Tuesday, February 21, 2017

51-52. Aruba puts the “A” in the ABCs!

    Goodbye, Bonaire
As you know, we loved Bonaire.  That left very big shoes for Curacao and Aruba to fill.  Here’s how they measure up.
We were so sad to leave Bonaire.  We pulled away at 5:30am, leaving Take Two behind, sleeping soundly.  We enjoyed the sunrise and soon heard the call from our friends who had caught up with us and quickly passed us.  They were headed on to Columbia while we planned to see the rest of the ABCs.  Our 9 hour ride to Curacao was fairly uneventful.  We had some belt squeaking from the alternator but we sailed most the day so it didn't slow us down.  The sea state continued uncomfortably following us until we were in the lee of the land.  We quickly got our hook down and were excited to head into town to see what there was to see.  Our friends aboard Passion Rebel were anchored next to us so Andrew headed over to get the scoop on transport to town, customs and immigration, etc.  They gave us everything we needed to know to catch the bus and head into town.  We were ecstatic to have a dinner of Subway and Starbucks, something you probably won't understand unless you’ve been missing them for a really long time :) 
    Floating bridge, Christmas ready.
We saw the infamous floating bridge and all of town was lit up for Christmas celebration.  
    Paige enjoying the view w/ some Starbucks.
It is not a particularly beautiful town, more industrial than our liking but it is always an adventure to use public transportation so the night was a fun excursion.  Our outing also showed us where Napa was so Andrew could get on the belt issues before they became a problem.  
    Boat projects in exotic places :)
    Andrew showing us how he really feels ;)
This is something that would easily be handled stateside but it seemed the belt we needed was a bit elusive and after 3 trips to Napa (via bus and some hitchhiking) he found what we thought would work but promptly broke as soon as we were underway to Aruba.  We spent a few hours relaxing and swimming at the beach before leaving Curacao behind and hitting the open water again.  Maybe we didn't give Curacao a fair break because we were coming off such a high in Bonaire; but, because of its industrialness and lack of pristine swimming areas near our anchorage, Curacao ranks at the bottom of our ABC scale.

We had a beautiful night sail to Aruba.  We all witnessed the green flash as the sun set and had a meteor shower (my first ever).  Around 3am during Andrew’s watch we were surprised by the Aruban Coast Guard cruising up to our side rail.  They had been traveling in complete blackout until we were within 25 yards of them and they throw on the floodlights, that will wake you up!  Now for those of you who have never done a long passage aboard a private vessel let me just explain that at most times we are wearing as few clothes as possible because it is hot and sticky and you may be jumping in the water or be sprayed with water at any minute (our friends always radio over and say “tell Summer to put pants on, we’re coming over” :) So a sneak approach like the Coast Guard’s found Andrew in only his boxer briefs, I’m sure they had a laugh about it later!  We radioed back and forth the info they requested and they made sure Aruba Port Control knew we were coming in before leaving us very awake and with enough adrenaline to finish the last 3 hours no problem!  
    Rainbow greeting at the immigration dock!
Customs / Immigration was very friendly and welcoming to us and we found a nice anchorage to call home.  We were treated to more Starbucks, Subway and wifi, always a treat.  We quickly got the lay of the land and made some plans for our Christmas celebration.  I mentioned in the Bonaire blog that we did our first Christmas aboard Take Two.  That was our big shindig.  We had a great meal of lobster linguine with apple crisp for dessert.  We decorated Christmas cookies, 
opened presents and played a super fun game that we all highly recommend.  Here it is:
All you need are some small treats or prizes, a main prize and some saran wrap.  You put the main prize in the center and begin wrapping with the saran wrap, adding in little prizes as you go.  You could make the ball as big as you want.  We only used one box of saran wrap and it offered plenty of entertainment.  Sit in a circle and one person begins unwrapping the ball (no ripping) while the person next to them tries to roll doubles on two dice.  You keep any candy unwrapped during your turn but when doubles are rolled, he passes the dice to the next person and you pass the ball of fun to him.  Continue until the center prize is unwrapped.  We had 7 kids and 4 adults playing and everyone had a blast!  

Our Christmas in Aruba was a little more low key but just as special.  Santa found us in the Renaissance Marina and was very good to us.  
Boat Christmas is very much about less being more and we really like it that way.  After a lazy morning we headed to the kite beach to make some memories!  
Andrew kitesurfing, Paige & Sky windsurfing and me supervising made the perfect afternoon of fun.  
    Selfie proof I'm there too ;)
Andrew even met a friend who took him to the other side of the island the next day for an even better session.  
Some of the perks of staying at the marina meant full access to the resort pools as well.  
We spent many a morning doing school poolside 
and playing bingo in the afternoons.  
    Sky's winnings!
We had lots of visitors while we were trying to get work done, I guess the snacks we brought were a hit :) 
Our Christmas was pretty memorable and puts Aruba in second place in the ABC race :) 
So to recap for anyone planning a trip to the ABCs:  Bonaire- loved it!  Beautiful water and sea life, great food and town life, and some of the best people we’ve met.  Aruba- great vacation spot, lots of amenities but all the crowds that come with that.  Friendly people, beautiful beaches.  Curacao- great for the Dutch town experience but beaches were not convenient to the free anchoring position.  Either get the permit to move around or plan on bus trips to town if you want to see anything.

This is our one year anniversary aboard Abby and what a year it has been!  We could not even imagine all the amazing things we would see and do or the beautiful people we would meet when we pulled through the fog into St Augustine at 11:30pm last Christmas Eve.  
    Christmas Eve 2015
    Christmas Eve 2016
Now on to wondering what the next year will hold!

Things learned aboard this week:
If you have one horrible, awful, really bad passage, every subsequent passage is a vast improvement!  Our tolerance level is pretty high now, I guess.  I still don't like them but it's definitely not that bad.
One year can change everything.  We knew we were embarking on a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel the Caribbean.  We knew the scenery would be spectacular and the experiences unforgettable.  We did not know that it would wreck us - in a good way.  Slowing down the pace of our life to truly see each other.  To learn what matters most to us.  And to see each other through challenging times so we could celebrate the strength and growth on the other side.  Not all the discoveries were what we expected and not all were pretty.  But we not only survived an entire year on a 37’ boat but we came out loving each other and loving this simple life more than we ever imagined!
    These two make us laugh!

Our next blog will update you on some big changes in our plans as we move into 2017.  Hope you had a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. Love reading your blogs! You guys inspire and amaze me!!