Borta med Bengt

En resa

The week that has past us:

Sunday, 8 September 2019, Airport Anchorage, Aruba


Monday morning at sunrise we raised the anchor, rolled out the headsails and took up the course to Aruba, 53 nm to the east. We should have left last night to be able to arrive in the morning but a violent thunderstorm over Venezuela and the very strong wind made us sleep through the night and leave early in the morning instead. Seas were uncomfortable and the wind just below gale force so it felt good to have slept through the night. We had been at anchor for two months and our sealegs were non-existent. Bengt rolled and moved a lot in the high swell but kept good speed. The wind decreased about halfway to Aruba but Elisabeth felt seasick and went below to lie down. She soon fell asleep. Upon approaching Aruba we sailed into an area which the locals call 'the washingmachine'. The swell bounces back on the shore of Aruba and creates a nasty sea. Bengt got some water on deck and the wind increased to 35 knots but Elisabeth slept through it. Speed went to a max of 9,4 knots. Behind Aruba the wind shifted to the northeast, Elisabeth woke up, and we had some work with poles and sails. Because of the strong wind we rolled in both headsails, hoisted up the poles and rolled out the genua again after that. We had company in with a tugboat 'Colorado' and for a while went just as fast.

Clearing in on Aruba means that you have to tie up in Barcadera Harbour to a jetty with only 2,7 meters of water. Bengt draws 2,25 meters so this is, in combination with the strong wind and limited space, not easy. Fortunately some Venezuelan sailors helped us with the lines. They seem to be able to avoid the boycott by sailing to Colombia. Lots of cargo being taken onboard the small coastal traders. We went to immigration and customs where the paperwork went fast. Back on board we got visited by two customs-officers who did a quick search of the boat. Opening a few lockers and asking about how much alcohol we had on board. We showed them the drinks-locker. All well! Spirits are expensive here. After that we got some more help from the very friendly Venezuelans and left the harbour to anchor at the Airport anchorage. Here are few yachts but clear and clean water with a lot of seagrass and some turtles. It took us a few tries to get the anchor to hold. Its quit shallow in the lagoon, we are anchored in 3 meters of water. It is also very close to the airport so planes come and go over our heads. As we came in late in the afternoon the sun was low so we could not see where the sandy patches were. Elisabeth snorkelled and checked out the bottom for sand. Very windy so we let out 32 meters of chain. After a late dinner we went to sleep.

Tuesday we stayed on the boat. Elisabeth still felt sick. The watermaker started spraying water everywhere so it was closed off. This time I used another epoxy to glue the fitting in the end-cap. In the afternoon the sewing-machine came out and Elisabeth repaired the genua-cover. We received the invoice for the watermaker spare parts, payed and gave Marine Warehouse the address of our friends Neill and Heidi who are in the marina with their boat. We took the dinghy there to visit them. Wonderful to meet these two again and to be able to enjoy Heidi's 'special coffee' once more. They have worked hard on the boat and installed for instance a new fridge and a watermaker. We also met Martin, a Swede, who bought a boat in Grenada and sailed it here. Martin is from Stockholm and thinks he have sailed with Bengt, the builder of our boat, in the eighties.

Thursday was washing day. This time we had no problems with valves so no sweaty jobs inside the engine room. The watermaker has been on all day and only leaks very little after gluing it with 'super epoxy'. Nice!

Friday we took the dinghy to the beach and walked to town. Aruba and Oranjestad are very touristy and focused on American tourists. Here you will find many up-end shops like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Prada, Tony Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Cartier, etcetera, etcetera. They are all here and many more indeed. Walking around town one feels like walking in Disney World because of all the pastel-coloured dollhouse looking buildings but the people are friendly and all seems to be well organized. Aruba calls itself 'The happy Island'. No garbage on the streets here. We went the 3 kilometres to a very big supermarket which, once inside, was not so big. Few groceries and lots of empty shelfs but we got what we wanted. As in many other places supermarkets are located out of town and to get there you will need a car. The one we visited is within walking distance and not doing very well. All other ones are out of town. There are public busses here but we could not find the tourist-office to get a timetable. After a long sweaty walk back to the dinghy we were happy to jump in the water to cool down.

Both Saturday and Sunday were very hot which meant a lot of swimming. One of the radiators started leaking badly so we had to put a bandage around consisting of epoxy, a piece of hose and a few hose-clamps. We are going to ger rid of all radiators in Chile and replace them with steel ones. Saturday evening we had Neill and Heidi for dinner, always entertaining talking to them.

Until next week!