17.08.2010 - 28.08.2010 32 °C
It took just over 72 hours to make the trip from St Croix to Aruba; we had to motor for the first 48 hrs, but the final day was a brilliant sail. Aruba became independent in 1986 and has its own flag. There are two main industries on the island, which measures 20 mile by 5: a huge oil refinery and a substantial hotel industry. The island makes its own water through a de-salinising plant. One of the big surprises was the discovery of a large oriental population; they look Vietnamese, but may be Korean. The are numerous chinese supermarkets on the island. The southern end of Aruba, the part that has the oil refinery, is poor in contrast to the middle and north. The refinery closed some months ago, throwing a huge number out of work. The refinery re-opened on August 1; not every unemployed citizen has been re-employed. The beaches are a brilliant white. They cater for the tourists during daylight hours; numerous casinos look after the dark hours! We will be staying in Aruba for another two weeks and then move back to Curacoa. Venezuela is only 19 miles from Aruba; but the corruption and thefts make the prospect of visiting unappealing.