Caribbean Cruise, Day 4: Curaçao
Due to the weather throughout the night (it was a rough one), we were pretty delayed on our way to today’s destination: Curaçao. While we were planning on arriving sometime in the late morning, we didn’t pull into port until around 4:30 PM. Kind of a bummer, since we were hoping to have a full day ashore, but wound up only having a small handful of hours to look around.
On the plus side – we were able to actually pull up to a dock, and didn’t need to disembark using any of the tender boats (which definitely cut down on the time needed to get ashore and back on board).
Many folks had pre-planned excursions that had to be canceled, due to our late arrival. Liz and I ended up joining Julie, Bob, Aunt Karen and Uncle Kenny in a visit to the Hato Caves. We pushed past the throng of locals trying to entice everyone on tours, and found a guy who was willing to shuttle us around a bit (and wait for us at the caves, to take us back to town).
I forget the guy’s name, but he was incredibly nice and personable. And had a very memorable tagline on his car.
Just outside of Hato Caves. We showed up around 5PM, and the place closed at 5:30. We arrived with just enough time to get the walkthrough tour.
To get to the cave entrance, there was a pretty steep climb of about 75 steps.
Near the top, you could see over the canopy of trees to the nearby airport.
We weren’t allowed to take photographs throughout much of the cave tour. There were only a few areas where our guide let us take pictures (partly out of copyright issues, and partly to protect the bats from getting blinded and hurting themselves, mid-flight).
This area held an opening in the ceiling, where many of the bats exited and returned when the sun set.
Walkway further into the caves.
Looking for bats in the ceiling.
Another view of the cave walls (note the opening at the top right).
Though the ceilings look low, we were able to walk through the caves without fear of hitting our heads.
The cave was surprisingly hot, and pretty damp. There were small fans situated in each “room” to help visitors cool off.
On our way back, our driver took us over the Queen Juliana Bridge (one of the highest bridges in the world at 56.4 meters and weighing 3,400 tons). This was taken out of the car window, and even in the distance… our cruise ship looks enormous.
Another view of the Queen Juliana Bridge, from land.
Looking across St. Anna Bay.
Julie and Bob, resting on an nearby cannon.
A few moments later, we heard some bells and horns and got a fright – we saw the Queen Emme Pontoon Bridge start to move away, and we thought we were going to be trapped on our side.
Eventually though, the bridge just swung out enough for a boat to pass by… and then it closed up again. In the event that the bridge is pulled back, a ferry takes people to/from either side.
By the time we walked back to the ship, the sun had set and the ship’s lights were going strong.
Blanchard Springs Caverns