August 2009

August 16, 2009

We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends in Ottawa. It was so nice to see everybody. We enrolled the kids in camp for two weeks and we were very busy the whole time. Thank you to everyone who hosted us, I think we both gained 10 pounds. Bob and MaryLu of sv Leibchen that we met in Virginia for the Caribbean 1500 and sailed on and off with all the way to Dominica came to visit us for a day while we were in Ottawa. We toured the Parliament Buildings and went out for a huge dinner at a French restaurant in Chelsea, Quebec.

Trying to get back to Aruba was more of a challenge. We got up at 3:00 in the morning and the cab that we ordered never showed up. Luckily my Dad has a truck so we put the kids in the car with my mom and our 15 bags of luggage in the back of the truck and took off half an hour late. When we got to the airport, we had to rearrange all of our bags as two of them were over the 50lb limit. Once that was done, the ticketing agent took great joy in telling us that she would not be letting us on the plane because we could not give her proof that we would not be staying in Aruba for more than 30 days. Even if we had brought our immigration papers with us, it only showed that we entered Aruba not when we were leaving. After insisting that we discuss this with a manager who might try to help our situation, the manager came over and said no you can’t get on the plane, but why don’t you buy five 100% refundable tickets back to Ottawa then you can get on the plane. Fortunately, I had paid the visa so we had room to buy five tickets from Aruba to Ottawa for a total cost of $12,000!!!!

Once we got the tickets, we rushed like crazy through security then realized we never received our boarding passes for our next flight, Chris ran back but he was too late, she had already left, so he came back. We just made it 5 mintues before the plane took off, they promised that they would hold it for us but I'm not so sure. We were able to get our boarding passes in Washington. We made it to Aruba with all of our luggage then forgot one of our carry ons in the cab!!! We of course couldn’t remember what was in it. Fortunatley the next day the cab driver dropped it off to our boat.

We are now back on the boat, everything seems good except for the watermaker, in our haste and chaos upon leaving Chris forgot to pickle the watermaker, now it is not working properly.

I brought all the kids school work with me for the next year plus we went shopping at Costco, 500 pounds later we are here!! We had to buy an extra 4 peices of luggage, once we arrived in Aruba we donated it to the Red Cross. We have installed a new CD Player, a new DVD player, an AIS radar satellite receiver and transceiver, it sends our position out to ships and we can see the name of ships and all their info like speed, destination, draft and alot more info. We installed new window shades/screens, and new fans. The huge job of the week though was the two new high output alternators with three stage external regulators, with center fielder to control two alternators as one from each engine and a seperate charge controller for each starter battery. The power goes from the alternators directly to the house banks then are split off to charge the starter batteries. Better settings for the house battery and different charge parameters can be used on each battery. Plus all new wiring. We were very happy to be at the dock for this 4 day job. We had our air conditioning on and I could take the kids to the pool much easier.

August 22, 2009

Chris and I celebrated our anniversary today. There is a restaurant right at the end of the dock so we felt quite comfortable turning a movie on for the kids and going out for an adult meal. Big announcement - Ryan lost his first tooth today, the tooth fairy found Stray Kitty, no problemo! We extended our stay at the Marina today for another 4 days so we can continue to work on installing our new items. The Renaissance Marina owns a private island, you take a motor boat over there, we went once but the kids were bored, there are beach chairs, a restaurant and a beach but it is all cordoned off so there are no waves, I guess they are used to a bit more excitement! The pool was a big hit though.

August 26, 2009 Aruba Renaissance Marina, Oranjestad to Secu di Coco, Palm Beach Anchorage, Aruba 5.8 nm

It is nice to be close to downtown and at a dock for a change but boy are we ever glad to finally be leaving the Marina, they have a problem with sewage backup and everytime it rains it comes pouring into the harbour, the water stinks, it so putrid you feel like your floating in an outhouse at times. Our neighbour at the dock took me grocery shopping twice, thanks Barry! they have great shopping here in Aruba, I loved the IGA.

We are the only cruising boat in this anchorage (see below of the view from our anchorage). There are alot of boats but they are commercial tour boats. We stayed here for one week and we were alone the whole time. Aruba does not cater to "yachties" , there was no dingy dock, so we would dock our dingy on the beach and just leave it there, we never had a problem, it was never locked and it was always there when we came back. Aruba caters to hotel guests, but were we every glad to be able to swim in clear water again.

We rented a car for two days and saw many of the tourist sites. The first day we went to see the California Lighthouse, then to Casibari Rock Formations and Indian Drawings then the Ayo Rock Formations and Indian Drawings; the Natural Bridge, which only half of it was there the other half had collapsed. There are a lot of tourists running around in little dune buggies and quads over the sand dunes, kind of cool.

On the second car rental day we drove to Arikok National Park where we drove over a very bumpy road through the desert to see Canucu Arikok – walked about a mile in the desert heat to the caves where there were some Indian drawings then to Fontein where Arawak drawings adorn the ceiling of the cave. Then to Quadrikiri--move caves and Indian drawings, then we drove to San Nicolas and went to Subway for lunch, kids were in heaven.