Tag Archives: stingray

Playa Porto Mari

Just a small post to let you know we’re still around. Been a busy week – we are making some changes to our apartment – installing a new set of doors to expand the square footage of the apartment. Gives us another room, which we’ll use as our dining room. We’re also adding a second air conditioner so that when company comes, the living room will have an airco unit to keep them cool. We found a very cool furniture store that makes custom modern Euro-style furniture. We ordered a sofa that converts into a very comfortable bed. It will take a couple months to arrive.

Three under a rockWe’ve been getting in the ocean almost every day. Playa Porto Mari has always been one of our favorite places on the island. It has gone through some renovations, and it’s looking sharp. We had a terrific snorkel there on Thursday and saw just tons of stuff. Finally saw a black durgon – the first trigger fish we’ve seen in a long, long time.

Another surprise to us has been how many green moray eels we’ve seen. They have been out free swimming, rather than hiding. Usually they are a nocturnal type, spending days hiding under rocks and shelves. We saw a little southern stingray, about two feet across. Quite fun!

Lazy days

Goats on a cliffThe last couple of days have been sun and sand. We’ve gone to the beach, done some snorkeling, had dinner and basically taken it easy. As Mike likes to say, “we’re on vacation!”

A trupial

Wednesday was kind of cool. Pam and I swam out to the turtle grass near Boca Catalina and saw a couple of turtles (naturally!) but while swimming a little further south we saw a stingray. Now that’s something we’ve never seen in Aruban waters! That was quite cool. Our pictures didn’t turn out that well, but I’ve put a little movie here so you can see him.

Pelican and friend Thief!

On Tuesday we saw another giant “bait ball” – a large school of fish with about a billion fish in it. There were several ceros running herd on it, moving it north. Pelicans swooped in for a tasty morsel every now and then, and you had to be careful to get out of their way. Mike nailed a couple of shots of a wily seagull catching a ride, then a snack from the pelican!

We took another drive up to the California Lighthouse to snap some sunset shots, but it was spectacularly lame! So we took a couple panoramas and called it a night. I like this one of the lighthouse with a big billowing cloud. And of course Pam likes the silhouette one of the palm trees. Maybe we need to have a vote??

A palapa panorama A cool panorama Local wildlife

Some of the local guys hanging around the pool at Caribbean Palm Village don’t even wear a suit! (Some of the guys wearing speedos you wish they had bought boogie shorts instead but…) Here is one of Pam’s favorite locals.

It’s been interesting on this side of the resort. The pool has been less crowded, I guess because it’s a bit smaller. But it’s also been a bit louder, since this is the side where the daily games are played. Still been nice, but I kinda miss “our side” of the place!

Coral Gardens, Providenciales

ViewOur hotel/condo, the Alexandra Resort, is right on the beach at Grace Bay. Grace bay was voted the best beach in the world this year by Conde Naste, the big travel magazine. And it certainly is lovely. Our room looks out on the beach, and we have a nice sized balcony with a table and chairs and a lounger. We can watch the sunset from our balcony!

Nassau grouper We had our first snorkel today, a little ways up the beach from our hotel, and a place called the Coral Gardens. It was a little windy, and so the swimming was a little bit of a challenge, but we were up for it! It was really something. Lots of great coral, all in very good shape. We saw a lot of fish we hadn’t seen before. One of the special things we saw was a stingray! That was a nice start to the vacation. We saw lots of grouper, which makes Pam very happy. Some really nice sized Nassau Grouper, in lots of sizes, and a cool red one.

ParrotfishThe parrotfish we’ve seen in the past have been very skittish, taking off as soon as we got close, but here, they don’t seem to swim away like in the past. We saw lots of really good sized ones, and several in colors we don’t often see.

Barjack and a cudaThere were lots of barracuda. One was really really really really big! There several big ones, and lots of medium to small ones. We saw some fish we couldn’t tell what they were. But the waves were kinda large and made it difficult to get good shots. We’ll do better next time!

ParrotfishWe only lasted a couple hours at best. It was tough swimming, and we’re still a little tired from the long flight. We’ll definitely be coming back to this sight.

StingrayFor dinner, we wanted to try Baci Ristorante, but of course, it’s closed on Sundays, which we discovered after we’d driven over there! Beside it was the Sharkbite, so we decided to give it a try. It is right on the water, and we got to watch the sunset as we dined. Food is NOT cheap on this island, but Sharkbites was reasonable. We started with a conch fritter appetizer. Conch is a big specialty on this island, they even have a conch farm, so we had to try it. The fritters were good, tasty, with a tangy sauce. Ten fritters were $10. Pam had a strawberry daiquiri, $8, and I had a Turkshead Beer, the local beer here on Providencials $4.50.

Dolphin fountainFor the entree, we both had the ribs, for $17. It was as good serving size, with fries and coleslaw. The rib meat fell off the bone, and the sauce was thick and tangy. For dessert we split a slice of carrot cake and vanilla ice cream. Total bill including the forced 15% gratuity was $93. The service was good, and three or four waitresses kept everything flowing nicely.

Tomorrow we are thinking of going to the other side of the island, but we’ll see what happens!

Swimming with the stingrays

Stingray_City.jpg Stingray We’re nearing the end of our vacation, and today we headed out to see the famous Stingray City. We took a large catamaran about a mile off land, and then hopped into the ocean. It was FILLED with stingrays. Stingray-Tangs.jpgThe Stingrays having been coming to these waters for years to collect the scraps the fisherman toss over the edge, as they clean their catch. The stingrays are quite docile, and don’t mind being handled and touched. They feel sort of like a big portabella mushroom!

It was really quite an experience.

Purple CoralThen they took us to the Coral Gardens. That was easily the most amazing experience we’ve had in the water! I was so distracted, I did not hear Shy Guythe blasts to return to the ship and almost got left out there! Honestly, I simply did not hear it, it had nothing to do with not wanting to leave!

But the fish were amazing. We saw a very cool Nassau grouper, Pam’s been waiting for one of those. Big faces and lips on them. The colors of the Coral.jpgcoral were something to see as well. We thought we’d seen coral, but wow, this was so much different. There were long golden stalks of what looked like feathers waving in the sea. There were elkhorn coral, brain coral… coral I can’t name. But seeing it all together like that, in this huge teeming world, it was amazing. Just remarkable.

Cemetery Beach

Cemetary beach Today we went to Cemetery Beach. It’s called that because the cemetery actually backs onto the beach. There are parking spots just off the “highway.” The path to reach the beach runs along the side of the tombstones and cenotaphs.

StingrayStingrays are all over these waters, but these are the first ones we have seen so far. He’s not all that big, perhaps 2.5 feet in total, including the stinger. It’s neat to see them scoot along the bottom, just wiggling the edges of their body.

StingrayOne of the stingrays we saw had a little fish that hung on his shoulder the whole time. Kinda cool.

Nurse SharkWe also saw a nurse shark, about 12 feet long laying on the bottom. We didn’t really hang around. But later we talked to the guy at the dive shop where we bought our snorkel stuff, and he said not to worry about the nurse shark. Mostly shy, a bottom feeder. No real accounts of attacking humans.

Water babyWe’ve seen a lot of Blue Tangs and they are really a colorful, graceful fish. But today was really special, with this large school of them cruising around.

So without further ado, here is another movie of the tangs.

This is a movie of a stingray moving along the ocean floor. It’s in quite shallow water, less than 3 feet of water. He’s fairly small, only about 2 feet long in total, including his tail.