Day 7: Monday, August 2
Eight legged friends and dead legs...
Rise and shine!!! And I don't mean shine because it was 6am and it was still dark out! Wow, this is crazy. We didn't have any plans so why are we up so early??? Either way, it was time for coffee and pop.
Our lizard friends did not show up this morning. However, we had a different visitor. Now I haven't mentioned that every morning we also have some pigeons that visit. I guess our home is just the best house on the block because we have all the wildlife (and bees) coming to our place. So these pigeons...they come and then go in the pool and then take a drink and off they go. Isn't chlorine bad to drink? They seem to enjoy it every morning.
Well, this particular day, one of the pigeons was coming in fast, miscalculated and hit the house. Um, ok. Obviously his mapsme wasn't working correctly. He ended up on our little porch area by the laundry room as he had the little cartoon circles around his head I'm sure.
As the morning went on, I noticed that the pigeon was still there. I thought that was weird.
I walked over to where he was at and he walked away and flapped his wings and went around the corner. Ok, well I guess he was ready to go.
I did get a response from Seabob Aruba already about my email to them. They were super nice an addressed all of my concerns.
*They did say visibility wasn't as good during the afternoon hours because the wind picks up later in the day (which I don't know about that because I've done things later in the day and still been able to see...more on that later in the review), and that it was quite windy that day with big waves (she stated it was 32-43 knots when we were out and it's normally only 20 knots).
*About the guide taking off from us...her response put me off a little bit. She said the guide had been with them for 6 years and was very concerned about safety and went on to say that he was probably diving under and that's why we couldn't see him. NO, I know that was NOT what was going on! He was GONE! No buoy in site and the other couple was gone as well. Diving or not, you can still she them come up and still see the buoy!
*As for the pictures, she said he takes 200-500 pictures and the price is $40 per family not $45. I will tell you that I received 160 pictures...not even the smallest amount listed. But a lot of them are snaps taken one after another. For instance the turtle, he took 9 pictures of in a row, basically all of them looking the same. Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing...I do the same to make sure that I get the perfect shot. Just saying it's easy to come up with 200-500 pictures when you are doing this. That's my only point. (And remember the hubby only had 2 pictures of him riding the seadoo out of all those. The only pictures we got of him was out of the water or standing in the water. I didn't have many of me either.) Then factor in all of the blurry pictures as well and you don't even have 160 pictures either.
*In the end of the email she stated she only wanted happy customers so she was returning 50% of my money! Wait what??? I was not expecting this at all and the thought had not crossed my mind!!! I was just asking about the pictures and if we could get those since we didn't get to do everything or see everything and also replying about the safety issue of getting left behind because that could be tragic if this is something that happens frequently. She said she would talk to him and issued me a refund of $187.50.
I did respond back to her thanking her for the response...and I did want to assure her that the guide was not "diving down". Then I did tell her (since they refunded the money) that I would purchase the pictures at the $40 rate and ask how to go about doing so.
The not-so-munchkin woke up at 10 and emerged from her sauna room. Well, it's about time. We are starving! However, we ran out of eggs with the french toast yesterday. This meant we were going somewhere for breakfast this morning.
Our Aruban friend told me about different places to eat but highly recommended eating at Super Foods. Yes, that's right, eating at the grocery store. She said you get a lot for your money and they had all kinds of breakfast items. We figured we would give it a shot.
As we were getting ready, I ask everyone what beach they would like to go to today, then paused, then made the decision for them. I wanted to go to Mangel Halto, so that's where we were going even if they came up with another suggestion. ;) See how that works? haha
We got to Super Foods and the small diner is right as you walk in. We stood in line and it was like a buffet where you see all the items displayed and you tell them what to put on your plate. We all picked eggs, hash browns and bacon.
They scooped up a massive amount of eggs, when you say hash browns you get 2 of them, then the bacon...lordy lordy porky! They put their tongs down in the huge bacon tray and what they come up with is what you got. I'm sure it was at least a pound to 2 pounds of bacon with each scoop! I'm in bacon heaven right now and it was cooked crispy and just right. Where did these bacon gods come from that worked here???
We got to the end of the line to pay for it, added 3 drinks of OJ and here was our grand total for all 3 of us to eat this morning:
Would you just look at that total???? $17.92 US / 31.36 ƒ Isn't that the most craziest thing you've ever seen??? Three of us ate for less than $18!!! That's unheard of here or even back home. I was in complete shock.
Ok, our bellies were full and it was time to head to Mangel Halto...almost to the other side of the island.
So on our way there, we were getting ready to pass Hooiberg Mountain. I have always wanted to go down that street and check out the base of it and take pictures. So, I made a quick turn and completely threw the family off as to what I was doing. I got a blank stare from the hubby as the mapsme told me to turn around.
