The ABC Islands

The ABC Islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, are in the Caribbean and part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These three islands, close to the coast of Venezuela, are not only a safe destination during hurricane season, but also well worth exploring.

Bonaire is the easternmost island, and homeport of Bonaire Boating Company NV. The calm waters of Bonaire’s anchorage, the clear waters make and national parks make it difficult to leave for many visiting yachts. With nearly 15,000 inhabitants it is the quietest island of the ABCs. Curaçao is the largest island of the Netherlands Antilles with over 160,000 inhabitants. Beautiful bays like Spanish Water and yachting facilities are coming up rapidly. Aruba is the westernmost island and the smallest. It is a very well organized island with over 85,000 inhabitants and an excellent infrastructure.

Because they are close to the continent of South America you can feel the Latin American influence on all three islands.

The ABC islands are located out of the hurricane belt and considered by almost all insurance companies as a hurricane free area. The last hurricane that hit this area was in 1887. However in 1988, Hurricane Joan passed the ABCs as a small tropical storm. On the way to Nicaragua it reached hurricane force and destroyed the harbor of Bluefields. In 1993, there was a hurricane warning for tropical storm Brett, but this storm died on the coast of Venezuela resulting only in a lot of rain for the ABC islands.

From August until November a tropical wave sometimes disturbs the normal pattern and a wind reversal and a northwest swell can be expected. In July 1996 tropical storm Cesar passed 150 miles north of the islands. The resulting wind reversal and surge caused damage to yachts at anchor and in the Harbour Village Marina on Bonaire. Cesar went on and became a killer hurricane in Central America. For yachts in the anchorage’s of Kralendijk (Bonaire) and Surfside (Aruba) it’s necessary to seek shelter in the marinas. The Plaza Resort Marina near the airport and Harbour Village Marina (Bonaire) are safe marinas. Yachts anchored at Surfside (Aruba) can go to Seaport Marina, or drop their anchor behind the Sonesta Island reef. For Curaçao the Spanish Water and Piscadera Bay are excellent places to seek shelter.

The wind direction is easterly more than 95% of the time. The average windspeed is not the same on every island. The average windspeed of Aruba is 16 knots, Bonaire 12 knots and Curaçao 13.5 knots.

The average year round temperature is 81.5 * Fahrenheit ( 27.5* C ), with a 2.5 ° seasonal variation. The average daily variation is 10° F. The highest temperature recorded since 1948 is 99.8* F ( 38* ) on Aruba and 96.4*F ( 35.8*C ) on Bonaire. The lowest temperature has been recorded on Bonaire: 67.6*F ( 19.8*C ). The seawater temperature fluctuates from 78*F ( 25.4*C ) in February to 82*F ( 28.*C ) in September.

The average annual rainfall for Bonaire is 20.5" ( 520 mm ). This is 11% less than Curaçao, but 13% more than Aruba. On all three islands 65% of all rain occurs from October through January.
( Source Weather statistics: Port Call Bonaire )

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