Mounts up a mountain as RFA crew tour Curacao

Sailors from RFA Mounts Bay used their winter break in Curacao to scale the island’s highest peak while the amphibious ship underwent a spot of maintenance.

The ship is gearing up for a spring and summer dealing with drug runners as part of the international effort to prevent trafficking of illegal narcotics in the Caribbean.


Having spent the autumn on hurricane watch – which included assisting in the Bahamas after the islands were hit by a storm – Mounts Bay sailed in to Willemstad to prepare for the counter-drugs mission by undergoing a spot of maintenance and reconfiguration.


As well as local contractors, that work has demanded input from the RFA sailors aboard – but in their spare time, they’ve had the chance to explore the Dutch territory which is little bigger than the county of Rutland.


The northern tip of Curacao is dominated by Mount Christoffel, which rises 372 metres above sea level.


The hike began as a walk, turned into a scurry and eventually became a climb as the sailors faced ever more challenging terrain – in temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius.

Accompanying them on the climb was the ship’s cuddly toy mascot Coo and some diving kit; after the heights of Christoffel, the sailors headed to the beach at Westpunt where they shared the waters with locals and turtles.


“They moved gracefully through the water, nonchalantly brushing inquisitive snorkellers aside and were a joy to behold and almost seemed to be posing for photos,” Jamie added.


“It was fantastic to see these beautiful animals and share their space with them and we were all beaming as we talked about it. We returned to Mounts Bay with smiles on our faces and great memories of Curacao.”

It was certainly not the walk in the park some had assumed and was challenging in places. We scratched elbows, grazed knees and ankles, squeezed through gullies and then with a final grunt we emerged at the peak and were greeted with some amazing views of the island.

Third Officer Jamie Turnbull