Aruba 2021

Day 2: Wednesday, July 28

Animals and a fish (or two) kinda day...

The hubby and I have become quite the morning people these days. I'm not sure why but over the last year, we have been getting up earlier than we ever have in the past. Are we becoming old? Maybe so, but I want to know where's my middle day nap if that's the case.

We were both up at 6am while the not-so-munchkin continued to sleep. She needed her rest and since we were flying by the seat of our pants on this trip, we had nothing planned and decided we would figure that out after she woke up. 

As we were sitting outside, I hear a clump, clump, clump...and a guy all of a sudden appeared from the side of the house. He was pulling this large pump and hosing and I knew it had to be our pool boy. He acknowledged me and said "Hello, good morning". I responded back "Hello and good morning to you too." Then I said "Hey, do you know where the leaf skimmer is?"  He smiled at me. Then I said "The owners said there would be one here for us to use to keep the pool clean when you are not here". I received another smile...and that was it. At that point I decided that during the training at his job, they had trained him 3 English words to address anyone he might come across while servicing houses and that would be Hello, good morning. I guess my thoughts of striking up a conversation about how he got into the pool business and how much he liked it wasn't going to happen at this point. 

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It was already getting a little toasty out by 9am and I decided to go for a swim. That cool water had been staring at me all morning and I could hear it calling my name already! I quickly did a ninja move and darted in one door and out the bedroom door. The hubby didn't even know I came back outside until he heard the splash in the pool. Yep, there's another door in this house to exit...this would become a game during our stay. Can you say ring around the rosy? I might go in one door and out the other. He would go in looking for me as I can out the other. Oops!

As I was swimming, I started hearing noises in the distance. I wasn't sure if it was my mind playing tricks on me or what. Then it was getting closer. "Do I hear goats???" I asked the hubby. He's hard of hearing so he thought I was insane at first. But on the other side of our fence...in our backyard of cacti, appeared an entire herd of goats all of a sudden. 

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There were mommy and daddy goats and then there were 2 little baby goats. They were so adorable. I would practice my goat call and confuse them. They were fun to watch as they tried to make it over some large (and small) rocks. 

One of the  mommy goats was very friendly and wasn't spooked by us at all. The daddy goat...he was a different story. He wouldn't get anywhere near us and the slightest movement would spook him. 

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Daddy ran in to wake up Sakari. He didn't want her to miss this. She had slept long enough.

Not bright eyed and very bushy tailed...she came out to inspect...Several came up to her...of course. She's such an animal person and I think every species out there can detect it. 

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She ran in to grab some bread and the mommy goat walked right up to her. The others weren't interested and when she would throw some to them they would scatter. When Sakari would walk away, the mommy goat would actually jump up on the fence and look at her. I now knew why they not only put a fence up out back but also a screen around it...to keep the goats out. But imagine how fun it would be to wake up and have them in your yard. hehe

We decided it was time to make breakfast and I made egg omelets with bacon and toast. We sat at the table discussing what our plans would be for the day. I had ask Sakari if there were any of the places we had previously went to, on our vacations here before, that she would like to go back to: Ostrich farm, Butterfly farm, Donkey Sanctuary, Phillips Animal Garden...anything? She shouted "The animal garden!!! I want to see the howler monkey and birds!!! They are my favorite!" My next option was "Do you want to go there today or to a beach?" She said the animal garden. 

So, off to the Animal Garden we went.

Now every vacation I always talk about how we need to get better with taking our videos. I've been enjoying putting together videos with music and I want to start to do more. I've been trying to figure out my issues with the GoPro the last several vacations and I think I have the problems solved. At least for now.

I handed the GoPro to the hubby and told him it is his responsibility to do the videos. I told him to start recording as we were pulling in and to do a commentary as well. He froze, Sakari grabbed it... but then froze. Geesh! They were both being camera shy. Ok, JUST FILM!!! GEESH! So while we were there, we all managed to take turns with the GoPro but I tried to mainly stay with my camera. Taking videos have never been my thing. I manage to cut them off too quick but I did want to get better at that. 

