Tag Archives: Malmok Beach

Mike retreats to the cold

Spotted drum Mike flew home in time for the Boxing Day sales, and we  retreated to Malmok Beach. The water was absolutely glorious. It’s unreal how clear the ocean was today. We’ve had fairly cloudy water, not exactly awful, but not great. Well, today was great.

Puffer fishWe’re going to remember this trip for two things really – turtles and octopus (and of course the seahorse). We have had amazing sightings of both octopus and turtles. Today, it was the octopus again. Octopus inflates One fellow moved like we’ve never seen before. Super active, jet propulsing around like never before, shifting colors like never before. Just unbelievable. One time he changed into the striped colors of a black and silver coney!

Sunset, Boxing Day, 2013 Tomorrow is our last day, and we are feeling rather subdued. It’s been a great three weeks. We were not in the ocean near as much as usual, since I’ve just been unable to handle the physical stress, but it’s been fun nevertheless.

Pam has picked up a heck of a tan as a result of more “pool time” (our saying for relaxing in a chair on the deck of the swimming pool, with a cool drink on a table.)


Short little post

French Angel, close up

We had a nice short snorkel. We got in at Malmok Beach since Maurice can’t swim long before he tires. Pam has been nervous about getting in here, but she found that it wasn’t as bad as she remembered. It’s sandy, but only for a very specific pathway! The water was not super clear, until we got a little ways out.

Below is a short movie of a couple of crazy French Angelfish. They kept coming right up to our faces! Pam even reached out and touched them, and they didn’t take off in a huff. Quite silly these two.

Green Turtle

Here is another video I compiled of various videos we had laying about from our snorkeling. I’ve chopped out some sections of lots of different videos. It’s a first attempt at a lot of clips, so it’s not that great of an editing job, but it gives you an idea of the various things we might see on a single one hour session in the ocean.

We saw a few turtles on the 14th, and the video contains a brief view of one of the bigger greens. There is also a short piece that has a couple of porcupine fish, and some other fish. It starts with a brief bit of an octopus, changing color as we move the camera close to him.

Just a short post.

Snorkeling gearMonday was a beautiful day. Super warm, super blue sky and super calm water in the ocean again. Aruba’s weather is certainly better than Curacao’s and I’m not sure why… the two islands are very close together, but we’re not complaining! There was barely a cloud in the sky, and the water was again nice and clear. We decided to try entering the water at Malmok Beach, and it wasn’t a total success. It was quite difficult for Pam, so I don’t think we’ll enter here again. Usually we enter the ocean at a beach just south of Malmok, then swim up to Malmok, but since the best snorkeling is at Malmok, well, we decided to give it a go.

Goldentail moray eelSnorkeling-wise, it was a good decision. We hadn’t been in the water more than two minutes when we saw our first turtle. We saw another turtle later on in the day too. One of the neater things we saw was a golden moray eel. Nothing too usual in that, but this guy was “on the move.” Usually they might move from one rock, to another hidey hole. But this guy was out for a drive! I’ve uploaded a little longer video of him, moving from rock to rock.

Nice pelican This was International Get Close to a Pelican Day. The picture of the pelican I took. In the background is one of the lovely homes on Malmok Beach. The picture of me getting close to the pelican was taken by Pam. We thought it was pretty funny stuff.
Pelican hunting!The pelican let me get to within a foot of his rock, and he never took off, but he did spread his wings just in case I reached for him I guess!

Trunkfish union meetingThe water has been so calm we’ve gone out a little further from shore than we normally do. We encountered this group of four trunkfish, seemingly having a union meeting. Not sure what was on the agenda, but it was fun to watch. This is a little shorter movie, of fish we don’t normally put up in a movie. We also saw a couple of fairly large barjacks, hunting and catching dinner! We see the barjacks cruising the reefs, and smaller fish swimming away from them. Today we saw the reason they’re running! Gulp. Down goes dinner.

