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MITSUGIRLY sails off into the HORIZON-review & pictorial

Day 7: Aruba

DECEMBER 20: THURSDAY: ARUBA!!

 

I had a hard time sleeping last night and didn't fall asleep until 4:30am only to swear that I had just laid my head down and the alarm went off at 6:30am. Port day consisted of a time from 8-4pm so it was time to rise and shine! Thank goodness it was going to be a lazy day at the beach...and by lazy for me, I mean lots of snorkeling and swimming of course.

 

We woke up to Trixie and Cookie hanging out on the t.v., which probably meant that I was being scolded for staying up too late last night.

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We headed upstairs for breakfast and I jumped in line for the Blue Iguana Cantina breakfast burritos.

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YUMMY! I really wish they had other options for the tortilla shell other than wheat or jalapeno. Some of us would prefer just a regular shell.

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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. 

Of course we stopped for pictures!  They always have the prettiest costumes here! Sakari loves them! Especially the "bird feathers"

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Since we are sharing ship photographers pictures, I'm going to share one that came up on my phone of Kendra with the elephant towel animal the night before. I'm not sure if she purchased it or not.

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

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So what did we have planned for today? I absolutely LOVE Aruba! We have been doing (almost) 2 week vacations here over the last 2 summers and pretty much have been everywhere and done everything. There's so many beaches and things to do and everything here is right up our alley! But what do you do when you've pretty much done it all? Well, we head back to one of our favorite beaches (that's fairly close to the port).

 

I personally love Boca Catalina, which is the next beach over from Arashi. Arashi is very beautiful. Think of white powdered sand, gorgeous water, decent snorkeling, and a beach restaurant with drinks and food. They do have restrooms, but will charge $1 to use them (unless you are buying food and drinks). We have personally not had to pay to use them yet. Boca Catalina is a beach that is very small, up on a hill with a small entrance to the water but great snorkeling. However, no restrooms or vendors here...which is why we come here a lot when vacationing because we bring our own drinks/food.

 

Since we were with extended family, Arashi was the plan with a snorkel excursion over toward Boca Catalina and maybe a little past since the last time we were there in August, the starfishes were EVERYWHERE....hundreds.

 

Also, we have a dear friend that lives in Aruba (originally from the US) and we couldn't wait to see her once we got in to port. She usually works on the days the cruise ships are in and we knew we'd find her at the port somewhere. We had talked just prior to us cruising and she knew to expect us. Sakari just loves her to death and couldn't wait to see her again!

 

We were off the ship and....she was no where. My heart was broken. The hubby went back inside to see if he could find her but no luck. We decided to go ahead and stand in line for a taxi. Now Aruba has a weird law that they will not allow more than 5 passengers in a taxi or car. This means that large families are pretty much screwed and forced to take more than 1 vehicle. It doesn't matter if it's a taxi van either. Only 5 people! I find this ridiculous and have no idea why they have this rule.

 

A couple in front of us (2 people) ask if we were willing to share a cab with them and I miscalculated the amount of people and told them that we already had a group going. When it was our turn...of course we were denied for having 5 1/2 people. 😞  Now I wish we would have shared the cab with them and split the cost.

 

We zoomed off to Arashi and Kendra came a little bit after us.

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We rented chairs and found a palapa for shade for those light skinned people in my family that don't worship the sun like Sakari and I.

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The water felt a little cooler than the other ports we were in. I'm not sure why. But we quickly got use to it and then it wasn't a problem the rest of the day.

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Kendra and I decided immediately to go snorkeling. Time was wasting and we had a plan. We would go down the beach at Arashi and into the water and head left. We would snorkel the area, where all the excursions bring people on the boats to, for a while and then swim on over to Boca Catalina. Then we were planning on going a little past Boca Catalina (toward Tres Trapi) and see if the starfish were still around in the area.

 

So, we assigned the kids to the hubby and off we went.

 

Now...disclaimer...I had no idea that my camera setting was not put on the underwater setting before entering the water. The last setting I must have had it on was the "miniature" (tilt shift) setting. This makes the color of things boost with bright colors and it blurs around the edges of the pictures to promote a "weird" picture. Well, all my pictures in the beginning would be a weird greenish-blue with blur. So...here you have it...

 

Banded butterfly fish

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Hey at least on this setting the close ups were working this time around unlike when we went scuba diving.

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Then we came across a rather large French Angelfish. This fish swam right beside us and stayed with us for a while. It was odd that it was getting so close and not scared at all. At first I thought maybe we were close to some eggs or something but she swam with us for quite some time. Either way, it was pretty cool.

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Sea Urchin trying to be incognito but he didn't fool me.

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I know it's hard to see...but I spotted a smooth spotted trunk-fish. These little guys are just so adorable. Their fins "flutter" back and forth and you would think this would make them slow but it doesn't. He wouldn't let me get too close to him and scurried off quickly each time I tried. I guess he didn't get the memo from the Angelfish that fish are friends not food.

