Thanks for the memories

Aruba’s Kukoo Kunuku, the famed party buses just changed ownership, they will from now on be operated by Aruba Wine & Dine, and the original owners Cindy & Marcus Wiggins, will be looking for a new challenge. Or not.

Their company Aruba Adventures, lived up to its name from the late 70s early 80s when it operated the island’s most loved sailing vessel the Mi Dushi.

The original Mi Dushi was a wooden schooner built in the 20s, and it actually sailed by wind-power, from the Tamarijn Beach Resort every day, with happy visitors on board, drunk on fresh air and rum punch.

When the original Mi Dusdhi was scuttle, to rest in Davey’s Locker – sunk off the coast of Barcadera, retired due to old age, another one took its place, almost identical.

Then when a great number of sailing trips popped up in Aruba, the company managed to reinvent itself with Tattoo Party Boat, outfitted as a floating nightclub, where one could Jump With Your Towel, do the Colombian Chicken Dance and the Electric Slide, all in one night.

Tattoo Party Boat was a hit among visitors and locals, it was a a double decker, featuring a popular water slide, the best music and $1 drinks.

The concept of a rock-‘n’-roll-booze-cruise was successful on the island since 1984, but Tattoo, a converted North Atlantic fishing boat,  took the hype to greater heights with 150 fun-seekers coming on board every night.

This was Party-Central from the early 90s to the mid millennium, by then other clubs opened here, mostly around Weststraat, and Tattoo lost her irresistible appeal, in favor of a Mexican-themed club.

The company then laid its eyes on a hand-painted, windowless Colombian bus, and Kukoo Kunuku was born, offering bar hopping or pub crawls first, then happy hours, wine tours with a sommelier on board, and private charters.

For more than two decades Cindy & Marcus Wiggins, nurtured a fleet of buses, hired hundreds of drivers and hosts, booked unforgettable tours, and spread endless cheer among their many clients.

But it was time to move on.

The last company Christmas Party took place just recently, with delicious catering by The Little One, music, dancing and memories of yesteryears.

I remember going out on the new Mi Dushi, to see the old one, slowly sink, in the Barcadera Harbour. I took a piece of floating teak wood back as a souvenir and it’s still in my garden.

One of our friends entertained us with stories of bus drivers who did not fully embrace the no drinking rule, in the 90s, when the idea was first introduced.

And how in the early days they used to park the bus on an incline to facilitate jump-starting.

And how we got off the Tattoo wet, wild and wired!

It was a fun evening, thanks for the memories.

#KukooKunuku #MiDushi #TattooPartyBoat

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December 14, 2023
Rona Coster