Big barjackWe came home, had a soak in the hot tub, and decided to have a happy hour drink. The bar here at CPV is nice, and we’ve often had a happy hour drink – they are priced two for one. Well… it cost 19.80 for the “two” drinks! WOW – that’s a pricey happy hour! So we went to the store, got a bottle of rum, and bottle of pina colada mix, some limes, and a pineapple, and it was less than the cost of the drinks! Needless to say, we’ll be doing our own happy hour from now on. Dinner was home-cooked again, so no restaurant review.

Back to Aruba

Fokker 50We flew out of Curacao on Saturday, leaving at 12:30 and arriving in Aruba at ten to one. A short flight on a larger aircraft than we are used to… we’ve taken the Insel Air flight a few times from Aruba to Curacao and back again, and it’s usually been on a little fifteen seater. This aircraft had two seats down either side and sat around fifty or so. It was a nice little flight.

Big Barracuda We had a bit of a tough time getting our car rented – I don’t think I’d use Avis ever again. It is very annoying to see three couples who were served after you get their cars ahead of you! When I said to the lady, you know, that’s the third person who has gotten their vehicle ahead of me, she said, hey the traffic is bad! Ahhh… ok?? Anyway – we finally got a car, and we got checked in nicely here at Caribbean Palm Village, where we’ve stayed nearly every time we’ve come to Aruba.

We had a little swim in the ocean and it was nice. We had a nice dinner at Rembrandt’s, a nifty little restaurant near the high rise hotels. It’s a Dutch run restaurant (I guess the name Rembrandt’s kind of gives that away huh?) and the food is quite nice. The menu has changed since we were here last, and the owner told us it will change again soon since a new chef is coming from Holland next week! They had a “Sinter Klass” celebration – quite unique to have Santa bring you your beer!

Hawksbill TurtleSunday we thought we’d rest, but the weather was so wonderful we decided to check out Malmok Beach, a beach I’ve come to call Turtle Beach. And guess what?? It was prophetic – we saw two turtles, a hawksbill and a green! And one VERY large barracuda too, about five feet long! And lots of moray eels. And tons of French Angels – it’s a very common fish here in Aruba. Pam calls them dinner plates – they are big round fish, visible from quite a ways away. They always attract your eye, because they are so much wider than most fish.

French angelfishBut the water! WOW! So clear, so calm, so warm. It was easily the best we’ve had so far this vacation. It’s nice to be back on Aruba. It just feels so comfortable here. I’m guessing it’s the familiarity of the place – we’ve been here so often, we know the streets, the beaches, the people. There are a lot of improvements going on – there is a nice new grocery store much closer to our condo. Several bad roads have been repaved. There is a big lovely looking hotel nearly completed, with a slightly Spanish style of architecture.

Golden moray eelWe also saw a number of Queen Triggerfish, my personal fave of all the fish we see. Pam took a great little movie of her, so you can see how she moves about with her flowing fins, lovely colors, and big eyes!

PorgyWe had dinner in the condo tonight. It was a nice to have some home cooking after a solid week of restaurant food. And we found a package of our favorite Dutch cookies, speculaas with almonds. I had to drive to three grocery stores before I’d buy THE package – Pam kept saying, “These will be fine” and my reply was, “Not interested in Fine. Want the Best!”

Last day in Aruba for 2010

TurtleToday was our last full day in Aruba, so we decided to hit our favorite beach. Boca Catalina was busy, our regular parking spot was taken! The day was beautiful, sunny and warm. We quickly jumped in the ocean, and were greeted by an amazing visibility. The ocean was clear and we could see for miles, it seemed!

Chain moray eel We swam up to Malmok, and while I was taking pictures of a chain moray eel Pam called me urgently! She had spotted a turtle, half hiding under a rock. It’s still very exhilarating to see these guys  in the ocean.  I took a few shots, and we decided not to disturb her, when suddenly she just got up on her own and started going for a leisurely swim. We followed her and we were so close, we could reach out and touch her!

ChromisWe swam with her for a long time, just enjoying the company. This area is usually filled with snorkeling ships, but there were none today. Later in the day we discovered there were no cruise ships in the harbor, so we figured there were not enough customers to fill the boats.

GuagancheWe saw another school of the torpedo shaped fish, we’ve called gauganche. They are really fast, and move very determinedly around the area. They look very suited to hunting, sleek and powerful.

