quite sometime, we were so pleased to be able to have them stay and enjoy .

The bike ride took place the next day …..I should probably have  thrown in a warning ….Joop can be a bit of a bugger on the bike and if he detects a certain amount of stamina , he will beast you , and he did!  However I think they both enjoyed it and had a speedy tour of all the different environments on the land, coast and cactus road and track and back for another dip in the pool. Later in the week we took Neil and Heidi to Westpunt (too far to cycle) to swim with the turtles which I know they enjoyed.

Neil and Heidi then very kindly offered us a trip in their beautiful boat. We set off  to a lovely local bay  to swim and snorkel and have some lunch. It was a most exhilarating trip ! It all started out with Neil handing over the tiller to me  which was very trusting of him as I found i kept going in the opposite direction ….anyway I didn’t capsize  the boat and Neil was endlessly patient although my constant ‘SORRY!’ was wearing i think !
Once we got out of the bay Joop took over and he absolutely loved it , we were against the waves and I did rather cling on like a cat but that’s just me, the boat felt safe and I couldn’t help but feel OK knowing how far Artemis had come with both Heidi and Neil so how could anyone feel worried ? However, Heidi provided me with just the thing for a nervous sailor, a good slug of homemade Baileys in my coffee mug, I was totally fine after that!Lunch was splendid, I couldn’t believe that anyone could produce first of all four mugs of coffee on the ‘high seas’ and not spill a drop and then such a wonderful lunch including homemade chocolate brownies , the woman is a marvel !

Our final encounter with these two  lovely people was to be a few beers before we headed off to town to meet friends….oh well, best laid plans and all that…..we turned up to a local beach to meet them only to find they had become involved in a local beach party (it was a bank holiday) Heidi was ‘twerking’, that bottom thing with the local ladies and Neil was welcoming us with a beer when we arrived….and that was that, plans changed….I went to fetch my bikini  and on with the party ! What a great night, dancing eating and drinking, (it was all on your tab and I did want to pay something but was not allowed to ) thank you for your generosity .

There is so much more I could say, we really did have  some great conversations and laughs,  we are sad you have gone but as you said Neil, the world is round and so we will surely meet again. Safe travels on your beautiful Artemis and I know you will make friends wherever you go as you are just the sort of people that make it a certainty. there will be lots of others waving you off from the shore thinking they would have liked you to have stayed longer….or gone with you in Joop’s case. He is on about buying a boat more than ever now whahhhh!

4 thoughts on “Guest Crew – Curacao Days”

  1. Hello Jill, I am Gertrud, one of the friends Heidi and Neill were entertaining before they got to know you. I can’t help commenting on your marvellous guest crew post. I was just as surprised as you were, when Neill trusted me with the tiller (and I kept saying sorry, you know why) and Heidis’ cooking skills under any conditions are admirable. Not to mention her refreshing natural way, which is infectious. We call her Happy Heidi! And Artemis is just wonderful, right? Anyway, I want to compliment you on your well written and detailed post. It was almost as I were with you lot. Thank you so much 🙂 GK

    1. Hey Gertrud!
      Thank you for your kind words … I really had so much more to say as we had such a great time together ! So you were on the tiller too ?? Ha ha ! Isn’t it hard to make it go the way it should ? My brain couldn’t handle the back to front steering ! Yes Heidi is a lovely lady , so much fun indeed . We felt as though we got to know both you and John from the wonderful stories of your trio with Heidi and Neil . I bet it all seems like a dream now you are back home ! Xx

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