August 8 – Island tour, kayak tour and larvae transport

Island tour

To stay for 10 days on Curacao, not being able to enjoy the beauty and the culture of the island would be a shame. Therefore, and as a reward to our hard-working group of participants, we have organized a small island tour.

Our first stop was the Savonet Museum, located in a completely renovated plantation house at the Christoffelpark. The museum gives visitors inside information and a peak into the lives of the former inhabitants of the area, starting with the first Arowak Indians who came to the island almost 4000 years ago, and continuing into modern history. Cyrill Kooistra (ranger at the Christoffelpark) gave us some interesting additional information about the plantation house and its residents.

We continued to National Park Shete Boka and visit Boka Tabla – a cave half immersed in water allowing powerful breaking waves to thunder in with a pounding resonance – and Boka Pistol –  an inlet where the waves smash against the rocks and explode into a furious fountain. A gentle reminder of the power of the ocean.

On our way back towards Willemstad, we held a short stop at Playa Forti to enjoy the beautiful view over the bay and one more stop at the salt flats of St. Willibrordus, which are famous for the flamingos that  inhabit them.

A kayak tour with a purpose

After a late lunch at Pirate Bay, Ryan de Jongh came to pick us up for a mangrove kayak trip. Ryan is famous throughout the Caribbean for his Clear Water Challenges to create awareness for nature preservation. In 2009, he kayakked from St. Maarten to Curacao (1000 miles, 22 days) to raise money for a good cause, and he has successfully completed many more.

The area is very nice, however Ryan’s kayak tours at Piscadera Bay are not just regular sightseeing kayak tours. He is passionate about the mangroves on Curacao. As with coral, many mangrove forests have been destroyed. Ryan is continuously working on mangrove conservation, started to replant mangrove forests at several places on the island, and tries to get those areas protected.
He offered us the chance to help him a bit, so we all planted some mangrove seeds ourselves. Hopefully they will grow into a valuable habitat for other animals. Another good thing is, that we have to come back next year to see how they’re doing 🙂

Ryan, hereby we would like to thank you for offering us this interesting experience, and we hope you will successfully continue your work!

Larvae transport

As you might have noticed, there is someone missing in all the pictures of the island tour… We already had to say goodbye to Dirk Petersen. He is travelling with 2,000 larvae, which he will bring to the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg (Germany) for further research. Since it’s important to transport the larvae before they’ve started settling, Dirk had a good reason to leave before the workshop was completely over. We will miss him and wish him a safe flight!

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