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It will cost you $10 per adult and $5 for a child 2-13 years old. Sakari is right at the cut off. They are open every day from 9-6pm. It is about a 5-7 minute drive from the high-rise hotel area and on the way to the Chapel of our lady of Alto Vista. Super easy to get to (especially using mapsme) and there are signs. 

Now we've been here several times in the past, so I'm mostly going to just share our pictures of the day. 

Then it was that moment we had all been waiting for...the howler monkey! He was still there and ready to talk to us. We made of few grunting noises and he immediately started up. He talked to us quite some time and then came down off the tree and beside us by the bars. He continued to howl and put on a display. They are so cool and neat to listen to. Do you know that their howls in the wild can be heard up to 3 miles away??? Sakari felt that he did such a good job that she rewarded him with a carrot. They pass out carrots to give to the animals with your admission and is included with the price. Good way to feed all the animals and they have themselves some cheap labor. 

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Now my experience with animals is never a good one. They just don't take to me like they do to Sakari. I decided to feed one of the ostrich in the yard and he wasn't so friendly with his free food. 

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Yep it got me! Those beaks are powerful. And to think last time we were here we stood in front of them with our backs to them and they reached their heads around us and fed out of a bowl in front of us. What were we thinking? LOL

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Now this guy was hilarious. We went over to feed him and he would smile for us. After awhile, we started to leave him and he threw a fit! He started making all kinds of noises for us to come back. Sakari was like "awwww, how cute". The hubby was like "awww, he wants us to come back". I was like "oh crap someone is going to think we are hurting him". LOL

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The following pictures belong to Sakari. She loves her birds. She took a lot of pictures of the different birds and she used her phone. She also processed them in her phone (I didn't even realize you could do this until she showed me how...maybe I'll just stop using the camera and use my phone to get good pictures like this lol). She does such a great job and she loves her close up shots the most. 

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Then a few others that I took,  which I used my phone after her showing me how to process them.

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Here is our video from our day here. I hope you enjoy it. 

Is was a scorching hot day out and being in the sun for the amount of time we spent here had the water calling my name. It was time to head to a beach. We headed back home to change, pack some drinks and sandwiches, grab the snorkel gear and off we went.

We decided to stop at the first place we came to off the side of the street and right past the turn area from our house. 

That meant we were going to Tres Trapi (meaning 3 steps but I'm pretty sure there's more than 3 steps)

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Of course I immediately grabbed my things once we found a shaded spot and headed in the water to snorkel. This is what I live for on vacations...the snorkeling! The hubby came out with me too but Sakari wanted to stay up on the beach.

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There were tons of little fishes everywhere but the only thing that would interest me was a pair of orangespotted filefish, one of my favorite fishes are trigger fishes and the filefish is part of the same family. These are not the prettiest of the trigger family, but none the less, they are still cool to watch swim.

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I came back to find Sakari had finally came into the water. She wasn't snorkeling but instead checking out some type of cave. She made me nervous with the water crashing back and forth in there and her backing in it. 

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Then Sakari had seen some kids jumping off the rocks a ways down and she knew she wanted to do it too. But, since she's in the shy stage where she's not talking to people anymore, she patiently waited until they were done and then she was going to try it. I walked down there with her so that I could take a video of her.

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The only problem is, once you jump in, you have to swim all the way back to get out and do it again. She would do it a few times and then I decided to go off and explore on my own. Now notice this rocky shore line. I thought about how (with shoes) I was now able to walk on this (with a lot of caution and a few ouchies from twisting my foot in some of the holes) and I wouldn't have been able to do it a year ago. Sometimes I don't see the progress I've made until I think back to the last time I did something like this. But I am making progress with my foot/leg and I guess that's all that matters at this point. Day by day.

Huge crabs on the wall.

