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MITSUGIRLY sails off into the HORIZON-review & pictorial

Day 6: Curaçao

CURACAO: 1:30-10:30pm

 

Well, we had a bit of time before docking in Curacao today and I was glad to "sleep in" somewhat. That usually doesn't happen on a cruise and especially after we had stayed up so long the night before.

 

I woke up at 9am and feeling a little tired still. I mean I still only got around 6 hours of sleep and today was going to be a big day for us....DIVING!!

 

Trixie and Cookie were hiding in the bathroom in the tissue box area...

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Around 9:30am we headed to the buffet area for breakfast. At this point, I decided I was tired of the runny eggs and it was omelet time for the remainder of the cruise if possible. I never really seen the omelet lines too long, which was a nice change from experiences on the other ships.

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We hung out on the deck for a while and noticed the pool was "temporarily closed". Well, this lasted the rest of the day. So who pooped in the pool????

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We watched Lorelei (I'm not sure if she was the assistant cruise director or what but she was involved in every event and everywhere on the ship) conduct the Zumba class and they had everyone up on the decks participating as well. 

 

We met up with Kendra after she got probably around 13 hours of sleep since yesterday and Sakari and Kambriah was begging to go swimming. We decided to let them go up to the water park (but the slides were closed for some reason). 

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I decided that I was going to vegetate until it was time to get off the ship because I needed to gather my strength for diving today. Run along little ones, I'll watch you from right here. 

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Eventually, we headed up to tell the kids they needed to get dried off and get ready to go ashore once we docked.

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I noticed Brayden had joined in on the fun at this point. 

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At 12:30pm, we were back in the room and the kids were changing clothes and getting ready for an exciting day in Curacao.

Our decision on diving this time.

 

We contacted several vendors this time around (just like last time) and with our limited time in port (not arriving until 1:30pm and it starts to get dark around 5:30-6pm) this put a damper on how far we could go from port and how long we could spend in port. 

 

Last time we dove with Curious 2 Dive and had a wonderful, but yet stressful time. Of course, originally Kendra's fiance was to be with us and we needed a decent beach for him and Kam to hang out at. They offered us the Tug Boat dive, which the beach is not much of a beach and rocky, or they suggested going to Directors Bay and drift diving back toward the Tug Boat. But it has a "coral beach" they said. Well, since we had already done the Tug Boat (and really enjoyed it) it was an option, but both beaches were not. They also suggested going to Porto Marie but they were concerned with the times. 

 

I also contacted places like:

Ocean Encounters, which was a lot more than other vendors were charging. 

Scuba Lodge Diving but they already had 5 people coming and didn't tell us where we would be going. 

Dive Bus: Refused d/t the late arrival of the ship

 

We ended up deciding to dive with Bas Harts Diving. I had contacted him last time and we didn't use him and had said we would consider him next time around. Well, he offered a pick up from port and return (included in the price) and to take us the opposite way on the island that we had never done before. We were going to a place called Cas Abao. I looked up the beach online and it looked AMAZING!!! I knew this was what we wanted! It was a shore dive as well and I knew that Kendra would like that since she struggled last time from a boat dive. 

Bas charged $95 per person and everything was included.

 

Pick up at the port

2 private instructors

All dive gear

Pictures (if available)

Beach fees

Taxes

 

I'm not sure what the "pictures" are because we didn't get any of those.

 

I have to tell this story...just because...

 

They ask our height and weight for the wet suits. Well, I was working at the time I answered, so I had to just guess. I told him that Sakari was probably around 4' 2" and maybe around 95 pounds. I would later find out that she's actually 4' 10" !!!!!! What? Really? You are that tall now? I had no clue. She only has another 8" to go and she'll be as tall as me!!! I had no idea...seriously! I knew she has grown a lot over the summer but man! 

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Immediately it was time for Kam to go to school. We crossed our fingers and our toes that she would go and dropped her off...without a problem! Wow, this was going smoother than we had ever hoped for. At that point, Brayden was pulling a "I don't want to go scuba diving and want to go to the kids club today" and I put my foot down because he had privileges to sign himself out of the kids club (which he managed to do instantly after his mom was out of site every time). I told Kendra under no circumstances would he be allowed to stay on the ship without her being there and running wild. No way! When I ask him about why he wasn't' wanting to go diving (when he had done so well every other dive and enjoys it) he said because of his sunburn and he didn't want to put on a wet suit. I told him they would not MAKE him wear one and it was up to him. He felt better after that and agreed to go...not that I was giving him a choice, but it made it a lot easier on us.

