Last Updated: 13-AUG-2017

Last couple of days and the flight back - Aruba - April / May 2015

Sunday - MAY 03 2015

Another house & beach day at Boca Catalina.

Mary washing clothes on the patio / porch.

Excitement - Garbage truck day.

Lunch... Chocolate covered waffle... PB sandwich and the camera ready for something interesting.

Our location on the tablet, 872 miles north of the equator and about as far east as Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Another bug - Some type of beetle.

Mary found a Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird nest in a tree out in the front yard.

This is a photo of the female feeding the young which is a male.

Blue-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon mellisugus). The Blue-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon mellisugus) is a South American hummingbird that occurs naturally in Colombia south and east to the Guianas, Trinidad Bolivia and Brazil. They inhabit savanna, scrub, cultivation and similar semi-open woodland.

The female Blue-tailed Emerald is responsible for building the cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage in a protected location in a shrub, bush or tree. She lines the nest with soft plant fibers, animal hair and feather down, and strengthens the structure with spider webbing and other sticky material, giving it an elastic quality to allow it to stretch to double its size as the chicks grow and need more room. The nest is typically found on a low, thin horizontal branch.

The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with regurgitated food (mostly partially-digested insects since nectar is an insufficient source of protein for the growing chicks). The female pushes the food down the chicks' throats with her long bill directly into their stomachs.

The actual nest

One of the lizards that we would see by the pool - The spectacular blue lizard (Cnemidophorus arubensis) of Aruba. The most common Aruban lizard is the Aruban Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus Arubensis). Often visitors mistakenly assume this critter is a baby iguana. The one pictured here is a male. You can tell by his turquoise blue coloring and white spots. Both sexes have the brilliant aqua spots, but females have a brown background color. It's indigenous to the island. Males have turquoise blue head, tail, and legs with rows of white to blue spots on their sides. Females and the young are brown grey with light spots.Kododo blauw's natural predators include Aruban burrowing owls [Athene cunicularia arubensis] and kestrels [Falco sparverius brevipennis].

Another flat in the works

Rental Plate - Happy Island

Back to Boca Catalina

Needle fish

Feeding bread to the fish and various fish photos

On various trips I have milestones that signify that I am really in the environment that we traveled to. When we go out west its getting above 10,000 feet. Going south its seeing the Southern Cross as you can only see it from Key West in April for a week or two. On a cruise it's the Frigate Bird. Yes, I have seen these at Marco Island, Florida but its really seen a bit further south. Some islands like Antigua they are everywhere but on the other islands, you only see a few a day. Generally they are my favorite bird.

They are huge birds as their wings are long and pointed and can span up to 2.3 metres (7.5 ft), the largest wing area to body weight ratio of any bird.

Able to soar for days on wind currents, frigate birds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night. Their main prey are fish and squid, caught when chased to the water surface by large predators such as tuna. Frigate birds are referred to as kleptoparasites as they occasionally rob other seabirds for food, and are known to snatch seabird chicks from the nest.

Frigate birds remain in the air and do not settle on the ocean. They produce very little oil from their uropygial glands so their feathers would become sodden if they settled on the surface. In addition, with their long wings relative to body size, they would have great difficulty taking off again

So, to be snorkeling and have them come in within 5 feet of me is amazing. One of the snorkel tour guides from the ships was using bread to catch fish and then tossing the fish in in the air to be grabbed by the frigate birds. I was not part of the tour as I swam out from the shore.

Videos of this and the file size on these are large so give it time to download.

  • MOVIE - 316 meg GoPro - Underwater - feeding birds
  • MOVIE - 111 meg GoPro - Underwater - feeding birds
  • MOVIE - 185 meg GoPro - Feeding birds
  • MOVIE - 170 meg GoPro - Feeding birds
  • MOVIE - 142 meg GoPro - Feeding birds
  • MOVIE - 192 meg GoPro - Underwater - feeding birds

    I was sold on GoPro as I could easily switch between video and photo mode and it was not having problems with shooting video above & below water in the same video

    Sea urchins - I am terrified of these so good to see them far away as I have been in places where wave action makes them much closer !

    Mary going in

    Full Moon rising over the desert

    Bad photo but every night a heard of goats would walk by behind the place

    The rum we were drinking which was not very good but ok when mixed with coke. Price was in florin's so about $5 buck per bottle.

    Monday - MAY 04 2015

    Back to Boca Catalina - If we rented a place down here for a couple of weeks I could see me coming here most of the time. Its close, never crowded and free..

    It's funny as many of the homes that we have rented would have an extensive library on local flora and fauna as well as places to visit and things to see. This house had nothing except for a "Gambling Like a Pro" book which Ken studied the slot machine section.

    We spent the day at Boca Catalina and Mary wanted to head south along the cliffs which is near the Malmok Beach area. Extremely rough area to walk on.

    We drove back up around the California Light House. The area was run down but they are saying that they are going to restore it.

    GoPro at Boca Catalina - Another great day !

    Mary heading in

    Our free spot... Mary wearing her old lady suit

    A tour guide company coming ashore with the bladefish type device. Very cool

    Looking back from the sea

    Various views at the northern (western) end of the island.

    Looking south at the water tank near our place

    Looking at the hotel area to the south & east

    Looking at the Hooiberg - Aruba's most prominent natural landmark. Actually the 4th highest point on the island at 168 meters/551 feet. Accessible by stairs that climb to the top.