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This was some blue colored coral and it's always my favorite color to find (along with purple). You don't always see this color. But, my camera settings would mess up the coloring for my pic darnit.

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Christmas tree feather dusters...my favorites!!!

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At this point, we started seeing a lot of fins in the water...and they weren't attached to fish either. We had reached the area where everyone comes to snorkel off the boats anchored here. Then I noticed it...my camera settings. I had a Charlie Brown Auuuggghhhh moment and quickly changed the settings.

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Evil devil...(fire worm).

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There were so many schools of fish this day. Everywhere we looked they were around. There really wasn't anything too interesting or out of the ordinary during this snorkeling adventure.

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We had been snorkeling for what seemed like a very long time. We had went pretty far. We came up to assess the situation and noticed we were not even close to Boca Catalina yet. Ugh!

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I seriously did not think it was this far. I thought around the bend and over a little. I knew it was the next beach up from Arashi. But obviously there's a few houses before that that I hadn't accounted for. At this point, we decided it was just too far to continue on. Not really too far for us to swim, but too far to continue since we are on a limited time frame in Aruba and we had stuck the hubby with all 3 kids...2 of which would probably never listen to him if needed.

 

I made the executive decision to swim toward shore and walk the street back and off we went.

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Pelicans were diving all around us. I love to watch them circle and dive into the water.

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Blue head wrasse

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Parrot fish

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A swarm of wee wittle fish

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A regular feather duster worm hiding in the rocks.

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Kendra managed to snorkel all the way up to the shore and over the very close rocks in the water.

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We made it out of the water, gathered our equipment and headed to the road for our long journey back...bare footed in the heat.

Although it was very sunny and a balmy 84 degrees, Arbua is known for being windy and windy it was, which felt awesome. We really didn't get too hot on the way back and even the sidewalk didn't burn our feet.

 

It was such a long swim over to where we were but such a quick walk back. Seriously...I thought it would take awhile and we were probably back over to Arashi within 10 minutes or so.

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Sakari had morphed into a mermaid and was showing off for everyone on the beach.

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Looking over toward the lighthouse

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She's not as light as she use to be daddy!

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This usually occurs at some point on the cruise and today would be the day...however, B got smart this time. He was going to let the girls bury him and make sure the sand wasn't going to get in his mouth or eyes this time around. AND he was going to be able to breathe.

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Kendra was getting hungry and went up and got food. It looked so good that we decided we'd do the same.

 

IT.WAS.SO.CROWDED.AT.THIS.TIME!!! We stood in line for a while and then ordered. They told us to "go do something and come back in about 15 minutes". Well, we decided to go over and just sit at one of the tables. Then the crowd got "crowdier" and before long...you couldn't even see the area you pick up your food. 15 minutes had come and gone a long time ago and you couldn't even make it up to the counter. I was in fear that people were probably grabbing other peoples food because they only had a limited option, which meant everyone orders almost the same thing. I slithered my way around the crowd just in time to grab our order before someone else did and slithered my way back out quickly.

 

So pricing:  Can's of pop is $2. If you want a bottle it's $3. Chicken strips (which is crispy like KFC) is $10 for a basket and to add fries is $5 more. The shrimp basket is $15 (which includes fries with it) but if you only want shrimp...it's still $15.

 

Oh...and chairs are $7 each but if you wanted 2 chairs and an umbrella, it would cost you $30-40. They told us it's normally $40 but would give it to us for $30. So, who knows. It would be the first time we have ever rented any there because when we rent a home in Aruba, they usually have chairs for us to take and use at the beaches.

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It was a lot of food and very filling. I know the seagulls just love us every time we come to the beach. The kids have so much fun feeding them and seeing just how close they can get to them.

 

Scuba girl...

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Kendra and Kambriah started walking the beach in search of sea glass. I had already collected quite a bit and now she wanted some.

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Notice she was starting to get a little red...I tried to tell her...even though it feels so good outside and not too hot, you will get burned in this sun! She said "but it don't even feel hot. I could lay out in this all day with no problems" Well no, no you can't. 😉

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Aruba's famous divi divi trees. They always lean toward the Southwest, due to the winds that blow across the island from the northeast.

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We had told our taxi to pick us up around 2:30pm. We wanted to get back a little in hopes that we would run into our friend at the port. One of the workers at Arashi called a cab for us and when he pulled up, it happened to be our same driver...only this time, there was no problem putting all 6 of us in the van for the return back to the port.

 

Off we went and we were pulling back up into the turn around area at the port and we noticed our Aruba friend walking across the parking lot. We rolled down the windows and was yelling. At first she couldn't tell who was in the van and gave a friendly "hello" wave...and then the minute that I opened the door after the van stopped, Sakari jumped out and went running into her arms. We were so happy to catch up with her and see her...I mean it's been a whole 3 months since we had seen her last. 😉

 

This is what happens when the wind is against your back and you have long hair and it's beach hair to boot!

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We got smart and turned around facing the wind...ok, now I can see.

