Aruba                                                            August 2010
Aruba is 77 nautical miles from Curacao, so in order to break up the trip we stopped at the top of the island in Santa Cruz bay. The water was clear and we anchored next to a ship wreck which was interesting to snorkel on.  In Spanish Waters the bay was murky, so it was nice to dive on the bottom of the boat and clean the prop prior to our crossing. s/v Blue Sky is anchored between Phoebe and Drake as we explore the bay by dinghy. 
Phoebe, Drake, Zinnia, Fin, Sam and Cosmo await instructions for the balloon chase game.
Aruba, what a culture shock!  Traveling in developing countries the majority of the time is it a change to be in civilization.  The grocery stores all full of products we have not seen the likes of since our departure.  Items like bagels and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, A&W rootbeer, Reeses peanut butter cups and gold fish.  I can not take the children shopping as they want everything!  Walking down the street we passed Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and Taco Bell. The American accent is prevelant as most of the tourists are from the United States.  Four thousand miles from home it almost feels as if we have arrived.
When we arrived in Aruba we did not have a courtesy flag to fly.  The Marine shop wanted $40.00 for a rag. Finding a fabric shop, we purchased the material and asked the attendant if she would make one for us, all for less than $18..
Drake climbs up the head sail on s/v Pacific Bliss.
Zinnia and Phoebe pose as manneguins in the fabric store.
The childrens favorite afternoon activity was to sail in s/v Pacific Bliss' Oppy and s/v Bonaire's Tera. They had more fun capsizing the boats and getting back in, than actually sailing.  At least they learned how to turn the boats over by themselves, so if they ever did capsize they would know what to do.
The anchorage in Aruba is located right next to the runway of the airport.  It is fascinating watching the variety and quantity of planes landing everyday.  Some airlines we have never heard of.  A plane took off and we counted one minute 20 second before another plane landed. 

The
Renaissance Hotel and Marina has a great pool that we can access, which was another favorite activity for the children.
Off the reef near the anchorage is a DC-13 that was submerged as a dive site.  The seats have all been removed and you can swim in the front door, down the cabin, and out the back door.  Below, Colin exits the plane out the front door.  Emma and Colin are photographed by Susan from s/v Tabby Cat exploring the plane.
Raymond, Jim, Susan and Tim
Eric from s/v Scorpido making Margaritas.
Inviting all the boats in the anchorage over to s/v Blue Sky for taco night, we hosted ten adults and six children.  (So we can keep up with the Catamarans.)  Below everyone on the back deck enjoying the food and the sunset.

Setting up the do-it-yourself taco bar downstairs, Emma shows the guests how to make them. 

Colin has given
s/v Blue Sky a new nick name, the Tardis.  For those of you who know Dr. Who, it is his time machine that has everything.
Eric and Robyn, below,from s/v Scorpido, invited us on a tour around the island. Driving to the windward side, we explored an old fort.  The island is very dry and barren, and there are not too many sights to visit.  After our tour we stopped at a lovely beach, where the children enjoyed boogy boarding in the waves.
Steph, Fin, Sam and Tim on s/v Bonaire leaving Aruba for Cartegena, Colombia.
Drake blowing a horn to wish s/v Pacific Bliss a  safe passage to Cartegena.
The Reanaissance Resort and Marina has a private island for the guests to enjoy.  Everyday the launch boats drive by us & wave. George, one of the launch captains, took us out to the island for a swim.  The photographs below show some of the resident flamingos. Phoebe and Drake enjoyed going fast in the taxi boat.  Having stale bread, the flamingos walk right up to you and feed out of your hand.
Eric, a kid at heart, takes Phoebe and Drake scurfing on the surf board. Both were very excited that they finally were able to stand up. 
Everyday we check the water level in the bildge and noticed we had more than usual.  After much investigation we discovered two pin holes in the heat exchanger for the generator.  Thankfully Jim purchased a new one in Malaysia, of course it was not an exact fit, like fitting a square in a round hole.  Fortunately he had the foresight to buy spare hose and the fittings for when this day would arrive.  After pumping out the coolant three times we finally had a good fit.  The new one should get us all the way home.  

Next stop the San Blas islands of Panama, getting closer to transiting the canal and back into the Pacific Ocean!

create & buy custom products at Zazzle
Our friends from s/v Pacific Bliss, s/v Bonaire and s/v Scorpido were all in Aruba, which was a great location to celebrate Zinnia's eight birthday. The white sand beach was perfect for balloon games and three legged races.  When the games were finished we all headed over to s/v Pacific Bliss.  The Catana Catamaran was the perfect platform to host six children and ten adults for a lovely roast chicken dinner.  Liz and Colin out did themselves.  After dinner was the jello eating competition for all the children, plus Tim from s/v Bonaire. Tim cheated by putting jello on Zinnia's neck, and finished first.  None of the children minded, they just enjoyed the yummy jello.