The pilot to the ABC Islands we used was one of the Gotto Go Cruising Guides; “The ABC Islands” written by D. Waterson & D. van der Reyden (ours was an old edition). Another possibility is using “A guide to the ABC islands” from Frank Vigentino; this is a free download on http://freecruisingguides.com/.
The island Curaçao has several anchorages from east to west at the south side, as the ABC-pilot will show. Nevertheless most cruisers are anchored in Spaanse Water. It is a very safe and enjoyable anchorage.
Spaanse Water anchorage: 12° 04′.835 N 68° 51′.743 W
When you enter Curaçao waters, anchor in Spaanse water flying the Q-flag. The next day you do the check-in at Custom & Immigration. That’s the easy and official way.
Spaanse Water is divided in several sectors where you are allowed to anchor. A and B are separated by a fare way, which should be free at all the times. VHF hailing channel is 72, with a cruisers net 6 days a week at 8 a.m. (end of February 2018 it stopped, no netcontrolers available)
For more and specific information and pictures about the Anchoring areas, see the Facebook page; Curaçao Cruisers Information. This is a closed group but join them and you will have access to all the important information. In the file section Documents, or follow the link and you will go directly to the Pdf file. In the Pdf file is all the important information you like to know; for example, where to find Custom & Immigration and where to obtain the anchor permit (USD 10,=) and many other things. To repeat it here is useless for it’s too much.
The information below is our experience during the time we have been there.
We were anchored at the above coordinates which is in sector A, the nearest to the dinghy dock at the fisherman’s harbour. The holding in mud was excellent, but be aware that some places have grass where the holding is not that good. Zeezwaluw was anchored in + 6m with 35m of chain in the water. Have a swim to be certain where your anchor is. The winds are commonly from the E between 15-20kn. In the afternoon the wind picks up but dies at sunset again. Occasionally a reversed wind will turn you 180°, so anchor a safe distance from your neighbour boats.
The dinghy dock in the fisherman’s harbour is where the free of charge shopping bus to Vreugdenhil supermarket is, leaves Mon-Sat at 8.30 a.m. next to the gate. He returns from the supermarket at 10 a.m. Other shops (Budget, Pharmacy, hardware shop etc.) are in walking distance of Vreugdenhil and can be reached with the same shopping bus. We were very content with the bus and the supermarket’s extended and very good stock and prices.
Bus to Willemstad number 6A stops at the roundabout opposite Pirate’s nest. Latest schedule of all busses (change regularly) is available at the main bus station in Willemstad.
Internet: Free Wi-Fi at the restaurant Pirate’s Nest and you can tie-up at their dingy dock. We used Digicel 4G prepaid SIM card (15 Gb/month, Naf 90) for the internet. You have to buy the SIM card in Willemstad at their office at Brion Plein, just across the Pondjes Bridge to the Otra Banda side.
Water boat: Delivery day is Wednesday. Call “Water boat” at Ch 72 for a delivery on Wednesday. Unfortunately, at the end of February 2018 the water boat went out of business. We do not know if they are coming back at all.
Curaçao Marine, marina & hardstanding 12° 06′.5 N 68° 55′.3 W
Curaçao Marine uses trailers of different sizes for getting boats in and out of the water which works great. The staff is very careful in handling your boat. The yard is divided in long term storage and short term. At the short term storage you are allowed to stay on the boat and do your own work. Short term storage is a few $ cents more as at the long term. They provide a ladder to get on and off your boat for free. There is water and electricity 220/110V near every boat. Free Wi-Fi. Toilet and shower block. No washing machine but a laundry pick-up. A free shopping bus runs from Mo-Za to Vreugdenhil supermarket. The chandlers Budget Marine and IWW are in walking distance. Guarded 24/7.
There is a small marina too with the same facilities as on the hard standing.
We have been in Curaçao Marine on the hard for just over 4 weeks doing our own work and were pleased by the staff. They are very friendly and helpful. We can highly recomand it.
Klein Curaçao, mooring ball: 11° 59′.30 N 68° 38′.823 W
The island Klein Curaçao (means little Curaçao) is approximate 6 Nm E-SE of the southern tip of Main Island Curaçao. This island is as flat as a pancake, with only a working lighthouse some trees and bushes. There are no people living on the island except the security guards for the day tripper companies who frequent the island every day from ±9.30 A.M till 15 P.M.
At the west side of the island, approximate due West of the lighthouse are many mooring balls in 4-6m of water. It is easy to spot the buoys when you head straight for the lighthouse. Most of them are from the day-tripper companies but after they are gone for the day, you are allowed to use them. Vacate them before 9.30 A.M. the next day.
The 4 white ones (north of the other moorings) with the blue band are for visiting boats for free. The blue band will brightly reflect after your search light hit it in the dark hours.
3 white mooring balls have long thick lines with a loop to pick-up and attach your lines through. The moorings are safe to use.
Note: The 4th mooring ball (second from the north of the island and opposite the wooden dock) has no line attached. This one has been claimed by the tripper boat “SV Serendipity”, which will use the mooring 5 days a week.
They chased us away on a Tuesday with: “You are using our mooring ball, you have to move”. Well, we are Dutch so we said in Dutch: “These white mooring balls are supposed to be for visiting yachts and are not owned by private companies”. There were still 2 other white buys available. The reply was: “We have to run a long hose up to the shore to supply water and we can’t reach shore from the other buoys”. Apparently they have no own mooring ball like the other tripper boats have and use the free white ones for their convenience. So, we moved to another white mooring buoy.
Monday’s and Saturday’s are “SV Serendipity’s” days off, so you can use all 4 white mooring balls. Tie a line to the mooring ball without the line, through the eye on top of the mooring ball, it’s a bit of a hassle but doable, we did (in the dark).
We have been at the third white mooring ball at Klein Curacao for 8 days (May 2018) without a problem. We were waiting for a good weather window to sail northeast to Sint Maarten. It is safe and was only a bit rolly in 25-30Kn of wind. Only a few nights we had company of another sailing yacht. No mobile phone signal consequently no internet or weather forecast in an easy way. We used our Iridium sat phone instead to get new Gribfiles. We liked it here, but did not go ashore to see the wooden structures with roofs with the palm tree leaves the tripper boats had build for their guests. The view is like a picture out of the holiday catalogues!