Life at the Marina

In honor of the upcoming Aruba International Regatta, I drove down to the Varadero Marina, on Bucutiweg, to see if I can invite some of its guests to participate in the upcoming races, Aug 19th, 20th, 21st, on Surfside Beach.

The marina is apparently busy, in preparation for Caribbean Hurricane Season quite a number of boats made their way south to Aruba to spend time in our undisturbed, unruffled paradise.

Across the street from Varadero Caribe N.V., Marina & Boatyard, I found a recently opened store, DeepWater Marina, managed by Alfred Lindeborg and assisted in operations and sales by Marwin Briesen.

I met all kind of interesting people in the store from fishermen, yacht-owners to sailors, all in search of something majorly important: Hoses, fasteners, rope, clamps, fiberglass, marine paints, top and bottom, brushes and rollers, chains, led lights, belts, restorers, polishers, and everything fishing!

Even tees shirts and caps.

These people have time, they live on boats, they have no pressing agendas, they can stop and chat.

Hans, a sun-kissed man from the Netherlands, told me he decided to take a year off, from life. He managed to convince his wife and a preschooler to trust daddy for an adventure of a life time.

They sailed on a 40-something footer from the Netherlands, to the Canary Islands, then crossed the Atlantic to the Leeward Islands, and cruised south through a great number of tiny specs of coral with palm trees and beaches, sightseeing, swimming, and fishing, the kid can already tie a marine knot, besides swimming like a fish, and speaking seven languages.

With solar panels and satellite navigation, life on board is pretty normal.

They stopped at Los Roques, before coming here. They are planning to stay for a while and then sail to the San Blas islands of Panama, an archipelago with 365 islands and cays, 49 inhabited, avoiding some countries along the way into which they shouldn’t sail with Dutch passports; apparently restrictions exist.

In the office in the marina Alex Elias Mansur III runs Varadero Caribe NV Marina & Boatyard, enjoying million-dollar views from his window. He is also at the helm of Varadero Aruba Dredging,  a  customer-service-oriented company, innovative, reliable and committed, doing the tough jobs on the water. I didn’t tell him, but I remember Elias Mansur I, well.

Dredging, I told him, sounds so disruptive, and invasive, does it serve any good? I realize, he said, but we are the ones who cleared the Oranjestad harbor, making it deeper, capable of receiving the new generation of mega cruise ships, and in general, we do good work, on marine projects. The marina started as a family hobby; we are now a serious business.

I imagine there is always something to do, on an island surrounded by water.

I have been to the Fish House Island Bar & Restaurant, before. It’s also part of the marina. Fresh catch guaranteed.


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August 02, 2022
Rona Coster