Tuesday 13th November 2012
One of the things we need to keep one step ahead of is the courtesy flag. Flag etiquette demands that we fly a small version of the host country’s flag from our starboard signal halyard. We have a big bag of them on board, thanks to the previous owners, but need to check regularly, in advance, if we have the flag for the next country or two. We realised as we were leaving Curacao that we did not have one for Aruba. So, having looked it up in our flag book, I managed to find items of appropriate colours to cut up, and spent several hours sewing a flag together. Fortunately the design was not too complicated and I was quite pleased with the result.
Home-made Aruba courtesy flag.
We went ashore to look at Oranjestad on Thursday, and found it to be a typical cruise-ship town, with plenty of jewellers and souvenir shops, but not much else.
A British telephone kiosk near the dinghy dock. Interesting colour scheme.
Less than impressed with the capital, we took a bus on Friday to San Nicolas in the south. This is much more of a real town, a stone’s throw from the oil refinery, but didn’t have much to offer either. We visited Charlie’s Bar which has apparently been here since the early ‘30’s, run by the same family, and has become the repository of a whole range of memorabilia – well junk really.
Charlie’s Bar in San Nicolas… …full of old tat.
On the way back we got a minibus to the Veerover restaurant for lunch. This is a no-frills restaurant run by local fishermen where the fish is fresh and cheap. We ate wahoo, barracuda and shrimp, together with plantain and fries. It was very tasty and the price was good.
The food is served up in plastic bowls with disposable plates and minimal cutlery.
Out front at the Zeerover Restaurant…. …and out back.
On Saturday we took the bus in the opposite direction to the north of the island to Malmok beach. We had decided against bringing a picnic lunch and now regretted that decision, because here was a lovely beach, but with nowhere to get refreshments. We walked along the beach a way, and then caught the bus back to Eagle beach, between the high-rise and low-rise hotels. This part of the island is real hotel country, and the beautiful sandy beaches were packed. We took some sunbeds under the shade of some trees and passed a couple of relaxing hours taking a liquid lunch before getting the bus back.
Malmok beach, beyond the packed Eagle & Palm beaches. The reefs make anchoring tricky off this beach.
Having found the big supermarkets during our bus trips out, we made a visit to them on Monday to stock up on fresh food ready for the 3-day trip to Colombia. We plan to leave here tomorrow, so today has been boat job day. Aruba has lived up to the label “not worth the bother” it has earned from many cruisers, but we’re glad we saw it and made the judgement for ourselves. With the difficulties imposed by the officials regarding check-in and out, before long they will see no cruising yachts here at all. It will be their loss.