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Sakari got an update on her tortoise our friend gave her last time we were here but at the last minute we didn't have all the paperwork needed to transport it back to the states (next time) and she sends Sakari pictures of her all the time. She was the size of a quarter when we were there months ago and now she fits in the palm of your hand. Sakari named her Leah and all she does is talk about Leah back home.

 

Unfortunately, we had to say our goodbyes with our promise to return again soon to stay on the island and visit with her and hang out. We had originally talked about coming for another land vacation for Christmas here and staying at a house next to our friends. But, Christmas time is outrageous to stay in Aruba and that's how we ended up on a cruise instead. Last time we were there she gave us a guided personal tour of the places we shouldn't adventure to on our own (the National Park and along the treacherous terrain of that area and beaches) and we had a fabulous time all day visiting the park, swimming, going through the multiple caves...and of course searching for that cactus with the flowers that you can eat.

 

Back to the ship we went.

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Back on the ship and straight to the shower we went. We made it out just in time to watch us pulling out of port. Goodbye Aruba...until next time. We'll miss you.

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There is a tree in the middle of the water (I'm assuming on a sand bar but it's under water)

 

Do you see it?

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One thing I like about getting your pop at the bar at the pool area is that they will give you a can of pop and a glass of ice.

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Sakari decided to head to the kids club ONLY because they were having "free time" which meant that she could create things...things with rubber bands...things that she could wear. So, she was only there from 4:15-5pm and then signed herself out and back to the room.

 

We decided we wanted dinner early tonight and the great thing about having the Carnival Hub App is that you can request a table from your phone. It will pop up when it is time to head there. If you go to the dining room and request a table they will put you in the system and give you a beeper. You can only go so far with that beeper and not the entire ship. With the phone app, you can be anywhere and they will notify you.

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The lights in the dining room change at times and it's real pretty.

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Dinner

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This cold soup is DA BOMB! They seem to have a different kind each night and they are amazing! My favorite is the strawberry.

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They came around with some drinks to buy (while I was in the restroom I might add) and the hubby decided we needed a drink. They were YUMMY! They came in a souvenir cup.  CHEERS!

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DESERTS

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Now this time at the dining room, the messed up our order x2. Eventually, it was corrected and the food was good.

 

After dinner, Sakari wanted to go find her a lanyard to use for her keycard instead of carrying it all the time...then, of course, she had to find her ship ornament to add to her collection of about 20+ ships now.

 

She decided she just wanted to go back to the room and draw on her phone so we told her we were heading to the casino for a little bit and we would come back to the room to grab her for the 80's deck party. 

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Off to the casino we went and had a little bit of luck here and there and I ended up walking out $86 richer than I walked in with.

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Off to the casino we went and had a little bit of luck here and there and I ended up walking out $86 richer than I walked in with.Around 10:00 pm we headed back to the room only to find her stripped down and fast asleep. Hmmm, should we wake her? How fun would she actually be if she's half asleep? Yea, I guess we'll leave her and it will be an adult night. I texted Kendra and told her to COME ON! (She LOVES the 80s) 

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We danced and had a great time! Mike the CD is awesome and gets the crowd pumped up! He came dressed up as....none other than Richard Simmons. They handed out glow sticks and wands. I made sure to collect a few for Sakari since she was missing out. 

 

We shook all night long....and waited on Kendra to arrive.

And then we started something...without Kendra because she still hadn't shown up.

Then it was time for some footloose. Now Kendra has taught me this dance and we do it when we go out dancing...it's such a fast paced song and there's a little bit of foot slapping and I can tell you that the dance we do has a lot more to it than the way they had us doing it this night. I just realized I was so busy trying to learn the way they did it that my video was pointing toward the floor once the dance started. LOL  But eventually there were a few of us that were able to catch on and do the dance. The hubby gave up on this dance after a while.  Meanwhile...Kendra is laying in bed not able to move from her sunburn....and missing it all.

Then came....THE THRILLER! Now I was on NCL once and they had actual classes that you could go to, to teach you this dance, and then on their 80's night, everyone did the dance and it was so awesome! This time, they taught us on the deck step by step. It was fun and hilarious but we caught on. Even the hubby was having fun. Still no Kendra. Don't worry, I was sending her updates on everything she was missing out on. I mean I might as well rub it in right?

Then I watched Lorilei run upstairs with the guns...I knew they were about to shoot something and started filming only to catch the end of it.

The deck party was over with by 11:30 pm, but they were having an after party at Ocean Plaza and it was a live band singing 80's songs. They were pretty good. Richard, I mean Mike made his appearance and then off he went.

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They didn't play long and then it was all over. I guess the fun was coming to an end and we headed back to the room.

 

Our towel animal for the night.

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I have to say, this is the FIRST CRUISE that I have ever been able to keep my towel animals. I see people post pictures of them all together at the end of the cruise and I always wonder how they manage to keep them. My room stewards have always confiscated them every day. It's like they think they're gonna run out of towels on the cruise or something. But this time...I got to keep all of them but the first 2 I think it was.

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