One of the benefits of traveling is that one learns geography and in planning our South America jaunt, Scott was thrilled to realize how closely Aruba and Ecuador are positioned on the globe. While Scott is always on the lookout for trekking opportunities, his true love is the sport of windsurfing and a very dry four years has left his beloved local windsurfing spot looking like a puddle. Now with each new trip planning period, there is usually at least one hour spent googling possible windsurfing opportunities. Aruba, one of the windsurfing meccas of the world, just happens to lie a 2.5 hour plane ride from Quito and while not in the right direction to be considered on the way home, close enough for us to stop for a week of wind sports and catching up on school.
We stayed in a great little apartment about a block from Vela. For all you non windsurfers, Vela is a company that outfits windsurfers and kiters and there are locations all over the world. If you can find a Vela, you know that you will have the right equipment for a great time as long as the wind cooperates. Vela also recommends lodging near their facilities and we had the choice of some big resorts or this awesome small hotel that offered casitas as well.
We walked back and forth to the water a few times a day.
There were interesting critters to see along the way (right outside our apartment complex).
These fellows were everywhere you looked in all shapes and sizes.
I wouldn’t want to run into this guy in a dark alley.
These electric blue beauties were very shy, quick moving and our favorite. They didn’t look real.
There was a sweet kitty that adopted us (I think we were his favorite guests) for the week.
He would even come inside and visit in the evenings.
The kids worked hard on school. They had been unplugged for the five days we spent in the Galapagos and they were getting close to finishing their classes so they were motivated. The cool and quiet apartment was also a welcome reprieve from the heat and brightness of Aruba.
Scott windsurfed .
This was his best day with great conditions. When he wasn’t on the water, you could find him sitting in front of Vela watching the water.
Regardless, with wind, water and gear near at hand, Scott always had a smile on his face. We were still trying to win the SmartWool contest and so the LittleFlatGuy was having all kinds of great and varied adventures.
Grant decided to try kite surfing.
He took eight hours of kite surfing lessons and was able to kite surf.
He worked hard at it and had a great time.
Scott and Grant even got to water sport together. That’s Scott off in the background to the left. I decided that I need to invest in a paparazzi camera lens if these people are going to continue water sports.
Ashley and I took a group windsurfing lesson and spent a couple of hours practicing and laughing. She obviously learned much more than I did though because while I was still floundering near shore in the days that followed our instruction, she was off sailing with Scott and having a great time. This is a ship wreck about a mile from the Vela site that they would sail out and around.
Kite surfing looks challenging but I know firsthand how difficult windsurfing is. It takes a lot of upper body strength and balance. She caught on quickly and made it look easy.
Scott was thrilled to have company. Grant came out with a windsurfing board on our last day in Aruba and so Scott got to do the thing he loves the most with the people he loves the most (he windsurfed with me too, don’t worry).
Ashley got in all of the action.
There was great snorkeling as well; many interesting and beautiful fish, right off shore in very warm water (my definition great snorkeling). In the absence of wind, we would head down the beach a mile and enjoy the underwater life (you can see the shipwreck in the distance, the same one that Scott and Ashley liked to windsurf around).
This is after the three of them snorkeled all of the way out and around the shipwreck.
Our week in Aruba was restorative. The pace of the previous four weeks in Peru and Ecuador and California (depending on which family member you were) had been relentless, both physically and mentally. So when we arrived in Aruba, we made no effort to see anything besides the beach. Our time there was different from every other trip because we learned nothing about the history or the culture of the place we were visiting, it was all beach and schoolwork.
It was nice though and we were all happy to just relax. Aruba’s motto after all is, “one happy island.”
And…we saw a mermaid!