‘What is it with these Dutch words? First it’s Hilma the Hooker and now it’s Slagbaai,’ Lu said.
I giggled. There definitely is a lot of the term ‘Slag’ in Dutch. Our pouring cream is called slag cream. Now we have Slag Bays. It’s a regular flashback to Gavin and Stacey here. ‘You’re a SLAG!’ ‘No, you’re a SLAG!’
First, I have to give credit to where it’s due. We wouldn’t even have been laughing if it wasn’t for Patrice. He was the one pushing our day sail from 6am on Monday morning. While all the other Quest soldiers were sleeping, Patrice pinged me on What’s App.
I wrote back to him, ‘Looking a little rainy. The rain came late, like all good forecasts. What shall we do?’
I wasn’t fibbing. It had been raining a few minutes before. I’d popped my head out the side windows to see. Still dusky though. Hard to tell.
This was his reply: ‘Coucous ma fille. Seems like it’s raining more or less all week. I am fine sitting on the mooring, being a lousy sailor catching the weather excuse not to move my ass.’
Ouch. I’d been told – and by a Frenchie. He wasn’t budging. We had arranged to go out for a day sail. I wrote back: ‘Ok. I’ll start getting ready. Everyone here is still asleep.’
The reply: ‘Debout dedans. Départ 0930.’
I didnt even know what that meant. I went straight to Google Translate. Standing In There, the translation told me. Did he mean me or him? I didn’t ask. I got up to do the washing-up from the night before. Then there was the boat to pack up.
Luckily the soldiers woke up – and were actually quite chirpy about it. We did end up departing just after 0930.
We headed north. Put our genoa out and caught a soft, south-easterly up to Bonaire’s national park, Washington-Slagbaai National Park. Our destination: Boka Slagbaai. More slags.
This was the site of an old plantation bay which processed salt and goat meat to be shipped every two weeks to Curaçao. Like Lu says, the larger Dutch island, the big C, is the OG for this area. Almost everything comes in and out of Curaçao first. Except, we read, for goat bones.
The goat bones from the plantation were shipped straight to Suriname to make buttons. We read the information board about Boka Slagbaai when we swam to the beach. This place is one of the highlights of the national park. A little coral beach and mountains of cactus scrub land with a few renovated plantation buildings, picnic tables and a car park. Behind us, a brown lagoon stretched into the park. We could see one lonely flamingo mooching around, bending it’s enormous ankle-knees.
I was glad Patrice had pushed us out of the mooring field today. Quest and Astra had taken two yellow dive buoys next to each other. It was the clearest, sandiest bay. We ate some lunch and snorkelled around. It reminded us of the BVIs, but without the other boats. Or any people. We even found two encrusted cannons in a few metres of water, by the side of the cliff. Slaggy cannons. For sure.