It's situated in a residential area with houses surrounding it. Right across the street is the waterpark. I had inquired about the waterpark prior to leaving home and couldn't get a straight answer as to how much it cost to get in there and I was hoping to see what it actually looked like now that we were here. However, it was closed on Monday's and from the street, you couldn't see anything...not the water slides, not anything.
I pulled up and parked at Hooiberg and we (and by "we" I mean the hubby and I because the not-so-munchkin doesn't want to do anything to exert herself these days) decided to get out and walk around the area at the bottom.
It looked like a long way up there. There were people walking down from the top and even a jogger coming down quickly. Is he insane?
The green steps in the area was more my style. Very long and wide and a step every so often. Yep, that's my limit.
However........... the hubby was standing at the base of the stairs, hands on his hips, looking up to the top, and I could see that look on his face. The concentration going on inside that head was not a good look. I just had this feeling...he turns to me and says "I think I can do it!" Oh lordy...here we go. "Are you really going up??" He says "yep, I'm going to do it!" Alrighty then. I handed him my camera and told him to take a bunch of pictures and to make sure they were good and no fingers and I would head back down to the car and get my other camera to take pictures of his speck from down here.
I headed back to the car to get my camera and told Sakari "Daddy's going up it! He is crazy!" She quickly grabbed the GoPro from me and jumped out of the car. Wait! Are you doing it too????? She said "yep" and off she went.
By the time she made it up there, he was at the first "rest stop" resting. He said he was worn out already. Noticed he still managed to get his finger in the picture he took as Sakari made it up there.
A few pictures he took from that view while resting and seeing her come up the steps.
When she made it up to him, he gave her some time to rest...and I'm sure he still needed it too. She actually ran up most of the way. Poor not-so-munchkin!
Ok, they were heading on up. Thank goodness he wore a pink shirt so that I could tell where he was at during this adventure.
And a picture zoomed in to where they were at now.
There are rest stops along the way. Sometimes they would disappear for a minute and if I took my eyes off of them, I'd lose them. But eventually they would reappear.
Zoomed in as they headed up the next flight of stairs. I have to admit, I was very anxious. I really wanted to do this. I kept thinking I could then my leg was telling me NO! No you can't! It was a battle with myself. I hate being left out. I've always done everything with them. I felt alone and sad that I wasn't getting to share this experience with them. I really wish we had service here and he could have took me on his journey with him via facetime or something. People don't understand what you've lost until it's lost and every little thing becomes apparent at times like this. Never take for granted the small little things you can do in life...such as walking. My life will probably never be the same but I have to just keep pushing along.
Almost there and almost out of my site. They were just a tiny little speck but that pink shirt though....
Eventually they were completely out of my site and the only thing I could see now was it were some empty stairs with a few people still coming down.
It was so hot out so I decided to head back to the car in the a/c and wait it out.
From here, we will see what the hubby and Sakari was able to see.
As they made it up to the top and out of my site, there were two buildings up there. One belongs to a radio station and the other is a cellular station. All tv broadcasts from other countries come through there, all cellular signals and phones are all sent through these buildings. How cool is that?
They had finally made it! They said it was so beautiful up there. You could see everywhere. They could see the ocean and to the other side of the island.
Now they were up there for quite some time. Honestly, too long for my comfort. I didn't see them anywhere in site and it was starting to worry me. Was it possible that once you climb up there they had another side to go down? I really wasn't sure be I definitely didn't think it should be taking this long.
At one point I turned the car around and was contemplating driving down the street to see if there was a way to the other side. I stopped after turning around and pulled into a different spot facing the mountain. Something told me not to go.
Meanwhile, they were up there having a good old time...WITH A FAMILY OF GOATS!!!
You could even see the cruise ships in port (above and below). The Joy was still sitting there along with another small ship, I think it was the scientology ship.
But of course Sakari was more interested in the goats... "awww, dey so qquuute" She said one was so friendly.
They did say there was a helicopter flying around the mountain. I didn't even notice one. I think my eyes were focused directly on the steps and the tunnel vision had kicked in. I was focused, I was determined to see them emerge, my peripheral vision was not about to distract me.
Just look at that ocean I was desperately trying to get to.
They finally decided to head back down
They were up there so long that some goats decided to take up residency on the steps. They would all scatter as they walked back down.
After going around this corner, I would finally have them in my site again.
I was never so relieved...especially after I ask them if there were handrails up there to keep people from falling off the side of the mountain and the hubby replied "Just one and not everywhere". Wait what??? That sounds dangerous! Especially when he told me that it was really hard to breathe up there. So not only was it super hot, but the air (or lack of oxygen) made it hard to breathe, barely any handrails, and super windy...yikes. I'm definitely glad to have my family back.
