55 mile intergalactic trip

Wed 10 Oct 2007 03:59
Hi folks
Amazing contrast between the oily, mosquito infested waters of Pescadera Bai, Curacao, and our present location at the Renaisence Marina in downtown Orajestad, Aruba.
Probably the Islands are geographically similar. Moreover they both have huge oil refineries. Aruba's is at the tip of the Island however, and there is no smog and no smell. Aruba is a major American holiday destination, with some Dutch as well. Big Hotels, usual chains, and the Renaisence hotel has our Marina attached to it. £75 for a week, and all the hotel facilities thrown in for free. Best is taking the speedboat shuttle to their private little Offshore Island where there are free towels and loungers on the topless and family beaches. Obviously I don't have a family with me, so I thought it best to use the topless beach. You have to share the beach with pink flamingos which seem to be free to come and go, but choose to stay, and loads of big fat iguanas which are very tame, because they are fed every lunchtime, just like the Safari Park. I have taken some photos of topless flamingos, and also some iguanas, although some of these may turn out to have been topless Americans.
The trip over from Curacao was very straightforward with unusually calm seas for this area, we hope that this weather will continue down the Colombian Coast: it is why we are travelling at this time of the year.
It was a bit of a wrench to leave Opus Marina after such a long time, despite the harsh environment you are safe on the hard, and a sort of 'Port Rot' takes hold. Wonderful however to motor out of the lagoon onto the open sea, hoist the sails, and feel Fleck come alive again. We spent one night illegally anchored (we had cleared out through customs two days before) in Santa Cruz bai, on the northwest tip of Curacao. It was great to get the snorkelling gear on, and the water here was really clear. We left just before dawn the next morning, so as to arrive in Aruba before dark. There are only a few visiting yachts in this country, surprisingly, and therfore no special customs arrangements: we had to tie up to the cruise ship dock, next to a huge cruise liner, in order to clear Customs and Immigration, always a tedious and frustrating exercise, forms in triplicate etc., even when your topsides, newly polished, are not being threatened by rusty bollards, and uneven chuncks of concrete protruding through the dockwalls.
So far well worth it. Feel a bit of a cheat, mixing with the holiday makers, but it was tough with the mosquitos, and maybe I do deserve a break before we do battle with the Colombian drug runners.
Buddy sailing with Douwe and Maaike on Johanna seems to be proving a sucess, and we will certainly travel the Colombian Coast together.
Fleck seems to have acqured the definite article as a prefix, and we are now referred to as The Fleck and Mr Fleck. 'Blunt' does not seem to register with Spanish or Dutch ears
Thanks to Vicky for weather reports and her hockey scores, and to Charlie whose 'roll up' piano is still working, and, now I have a teach yourself piano book, enjoying a new lease of life.
Goodluck to Olivia in the countdown to her gap year and finally thanks to Hannah for updating me with Birmingham City scores, and the quite inexplicable rugby result against Australia. Les Cocks will be looking forward to some nice slices of roast beef this weekend.
Hasta luego