Sept-Dec 2021: Aruba

After a great visit to the states to see family and friends, it was good to get back to Bonaire to Aventis and the dogs.

Aventis did well in our absence. She had lots of eyes on her as she sat on the dock at Harbour Village Marina in Bonaire.

We quickly said goodbye to Shannon as he flew back to Aruba for another surgery.

Addie kept herself entertained by hanging with friends. And even hosting a party.

She invited a gaggle of girls over to watch the new Cinderella movie.

Ashley stayed busy by collecting sea glass.

And making crafts

We practiced our yoga in the shade at the park.

Shannon returned and we celebrated. We are very grateful to Chris and Jan on Saphire and Kent and Kathy on Wind Ensemble for taking such good care of Aventis while we were in the states.

It was finally time to say goodbye to Bonaire and make our way to Aruba. Having all three of us and the boat in Aruba was going to make it much easier to continue with Shannon’s care. He was scheduled for more surgery and after care.

On September 27, we headed out in the late afternoon with the help of Kent Meredith to make the 70 mile journey. It was a nice easy passage.

The next morning we got checked into Aruba and made it to the Renaissance Marina by about 10am.

Because we are going to be in Aruba for a few months, we got a rental car that we could use for the next three months.

Our first stop after getting the car was the hardware store to get materials to make a gangplank so that we could get on and off the boat easier.

The Renaissance Hotel Marina comes with a few perks. We are really close to Lucy’s with their $1-$5 Taco Tuesdays. Just on the other side of the parking lot is Starbucks, Duncan Donuts, Haagen Dazs, pizza, sushi, a movie theater and 5 O’Clock Somewhere.

We had an up close and personal view of the cruise ships.

As well as a very nice pool which even has a swim up bar.

The marina even has it’s own security team!!

Our first trip out exploring the island were to beaches where we heard there was sea glass.

Hunting for sea treasures.

Time for a beer.

With Shannon back in the hospital for another surgery (#7) – Ashley and Addie head out for a day of island exploring on their own.

So pretty, we had to stop and take a picture.

We found the famous Red Anchor which meant we had almost made it to Baby’s Beach.

Shannon has finally been released from what feels like hospital jail (they told us this surgery and hospital stay would only be for a few days and then it turns into a week and a half) and so we go out for lunch which includes a drink of course!!

Exciting times on Aventis. Someone turned 50!!!!!

Out to a nice dinner we went, so Shannon did not have to suffer through Ashley’s cooking. Ha! Ha! It was ”lick the plate” good!

Time for more island exploring on the north east side.

and just plain silliness!

We decided to upgrade our living room with a new piece of furniture.

And finally, 3 months after the accident, Shannon is out without a bandage on his hand.

A very happy day for us!!

As a birthday surprise, Don and Mel came to visit! After a canceled flight their short visit was cut extra short but we made the most of the two days!

We celebrated.

We explored.

We posed.

We hunted for treasures.

We were silly.

We drank with our toes in the sand.

We visited Eagle Beach; rated in the top 10 in the world.

And of course we went and played with the flamingos. Another perk pf staying at the marina was access to their private Flamingo Island.

Was a fun visit that went fast but also had perfect timing. The next day the AC stopped working.

The color of the water says it all – the lines were clogged with barnacles!

Was an exhausting day for all of our crew.

“Goodbye sun. See you tomorrow!”

This is a typical scene both early and late in the day. All the boys comfy on the couch.

Before a day of island exploring, Addie fuels up. Her new bird friend sits and waits hopefully for crumbs.

We found a beautiful spot.

The Alto Vista Church, rebuilt in 1952. This spot is believed to be the first place a Catholic church was built on the island over 270 years ago.

Natural Tide Pools

So many nooks and crannies to check out.

Ashley never seems to tire of looking.

But at some point it is beer thirty!!!

The perfect sunset to end a great day.

Saw this guy come in twice while we were in Aruba. That is a big sailboat!!

Date night! Meat and potatoes. “I hope they bring something for Shannon!”

Heading back to the states for a quick visit to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Hiking around Lake James on a magnificent November day, led us to these amazing falls.

After our adventuring were thirsty…

And hungry.

A great day in the NC mountains.

Made it to Boone just in time for a memorable sunset. It is much cooler here, burrr!

Addie was excited. She got to hang out with her good friend Kelsey.

Next stop was VA. We spent Thanksgiving with Shannon’s brother, Shawn, sister-in-law, Miki and their two boys Lucas and Theo. Makenzie’s boyfriend Gavin joined us. Was great to get to spend time with them.

This visit also brought true sadness to our family as the seat at the head of the table sat empty. On November 16th we lost an incredible mom, a devoted grandma and a wonderful friend, Julie Thompson. After putting up a very good fight, Alzheimer’s took her from us. She will be greatly missed!

It is time to get back to Aruba.

Not really sure the dogs were ready for us to come back. They had so much fun at the dog hotel. There were tons of friends to play with and a great pool to swim in.

They took lots of naps those first days we were back.

Before we knew it the girls and Gavin arrived. With the fall semester competed it was time to relax, explore and enjoy Aruba.

Addie was excited to show her sisters Flamingo Island. Being able to go over anytime we wanted at no cost was definitely one of the coolest things about staying in the Renaissance Marina.