Now of course all of these pictures are zoomed in so that you can see them. They were really pretty far up there still.
Last haul of steps...you can do it!!!
Sakari came running back and plopped in the car. She needed air and a drink! She was talking about how amazing it was up there and so beautiful but she was so tired.
I was parked along this wall and the hubby stops, looks down, and he had that look on his face that he had before he went up the mountain...I think I can do this. Then finally jumped down in what appeared to be slowmotion.
Here is the awesome video they managed to get while they were up there. Daddy-daughter day exploring.
Just a little about Hooiberg:
*541 foot high volcanic formation
*Can be seen from almost everywhere on the island
*Hooiberg is Dutch for "haystack" and a lot of the locals call it the haystack
*563 estimated steps to the top but I have also read 587 steps
*Located in the center of the island.
*The steps were originally built in 1951 but they were so eroded that the government renovated them in 1990 and also added a gazebo to rest at halfway up the stairs.
*It is covered with cacti, divi-divi trees and some Kibrahacha trees that will get yellow flowers after a heavy rainfall.
Ok, are we ready for a fun day at the beach and snorkeling???? If looks could kill, I wouldn't have made it to Mangel Halto. The family was extremely tired and overheated and I'm sure they just wanted to take a nap. But, my day hasn't even began yet so notta happa-ning!
We arrived at Mangel Halto, carried our things down and picked a spot in the shade along the mangroves. We always end up in the same exact spot. I guess this is "our spot"!
I knew the family wasn't about to move once they sat down but that didn't mean I wasn't about to have fun and I headed out with my snorkeling gear.
Along the way there were pelican's in the trees. They were flying down and getting fish then back up to the tree to clean themselves.
Mangel Halto is a very shallow area for the most part. A lot of families are always here when we come. I think that's why everyone likes it here.
This reminded me of broken bones left behind for some reason.
I started to get a little far out and deeper. Of course the further out you go and deeper, that's where all the actualy coral and amazing area is. The first time I ever came here in 2017, I knew that everyone talked about how amazing the snorkeling was here. When I came I snorkeled the entire area (which is big) in the shallow part. I thought "this is not amazing snorkeling at all." Yes there were things to see but not amazing.
So the next time we came in 2018 we took the seabobs with Aruba Bob and THEN I discovered where this amazing snorkeling was. The reef is just so beautiful but you have to go out a little. Well, I'm not one that will adventure off on my own if other people aren't around. I just feel better if others are in the area snorkeling. Hopefully if something was to happen, they would help or go get help. I don't know...I just don't like being out there alone. So, this time I wouldn't go and it was ok. You will later learn why (about 3 days from now).
If you want to see some of the things I seen last time I actually went out there,
you can find them HERE --->
Ok, that was enough snorkeling for now (did I really just say that?) and I headed back to see if the family had moved even an inch.
Nope, they were still perched on their chairs and relaxing. They both said they were a little sore. Well, what's better than getting in a relaxing shallow water to cool off? I talked them into coming out into the water right by where we were sitting. Watching them both get up reminded me of how slow I get up at times. Poor thangs!
The hubby didn't make it far into the water before he sat down. Someone give me some sunglasses with that white belly. You blinding me!
The pelican's were still at it catching fish then going back up in the trees in the mangrove.
Well whaddaya know...here comes Sakari. She made it into the water finally with each step she took looking like she could calapse at any given moment.
This pelican was like a cat cleaning itself...only feathers. It went on forever! I decided since it was so busy with that, maybe it wouldn't pay attention to me and I was going to sneak up on it for some close ups.
At one point, it did notice me and we had a stare down. Neither one of us were backing down. Well, not entirely...I decided to slowly back away, not turning my head on it, and getting low to the water just in case it decided to fly after me. Ok, it won. I'll admit it.
We all hung out in the water for quite some time, just enjoying each other and our view. Then when we decided to get out and they wanted to go back to sitting, I decided to explore down the beach and take some pictures.
Now this area is a "beach" area with sand and a few palapa's. However, it's really not a swimming area. It's mostly rocks but there is a path you can walk out into the water and stand/sit.
Mr crabby walking along the rocks
After getting back I decided to head out snorkeling one last time...just in case there was anything new. I wasn't even going to attempt going deep and just stay in the shallow end that you could actually stand up in.
Now then, there were several of the next picture seen during our stay here. They were hard to spot and I don't think I ever managed to get a good picture...of course because I didn't have the good camera with me. But,. I believe this is a nudibranch. I have never seen one before in person so I honestly can't say but they are pretty and small and ooze along the ocean floor.