Under The Sea – Bonaire Pt 2

The trunkfish, Bruce & I. Photo courtesy Rob Curtis

The trunkfish, Bruce & I. Photo courtesy Rob Curtis

Bonaire is considered to be one of the best diving locations in the Caribbean. All the waters around the island are designated as a marine park, and with little rainfall and run-off from the island, the water is amazingly clear and even more importantly, warm! It’s also incredibly easy to dive here because the reef is so close to shore – you can walk in from the shore or jump off the back of the boat and there’s the reef wall right underneath you. So it’s no wonder that we were a tad frustrated not to have our dive compressor working!

But that wasn’t going to stop us – having the use of Al’s pick-up truck was great, as we could hire tanks and equipment from the local dive shop, although with only two seats in the cab it meant some of the crew had to ride in the back island-style!

Geoff in the back seat

Geoff & Rob in the back seat

There’s plenty of choice for dive sites, with 63 of them all along the west coast, marked on the road with yellow stones, or by yellow buoys in the water that small boats or dinghies can tie up to.

Andrea I dive site

Andrea I dive site

Thousand steps dive site (there's only 76 thankfully!)

Thousand steps dive site (there’s only 76 thankfully!)

During our time in Bonaire, Rob completed his open water diving certificate with Bruce, and Geoff also got back under the water after a break of many years.

Graduation party for our newest open water diver, Rob

Graduation party for our newest open water diver, Rob

DCIM100MEDIA

pretty coral, Bonaire

The underwater scenery isn’t as spectacular as other parts of the world, but for ease of access and variety of fish life it’s unbeatable. Here are some pictures:

Geoff & Di on the wreck of the Hilma Hooker

Geoff & Di on the wreck of the Hilma Hooker. Photo courtesy Rob Curtis

Angelfish & yellow grunt

Angelfish & yellow grunt

fish and brain coral on our mooring block, Bonaire

fish and brain coral on our mooring block, Bonaire

The revolving door on Toucan was working hard while we were in Bonaire – we said farewell to Mia, but welcomed back Penny from her side trip to the UK, and then a little later said goodbye to Jackie who was off on further adventures in the Galapagos and South America! We were able to celebrate Jackie’s birthday before she left, and had a great day exploring the mangroves by kayak.

Jackie & Sherm

Jackie & Sherm

working our way through the mangrove tunnels

working our way through the mangrove tunnels

The day was topped off by dinner at It Rains Fishes restaurant, followed by birthday cake back on the boat.

Jackie's birthday dinner, It Rains Fishes

Jackie’s birthday dinner, It Rains Fishes

Happy Birthday Jackie, from your Toucan family!

Happy Birthday Jackie, from your Toucan family!

We also had a chance to tour the southern part of the island, which is the kite-boarders and wind-surfers heaven, and enjoyed a pleasant hour or two hanging out at the quirky bar in Lac Bay.

Kite-surfers heaven

Kite-surfers heaven

Lac Bay, a cool hangout for windsurfers

Jibe City Lac Bay, a cool hangout for windsurfers

The bar and restaurant at Jibe City, Lac Bay

The bar and restaurant at Jibe City, Lac Bay

Watching the action on a stormy afternoon, Lac Bay

Watching the action on a stormy afternoon, Lac Bay

On the way we got up closer to the salt mining operations. That’s a lot of salt shakers in them thar hills!

Condenser ponds and salt mounds, Bonaire

Condenser ponds and salt mounds, Bonaire

And then we stopped to explore the original slave huts, which believe it or not slept 5 adult men.

The tiny slave huts, Oranje Pan, Bonaire

The tiny slave huts, Oranje Pan, Bonaire

Not exactly luxury accommodation

Not exactly luxury accommodation

The slaves would walk 37km from the north end of the island to work at the salt mines during the week, and then walk back home again at the end of the week. What a harsh, miserable, existence it must have been with no amenities, not even headroom to stand up in the huts. It’s the dark side of Caribbean history, and evident everywhere we’ve been.

Slave huts, Bonaire

Slave huts, Bonaire

Finally, at the beginning of our third week, our compressor piston arrived by Fedex from Miami and Ronald was able to fit it within the day. Hurray! Finally, a working dive compressor. Just to celebrate we had a couple of dives each off the back of the boat, including a night dive which was pretty fun.DCIM100MEDIA

Sadly we weren’t so lucky with finding someone to repair our portable generator which gave up the ghost during our stay in Bonaire, or a refrigeration technician. Both those jobs will have to wait until we get to Curacao or Aruba.

We’d stayed long enough in Bonaire, the feet were itching, the eardrums were suffering, and the boat was covered in a film of Bonaire dust blowing off the land. Time to move on! We had one last ice cream at Gio’s (the BEST ice cream ever), completed our clearance with Customs and Immigration and the next morning headed 35NM to the big smoke of Curacao, where our new rudder bearings were waiting for us at Curacao Marine.

Sunset, Kralendijk anchorage

Sunset, Kralendijk anchorage

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4 Responses to Under The Sea – Bonaire Pt 2

  1. Shirley Horwood says:

    I’ve been following your adventures with great interest (and envy!) Di – the descriptions of the places you visit are fascinating and your photos fabulous. The colour of the water is just amazing and as for the sunsets…wow! Those slave huts in Bonaire are horrible and it’s sent me researching the slave trade in the Caribbean. Glad everything’s going well apart from the odd breakdown of equipment! Keep safe, and lots of love from Oz. Shirley xx

    • svtadmin says:

      So lovely to hear from you Shirley, and thanks for the support! Yes, the slave trade throughout the Caribbean is a grim read – we visited the museum in Curacao that I’m about to write about in the next blog. We’re a bit behind with the blog – hard to keep up to date with so many other things happening! Currently in Aruba, and tomorrow we head off to the San Blas Islands in Panama, about a 4-day sail. Hopefully the weather gods are kind to us 🙂 xx

  2. Deretta says:

    Looks great with the dives and the coral and fish. And clean, clear water. Keep enjoying yourselves.

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