Swimming was great.

The drinks were yummy.

Ella made a new friend.

He was a hungry fellow.

There is a reason it is called Flamingo Island.

After a day of fun in the sun, we clean up and grab some dinner at one of the many restaurants within walking distance of the marina.

The dogs were very happy in Aruba. It meant lots of walks and there was even a beach where they could swim.

Makenzie and Gavin are always willing to pose for a photo.

Time for land tour of Aruba. We head out with Kent and Kathy(WindEnsemble) and David(Raven) to see the sights.

First stop, on the northern side of the island, top of the world or so it felt as we took the Jeep up, up, up the dirt path that you can not call a road. We were lucky to make it to the top. Ashley seriously considered walking down.

Next we made it to a Natural Bridge. This one is the biggest on Aruba.

Then we found some ruins. So interesting how and where previous generations decide to build their structures and what remains after nature takes it’s toll.

Made it to the light house on the western tip. Interesting it had been hit by lighting a few weeks before and they had just gotten it relit which costs like $30,000.

After lunch we ventured to the northeast end of the island and found a really cool natural pool.

It was a great day of adventuring.

After a grand week of fun, Gavin left us to go spend Christmas with his family.

We began of December celebrations with Ashley’s birthday which included a spa day!

And a really unique dining experience. When you eat at Senses you are eating at the Chef’s Table. You have no choices but the food you are given is divine, the presentation exquisite and the wine pairing spot on.

Best birthday present ever is having the whole family together!

An added plus is that means extra hands to do Ashley’s favorite activity, collect sea glass.

The birthday celebration would not be complete without our boat family! We celebrated together at LG’s Steakhouse.

We enjoyed some memorable cocktails!

Now we are ready for Christmas in the islands!

Even Caper is in the spirit.

A few days before Christmas, Kathy, Addie and Ashley decided they needed to stretch their legs. They started walking and 4 miles later with no water left in their bottles, they had arrived at the Butterfly Garden. What a magical place that turned out to be.

So many varieties

So neat to see the different cocoons

They really liked Ashley.

Addie makes a beautiful butterfly!

Super enjoyable place!

Not so enjoyable, but definitely necessary – Shannon and Ashley were finally eligible for the booster shot.

So they waited the 3 hours and got boosted!

Mak and Ella have been boosted too. Just need to get Addie done when next back in the states.

Another amazing day!

More island touring, today we visit the Aruba Aloe Factory. This is the island’s number one export.

Say Cheese!

Next stop the Butterfly Garden! Makenzie, Ella and Shannon loved it!

And the butterflies loved them!

Then it was time for a dip in the pool!

Another great day! We are so very fortunate to have such awesome kids and to have each other!

Time to wrap. The elves are ready to help…

Santa found us!

Presents for everyone.

Headphones for Addie and Ella.

Money for Mak!

A much needed water bottle for the Captain.

Cheers to a great Christmas with our girls

And with our boat family!

Was super fun having the girls in Aruba with us for so long. Sadly they had to return to work and school.

We stayed in Aruba for News Years because it promised to be a very unique experience. It did not disappoint! During the day on New Years Eve, businesses set off street fireworks at different times out in the road. This is to celebrate the good fortune of the past year and their excitement for the year to come.

About 10pm the fireworks were planned to start. Every hotel down the beach had their own display to set off. The fireworks actually started as soon as the sun went down and lasted well into the night. It seemed that most locals set them off to celebrate as well as the hotels. As we waited for the Renaissance’s display, we watched a movie on the big screen on Raven.

Fireworks at the marina – right next to the boats!

One of the most amazing things we have ever seen is how Aruba celebrates New Years with fireworks. The entire island is lit up for about an hour. Fireworks are going off all over the island and you can see almost all of them from the hilltop. You won’t believe it until you see this video! Amazing.

It was time to go and start cruising again. Six months after our first visit to Aruba by air ambulance, 60+ days in the hospital, 7 surgeries, hundreds of OT sessions and over 3 months at the dock, we were ready to get moving. Shannon got the green light from his team at the hospital and we untied the lines. The plan for the spring is to explore the Western Caribbean. We left Aruba on January 3rd, 2022 bound for Jamaica.

6 thoughts on “Sept-Dec 2021: Aruba

  1. Awesome! What a great and lengthy update! So many adventures to document! Well done! Glad to hear and see Shannon’s hand is making excellent progress. Cheers!

  2. What amazing memories you are creating for your whole family! Love your happiness, adventuresome spirit and positive energy!
    WE are grateful to be in your circle of life!
    K&K (WindEnsemble)

  3. I continue to live vicariously through your posts. I am so happy that Shannon is on the mend but was sorry to hear of Julie’s passing. When did the girls grow up? They are such beautiful young women. Ashley, I love the seaglass collection and your creative endeavors. Caper and Chance seem to be loving the boat life. Keep living the dream. As always, may you have fair winds and following seas. Keep the posts coming. 😀


  4. Ashley & Addie

    GREAT to get all the details and photos. What a wonderful review of the ending months of 2021 and the start to your 2022. So grateful Shannon is healing, and you were able to hit the open ocean again. I look forward to the next post!


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