 

We pulled in and docked a little after 1pm. They had told us (on deck 1 and close to our room) that it could take up to 1/2 hour for them to clear and open that area HOWEVER, if we wanted to go to the front of the ship, we were able to get off right now and off we went.

 

Boy was it windy out! Just like Aruba is every day!

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We were given instructions to walk out and to the right and to the exit and they would be waiting on us. However, since this was our second time here, I thought I knew where we were going and we headed out of the port area and was following everyone else along the sidewalk. Then I said "we had to have walked too far" and pulled out my instructions, that included an actual picture of the port with an arrow of where we were supposed to meet, and seen that we had walked right past it. About face and back we went.

 

Immediately upon exiting that area, we meet Bas (pronounced as Boss and everyone gets it wrong he says) Hart and he is the owner of the company (obviously since it's name Bas Harts Diving). He's a very friendly and informative guy and easy to get along with.

 

We walked across the street and they had 2 trucks waiting for us. We piled in one and sent all the kids with, well...my kid (Kendra).

 

Since we were limited on time (daylight time that is) Bas had prearranged to bring us straight to the dive site and no going to a business or anything for the "class". Well, he knew about our diving and experience, so it was going to be a quick class to go over everything (signals, lung expansion and the water, equipment and what we would be doing for our skills once we got in the water).

 

We arrived at Cas Abao

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This is a pay beach and it was included with our dive.

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There is a dive shop located at the beach, which Bas is friends with and our other instructor works there (I believe). I know he said that Bas contracts him on days he needs more help and since our group was supposed to be 5 divers, we would need 2 instructors.

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We were fitted with our wet suits (and Brayden decided that he would wear his since having the BCD would mean that it would probably rub his shoulders and hurt worse than having a wet suit on) and fins and then we quickly went over everything that a normal Discover Scuba class would, but in fast motion since we already knew everything.

 

We geared up with our tanks and off we headed to the beach and ocean.

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We got used to our equipment and went down to do our skills with Bas and Sam the instructor.

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Now if any of you have read my other diving reviews, you'll know the anxiety I get when I first start. Well, I'm happy to say that I had absolutely NO PROBLEMS this time. None what so ever! I wasn't nervous, I didn't have anxiety, and I didn't pop up once to adjust anything or because I freaked out. This dive would be the best dive I have ever had...not because of the area or what there was to see, but because of how comfortable I felt. I just couldn't believe it.

 

So...a selfie before we started out (why is it I always look like my jaws are inflated 4x the amount in pictures and everyone else always looks normal????)

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Doing some of our skills...

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Then off we went...

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Now I'm giving everyone my disclaimer now. I'm very disappointed in my underwater pictures from today. I'm not sure what happened. A lot of them aren't clear and the close ups just didn't not turn out like they normally do. The pictures have some weird blue tint to them that they normally don't have. I had several issues with my cameras (or it may have been the sd card) and this entire cruise I kept getting error messages on the camera. I'd have to change out the sd card for it to work. It would say it's protected and another error I can't think of at the moment. It was very irritating and a lot of nights I would just use my phone to take pictures (which is probably why I'm missing a lot of them). I'm not sure if there's a "shelf life" on sd cards or what the issue is but I'm thinking I may need to purchase new ones soon. If anyone knows...please let me know.

 

 

So, sorry in advance for the crappy pictures.

 

The hubby doing just fine.

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Sakari and Bas

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Brayden and Kendra diving and Kendra wasn't having any issues this time around with the dive itself (other than later her ear would still be hurting, which gave her problems later in the dive and not being able to go down far).

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It's hard to tell from this picture, but this sea cucumber was the largest and longest one ever!

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Parrot fish

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Why do these guys look like they are walking instead of swimming? I would see this a lot out of them. LOL

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Sakari

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Since we all had wet suits on, it's sometimes hard to tell who is who. I can always tell Sakari because she has the pink fins. The hubby said he was going to wear his bright yellow swimming trunks so I could tell who he was and he ended up pulling them down and out the bottom of the wet suit so that I could notice them. LOL  It's a fashion statement.

