I took so many photographs today that I’ll split this post into two, to save overload.
We'd rocked and rolled overnight, which I found rather comforting until I heard a tap-tap on the balcony window sometime before dawn. I nudged my hero and suggested he investigate, but having made a short and rather half hearted attempt to discover the cause of the tapping, he returned to his cosy bed and went back to sleep. I didn’t. I could hear this knocking and couldn’t work out just where it was coming from until I got up and felt sure it was coming from outside. Well, when you’re on the tenth deck of a ship and you hear tapping on your window, you have to be half asleep to be courageous enough to open the door to the balcony and see what’s what.
Having rearranged the deck chairs out there – one of which had shifted in the swell and was knocking on the glass patio door – I resolved the irritation and peace returned. I climbed back into bed and went back to sleep.
At breakfast time this morning it was still pretty choppy and making our way across the pool deck in search of breakfast, we chose to avoid the spray from the swimming pool! We found our favourite table however and watched as the waves broke in the wake, creating spray and a complete semicircular rainbow, from one side of the ship to the other. What a lovely, colourful way to begin the day!
Sometime just before lunch, we looked out and saw land. The island of Curacao was just on our port side and as always, we felt excited to be getting near to a new port of call.
I love the business of arrival. I love to watch as the pilot boat appears and we begin that whole process of getting this huge ship into port. This morning, the little boat was being tossed all over the place and we felt for the poor pilot who had to transit from his tiny boat to ours.
Seeing him make an entrance via rope ladder made us even more sympathetic. He must have nerves of steel!
All the time, the little tug Caucedo stood off a little, ready to escort us to our berth. (That’s another one for my “tugs of the world” series, by the way!)
Getting closer to Willemstad, we began to spot the colourful houses. I knew nothing at all about Curacao, except for the fact that the buildings are remarkably photogenic. Now, where were we going to dock?
We leaned out a little and hoped that the empty berth just there had our name on it. The staff captain appeared to have it in his sight and we did seem to be heading that way.
As we sailed by the little stalls along the harbourside, people waved. What fun it is to arrive at midday and to have such a warm welcome!
We tried to work out what the long platform was alongside here, noting that there was no way we could dock alongside something that had all of those pontoons fixed. All was to become clear later, but for now, we sailed past that bit and sure enough, were aiming for the berth that we’d seen earlier.
Captain Felice and the pilot were in control and moved this huge ship as if it were a small toy. Such precision is truly remarkable – how on earth do they do it? (I know, they are professionals!)
With the minimum of bother on the dockside, we were soon berthed and secure. The gangplank was pushed out, was adjusted and made safe and in no time at all, we were in business.
Come and explore Willemstad with us in my next post!