Neverland Journey

Adventures since 2011

Arrival in Aruba

We rounded the southern point of Aruba about an hour before sunrise and worked our way up the west coast. The timing was pretty good because you don�'t want to enter strange ports during the night. Typically one must pass through the reef surrounding the island and they are not always marked very well.

As we were headed for the pass we were hit with another squall. The winds picked up as the visibility decreased. We were already under a partial jib only so didn�'t need to reduce sail. We sailed away from the island for about a half hour as the squall passed. As the weather cleared we headed in to the port where we were supposed to check in with customs and immigration. Since nothing was marked we didn�'t know where to dock the boat to find the offices. So we motored the 4 miles to Oranjestad to see what it looked like. The port authority hailed us on the VHF and directed us back to Haven Barcadera to do the clearance formalities.

We motored back down to the port and upon approaching the dock for the customs we ran aground. We hailed the port authority and he called the coast guard. By the time they showed up we had worked the boat off the bottom and managed to tie up to the bulkhead. We found the offices and checked in without any further issues.

Then we started looking for a place to anchor the boat. The trade winds were blowing 15-22kts today so it made reading the water difficult. The island is surrounded by a barrier reef. Between the reef and the island there is a channel but there is also a lot of shallow water. There are few marked channels except for commercial traffic so one depends on �"reading�" the water for depth. This is something we haven�'t had to experience until now. The anchorage we wanted to use would have us crossing a flat that the cruising guide said would have 6 feet of water if you picked the right trail. We ended up anchoring at a different location in front of a beach near the end of the airport runway. And by the way, the Danforth anchor didn�'t hold in the loose mud and weeds so we grabbed a mooring.

This year we covered 5000 nautical miles since we left Alicante, Spain at the end of September. We used the engine for less than 250 hours. During the ARC+ crossings the engine was used only for battery charging and not propulsion. We confirmed once again that our old boat is a capable cruiser and will get us to our destination safely. We were sometimes awestruck with the things we witnessed along the way. We made a lot of new friends from different parts of the world with a common goal of crossing an ocean in a small boat. I praise the World Cruising Club for their organization and support as we prepared for and made the crossing.