Tue, July 30
A few days ago, our captain announced that we would be changing course and heading straight for Aruba due to a hurricane forming in the vicinity of Antigua, where we should have been heading to.
We decided not to pre book an excursion and found it quite easy to hop on a mini bus which took us all around the island. The people were warm and friendly and even children are taught at school how to be nice to tourists, as it is the only industry on the island. Aruba became its own country in 1986, although it still remains a Dutch protectorate.
It is a small island, only 19 miles long and 6 miles across its widest point so it didn’t take long to drive around and see the highlights which included the Casibari Rock Formation which we climbed for a good view of the island, past some beautiful beaches, the Butterfly Farm, the Californian Lighthouse, named after the steamship which sank near the coast in 1891 and the Alto Vista Chapel The island does not get very much rainfall and it was amazing to contrast the lovely beaches on one side with the arid desert-like conditions on the other, with lots of cacti growing in the bush.
The weather was quite hot, so after some lunch back onboard, we set off for to do some shopping. Aruba is known for jewellery shopping, diamonds in particular, and although I loved the range of pink, yellow and blue diamonds, Alex was quite relieved when I wasn’t tempted to buy.
We then hopped on the local bus for a short ride to Eagle Beach, one of the many excellent beaches around the coast. I was quite pleased to see that it was netted, as we had been told that sharks and sea snakes (growing up to 5 feet long!!!) were on the other side of the island. We rented two banana lounges and had a lovely afternoon on the beach. Aruba’s beaches are stunning and the water was perfect. I had forgotten how lovely it is to swim in the ocean and could have spent the day there quite happily!!!
When we arrived back downtown, we stopped (as always) to try the local beer. It was very good on such a hot day and we were amused to find that the beer glasses were so heavy; we had to use two hands to drink! We loved this island with its crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches and were on deck to wave goodbye as we sailed at 7.00pm.