Wednesday 7th November 2012
Distance run: 57 nmiles
After a peaceful night in the anchorage, we lifted the anchor at 0500 with very little light and next to no wind. The light soon appeared, but the wind was more reluctant and we motored for a couple of hours before motorsailing the rest in 5-8 knots of wind.
We arrived in Aruba around 1500 and had to go to the industrial port of Barcardera to check in. Sheer Tenacity found a space against the dock, but only had 20cm of water under their keel. We were wondering what to do when the captain of a Venezuelan fishing boat indicated that we could go alongside him. Once tied up, we clambered over his boat onto the dirty dock, and made our way to Immigration. Very friendly and helpful officials stamped our passports (for free) and pointed us towards Customs. We were expecting to be told we needed an agent to temporarily import the boat (at a cost of $65) but were delighted to find that this was not necessary for a stay of up to 5 days. So we checked in for 5 days, having also been told that this could be extended by a day or two, at their discretion, if weather conditions were not suitable for leaving.
Sailing along the not very attractive south west coast of Aruba…and into the even less attractive Barcadera commercial port for check-in formalities.
They had insisted we bring the boats into this dirty industrial harbour which is not set up for yachts, and yet they didn’t even look out of their window to check the boats were there, much less set foot on them. We were less than impressed when they insisted we must bring the boats back here to check out. They magnanimously said we could anchor off rather than go alongside, so at least we should avoid the risk of running aground.
Paperwork done, we slipped our lines and motored the couple of miles up the coast to the anchorage north of the airport in Oranjestad. There was plenty of room here and the anchor was soon set. Time for a sundowner.