Here it is, almost two months after the cruise, and I haven’t even finished the port stops yet! I don’t know if anyone is still reading, but this is helping me to get journaling down for the trip book I’m making. I hope to finish the book before the holidays, so I keep plugging away…
Ahhh, Aruba. Back in the Caribbean again. So far, this was our favorite port stop. We haven’t been to the Caribbean since we went to Barbados in 1993 shortly after we were married! It was an early rising day for our excursion, we needed to meet at 8:15am. This excursion was the “Sea & See,” only our second official excursion on the cruise. We started out with the Seaworld Explorer – a submersible boat where we sat under water and went out to a shipwreck. The wreck was of the Antilla, a German merchant trader, that was sunk by her crew in 1942 when Germany attacked Holland and Aruba (a Dutch colony) then wanted to seize the boat. It is almost entirely on the sea floor, and close enough to the surface that it has become a reef with lots of coral and fishes. We all really enjoyed the trip! It looks like a popular place for snorkelers and scuba divers, as we came up we saw the first load of snorkelers around (we were glad we were the first boat of the day).
From there, we drove around the island to several different sights. The California lighthouse on the Northern tip of the island, named for the shipwrecked California ship of the northern coast. Unfortunately, we couldn’t climb up it. Then on to the Casibari rock formations in the center of the island and the Natural Bridge on the east coast. It was interesting to see the island. Aruba is very arid, it only gets 15-18 inches per year, so there is much cactus, few trees (only divi divi trees and the palms along the hotels), and lots of lizards. We enjoyed seeing the scenery and the houses, very colorful. Only 140,000 people live on the island, and it is 19 miles long and 6.6 miles at it’s widest – so tiny!! From our last stop, the Natural Bridge (which actually collapsed in 2005), we drove back to the ship.
A quick stop on the ship to drop off my good camera, grab some towels, have a quick lunch, then off to the beach. We caught a taxi to Palm Beach, the same beach we had boarded the SeaWorld Explorer at, because it had nice cabanas and food/drink if we wanted it. We played at the beach for several hours. Brandon got braver and went it deeper, because there were essentially no waves (just the wakes from boats that came in occasionally). He finally rode the “sea turtle” (Daddy) with bribery and went out deeper. We stayed in the water or laid on a sunbed once in a while. Later a lady gave us a floating mat (they were leaving for the day) and we enjoyed floating around. Brandon was a water taxi and kicked me around a lot, and then he laid on it and I kicked him out deeper.
About 5pm we got out of the water and walked along the beach to get dried off before catching a taxi back to the ship. Brandon was falling asleep on the short drive back. Something about being in the sun and water all day does make you tired! It was an enjoyable day in a new port stop. Aruba is definitely worth a look for a future visit.