    Another crappy sunset

    Looking at the dunes to the north

    Lots of bikes around here

    California Light House

    Goats on our street

    Tuesday - MAY 05 2015

    We took the Famous South Side Lunch Cruise on Tranquilo for $85 a person. Here is the description " This is the cruise that made us famous, thanks in no small way to Mom's Dutch Pea Soup, but also the fact that you will sail to places you will never see on other cruises. We reach the snorkeling site in just over an hour allowing plenty of time to play in the water. Waist deep snorkeling from our Reef Island and drift snorkeling on our breath-taking coral reef are two of the unique attractions you can enjoy. A delicious lunch is served before we let go of our mooring lines for the return trip. We set sail for a relaxing, "Blue Water", downwind sail with fishing lines trolling and drinks flowing often accompanied by flying fish and the occasional pod of dolphins. A stocked open bar is provided during this lovely five hour cruise."

    It was good but too windy. Mary contacted the owner after we got back to go again for free because of the weather.

    The owners dog

    Heading out on our 3 hr. cruise

    We sat in the back out of the sun. Others on the ship were from Europe

    One of those tourist subs being towed...

    Going past De Palm Island which is across from the burning garbage dump. It does get good trip-advisor ratings so the wind must go the right way.

    We were taken to a private dock located at 12.464316 -69.975094 which was across from Mangel Halto where we were a few days ago. It was a cool area as it was sheltered on one side and rough on the other.

    Mary enjoying the water

    Some coral here that still was alive


    Back on the boat

    Mary & Ken eating their soup. Strange considering its probably 90 degrees. Rum on the left in the second photo.

    Looking back to where we were

    Heading back to Oranjestad.

    Going past the WEB - Water and Electricity plant. Desalinization plant which supplies the island with power and drinkable water. One of the largest plants of its type in the world.

    We had to sit form 20 minutes or so while this large ship passed thru the area between us and Oranjestad.

    The burning garbage dump - Nice !

    Interesting underwater tunnel in Oranjestad. Not sure if this is a good idea allowing boats to travel under a hotel / Casino.

    Zeeland (P841)

    A Holland-class offshore patrol vessels - new oceanic patrol vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy. They are designed to fulfill patrol and intervention tasks against lightly armed opponents, such as pirates and smugglers, but much higher level electronic and radar surveillance roles with great capabilities for military stabilization and security roles, short of outright war. One was parked at the docks in Oranjestad.

    Wednesday - MAY 06 2015

    Our last full day we spent much of the day at our favorite beach (Boca Catalina) an easy four miles from our place.

    Another starfish they are probably a foot across

    I am out a good bit

    More fish


    Black bird on the beach

    Snorkel area

    Good beach day - In some areas of Aruba, Palapas are also known as Chickies. Beach umbrellas would not be possible in these winds!

    We were always able to find a palapa in Boca Catalina. These are free unless you need a chair from the vendor. We brought our own from the house rental. It was near great snorkeling as well.

    Interesting electric propulsion system (where I am pointing) We saw many with these.

    Mary tan lines

    Our last meal on our last full day.

    Location / sunrise / sunset data

    I set up the go pro to take a photo of the night sky every 30 seconds. The hotel area is so bright it was hard to see the Southern Cross. I added its location with a red cross.

  • MOVIE - 7 meg GoPro time lapse night

    Thursday - MAY 07 2015

    We are TSA PRE in the US so we were NOT looking forward to dealing with all the security & customs crap and it was not fun.

    Left house at 11 in town 1115 airport at 1125 so even with a Carvinal cruise ship in Oranjestad the traffic was not that bad.

    Stood in line to get boarding pass for 15 min and dropped off luggage. Then stood in line for Aruba customs for 20 to 30 min to give the Aruba immigration card back to them. Then security area only took 10 min as people were stuck back in immigration.

    Then we picked up our bag which had a barcode now on it and had to get in another line.

    Then to us customs. They have an automated system now as you don't have to fill out the cards but most everyone did and tossed them in the trash. Talk about Id theft issues. perhaps a 5 min wait here.

    Then we dropped off our bags and had to go thru another security check as you could have removed something from your luggage. Only it was a joke... I did not remove my belt and no alarm. So that was it. From rental to gate over an hour.

    Looking back up to Oranjestad with a Carnival ship docked

    Jaragua National Park, Dominican Republic - Oviedo Province

    Cool clouds over the Dominican Republic

    Back over Tortuga - A Caribbean island that forms part of Haiti, off the northwest coast of Hispaniola. It constitutes the commune of Ile de la Tortue in the Port-de-Paix arrondissement of the Nord-Ouest Department of Haiti. Its name in both Spanish (Isla Tortuga) and French means "Turtle Island" or "Tortoise Island", and it is sometimes called that in English. In the 17th century, it was a major center of Caribbean piracy.

    Baltimore approach

    US-301 Bridge between Maryland and Virginia - Naval Surface Warfare Center - Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD)

    Mayo, Maryland

    Annapolis, Maryland area

    NSA (National Security Agency) - Ft. Meade campus above the wing and NBP (National Business Park) campus on the left above the wing.

    Maryland Rt. 32 with NBP (National Business Park) campus upper center

    Watching fox news on the plane - Thanks Southwest

  • Ten days in Aruba - April / May 2015
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