SAN NICOLAS; Rodgers beach:
Enter the South East harbor of the refinery. Outer starboard entry buoy is 12°25.205’ N 69° 54.055' W The entry is over 40 ft deep. After leaving the little islands (which are protected birds reserves, thus no entry allowed) on your starboard side the bottom will come up gradually to around 10 ft. by the piers on the NE shore. At the beach furthest to the East there are some submerged pilings from an old dock. Anchor between this beach and the two fisherman’s docks to the South in about eight foot of water. There is a church clearly visible above the beach. Bottom is sand and holding is generally good. There are two broken pilings close to the reef to indicate a channel out to sea close to the fishermen’s dock. As you will be going out in between (or on rough days: through) breakers this channel is not recommended for yachts: Take the one mile detour through the harbor channel.
SAVANETA LAGOON: To be described later
BARCADERA TO SPANISH LAGOON:
General rule of thumb when navigating inside the reef of from Barcadera Harbor to the Spanish lagoon is to stay close to the reef. Here the water will be deeper.
Once you get to the de palm island you can go towards Aruba Nautical club between the markers on the shoals.
Past the Aruba Nautical club you can eyeball your way between the shoals in front of and east of the Spanish lagoon. Anchor inside the reef and take your dingy outside the reef for some nice snorkeling. Or if you have up to 6 foot draft, you can go out the small channel at Mangel Halto. This is a very narrow channel! Do this only in good light so that you can eyeball your way out. Usually there is at least one buoy marking the channel.
BUCUTI LAGOON OR SE AIRPORT:
General rule of thumb when navigating inside the reef of Bucuti lagoon is to stay close to the reef. Here the water will be deeper.
This anchorage is usually used by the local boats when there are reverse winds or waves at the hotels or airport anchorage. It is the most protected anchorage on the island, thus very popular in bad weather. Holding is good.
From the west: Pass the landing lights of the airport and enter the Bucuti Lagoon. Do not anchor in the vicinity of these landing lights (unless you want your mast top light to be removed by a landing airplane). Stay close to the reef for water over 10 ft. deep. First you will have the Renaissance Island to starboard and after that you will see the yachts tied up at the Varadero Caribe and the Bucuti yacht club on your port forward quarter. You cannot go there in a straight line from Renaissance Island.
In this first section the water will be 15ft. to 50ft. deep and you will find some buoys that are bad weather moorings for some of the local charter yachts. Some of these are set up so that the vessels do not swing, so stay well clear of these if you choose to anchor here. Staying close to the reef you can go further to the southeast. After Bucuti Yacht Club is aft of the beam, the bottom will slope up to about 12 ft. as a shoal juts out from the reef. After this point it will get back to 15 to 20 ft. (Closer to the shore of the garbage landfill there are some shoals of 4 ft. deep). Until you reach the ships channel of the harbor of Barcadera.
Description and waypoints from West to East (in italics is optional):
Exit the harbor channel and go to - 12°30’.510N 70°02’.045W
Next: end of ‘Bucuti island’ - 12°30’.390N 70°01’.919W
Then pass outside or inside the first two landing lights of the airport
Next ‘Habri’ - 12°30’.165N 70°01’.756W
Next: only if over 7ft deep - 12°30’.096N 70°01’.677W
Entry to Varadero Caribe channel - 12°29’.577N 70°01’.133W
Next: Mangrove - 12°29’.475N 70°00’.998W
Barcadera Harbor: - 12°28’.923N 70°00’.259W
You can pass inside the reef from Barcadera harbor to the Airport anchorage
There is a bank in front of the Varadero Caribe and the Bucuti yacht club that covers about 3/4 of the width of the lagoon. From the buoys of the charter boats up to Bucuti Yacht Club this bank is up to 6-1/2 ft deep. From Bucuti yacht club towards the dump the bank gets shallower. Closer to shore at Bucuti and Varadero Caribe the water is around 14 ft. deep up to Marindi restaurant that has a large thatched roof on a pier. To get to this section sail onward until you have Bucuti Yacht Club abroad, about 100 yds SE of the yellow buoy. Line up the center of the two identical two story apartment buildings with the saddle of the haystack hill and come over the bank on this line. If you do touch; it is a sand / mud bottom that you can push through with some patience. With high tide up to 7 ft. draft can pass on this range line, 6 ft. or less should never have a problem
Referred to as the airport anchorage. This is the most used anchorage for visiting yachts. Just to windward of the harbor exit channel. Holding is good in the 12 to 7 ft. area. The deeper section has been dredged many years ago, and although most of it is good holding, it can happen that the anchor lands on an occasional thin layer of sand over rock. After the second harbor marker come to starboard and go as close to shore as you dare, depth will gradually slope up as one gets closer to the beach. Do make sure that if you anchor in the deeper water, 30 ft. or so, you do not fall back into the Harbor channel.