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I was determined to try to find that spot that we went diving at the first time we were here for vacation. I knew we went down the steps at Tres Trapi and went to the left. We came upon a wall and the water was probably around 20' deep. I have never been able to find this wall while snorkeling or otherwise. So I kept waiting to try to see where the land went in and maybe a wall was there.

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I walked pretty far down there and never really found it. Maybe one day.

I did manage to find a tombstone. I wonder if there's really a person buried there in the rocks, if they just died there, or if this was their favorite spot. I always like to know the history of things. It fascinates me with the stories behind them.

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I finally decided to head back. I had noticed I was already way past the split off section to our home and for me that was really far. 

As I headed back I came to an area that I could walk along the street instead of on the rocks. My foot was already hurting and figured that would be better...but then I spotted this...

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They were out looking for me. I really had been gone for quite some time and they were getting worried. That blew all my plans of walking back along the street and I walked down to them and told them just how far I had went. Of course my hubby worried about me "Baby are you ok? How's your foot? You have to be careful" He's such a caring and good man. 

We headed back to the car and Sakari showed me the picture she had sat on the beach and doodled. I might have missed it, but I don't think we seen any giraffe's while we were at the animal garden???

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So we decided to move on over to the next beach/snorkeling location in hopes that I would get to see a little more variety of fish. That meant we were moving over to Boca Catalina. 

However, I kept driving and the hubby is looking at me along the way and says "I think you passed it babe". Now I want to make one thing clear, even though he's been to Aruba as many times as I have, he doesn't know the names of the beaches and he doesn't know where we are at any given time but what he does know is that Arashi is the last beach and we had just passed it! 

I had decided I wanted to take a drive up to the light house and take some pictures while it was still daylight out before heading to Boca. You get to see the other side of the island from up here...the forbidden swimming beaches.

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Ok, NOW it's time to head to Boca Catalina. And back down we went. 

We arrived and we put our things by the rocks. Only I don't remember all of these rocks. I was looking around and thought this doesn't even look like the Boca I remembered. I remember this open area along the tall rocks that you could go in. It was a sandy bottom area and snorkeling was on both sides along the wall. It was different kinds of rocks and where's the sandy area you go in at? I went back up to the street to make sure I was actually at Boca or did I just discover some place new???

Yep, the sign confirmed it was Boca and now I was all kinds of confused. I would have to get on my website when I got back to the house and had wifi and see where I went wrong. Have I been telling my followers that Boca was some place else? Oh lordy! I have failed my people. 

Well now you would get a tour of the real Boca I guess. I grabbed my gear and me and the hubby went in. Guess who decided not to come and draw instead? This child! Where has my water loving, snorkeling child went to and what have you done with her?!? I don't even know her anymore. She's always been right by my side when I'm snorkeling. 

I would find some aiptasia filefish. They were just everywhere on this vacation. I use to have one of these in my salt water tank...I bought it just so that it would eat some aiptasia I had growing in it. 

Then i came across this (what I think was some type of shrimp) little guy who was very busy at work. He was moving all over the place and so darn cute to watch. I watched him for awhile and was so excited that I got to see something I had never seen before. I couldn't wait to get back and show Sakari the pictures and the video I took of him. She was really missing out! 

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A cute little smooth trunkfish greeted me with his presence. There were TONS of these the entire trip as well.

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Bluehead Wrasse

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A pair of French Angelfish appears. Another fish that is EVERYWHERE here in Aruba. 

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Ok, I'm about to tell you a VERY SAD STORY! At least sad for me. So I'm going to start by saying I was right up by the shoreline and the entrance leading out to the water. The hubby and Sakari were sitting up on the rocks above me. I was looking down and found this weird looking green fish. I'm going to be honest in saying it kinda looked mean and it was staring me down. A few times it actually darted out and then back. Now I'm use to that from the damsels, but this thing was a pretty nice size....and then I noticed it had a friend as well. They looked the same but one was a little smaller. 

