Mike has come down to Curacao to escape the rain and cold of a Vancouver October. His first day here we decided to just jump in the ocean at here at Blue Bay Beach. Saw lots of fun stuff, including flying gurnards, octopus and turtles. A really fun first snorkel.
The weather has been a bit, shall we say, volatile? We’ve had some crazy rain, and some awesome thunder and lightning. But it sure is amazing how quickly the place greens up with just a little bit of water. Although, I wouldn’t quite say it was a little water! Tropical rain showers really do dump a ton of water in a hurry.
Playa Lagun is a smaller bay, near Westpunt. It has a couple of nice restaurants very close by – one behind the parking lot, and another that requires climbing a rather long set of stairs up to the Bahia apartment complex. Both have pretty good food, but the Bahia Beach Bar has much nicer views. The beach itself has a few palapas, a masseuse, a batido (smoothie) food truck, and a place that sells fresh fish. There is no shower, and restrooms are in the restaurants only.
It’s always quite busy. Lots of sun tanners on loungers, that are for rent. The bay is quite narrow, but there is usually always something fun to see in the ocean. The best way to enter the ocean is on the far left side. It’s very sandy there, and is quite easy to get in. The right and middle of the bay is quite rocky with lots of bigger chunks of coral that hurt your feet, so definitely enter and exit on the left side.
The coral starts to get better the further out you get. Both walls are quite fun, and today we saw a large school of squid, a flying gurnard and a turtle. It was a fun snorkel, and there was lots of other fish to see, what we call the usual suspects. After our snorkel, we grabbed a batido from the little food truck, like we normally do – she does a great job!
Small turtleFlying GurnardStaircase to the barThe bay is a star too!
We have not been to Playa Daaibooi since 2013. It’s a nice sheltered bay with a pretty nice beach. There are lots of palapas and beach chairs, a restaurant, and a pay shower. Yup a pay shower. Stick in 25 cents and you get enough water to rinse off the salty ocean water. Very nice. There is no entrance fee, no parking fee, and no fee for using the beach chairs and loungers.
I’ve had to replace my underwater camera, and I purchased a FujiFilm XP120. It is about the worst underwater camera we’ve ever owned. The pictures taken in the water are absolutely terrible. It’s an ok camera out of the water, but if you’re thinking of getting an underwater camera do NOT buy the FujiFilm XP120. Absolute garbage.
The coral is quite bleached unfortunately. It’s a far too common problem, now. Still, there were lots and lots of fish to see. The water remains quite shallow for a long ways out. You can easily get to some lovely coral, but when you look back at the beach you’re quite surprised at how far you’ve come out. We saw the usual suspects along with turtles, flying gurnards, moray eels, and large rainbow parrot fish.
Interestingly, we were able to discover where the SS Minnow is now stored! Check out the pic to the right. We talked to the Skipper, but couldn’t find Gilligan. The weather has been fabulous lately. The summer months are very hot here, but now hover around 30 Celsius. Very very pleasant.
We switched back into the unit we had last week. Changing units has been quick and painless. We have only had to move one unit over, so it’s been easy. The maid knocks on the door, letting us know the unit is ready, and we wheel our luggage over, swap the stuff in the fridge and we’re ready to snorkel!
We headed over to Boca Catalina, saw turtles, and assorted other fun stuff.
Here’s a brief movie of a flying gurnard. They have these cool wings they spread when they want to head out in a hurry.
Here is yet another little turtle movie.
We also checked out Frenchman’s Pass, in the southern part of Aruba. There is an old abandoned gold mine there. It’s still an impressive structure.
And lastly – how about these kayaking buddies? The navigator looks ready for anything, does he not?
Today was another calm, lovely day in Aruba. We slept in again, and got to the ocean around noonish. We checked to see if the green moray was in his home, and he was, but he didn’t come out at all, hiding under his shelf of rock.
We decided to go and see if we could see some more of the flying gurnards, and instead we saw the first of many turtles. That’s right, we saw an amazing six turtles today! It was absolutely unbelievable. We saw two really enormous turtles, one with a strange shell, with a ridge down the middle, and a concave shell, sloping away from the central ridge.
We did see lots of flying gurnards too, but this is easily the biggest we’ve ever seen. It had to be twice the size of the ones we saw yesterday. I’d say his wingspan was well over two feet. He was located a lot further south too, way down by the bait ball. The movie shows him under the fish first, then coming out from under (you’ll love this Karen!)
Another cool thing we saw was a strange bird hanging out with the pelicans along ridge overlooking Hadicurari. Not sure what the name is, but he was totally unconcerned about us. Maybe a cormorant? I dunno. The closer we got, the less it bothered him! The pelicans all hopped away, but he just stood there, kind of daring us to do something. So I splashed him with water! That finally got him to move.
While swimming along the wall, we saw lots of great fish of course. Pam got a great shot of the Night Sergeant, a fish who hangs around rocks, and like to get pushed around by crashing waves. He’s hard to get a shot of, because the water is usually so turbulent. But today was pretty calm, and she nailed him. Here is a video of a spotted moray eel, climbing up the wall. The video came out pretty nicely, so we decided to include it here.
We went to dinner at JH Yees, billed as an Asian fusion restaurant. It combined Japanese sushi and tempura with Chinese Szechuan and Mandarin dishes. The restaurant is on the second floor of a group of building close to the high rise hotels. It has a nice interior, highlighted with replicas of the Chinese warriors discovered in a tomb. There was a modern twist with unique architectural highlights, private rooms separated with curtains, and outdoor area and a unique central courtyard. Service was very nice, attentive and prompt, provided by Chiko, our Philippino waiter.
We started with Peking Dumplings ($6.25) for four plump juicy dumplings with a spicy pork filling. We split two mains, Orange Chicken ($19.95) and Szechuan Beef ($20.95). The white chicken chunks were deep fried, with a nice orange sauce, and served with fresh orange slices. Pam liked the flavour, but thought the chicken was a little dry. The beef was served with fresh vegetables, and was tasty. Singapore Noodles ($17.95) rounded out the dinner. They were very nice, tasty with lots of pork, shrimp and vegetables in a spicy sauce. I liked it a lot, but it could have had a few more noodles! With two Balashi, a Coke and 15% service charge, the total was $87.65. It was about on a par for what we’ve paid for Chinese food in other Aruban spots, but the ambiance was very very nice. I’d go there again.