January’s Employee in the Spotlight: Hemradj Mulai

It’s no surprise that Hemradj Mulai wishes for a bigger fitness center at Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort.  After-all, he is a champion body builder.  What does he like to do on his days off?  Work out.  What is his hobby?  Working out.  How does he de-stress?  He works out.  But, he’s quick to say he rarely has a stressful day.  It’s no wonder.  It’s probably because he’s working in his dream place – the spa and fitness center at Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach. Hemradj has been the attendant there since December 8, 2008.  Happy 5th Anniversary, Hemradj!

If you’ve not visited the fitness center, step inside just for the stellar ocean views.  The floor-to-ceiling windows make for a dramatic, perhaps even more inspiring workout environment than you’re used to having.  You could even catch the sunset from here, that is if you’re not at Pure Beach with an Ariba Aruba in hand.

Hemradj has lived in Aruba for 19 years. He’s a good person to meet on many counts (fitness tips anyone?), including sharing some off the beaten track places on Aruba.  When you walk in to the center, no doubt he will be easy to spot. If he’s not there, he might have the day off and be catching a movie, or in Las Vegas – his favorite place to travel, or over at the mini natural bridge at Sero Colorado on the far eastern tip of Aruba.  That’s his now-not-so-secret secret place for Divi guests to visit.  If he’s not doing any of those things, he is  – yes, you guessed it – working out.

By the light of the silvery moon

Want to sail off into the sunset?  You can do that in St. Maarten. I got the sailing bug recently while in St. Maarten, and Eugene Durand, activity director at Divi Little Bay, had just the antidote:  an evening excursion on Passaat’s classic schooner. I happily found myself on a gaff-rigged sailing schooner, captained and owned by Pieter Bakker, a Dutchman who’s been plying the Caribbean waters for 22 years.  Marian Ebbers, his partner, met me at the dock at Simpson Bay and welcomed me on board.  She has a degree in hotel management, so you know you’re in for some fine hospitality.

As you’re sailing away from the harbor, ask Captain Bakker to give you the history of the ship, which was built in Holland in the early 1900s.  The Passaat has had a colorful life, serving in the war and as a training vessel, long-term charter ship and fishing boat.  Though she’s hardly retired after a century of work, she’s settled into a nice life in the Caribbean delighting vacationers.

Passaat, which means “trade winds” in Dutch, does a sunset sail every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 5:30 to 7:30.  Price is $39 for adults and includes an open bar and snacks.  Children of all ages are welcome; for those aged 4-12, the price is $15.

Now here’s a fine piece of timing: Valentine’s Day 2014 just happens to be a Friday.  It also happens to be a full moon.  Sail away this Valentine’s Day and you’ll be giving someone the sun, the moon and the stars.

Did you know that every full moon has a name? The names date back to the Native Americans, who kept track of the seasons by distinguishing each moon. Since the heaviest snow usually falls during February (no wonder you’re headed to St. Maarten then), native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full moon the Full Snow Moon.  Some tribes referred to it as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions made hunting difficult.

But, you can call it whatever you want as you are sailing under it next Valentine’s Day in St. Maarten.

Eugene Durand is in the Activities Office located in the Divi Shops and she will make reservations for a sail, as well as transportation to and from Simpson Bay.