Still in Aruba decided to take a day off from wind surfing. On Monday I rented a mountain bike for a day. It definitely was a rental. Of the 14 gears, I could only shift between the middle 4 in the back. Shifting on the front did not work at all. I also had to get used to the flat pedals. But hey it was a bike. I had mapped out a 50 mile loop around the Island with RideWithGPS although was not very confident on some of the trails RWGPS came up with.

Mountain bike along North Aruban coast. Lots of photos per mile.

First I rode north towards the light house and explored a gravel road along the coast. There were some spectacular breaking of waves on the shore.

Crashing waves leaving a rainbow

After about a mile I ended up on a sandy section and decided to retrace and take the road up to the light house and the restaurant next to it. I had promised myself a nice coffee. Despite it being very busy with visitors at the light house, the restaurant was empty. I ordered my cappuccino and enjoyed a beautiful view on the beaches of the west side of the island.

Exploring the trails at the foot of the lighthouse

When I rode up the dune to the restaurant I had noticed a gravel road along the east side of the island. So I decided to follow that road. It was very ridable gravel.

Red gravel roads

Occasionally there were off-road 4-wheelers that I encountered. The East coast faced the ocean and had spectacular waves crashing on the shore. There was also a mini natural bridge formed by the waves crashing on the fossilized coral coast line.

Mini natural bridge

At some point saw 2 other bike riders from the Netherlands. A few miles later ran into Paul, also on his mountain bike. He knew the island pretty well. He had a timeshare on the island which he visited annually. He said that would be very difficult to make a loop along the shore. He did join me and showed some of the sights including the now broken natural bridge and an even cooler looking threeway natural bridge. We climbed and descended some pretty steep and technical terrain to get there.

Paul showing me the sites

I decided to join Paul for the way back. We did a little loop inland for a grocery store stop and then retraced our route with a quick detour to visit a little church.

In front of the church

We then returned in time for me to drop off the rental bike in time before the rental shop closed. After a dive in the sea and a shower hung around at the beach and drank a beer before calling it a day.

Enjoying the beer of our labor

Tuesday was ready for some more windsurfing and snorkeling. I had now taken a smaller board and the 4.5 meter sail. Somehow I had trouble to make speed with the smaller board.  And after talking to Jeroen, who owned the surf shop, said I should take the bigger board again the next time.

Colorful fish snorkeling

I had brought my gopro camera and after finishing surfing went snorkeling and was able to make some underwater photos. I saw a sea turle and more nicely colored fish.

The rare green sea turtle grazing.

Wednesday I took a 2 hour lesson in Wind foiling. Wind foiling is a cross between wind surfing and kite surfing. The sail is a kit with a boom which you hold and you stand on a small board with a hydro foil underneath.

I compare it to standing on a bull while holding on to a eagle. Jeroen's instructor Jordan gave the lesson.We started first how to hold and manipulate the kit while standing on a board on the beach. I soon had that under control and then we took a SUP and I practiced on that. When that worked we took the motor boat, to try out the foil board. We  needed to be further out as the foil stuck out about a meter under the board. The small board was definitely harder to stand on. But I soon was able to come from a kneeling position to standing and power the sail.

Almost getting the board out of the water on its hydrofoil

Unfortunately I ran out of lesson time and did not get fast enough to get the board out of the water and ride on the foil. Next time. Jordan was kind enough to video my attempts with my gopro. He did a really good job capturing my struggles. After returning from the lesson and some rest went to go snorkel some more to conclude the day.

Wing foil video

Thursday I did my last surf session. This time back on the larger board and since there was even more wind, we stuck to the 4.5 meter sail. I was able to make the board plane a couple times. I also had mounted my gopro on my head for some footage, did not come out as good as I wanted. Shows mainly the sail.

View from the wind surfboard

Friday afternoon I flew back to Boston, but in the morning had time for some more snorkeling. First I went to Mangel Alto, a small beach halfway the south coast. There were nice fish and even some nice coral, but having no fins I was worried, I would get taken by the tide, so made my way back after 20 minutes.

I called them fisheyes

Then I drove on to the most south easterly section of the island Baby beach. The beach is like a circle with sand on one side and a reef on the other side. I spend some time snorkeling here. I felt safer between the reef banks. Although the tide can be strong and I had been warned about it so did not go outside the reef.

Some coral

When I returned to my towel to rest and dry up when it started to rain and I jumped in the warm water to shelter from the cooler rain. After 15 mins it stopped raining and went back t0 the airbnb to shower and pack for the flight back.

Sheltering from the rain in the water

Paula had a flu, so she could not pick me up from the airport. I toke an Uber to Arlington and then at 9:30pm drove off to snowy Conway. It was a long day.

Saturday took a rest day of all the activities, but since Paula felt better on Sunday we went cross country skiing near the house.

Paula Cross country ski, little obstacle in the way