July 17-August 8, 2010 -- Bonaire


Click on a thumbnail for a map during this time period


July 17, 2010.  Bonaire at last!   We have been here before -- five times in the 1990's and early 2000 -- but always by plane.   Now we are here under our own steam, and a long-time dream has been realized.

Our greeting party as we approach Bonaire

Red Slave huts on south end of Bonaire

White Slave

Piles of salt at the production facility

The waterfront area where we will be moored for three months (borrowed the picture from the web)

No anchoring is allowed in Bonaire; the entire shoreline out to a depth of 200 feet is a marine park.  We are affixed to one of the 40 moorings stretched along the western side of the island; the mooring field runs south from Harbour Village Marina to just north of Karel's Pier. 


Bonaire is an extremely clean island that had a population of only 11,000 in the 2001 Census, but the contrast between the island now and on our last vacation visit (just after the turn of the century) suggests that the island is undergoing somewhat of a population explosion.  The capital of Bonaire is Kralendijk, notable for its clean Dutch architecture and its many dive shops.  Many of the buildings are pastel-colored and display red tile roofs. 

Former movie theatre still displaying the marque (and the last movies shown?) Note the typical rectangle at the top of the peak

Even the signs have this characteristic shape

Customs building

Downtown Kralendijk

Flamingos are a big thing in Bonaire

Flamingos in the sidewalk

Mona Lisa Restaurant

Sign at the local stadium (in Papamiento language)


We did our first dive on July 20.  As this is written on August 7th we have had 19 potential dive days, and have in fact gone diving 21 times.  The usual pattern is to attend to boat chores in the morning while it is still not too hot, and then to have lunch and then take the dinghy out to one of the many diving sites, all of which are marked with signed buoys.  When we return from the dive we immediately proceed to the Dive Friendly dive shop that is just off of the mooring buoy immediately to our north;  which buoy is occupied by Arctic Tern, and the Terns have been taking their dinghy out and accompanying us on all of our dives.  We drop our tanks off at the shop, rinse our gear in the shop's rinse tanks, take a shower in their shower, and after just a few minutes claim our refilled tanks.   3200 psi filled with nominal NITROX 32.   Schlep all of the gear back to the big boat, and do it all over again the next day.   A long-time dream has been realized.

Dinghy is loaded and it is time to go to a dive buoy

At a dive buoy, Hunter and Devi suit up

After the dive Hunter and Devi repair to the dive shop where they will rinse their gear, their suits and their bodies, and get their tanks refilled

Cruisers' Potluck

Apparently once a month there is a pot luck for cruisers.  Hosted by a couple who sailed to Bonaire and fell in love with the place, and ended up building a home here.   The hosts asked Sid and Manuela on Paradise to handle the details of issuing the invitations, balancing the appetizers, desserts, and main dishes, and providing transportation.   They did all of these things in spades:  the first two speak for themselves; the transportation turned out to be a bus (for which we each paid a minimal fee)!   Further, while we waited for the bus to appear we were treated to rum punches from a large container that followed us onto the bus and provided further social lubrication.  The house was absolutely gorgeous:  lovely view looking out from the rear over an infinity pool; inside, spacious, very open and airy.

Having rum punches while awaiting the bus

The bus has arrived

Rum punch toast on the bus

One of the airy bedrooms

Kitchen area

Notice the wide wide doors that open to the rear of the home ...

... where an Infinity pool can be found

Panorama looking down past the pool toward Kralendijk (extreme left) and the island of Klein Bonaire (at the horizon in the middle of the picture)

Celebration Time

Hunter and Devi helped us to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary at The Mona Lisa, one of the finer restaurants on the island.  A delicious meal, and such congenial companions.

The Happy Couple -- after all these years! (Photo by Devi Sharp)

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