Getting Acquainted with Aruba

“Aruba, Jamaica, OOH I wanna take ya to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty Mama”. Beach Boys “Kokomo” released 1988.

We expected to spend a week or so in Aruba before heading to Curaçao

Aruba, as well as all of the ABC islands were having unusually frequent, heavy rain, even given that it was nearing the end of the wet season. These winds were accompanied by squalls, and given the fact that a sail from Aruba to Curaçao, entailed unfavorable wind and current under the best of circumstances, we knew it could be some time for a favorable weather window. We expected to spend a week or so in Aruba before heading to Curaçao.

In the meantime we had two planned projects: 1) to have the salon upholstery cleaned and 2) to replace our anchor chain (although the existing chain was only 5 years old, it had become so rusty that flakes of rust had bridged a gap between part of the stainless steel windlass and the aluminum hull and the resulting electrolysis had begun to create pits in the aluminum. NOT at all acceptable!!

We had done our research before we left Aruba last spring, having found a dry cleaner who indicated they could do the upholstery job, we had removed the old chain, and ordered a new one. The chain was ready and waiting when we arrived.

Surprise, surprise, unexpected, frustrating setbacks

Salon Cushions – We dropped the salon cushions off at the dry cleaners, having already been assured by the owner they could do the job. A week later, having heard nothing back we revisited the cleaners and the were told by the manager they could NOT do the job. The pieces were too large for their machines. After pointing out the covers zipped off, she said they could do the covers. We paid and were told they would be ready the following Monday. Checking back in on Tuesday, they said they had not gotten to them yet and would have them ready the next Wednesday. We asked for the covers and our money back. No one there could cancel the payment on our card and we would need to come back the following day. We did so and were given a cash refund. We then checked out several alternative cleaners, found one, put the covers back on the cushions and Happy ending – 2 weeks start to finish.

This cleaning company had adopted a few stray dogs. They always had them neutered and gave them shelter, love, and affection. Members of the community, unfortunately, know this. Quite regularly, new dogs are dropped off to join the menagerie (16 dogs at present).

Anchor chain – George painted the new anchor chain with different colored stripes at 25 foot intervals so he knows the length of chain he puts out is correct for the depth and conditions of the anchorage.

When he began to pull the chain up by the Windlass, it jammed after a few links. Following consultation with the owner of the marine store who obtained the chain, we discovered the anchor chain had two different “specifications” for the size chain we ordered. After a few links passed through the Gypsy (part of the windlass that accepts each link of the chain while winding it in or out), it would jam. We had ordered the wrong chain. Easier, and far less costly, was to purchase a new gypsy that would fit the new chain.

Search for a new gypsy took just shy a week. Purchase and shipping from Germany to Miami took another couple of weeks. UPS air delivery from Miami took another week. Just shy 4 weeks start to finish.

Silver Lining – unexpected time to explore Aruba

With more time in Aruba than expected we kept our rental car and set off to explore beyond the vicinity of the marina.

Oranjestad, the capital and largest city in Aruba is on the west coast of the south side of Aruba. It is teaming with shops that sell everything between inexpensive souvenirs to very high end jewelry and designer clothing. Passengers on enormous cruise ships disembark in Oranjestad to explore and shop unless they have elected for one of the pre-arranged excursions they can take. The majority of large resorts and beach bars are nearby. The vegetation in the city and vicinity has been coerced into lovely native landscaping.

Aruba has preserved 20% of the island as a National Park. We were unable to enjoy the National Park as dogs (including Duhkxy – go figure) were not permitted.

Nonetheless, there are extensive areas that are wild and uninhabited where man and dog can explore and enjoy.

Aruba

The Northwest tip of Aruba

Aruba’s California Lighthouse
Rustic waterfront near the California Lighthouse

Beaches

On the south end the most popular beach with refreshments, shade, and lounge chairs is Baby’s Beach

Baby Beach rents chairs and shade

Thatched roofed structures, sometimes with a center table is frequently found on large and small beaches – available for first who come, as far as we could tell.
Baby beach Concession/Refreshments

Just to the north side of Baby beach we found Roger’s Beach. No accoutrements, but quiet, beautiful, and no chance Duhkxy would be of concern, we soaked for a time while Duhkxy ran on the beach and looked for ghost crabs.

Just north of Roger’s Beach – the vestiges of an oil refinery business. Peppered around the ABC islands, these refineries, in the past, worked to capacity refining Venezuelan crude oil.

A Hidden Gem of Aruba, is the town of St. Nicolas. Our experience there and its charm will keep to another day

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