After spending our first day of vacation hanging around our Airbnb on the leeward coast, we were ready to explore the wild side of the island on our second day. We hopped in our rental car and drove up through the northern end of Curaçao then cut over to the eastern coast: the coast that endures the relentless pounding of waves driven by easterly trade winds.
We parked the car near the ticket stand at Shete Boka national park, then set off on foot across the Mars-like landscape to witness the crashing of blue water against sharp limestone cliffs.
The most amazing part of the park, aside from being surrounded by the magnificence of all that ocean energy pounding against ancient rock, was a formation called Boka Pistol. Along the windward coast is keyhole shaped inlet. As waves rush in, run out of room, and continue to fill the space anyway, air gets trapped in the formation, then makes a thunderous hollow boom before the water, with nowhere else to go, crashes into rock and sprays back out to sea. BOOM-pssssshhhhhhhhhh. We watched wave after wave crash, boom, and spray, each one leaving me breathless with anticipation: how loud will it boom? How high will it splash? Which direction will it shoot?
After the barren wildness of Shete Boka National Park, we went about as opposite a feel as you can get on the island: we got back in the air-conditioned car and drove down to the capital city of Willemstad for lunch. The city is adorable with its brightly colored buildings. I drank a piña colada with my lunch of snapper in a coconut sauce as we sat by the harbor and watched the floating bridge swing open for a catamaran to pass through. The air was still and hot compared to the strong ocean breeze up on the limestone bluffs of Shete Boka. My main wishes for our town visit were to see the colorful city and to see if pastries are a thing here, with its strong European influence. When our waiter couldn’t give me the name of a single pastry shop nearby, and I had already seen the pretty buildings, I didn’t feel the need to come back to town. I like the wild stuff better.