I was SO FOCUSED on this fish (and what came next) that I didn't even notice, nor did I get a picture, of this weird looking red creature above it. Look at the following picture and you will see part of it in the top half. I don't know if it was an urchin or what but it was very unique.  I was right beside it and didn't even notice. I'm about to tell you why...

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I can not for the life of me figure out what this weird looking green fish is. I have looked everywhere to find what it is and I just can not! But anyhow...I was watching these weird green fish (which we would see later on in the trip and Sakari kept seeing them too and telling me about them but I had no clue what she was talking about at the time) and out of the corner of my eye I found this coming my way...A Goldspotted Eel

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It was so beautiful and on the hunt not paying a bit of attention to me....or the green fish that got very defensive that it was invading it's territory. The green fish came out and I was about 99.9% sure there was about to be a battle break out. I waited and waited and the green fish stood on it's fins and kept guard. But that .1% is what happened...absolutely nothing. The eel never paid a bit of attention to the fish and just kept getting closer and closer, but still nothing happened. 

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Another couple of French Angelfish appeared

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A school of blue tang surgeon fish

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More Smooth Trunkfish

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Just a sea of fish....everywhere

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Now the Christmas Tree Worms were just amazing here as well. They were every color you could think of and so pretty.

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A Squirrel fish and their big eyes always peeking out from under a rock always crack me up 

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Now I'm honestly thinking that I have never seen these fish before. I was seeing them in bunches everywhere while snorkeling the whole time we were here. They were a pretty cool orange color and I got excited every time I seen them just because they were new. They are called Glassy Sweepers

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I feel like these fish are pretty rare to see...or maybe it's just that they are very hard to spot because they are so small and usually hang out under rocks. They are called High Hats and I'm sure you can tell why by the way they look with their little high hat on top of their head. They wiggle back and forth when they swim and it's so cute. Honestly I have only seen these in the fish stores before...until the last 2 times we were on vacation I think it was.

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Now I'm not that sure what type of fish this is, but I think it might be some type of Porgy

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The hubby wasn't in as long as I was...I was still exploring around the area you go in when he decided to get out and hang with Sakari, who was still on the shore drawing. But he would come and dip in every so often to cool down. 

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It was getting later in the day and the sun was about to go down. Sakari is a BIG fan of sunsets and takes pictures of them everywhere and actually has a big collection of them AND makes videos combining them all together. That's how serious she is about her sunsets. Last year during home schooling, she would run outside DURING class just to take a picture during the sunrise. So here would be my collection of tonight's sunset.

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Here's a little video I did of our day at Tres Trapi and Boca Catalina today:

We headed home after the sun went down and it was time to have dinner. Of course we would start spending our evenings out back at the house because that's where  I love it.

 

Sakari and I headed to the pool, where she finally decided she needed a little water time. We played for awhile with a water ball that we had brought with us from home, while the hubby decided to fire the grill up and cook for us. We had some brats and chips. Living the easy life tonight...and it was darn good!

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After dinner Sakari would head to her room where she decided having the a/c on was just too cold and turned it off. It was now a hot box IMO. But, it was comfortable to her and comfortable enough to do a few more drawings...one of them was one of the birds she had seen at the animal garden. I hated that she ended up drawing on the other side of this picture and the marker bled through, but I still treasure all the pictures none the less. 

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Of course no day goes by without a dragon right?

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Now we don't have service while on the island and we have to rely on wifi while we are at home or either at a place that may have wifi. I figured I wouldn't be able to talk to my kids until I got home. However, Kendra (of course) would prove me wrong and she CALLED ME! I freaked out thinking I had forgotten to keep my phone on airplane mode but would soon learn that you can call people on snapchat. Who knew? I would spend the next hour or longer on the phone with her (which is a very short call for us believe it or not). It was good to hear from her...even though it had only been a few days since we actually talked (text not included). 

Around 11pm, we decided to head to bed for the night. It had been a long day of animals and beaches and we were very tired. 

Up Next...going diving...