Happy New Year!! We are still in Aruba and had a very nice Holiday Season. Christmas was quiet this year compared to other years. The marina was busy but most of the boats were from Venezuela with only crew on board. The town was beautifully decorated and each day there were small festive street concerts that added to the holiday spirit. Just before Christmas we had a visit from our sister in law, Stacey, and were able to share our favorite spots in Aruba with her. It was a short but fun visit.
The day after Christmas we had a very large boat med moor next to us. The strong wind and currents pushed him right into us but luckily we both had fenders that could withstand the weight of a 160 foot boat. A few tense moments but they were good neighbors and we enjoyed watching the party they had that night which included Carnival Costumes, Music and Dancing.
New Years has taken on a whole new meaning after experiencing an Aruba New Years. The festivities start several days in advance of the holiday and involve several cultural traditions. Fireworks play an important role and are legal for three days. A Pagara is a firework mat or rope that is lighted and the smoke is believed to carry away the evil spirits. I can assure you that there is not a SINGLE evil spirit in Aruba today. For days it felt like being in a war zone with a constant roar of fireworks. These are not displays but just firecrackers making noise and smoke. The largest Pagara was a rope of fireworks that extended the entire main waterfront road and took about two hours to complete. The sound was deafening for sure. The pictures in the gallery do not do it justice but it will give you an idea of how massive the explosions were. There were also traditional displays of fireworks each evening leading up to New Years Eve. New Years Eve day I noticed that the crates of fireworks for the ‘big” display were positioned on a helipad about 150 ft off our bow. Luckily the prevailing wind is away from the boat. We elected to have a nice dinner on board with our friends Kathy and Andy. It was about 10:30 when the skies lit up with magnificent colors and the noise was like a high speed train passing through the harbor. This was just the prelude to the main event. At midnight the rocket launchers on the helipad were shot right over our heads. It was unbelievable and very hard to describe. There were continuous shows in every direction (360 degrees) and you didn’t know which way to look!! It lasted until 2:00 AM and will be remembered always! We were told that Aruba imported 7 full container loads of fire works for the holiday. Imagine on an Island that is only 19 miles long and 7 miles wide at the widest point!!
Our next log should be from Cartagena, Colombia.