So many cool things to do in Aruba

Aruba wasn’t necessarily on my bucket list. But we were going to Colombia for the Christmas holidays, and decided we wanted an easy, idyllic beach destination for the last days of our trip… and the flights and hotels happened to work out well. Aruba, a little overseas territory of the Netherlands nicknamed “one happy island”, turned out to be exactly what we needed and much more!

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Liveaboard in the Great Barrier Reef, the most amazing diving ever

For diving lovers like us, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef had always been at the top of our bucket list. We are usually economic travelers, staying in backpacker hostels, taking public buses, and eating street food as much as possible. But when it came to the GBR, we knew it was time to splurge. We booked ourselves on a 4 nights / 14 dives liveaboard with Mike Ball Expeditions, one of the most prominent scuba operators in the world. And the trip was nothing short of perfect.

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Lagoons and Heiva in Bora Bora

Our time in Bora Bora was not what we had expected. We arrived at the southwest tip of the island in the afternoon, after spending the morning snorkeling in Tahaa. We were really looking forward to this paradise island, but the weather turned on us. The sky got completely covered, the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. As we were fighting the waves (some of us puking our guts out) and trying to enter the protected area inside the reef, our starboard motor stopped working. We troubleshooted for about an hour and eventually resorted to calling the harbor engineer to come on board and help. With his help, we were able to get control of the boat back and anchor near Matira. It was too cold and rainy to enjoy the beach time we were looking for. You probably wonder what you do on a boat when this happens, and the answer is simple: play cards. We spent that whole afternoon playing card games and some charades to mix it up a bit.

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Sailing and diving in pristine Moorea

After spending our first night on the boat at the marina in Tahiti, it was time to set sail. Moorea was a mere 3 hours away on low winds, and its shape as we approached was glorious. The steep green peaks rising over the calmed deep blue waters of Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay were a sight I won’t forget. We anchored at Opunohu and jumped on our dinghy to get to the motus (small islets formed on the reef) off Hauru Point.

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