Red parrotfish Another turtle took our attention for a time. By this time a Pelican ship full of snorkelers had come on the scene. We called out to them that we’d sighted a turtle, and they all came swimming over. It’s always a big treat to see turtles, and you could see the grins and smiles on people’s faces right through their mouthpieces. We left them to enjoy her, and it was funny to look back and see thirty snorkelers all trailing off in the direction the turtle was headed!

Queen triggerfishWe lazily swam around Malmok beach checking out some great fish. The visibility was clear as a bell, and we could see the tiniest little guys hanging around. We agreed it was time to head back, when we spotted another turtle! We followed her for a time, but by now we’d been in the water for nearly three hours, so broke it off and headed back to Boca beach.

Cornetfish We swam over the minor reef near Boca, and spotted a cornetfish. This was the first one we’d seen this trip! They are long fish, around five feet, but you can wrap your hands around their width. They are much like a trumpetfish, but have a long whip-like tail, so they are easy to distinguish. I’m posting two pictures of the same cornetfish.

CornetfishNote the difference in the color. In the first picture you can see dark colored bands alternating with light blue bands. In the other, taken mere seconds later, (note the rocks beneath the fish – you can see both pictures were taken by the same rocks) you can clearly see blue streaks running down his length, with no dark banding.

Swimming the wreck

ShipwreckI’ve been wanting to swim out to the wreck, that is clearly visible from the main beach road, since we arrived. Last year it was a great snorkel, with tons of fish. The waves looked bigger than previous years, so I’ve bided my time until the day was calm. Well, today was the day.

Shipwreck 2 The wreck has collapsed somewhat over the course of just one year. Large sections at the back of the ship have broken off and fallen away from the wreck. Some of the pieces have quite sharp and dangerous chunks sticking out of them. So you need to be careful you don’t get too close and risk being impaled when a big wave crashes through.

It was very neat to see all the fish making the wreck their home. Huge schools of blue grunts, snapper and other fish just drift along with the waves, hiding among the decaying ribs of the ship. There are large schoolmasters trying to remain hidden among the big schools, but their size really makes them stick out!

Wee little guyThe wreck is mostly filled with the usual fish we see, and there were a couple barracuda hanging around. It’s tough to get into the wreck, the entry point is very rocky, and you have to walk out quite a ways before it’s deep enough to get into the water to swim. So all in all, I’d say there are better spots to snorkel. If you are here for just one week, definitely check out the other spots first. Save the wreck for when you’ve got lots of time.

Big porcupinefishWe got back in the ocean at Boca Catalina, and swam up to Malmok reef. The big surprise today was two of the largest porcupinefish we’ve seen anywhere! While we were in St Maarten, we saw some large ones out at Turtle Reef, but these two were bigger! Pam said, “look at these porcupinefish!” I couldn’t believe they were porcupinefish, I was just shocked at how big they were.

Fishscape We saw another big school of sleek hunting fish. These were different than the school the day before. We’re pretty sure these were called cero. They are fast moving fish too, and seem to be stalking the smaller guys.

Clown wrasseI finally got a decent picture of a clown wrasse. They are colorful fish, and dart and weave all over the reef, seldom coming to a stop. We also saw a new fish, which we haven’t identified. It seems to be some kind of a blenny, but it has very pronounced scales on it. He was quite shy, and hid under a rock as soon as I pointed the camera at him. I tried for a second shot, but he quickly moved under another rock, making it impossible.

BeaugregoryIt was a fun day of snorkeling. The water was clear and visibility was very good. We’d love to say that we got back to the hotel and took a nice long rest in the hot tub, but if you can believe it, the Renaissance hotel – a Marriott hotel! – does not have a hot tub! Can you imagine? This is the first place in the Caribbean we’ve stayed that didn’t have a hot tub! We’re in shock!

Cero We went to dinner at a place called the Casa Tua Mediterranee. “Casa Tua” means “your house” and they have four or five different ones on the island. Barcelona, Mediterranee, and a couple pizzerias… We had lunch at a Casa Tua pizza place and really enjoyed their food (and the big beers!). This Casa was in the new Palm Beach mall and their food is Moroccan and Greek inspired. We both ordered meals in the “tajine” a Morocca cooking vessel that looks similar to a stove.

