The ship's navigation chart shows the route traveled from Fort Lauderdale to Aruba. The two days at sea before we reached Aruba were great for relaxing after our pre-cruise days in Fort Lauderdale.
This Google Earth Map shows the location of Aruba in relation to South and Central America and the rest of the islands of the Caribbean.
This map shows the approximate location of Palm Beach, where we spent most of our visit this time around.
(Map from: http://www.aruba.com/about/geographymaps.php.)
And this satellite view from Google Earth shows where on Palm Beach we spent our morning. (The little jetty next to the star is De Palm Pier - we were just to the right of the pier.)
Coral Princess docked in Oranjestad, Aruba at 6:00a just as the sun was starting to rise. Hooiberg (means haystack in Dutch), Aruba's highest mountain (to the far right), is veiled behind the morning haze.
The Royal Plaza Mall (pink building) is a familiar landmark from our visit in 2002.
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I just love the architecture and the bright colors; the white trim reminds me of a wedding cake.
Crown Princess is also visiting Aruba today. She's docked right behind us.
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The bus depot is across the street from the pier; the L10 is a convenient means of getting to the beaches.
A passing shower has left the streets wet, but Mui's already in his beachwear, so he doesn't care.
It doesn't look like it, but it's raining at Palm Beach.
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Double rainbow after the brief rain shower.
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Looking down Palm Beach from De Palm Pier.
That little black dot just below the horizon is Mui. (Can't see him? Check out the next photo.)
Mui enjoying the warm Caribbean water at Palm Beach. (Still can't recognize him? Check out the next photo.)
Mui swimming at Palm Beach.
The beach area where we camped out by De Palm Pier has palapas and lounge chairs, but they're for the use of resort guests only.
Palm Pleasure, one of the tour boats, is ready to take on its passengers.
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With its sails unfurled, Palm Pleasure is ready to take snorkelers out for a glimpse of the underwater world.
One of the "water toys" available for rental at Palm Beach.
A red sailboat adds a splash of color against the blues and greens of the sky and sea.
Back in Oranjestad, I have an opportunity to see my "wedding cake" building again.
Detail from the architecture of the Royal Plaza Mall.
(It's raining again, and if you look closely you can see the streaks made by the falling rain.)
Seeking protection under the palm trees, I can't resist taking one more picture of the Royal Plaza Mall.
Coral Princess on an overcast, rainy day in Aruba
The rain has stopped in time for sailaway; perfect opportunity to take a picture of one my favorite buildings in Oranjestad, Aruba.
Looking over the roofs of Oranjestad, we can see the Riu Resort on Palm Beach (white buildings in the distance). Just a few hours ago, we were sunning and swimming in the shadow of the resort.
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The marina downtown with Hooiberg in the distance.
Aruba - sailaway under overcast skies and a light drizzle.
Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino
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Hooiberg is a 541 feet high (165 m) volcanic formation. It is located almost in the center of Aruba and can be seen from virtually anywhere on the island.
Aeropuerto Internacional Reina Beatrix - the airport in Aruba is named for Queen Beatrix, the current reigning monarch of the Netherlands.
After a short squall once we're at sea, we're graced with another rainbow - three in one day!
Not long after we leave Aruba, the sky around the ship is filled with seabirds.
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The Masked Booby is a seabird that dives into the ocean to capture fish.
Masked Booby in flight - the bill looks yellow to me, so this must be a male.
Looking down on a Masked Booby, it's apparent that the black markings around the eyes is how the bird got its name.
The Masked Booby is a fairly sedentary bird, wintering at sea, but rarely seen far from the breeding colonies.
The Masked Booby breeds in the Bahamas and West Indies, and on other islands in tropical Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.
Some of the birds pass very close to us.
With the apparent blur of the wings, I think an appropriate name for this photograph would be "Masked Booby in Flight."