Greetings from Aruba which is known as “one happy island” and for good reason!! Aruba is a small Island only 16 miles long but has beautiful beaches and like Bonaire and Curacao has a wonderful dry and warm climate. This area gets very little rain and virtually no threat of hurricane. The ABC Islands are a far better choice than Trinidad for the summer months.
Bonaire was our first stop once we left the Venezuelan Islands. We arrived at the start of the international regatta which means a solid week of parties and street festivals. There is no anchoring in Bonaire but moorings are plentiful and there are a couple of marinas. We were lucky to secure a mooring near town (Kralendijk) or so we thought!! The music would start around 10PM and not stop until 3 or 4:00 AM. Some of the restaurants were open until 3AM. Bonaire has the clearest water we have seen to date. It is a world renowned diving destination as there are very deep dives just off shore and diving is phenomenal. We rented a 4 wheel drive pick up truck to tour the island and explored the salt mountains and saltpans that provide solar salt to the rest of the world and the Washington Slagbaai National Park. The park is very desert like with dry mesas and cactus but you also have an abundance of pink flamingo and breathtaking shoreline views. The roads are horrible and we finally understood why most rentals are trucks not cars. We stayed in Bonaire about a week and will definitely return one day.
Curacao was a bit disappointing after our stay in Bonaire. We anchored in Spaanse Water which was very crowded and the water was not clear and inviting. There is a large cruising community in Curacao so it does hold an attraction for others. Customs and Immigration procedures are very difficult. It involves taking a bus to Willemstad and passing through security at the Cruise Ship terminal before you can make your 3 stops and complete endless number of forms at customs, immigration and the harbor authority. The process is at least half a day and needs to be repeated on your departure. We elected to stay only 3 days and were able to check in and out at the same time. The cruising permits are strictly enforced as there are low flying helicopters that record the name and location of your boat. We were buzzed while anchored in the western end of the island prior to our departure for Aruba. On a positive Curacao has more ships chandleries and yacht services than Bonaire or Aruba. It is more industrial and has a large, bustling downtown area with numerous shops, markets and restaurants.
Aruba has become our favorite ABC Island. It is very safe, English is widely spoken and the provisioning and restaurants are excellent. We were a little surprised that it does not have a larger cruising population. Most boats appear to stop for a day or two before moving on to Panama. We are at the Seaport Marina which is part of the Renaissance Resort and we are allowed all the amenities of the resort. There are pools, spas, gyms, casinos and even a private island complete with pink flamingos and iguanas. It is safe to run in the morning and walk around in the evening which is a luxury we did not have in Trinidad. Steven has acquired several new friends that you can see in the photo gallery. There is a huge population of Iguanas at the resort and have several that we feed every day. Steven even allows them to climb up on his lap to be fed. They vary in size from 6” to about 4ft. The hotel tried to control the population by setting a cage to capture them. Well Steven led the “free the Iguana” movement and the boaters took turns releasing the captives by reaching into the trap and pulling them out by the tail. The hotel gave up and removed the cage.
We traveled to the States for a very hectic couple of days in early November and decided to stay in Aruba for Thanksgiving. We had a great meal aboard Take Time with Wayne and Carol. We were sorry to see them leave a couple of days later as they have made a decision to return to the States for next year. We will be in Aruba until after the New Year. Our friends Kathy and Andy who have been with us every new years for the past 20+ years will be joining us here and from what we have learned from the locals it is a great place to be for the Holidays.