There is traffic going from the harbor to the Bucuti lagoon behind the airport. Please keep this channel free. For one thing the Atlantis submarine with 8-1/2 ft. draft gets towed through here on a daily basis. There is a WiFi signal here, it depends on your distance from shore and your antenna how strong it is.
You can tie your dingy to the Surfside marina dock. There is a dingy dock at the Renaissance Marina. Please introduce yourselves at the marina office. Trash can be disposed at the compactor south of the conference center, please do not use the trash bins supplied for the pedestrians on the premises, and please do not throw your trash between the bushes of the landscaping. For oil or fuel disposal please contact the marina office.
The Laundromats at the hotels are for hotel guest use only. A five minute walk away, next to Driftwood restaurant is a Laundromat “Washland” where you can do your laundry yourself or use the drop off service. If you really want to take it easy you can drop off your laundry at the Renaissance marina office.
NORTH WEST COAST OF ARUBA: this is a five mile stretch of calm water where the hotels are situated.
From Manchebo point going North you have two choices:
Choice 1: Pass outside the shoals in front of the High rise hotels and anchor North or in front of the last high rise hotels.
Or: 2 – Stay inside the shoals and anchor In front of Eagle beach or anchor In front of the first high rise hotels at Palm Beach.
North of the hotels:
You can sail towards the end of the island making sure to stay in over 8 ft of water. Once past the wreck of the Pedernalis 12°34.898' N 70° 03.617' W you can go straight into shore towards “Hadicurari” the fisherman's docks in front of the Marriot hotels. You will be going in between two shoals in about 7 to 8 ft of water. Enter at 12°34.748' N 70° 03.234’ W then go to 12°34.713' N 70° 02.960’ W. Anchor off the docks or a bit N of it in 7 to 8 ft of water near to the two (wooden) black "Jolly Pirates" charter boats. Sometimes there are ground swells (hurricane season or storms in the Atlantic - Jan through April). If you see most of the charter boats leave, follow them to the Bucuti Lagoon. Ground swells on the NW side of Aruba in general: If you are anchored in more than 15ft of water they should not be a problem unless you want to go to shore.
North of the last hotels past the prominent wreck close to shore is the “Malmok Area”. You can anchor in anything from 8 to 50 ft of water. In a few areas there is a light layer of sand over smooth rock. If you happen to drag, lift your anchor find a different spot, don't be shy with scope. You are probably one of few cruisers in this area so there are no neighbors to swing into There are moorings for the charter boats close to the shoreline shore by “Malmok” and “Arashi” - the lighthouse beach. The German freighter 12°36.1' N 70° 03.5' W has few moorings on it for the charter boats. It is heavily visited by the charter boats so don't tie up there between 9.00 and 17.00 (then again between 18.00 and 20.30 for the night divers). You can visit it with your dingy any time and tie of somewhere on the wreck out of the way of the charter boats.
Anchor anywhere of the beach in 10ft to 25ft of water. During the day there are rental jet ski's or PWC's in this area. It can be a bit rolly.
Inside route to Palm Beach
Or; from Manchebo point stay close to shore. Hug the swim area buffer buoys toward the high rise hotels. There will be at least 12 ft of water. In front of the coral shore is a shoal about 1/4 mile from shore. Mostly this shoal is 6-10 ft deep but there are sections of 4-5 ft depth and a few coral heads. Once past the Phoenix hotel anchor in front of Palm beach close to The "Mi Dushi" a white gaff rigged Ketch in 14 ft. of water. the PWC's are not allowed here but there is a bit of traffic of speed boats pulling water skiers, banana boats or bringing clients to the PWC area. Do not go further north than the Radisson hotel. Although there is an 11 ft. channel towards the light house depths will get as low as 4 ft.