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Kendra trying to clear her ears...I don't think it was going too well.

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There's that "walking upright" position again (above)

Same with Brayden...do they think they are on a Sea Trek walk?

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Tons of little fishies

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I'm trying to account for everyone...then I notice that Sakari is way back in the distance with Bas. She was having some issues with her ears I would later hear. This is abnormal for her. She usually has some issues with clearing her ears when she goes to scuba class, but in the ocean, never a problem. Could it be that she has not been diving since March (at her scuba class) and last ocean dive was actually April? Does a child somehow lose the ability to clear their ears or forget if they haven't been for a while? I thought it was weird, but later on her. Bas stayed back with her and Sam (our instructor) took us on.

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The cutest little spotted trunk fish. I love these guys!

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A grunt fish or snapper...I always get these confused because they look so similar

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An extremely large feather duster (worm)

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DEVIL!!!! (Fire worm). There were a lot of Christmas tree worms during this dive. I just love them and hope to some day add them to my saltwater tank.

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I really need to work on my video skills...

 

We spotted a snowflake eel. It was quick! (Later my hubby would ask me if I seen the snake) LOL  😄

I swear some times I felt like we were going in circles. Or we would go out and head back some (from the reduced amount of coral and rocks and back to sandy areas) but then we would be back to the areas loaded with rocks.

 

Kendra and Brayden

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Can anyone guess who this is? Hint: yellow fashion statement

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Four eyed butterfly fish

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Trumpet Fish

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Short Video of Trumpet Fish

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Now this time I know for sure, we were heading back toward shore.

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Then all of a sudden, Sam the instructor, stopped and started pointing at a hole in the rock. I was probably the furthest away from there and everyone was looking. I'm usually last because I'm busy taking pictures if possible.

 

Well, inside this big hole was a HUGE octopus! Like super huge! Like when you think of octopus, you think of this size. I had never seen one like this. We have come across the small ones several times, but nothing like this. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of it or maybe I should have taken a video for it to turn out better. He was squirming around some and all I could really manage to get was his huge eye and part of the head.

 

This picture of his eye reminds me of a dinosaur eye. LOL

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I was unsuccessful of getting any pictures that would really show him or his size, but in my mind, it was a first for me and I was super excited.

 

We continued to head back toward shore.

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I was really saddened that Sakari had problems and had to head back and didn't get to dive with us. I couldn't wait to get back and see what the problem was and tell her about the things we had seen out there.

 

We headed out of the water and back to the dive shop.

 

Sakari was there waiting and had the BIGGEST smile on her face. Before I could get a word out she said "That was SO MUCH FUN it was amazing". Um, say what? She said "I seen SO MANY EELS MOMMY!!! They were everywhere! I seen so much stuff!" Um, ok. What did I miss here? She explained to me that she was having issues getting her ears to clear and Bas offered to take her to a more shallow area and not as deep as us and any place that was comfortable for her that she would be able to clear her ears. She said it was the best dive ever! I was so happy to know that she enjoyed herself so much and I was so worried that she didn't even get to dive. She talked about it the rest of the day and wants to go back! Well that just made my day!

Bas offered to let us hang out at the beach or do what we wanted for a while and said he'd have us back to the port before dark. I stayed right in the dive shop area but if I was to come back, I'd definitely explore the entire beach. 

 

This was my opportunity to take a few pictures of the beach and area. It really was beautiful and I can see why people like to come here even though you have to pay to get in. It's definitely a beach that I would come to even if I wasn't diving. There really wasn't many people here either and it never looked or felt crowded even mid-day. They did have a restaurant to get food and the hubby and Kendra ended up getting some fries and drinks.

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They had the Christmas spirit too!

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Kendra decided she just wanted to chill and get a little bit of sun.

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I did notice a few other Carnival beach towels there, but not many.

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Notice the moon was already out.

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Sakari found a baby sea urchin that she had to come show us and then put back in the water.

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A few pics with scuba photographer girl as the sun was setting.

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It was time to pack up and go. We spent a lot of time talking to Sam and Bas about the island. We also talked a lot about the dive business, how long he had been doing it, his business and so on. Until recently (I want to say it was either February or maybe it was this past November) he had an actual dive shop. He decided to get rid of it and just do his thing without a shop. He has been in business long enough and doing this so many years that word of mouth and his reputation keeps him busy enough that he really didn't need a shop. I imagine he just rents the equipment from other shops and so on. Good set up I supposed. He uses their facilities.

