27 Oct 2012
|Travelling buddies, Scott-Free, moored in Bonaire|
Checking into Bonaire was a breeze........simple, efficient and friendly....."ons is altyd hier vir jou". The dialect of Dutch spoken here is very similar to our Afrikaans, unlike Dutch spoken in Holland and we found it easy to understand.
|Despite the frequent thunderstorms, the terrain is dry and arid|
It is a surprisingly rocky, dry and arid island with landscapes and vegetation more reminiscent of
than of the Namibia Caribbean. There are
very few sandy beaches, and this is one of the main reasons for the spectacularly
crystal clear water, that make Bonaire a diving and snorkeling paradise.
Swimming off the back of the boat is like being in an aquarium, surrounded by pretty reef fish. Apart from these, we often saw 4 ft Tarpon cruising by, curious Baracudas hanging motionless, waiting for some prey to take their fancy, and the odd green turtle, looking in vain for a bit of sea grass. Pipe corals and brain coral are everywhere, and grow on the 3 ton mooring blocks for yachts, and even the old engine blocks that some of the locals use to moor their little fishing boats!
|French angelfish at the Stoplight|
There is no anchoring in
Bonaire, to protect the coral….. the only case we've seen in the Caribbean where this is genuine! There is a narrow shelf about 100 mts wide between
the shore and the deep drop off, where one has to pick up a mooring buoy. They
are well maintained and cost $10 per night.
|Kaya Grandi......Main Road|
The main down town area is attractive, with an array of upmarket shops, aimed mainly at the cruise ship market. Karels Bar on the waterfront is the hang out where most yachtie cruisers meet.
|Chilling in Karel's Bar|
We hired a car with our friends, Steve and Chris (Scott-Free), and did an island tour to explore from the
in the north, to the salt pans in the south. The roads were muddy and slippery, but our driver, Steve did brilliantly and only got stuck once! Washington Slagbaai Park
|Stuck in the mud with Steve|
|Very pink flamingoes|
|A fossil amongst the jagged rocks|
All the park buildings were neat and clean and the skeleton of a baleen whale (which arrived impaled on the bow of a cruise ship) ends up as an exhibit in the picnic area.
The super clean ablution blocks made interesting use of cactus paintings to depict the “His “ and “Hers”!
|HERS and HIS!|
We returned to the anchorage after going around the salt pans, which are
Bonaire’s other source of income along with tourism. Four coloured Obelisks (Red, Orange, Blue, White) were used to indicate the four different qualities of
salt available to the merchant ships of old, who used to stock up here, The
Orange area also has a reconstruction of the slave houses…. all 10 x 6ft of
them with minute crawl-through doorways.
|Restored slave quarters at the salt pans|