Monday, December 14, 2009

HEADING WEST---BONAIRE HERE WE COME!!!

After almost one month travelling the remote Out Islands of Venezuela it's time to make our way to Bonaire.

Tues. Aug 25th
0540 hours and I’m awoken by the engine starting.
0600 hours; everything is stowed away…Rand has made coffee.
0630 hours; We’re heading out to our first waypoint, me on the bow; using our track but always cautious.


Idyll Island off our starboard flying their spinacker.
By 0700 hours we’ve got little wind and of coarse rolly ESE seas. Very frustrating, the motor is back on and now the seas are from the NNE. Again this is where we are happy by ourselves as any company would not find this fun.
Around noon as we are closing in on Bonaire a Coast Guard plane flew over us. We have read there is a very well equipped Coast Guard Sea Rescue organization for the ABC’s. They protect the area as far north as 17degrees (almost to Haiti & the DR) and between 67degreesW and 74degreesW; against smuggling, drug trafficking. We’re happy to see them.

As we round the southern end of Bonaire we are hit with a distinctive unpleasant smell. It’s like seagull feces invading our nostrils. We think in fact it’s the salt ponds.

Derek just hailed us and said he checked out three mooring for us, very nice of him, and they’ll stand by for us to pass them our lines. Such great friends.

By 1630hrs. we’re secure on the mooring, quickly clean up for a trip to Customs & Immigration. There is no anchoring allowed in Bonaire as their surrounding waters are designated a National Marine Park. There are 40 six ton block moorings off the Bonaire capital Kralendijk. Presently we are one of only nine visiting cruising boats using these moorings which we have been told is not the norm. Customs & Immigration were very straight forward, friendly and there was no cost. Being after 1630 hours Immigration forms were filled out at the Police Station.

As per the 2008 Census Bonaire’s population is over 15,000 with immigrants from 106 countries. Bonaire continues to be part of the Netherlands Antilles. In fact the people of Bonaire seem to be having challenges with “new faces” arriving in Bonaire with new ideas especially for Klein Bonaire "Little Bonaire",in regards to commercialization and development . When Klein Bonaire was purchased some ten years ago with the help of the Dutch Government, the World Wildlife Fund, plus private funding---very strict rules and regulations were set. Klein Bonaire is to be kept pristine and uninhabited. No docks, no piers. Now with cruise ships visiting the island is threatened with overcrowding and commercialism. There are 24 dive and 20 snorkel sites on Klein Bonaire and 63 dive, 33 snorkel sites on Bonaire.

Bonaire is approx. 112 sq. miles, 24 miles long by 3 to 7 miles wide. Mont Brandaris is 790 feet high.

We are always excited when we get into a new port with our first priority after checking in to find a wifi hot spot so we can communicate with family and friends. This restaurant said yes we have wifi, so we bought a 3 hour card but unfortunately it did not work.






Aug. 27th HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAND.. Before celebrating we had the task of laundry.











We finished off the day celebrating at “It Rains Fishes” with Derek and Cathy.











One afternoon we snorkelled off the Rum Runner Bar and Grill with Cathy and Derek swimming with five tarpon. One tarpon was almost five feet long. We also saw our first squid. Awesome!!!


Jay and Jennifer; this is the landlubber's Rum Runner!





On Monday's at the Rum Runner Bar and Grill they have a complimentary Rum punch Happy Hour where you can make a donation to the local animal shelter.








Another great snorkel with the tarpons .













This is one way to recycle tires. Siesta in town is between 1200 and 1400 hours with all stores closed. Sundays all retail outlets are closed. We use the Netherlands Guilder here—1.78 NAF to $1 US. US dollars are always accepted. Being a tourist destination for so many years the people in the service industry are very friendly.
A day does not go by without snorkelling….not only a great way to keep cool but fun to try and see new fish species---honeycomb cow fish, lizard fish, black snakes, eels, very large eyed chequered puffers, they are so cute, an octopus, plus we could not believe our luck in finding the black seahorse.
Sun. Sept.6.
We had a very full day exploring the island with Cathy and Derek. Renting a car we went to see Washington Slagbaii National Park where we were enchanted with the Pink Flamingos. The only filter feeder among birds they use their long legs to stir up mud and their tongue as a fast action plunger to sieve through their coarse lamellae (filters) for tiny molluscs, shrimp, and brine fly larvae. Their breeding season is between March and July. The South Caribbean colony is estimated at 50,000 with 7500 on Bonaire.

Rand and Derek












The Park looks like a moonscape.











And of coarse being such an arid Island there are acres of Cactus.











There are twelve Wind Turbines along Bonaire’s NE Coast. Bonaire residents are very excited as this will mean more reliable and less expensive electricity. Imagine your hydro bill at home being $700. instead of $100. The 12 turbines will supply 50% of Bonaire’s power needs.






We did see the Lora Parrot…yellow shouldered Amazon Parrot. We read recently that an amnesty period has been given to the island parrot owners so they can register their Lora Parrot or be fined for poaching. It is estimated 26% of Lora chicks have been lost to poachers.

Our next stop was the town of Rincon which is celebrating Bonaire Flag Day.
Rincon is in fact the first settlement on Bonaire.




Lastly we ended our day down at Lac Bay watching the wind surfing. A startling article in the local newspaper has assessed the mangrove forest of Lac Bay and it is in trouble due to the impact of goats and humans. A wetland ecologist from Florida said “If the mangroves are not helped by humans they will die….This grim summarization is the same statement made two years ago about Bonaire’s reefs. When we first arrived here and went on our first snorkel we were in fact surprised that so much of the reef is bleached; we are only beginning to understand they are gone and may not have an opportunity to recover.

Friday Sept. 11 I got stung by a jellyfish on the left side of my face. By Saturday it was not only bright red as if burnt, but swollen and very ugly. Three days later I am still swollen and red so decide to go to the Clinic----Three hours later the doctor says, the worst is over…just continue with the anti-histamines. Having these quiet days Randy rewired the bow navigational lights.

We’ve experienced our first wind reversal. Being woken just after midnight, we got lots of wind and high seas from the South. Randy ends up staying in the cockpit all night and sends me back to bed at 0400hrs. We watched as the local fishermen came out to rescue their small boats dangerously taking them into the safety of the marina . Randy started our engine to be ready in case we had to abandon our mooring. The wind reversal puts our stern 120 feet from shore with 6 feet under the keel.



The following day continues to be MISERABLE !!! The swell is gruesome! Bottles are literally flying off shelves. Trying to have dinner in the cockpit and Rand’s wineglass flew out of its holder all over the cockpit. With the no anchor rule we can not put out our stern anchor to help keep us into the swells. Alot of the swells are from the passing Dive boats.

High States on it's mooring.











We can never have enough beautiful sunsets.












Two weeks later we have another wind reversal Thank goodness this one started at 0500 hours instead of midnight.













Visibility???












The local regatta has started and we’ve said good-bye to Cathy and Derek…they’re off to Curacao.










Our new Dutch friends Hans and Linda “Baros”
For those of you who are wondering are we spending our day just having fun snorkelling we continue to fill our days with small projects. Today it was me waterproofing the bimini, hoping to get one more season out of it and Randy replacing the leaking cold water line.

And we've had good news: SEAN & CARLIE ARE COMING FOR A VISIT!!!! Oct. 24th.

2 comments:

Dance Aweigh said...

Those "wind reversals" remind me - it's not all just fun!
Rich.

Tambry said...

Merry Christmas Lynn & Randy! Looks like you guys are just having too much fun. Enjoy your New Years wherever you end up!

Tambry