ButterflyfishPam had the lemon chicken and I had the Casa Tua Couscous. Trust me when I say, they were FABULOUS. They bring you these absolutely beautiful dishes to eat from. You layer your couscous in the bottom, them add food from the tajine – mine had chicken, beef, carrots, potatos, pumpkin, chickpeas, and other vegetables, then you pour a broth that the whole thing is simmered in over the lot. Absolutely wonderful!


PS: I posted this from our airplane at 33,500 feet! Yep free wifi from Google Chrome and Delta Airlines as a holiday present! We’ve not posted the last few days in Aruba since we were simply too busy to do it! I have another post ready to go, but won’t post it til later. It’s a little cramped on the plane! lol

Last Monday in Aruba

CowfishToday we took it easy, just one swim at Boca Catalina. Whenever we go in at Boca, we swim up to Malmok, because that’s where most of the reef is located. It was a pretty clear day, and nice clear water, for the most part. Sometimes close to shore it gets a bit churned up from the sand and waves.

Quillfin blenny - femaleToday we saw some nifty stuff, including several new fish. There was a quillfin blenny, which we had not see before. It’s kind of a large blenny, and rather strange looking. It’s a shy fish, and quick to take cover, so we’ve never been able to photograph it before. Two-toned blennyThere was another blenny, a two-toned blenny that we managed to get a shot of too… it’s another fish that won’t sit still for a shot, so we were lucky to nail her.

Queen angelWe saw a queen angelfish, which have been very few and far between. I think we’ve only seen her once before, and Pam was the only one who saw her. It’s a really colorful fish, bright blue and bright yellow/orange.

Yellowtail JackThere was a yellowtail jack – in a school of four or five. The look and act just like a barjack. The other fish get nervous when they cruise by. They come out of nowhere and blow by you in a hurry. You have to have your camera on and ready to take a pic in order to get a shot. We got lucky today!

TriggerfishI managed to get a shot of a queen triggerfish with her front trigger raised. The first time we’ve managed to do that I think. They use the trigger to lock themselves between rocks, when they feel threatened (I know this because I read it in our fish book!)

We saw another turtle today, a hawksbill. She was quite a bit smaller than the one we saw yesterday, so that means there are least three turtles in this area! It’s been a treat each time we get to swim with them. They only use their front paddles to move, unless you startle them, then they kick with all four legs.

Rainbow runnerWe followed the turtle out quite a ways from shore. Then we saw this large school of fish we’d never seen before. They were quite large, about two and half feet up to about four feet. They moved quickly, darted around in a huge circle. We think it might be a rainbow runner, or a guaguanche, which are related to the barracuda class of fish. They are long and thin, and amazing swimmers.

Spanish hogfishThere was a Spanish hogfish that I managed to get a pretty cool shot of… I dove down, and as I was coasting along the bottom, he popped up from behind a rock and I had my camera ready. I think it’s one of the best shots I’ve taken the whole trip!

This is one of Pam’s favorite fish, so I was glad to get this shot!  I guess it’s the color of them… they do stick out in the ocean! But I still can’t figure why this fish is called a hogfish. Maybe it has strange eating habits!

FishscapeI also got another pic today that I’m pretty happy with as well. I was diving down to get a shot of a scorpionfish, a fish we’ve taken enough shots of! I saw this great photoscape and just took it. It came out better than I dreamed! Really happy with this shot.

BalloonfishOn the way back, we saw a balloonfish. They are cute little guys, with weird psychedelic eyes. They have a green pattern, like some pattern you’d see on a disco light show! Usually they are under a rock, peering shyly out at you, but this guy was laying in a depression of the ocean floor. Maybe he thought he was hidden! Quite a cute little fish.

BalloonfishI’m going to add a second one, just because he’s cool. He’s about ten to twelve inches long. He has these little quills that he will stand on end, and he’ll puff up to be about two or three times his size, if he feels threatened.