 

Our dive was 50 minutes according to my watch I took a picture of and the times on my pictures. The only picture I managed to snap of how far we were down showed us at 25' deep. I'm not sure if we went deeper or not. Bas said he kept Sakari at around 12'.

 

We headed out to the parking lot around 6:10pm (our time)

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I just love this design they came up with for the turtle and their dive shop. It's very creative and eye catching. So cool.

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I had to laugh at the "Bee watering station" and Bas said they "water the bees" over there, which keep them away from the beach areas and people?

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And a little advertisement pictures.

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The ride back was full of conversation and we had a great time!

 

We highly recommend Bas Harts and will definitely use him again when we return.

We were back to the port and to the ship around 6:30pm. We headed to our rooms to take a quick shower and change. We were hungry and needed lunch/dinner. We decided to go to the buffet for a quick bite to eat because we wanted to get back off the ship and explore the city since we never had the opportunity the last time we were here.

 

The kids said they didn't want to go with us and elected to go to the kids club. At this time, the kids club was at the buffet for dinner and that would be where I dropped Sakari and B off at. Kam was already there and smiled and waved and I must have stood there with my mouth open in shock. I didn't get a "Where's my mom" "I wanna leave" or crying or anything. Just a smile and wave. Meanwhile, Kendra was in the background hidden because she said that it looked like Kam was having a good time and she didn't want to have to take her in to town if she didn't have to. She watched as we were standing there and seen that Kam didn't ask us to leave and Kendra was over joyed that she would have a few hours off the ship without the kids and fighting or crying. It was going to be adult time!!!

 

After we scarfed down our food we headed off the ship....for a night of exploring and lots of picture taking!

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So dinner that we just scarfed down:

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Then off the ship we went for a kid less and fancy-free night on the town exploring. 

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Curacao REALLY decorates for Christmas...I mean REALLY REALLY decorates! You'll see what I mean with all the pictures and I'm not even sharing them all. 

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It was just so pretty there!

 

We came to a place that looked like a fort and they called it the Renaissance Wall & RIF fort. But it was like a little shopping mall and restaurant area.

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Some random people that wanted to be in everyone's pictures because they were sitting where people sit to take pictures and not moving.

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This little scuba dive person was so cool. I really should have bought it. I just didn't know where I would put it.

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This is where we were heading. I had read in the past that there was a swinging/moving bridge and I just knew this had to be it.

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It was lit up with so many different colors and it randomly changed colors too. I tried and tried to get a good picture (even tried to record it) and I was unsuccessful it capturing what I was really seeing. 😞

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These things are so cool! You bring a lock and put something on it and lock it on the heart. I have only seen them in shows on t.v. before and never in person. Had I know they had one, I would have brought a lock for us. Next time...!!!

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I think vendors could make a lot of money off this if they were to have a booth beside this and sold only locks. I looked everywhere and found nothing. Maybe I should move there and sell locks to those people passing by looking for a place to buy one.

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I really couldn't believe just how much they all go out for Christmas. Sakari would have loved all this. She likes doing/seeing things like this. I was sad that she missed it and decided to stay back on the ship.

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Santa sits in the middle of the street

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We walked all over that little town and my feet and legs were starting to hurt. We kinda went "off the path" for a while and got turned around. But all we had to do was look for the bridge and lights.

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Back to the fort and I knew we were getting closer.

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Deers gone wild...

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We had finally made it back to the port area. It was time for a little bit of shopping.

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After we finished shopping, it was time to head back on the ship.

 

Kendra went running when she saw the towel animal. We asked about how long they would be out there (with the intentions of getting on the ship and grabbing the munchkins and bringing them back out for a pic) but they said they would be leaving within a few minutes. Darn!

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We were back on the ship by 8:45pm and checked in with the kids. Sakari was in the room drawing on her phone

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She said she really didn't want to go out or do anything (I'm not sure why all of a sudden hanging out in the room is more fun than doing activities on the ship) and we decided to head out for a show.

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It was back to getting up early in the morning for a "normal" day in Aruba. We headed back to the room and watched a little English t.v with Spanish commercials and headed to bed after seeing our rabbit towel animal for the night.

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