Posted by: orst86 | February 12, 2012

Day 6

12d 8.97′ N
L86d 16.66′ W

Temp 85F

Curaçao pronounced cura-sow means heart in Portuguese.   Some think that it came from the word “healing” when sailors who landed here were cured from scurvy when they ate fruit.  The largest of the Lesser Dutch Antilles. Called lesser because they are out of the hurricane track.

The main city we docked in was Willemstad, sort of a cross between Rotterdam and Venice with waterways that cut through the city. They have this pontoon bridge that swings open when ships need to get to the interior harbor docks. The channel must be deep enough to handle some very big tanker ships that work their way to the Shell oil refinery. There is also a high bridge, which is really high. They have a habit of opening the pontoon bridge, but not closing it for a long time. So they also have a free ferry service. Of the three islands, this downtown is the newest. Still lots of jewelry stores.  Sort of interesting, with large shops, these guys don’t like to barter at all.

We docked at about 730am or so, my excursion didn’t leave until 1045. This is the sought after excursion to go and meet the dolphins at the Dolphin Academy. No, it is not a school for the dolphins rather a school for people to learn about them. Two different excursions, one is to wade with one, the other is to ride one. I chose the cheaper one, to meet and greet one. 48 people signed up for this trip, but they didn’t give us a bus, instead we got put eight to a van, little van I may add, and ride over the High bridge, feeling every speed bump along the way.

We got into a pool that had a step at about waist high in the water, six to a group. There was one dolphin and one trainer assigned to each group. We got to pet (but not one the head) and the trainer talked all about the dolphins. They shed their skin every four or so days, they don’t replace broken or lost teeth, they have tiny little ear holes on the sides of their heads, but can hear incredibly clear. The one I worked with was a 250lb male , eight years old called Kayola. Quite smart. We also got to get kisses from them, give kisses to them and lift (or try to) lift them.  Photos were taken (for a fee..or rather a mint, but, hey, how often do the dolphins swim up to MN?)

They also had an aquarium at the same location. Had sea turtles and flamingos. Toward the end was a dolphin show where they did jumps and flips. I got back to town at about 2pm, giving me about 2 hrs time to wander around the town before the 430 sail time.

Now we are on our way for a two day trip to the Panama canal. Which means tomorrow is going to be a formal dinner.

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