Aruba 2021

DEPALM ISLAND!!!

Yep, we love this place! We've had good experiences each time we have been here in the past (other than me falling and hurting myself right before we left last time) from the great snorkeling here, the awesome SeaTrek adventure and of course all the food and drinks are included. HOWEVER, the reason we are stopping for breakfast this morning was because due to COVID they were operating on limited hours at DePalm, which means they weren't serving the all you can eat breakfast this time around. :(

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Of course you have to answer so many questions and fill out so many forms and consents just to get to the actual tickets...which of course will render several emails with receipts, tickets and so on. It's really such a process. Whew!

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We arrived at the DePalm parking lot a few minutes after 9am and checked in. Like previously, they did not ask to see our tickets, they did not ask to see my receipt, they only ask for the name. Shew, all that work when you book it and you don't show them any of it. I feel gypped! 

They told us to head down to the dock to wait for the ferry over and the captain of the boat would let us know when to get on. There were only 2 other people on the dock at this point and then 3 more came after that. So, not many people were waiting and that was fine with me! We were going to be first on the island. We'd get prime property.

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The first ferry pulled up and several employees came running down the dock and piled in. I guess this was their boat over. 

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The second ferry pulled up and the captain motioned us in. Woo Hoo! We are going over now. 

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There were a few more employees that came with us. As we headed out, a few more people showed up on the dock and we decided to turn around and get them. It is so hard to get this child to smile these days. So serious!

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There we go.....(I had to threaten her...just saying)

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It's a short ride over and then we were pulling up. We could see the new water park with the water slides. This is where they had the ziplining when we were here last and Sakari was all of a sudden having issues with extreme things and backed out once she got up there. 

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We picked our spot on the beach and then we decided to go look for the flamingo's. This was something new to DePalm since the last time we were there. I really had no idea if they were just wandering around the park on the beach or what. Then I seen a sign and headed over. 

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I headed over to the area and we would find that there was a small fence blocking off the flamingo's on the beach from the people coming into the fenced area. Hmmm, this is not what I had pictured. 

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There were some beach chairs over that way, but I guess they were for "special guests" that paid for it. I guess we weren't going to be able to swim with the flamingo's on the beach. Boo! I could, however, find a way to take pictures of them on the beach to show family and friends back home...without the fence in the picture, therefore looking like we were spending the day on the beach with them and making everyone jealous. :D #biggrin

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Don't it just look like we are hanging out on the beach with flamingo's? It's all about the shot. hehe

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Walking back to our non-important-people spot on the beach...which is the same as their spot just minus the pink animals. 

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At this point, I decided to walk around and take pictures of DePalm before it became overwhelmed with a lot of people. 

This area is where they have places to sit down and eat, the bar for drinks, a pop station, and the kitchen where you get lunch at. 

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They do have a pool table in this area too. 

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Back where the zipline used to be you'll find some chairs under palapa's, but there's a sign saying they are reserved for those on UTV tours only. You'll find a volleyball net and this is where the slides are located. 

This is over by the kiddie water park (the one I fell on the steps and hurt myself last time to the point I could barely walk).

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Right across from the waterpark is another beach but I believe it is a "reserved" area. I'm honestly not sure why it's so special that it's reserved. 

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Mr Crabby Cakes was spotted...

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Walking toward the other area is the previous cafe they served breakfast. There's tons of seating along the waterfront and in the covered area where the food is at. There's also yet another building just like this one that had tables and chairs, but when I went over there this time, it was all cleared out. 

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In that same area, you will find where they do the SeaTrek. I absolutely loved doing it and if you get the chance, DO IT! It's probably the best SeaTrek ever. We've done several in different places and this has been the best. 

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They have the cup holders all over so that you can put your used cups in and they will pick them up. 

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Walking on my way back I discovered a peacock out just running around. So cool... He jumped the turtle fence as I walked by.

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There is a store for a little bit of shopping and that's also where you will find the photo area. You can purchase your photo's from the SeaTrek and Snuba.

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Back to our beach...

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Someone woke up on the wrong side of the rock!

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Ok, it's 5 o'clock somewhere right? Time to get our drink on...and on...and on... #biggrin

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Now when we were over at the flamingo's, the guy over there told us at a certain time they let the fence down and you can go in with the flamingo's. Well, it was time and we headed over that way.

Well, once again, it was a little different than what we had pictured. The fence was actually still up and people waited in line for their turn to hop the fence (you know that's not my thing after breaking my leg hoping over something) and you can get down by the water, where they are at, and take pictures with them. Of course they told us to be very slow and gentle getting in the water or we would scare them. 

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Our photo shoot with the flamingo's was over and it was the next persons time with the flamingo's. The worker there took pictures for everyone and he did take a lot of them just to make sure that he got the perfect picture for us. 

We headed back to our chairs on the beach and had a few more drinks. 

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So the big event of the day was....

WE WERE GOING SNUBA DIVING!!! We've never done this before but figured why not try it. We were supposed to do it in Cozumel, but I had cancelled because of the oral surgery I had right before we left for vacation. So now, we are trying it!!!

We were told to meet on the dock at 11am. Our instructors were Jervin and a guy that looked just like Gus from breaking bad (if you've ever watched that show). These guys were amazing. We just loved Jervin. He was so personable and smiley and just great. 

We were the only ones there that had ever done any diving and 2 families had never even went snorkeling before. I guess they were jumping right in full force. During the instruction Jervin would tell us what to do and then point to us and say "what do you do now?" Way to put us on the spot Jervin! No worries, we passed every question. 

Once the instruction was over the groups split up (I guess several of them were going at a later time and just 2 families were going now). I whispered to Jervin and ask if we could go with him and he smiled and said YES! He probably figured we'd be easy. I also  whispered to him "Is it ok if we take our camera's?" (Because the website said no) and he said "You guys are experienced and I'm not seeing anything". Cool, just what I wanted to hear. "Sakari, run over to our stuff and grab the other camera and the GoPro". I assured him we would still buy his photo's. 

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They prepared our tanks (we were getting 2) and it was time to get in the water and do the darn thing! Yippee!

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Then off we went. Just like scuba diving but with no tank on our back. Kinda cool...

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Sakari was busy with her up close shots and she manages to get so close to the fish.

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Are you noticing anything about our surroundings? Yep, tons and tons of coral and fish! THIS is what I was expecting to see when we were diving. Not some sandy bottom! This place is absolutely AMAZING and exactly what I expect to see when I'm diving somewhere. 

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I'm going to venture to say that Sakari finally got her groove back with her pictures this time around and on the right settings. She was back to taking some amazing photo's and all on the right setting. 

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So much beauty down there. Like I can't express just how beautiful it really was. I was in awe of everything around me.