Hi friends and family, we hope you are all well and happy.
Bonaire is a very different type of island compared to the other Caribbean islands. Its low, with only a shallow reef a short swim from shore then it drops off to 150m. Bonaire is famous for its diving, there are scuba shops everywhere as it’s rated the third best dive spot in the world. It’s also well known for windsurfing, yay one of the other reasons we came here.
We arrived after our longest passage yet (3 nights) and came into totally flat water sailing super close to the shore as it’s so deep close to the island, with tonnes of flying fish gliding over the dark pool like waters, a kiter was following us and flying past us on his hydrofoil board – pretty cool.
So we arrived knowing we had to pick up a mooring ball, not one of our favourite things to do as our track record has not been so great, though we have only tried a few times. The bow sprit is really long and its super difficult to throw the second line (which is loaded up with the weight of the boat if its windy) then catch it, then try to hook it on the cleat with the full force of the boat on it. So we just jumped in this time and I gave the line to Stu who fed it into the mooring ball eye and we used a second rope to pull it up to our cleat on Neverland. Stu helmed really well and no swell helped so it went well overall. Next the man came over in his dinghy to give information about paying the moorings rental.
Yay here we are, safe and sound after snorkelling on the mooring to check how secure it is, there are lots of mooring balls in the Caribbean and many of them break with boats drifting off to sea, reef or into other boats, though Bonaire is not known for this. The water here is so so incredibly clear, it stunning underneath, visibility is forever. There were some angel fish under the boat that were very inquisitive swimming so close, Stu and I were able to pat it!!!!! He he
After being here a few days and getting over the jet lag of passage making, while restarting school, we hired a car which the tourist bureau organised for us (with some mild prompting!!!). Off we go to suss out the windsurfing spot here. Stu didn’t have his current driver’s license, I did so here I am driving my family on the wrong side of the road (right) and with the steering wheel on the left side of the car, I kept on using the windscreen wipers instead on the blinker! Managed to keep on the right side of the road also, with help from Stu looking a little nervous. We arrived at Lac bay teaming with brightly coloured sails planning over the aqua blue waist deep flat waters, it is absolutely beautiful and very exciting, perfect for the kids to learn and Stu and I to have a play in. Stu and I have not seen such a perfect set up to learn in, the wind is onshore so any drifting is right back to shore, its knee to waist deep for about a km or two out to sea where the fringe reef is that keeps the waves out of the bay and to top it off there is pearly white sand to stand on. If this was in Perth it would be so popular and full of kiters, but not a kiter to be seen, not sure why. There are facilities right on the shoreline, two cafes, windsurf hire shops (2) and toilets. The cafes are not over done though and are very beachy, not upmarket but relaxed.
The following day we set off with the tonne of windsurfing stuff which we lugged from Neverland to the dingy to the car which we strapped down. This spot rocks, the kids all had a good go, and both Jake and Alex rigged up their own sails!!!!! Jake scored a new rig when we were in St Martin, we just stumbled on a 3 m sail complete with rig, so pretty stoked was Jakey. The rig had been sitting in the shop for 3 years and with its first use, the uni joint tendon broke, so Stu sent me to try and find another one at one of the windsurf hire spots. Luckily we found a shop that sold it, and the kind man after some gentle enquiry fitted it to the base for me as didn’t have the tools for it back at the car. We spent the day there and I had a bit of a sail after the kids were worn out, the wind was too light but was fun still.
The following day we explored the south of the island. We drove past the pink salt ponds that were spectacular, such a deep colour of pink and the piles and piles of mined salt were impressive. We tried to convince Sienna and Alex that it was snow, but they wouldn’t buy it. More driving and more Flamingos to be seen, there are so many here it’s really exciting seeing Flamingos, especially since we know how rare they are and hard to find after our flamingo hunt in Anegada!
The second time we went windsurfing was epic for the kids, Jake planed for the first time and was really excited, so were mum and dad!!!!!. Alex is really getting the knack of it and is really funny to watch when he gets frustrated. He is like a bull and charges into it, gets annoyed, yells and screams, has to have an impressive stack at the end of every attempt, does a little jig on the board when all is going well and stamps and throws his weight around to show the windsurfer who’s boss!!!! He knows how to steer now and has some control. Alex went the furthest I had seen him go, around 30m. Stu and I were stoked as well as the kids. Sienna isn’t really into it, but it does seem a little heavy for her. Sienna is happy singing and playing in the water climbing all over me and terrorizing her brothers. I think the whole beach was watching us with the commotion the kids were making while they all decided to attach themselves to the back of the board while I was mucking around trying to sail with Jakes little sail.
Siennas 6 th Birthday
Sienna has been a bit sad prior to her birthday saying this is going to be the worst birthday as she can’t have the Nannys /Poppy /friends / cousins etc over for a party. I only had 2 small presents for her, so in our travels we found the mermaid tail and a trash and treasure market I found some treasures that she didn’t know about (she is cunning and susses everything out, nothing gets past her). We decorated the saloon with long balloons hanging from the roof and a big happy birthday banner with her presents in paper bags and a pillow case on the table. That night she came part way up the stairs after I had decoratated and Stu said her eyes were wide with wonder at the fairytale scene before her eyes, so sweet. I went down to see what was wrong and she said she was too excited to sleep, she is very cute. So the morning wasn’t all that of a surprise for her but she loved it anyway, she had a pancake stack that she decorated with Nutella and sprinkles for her first cake for the day, we sung happy birthday. She was stoked with her presents and said she had a great day. Her wish for the day was to go kayaking in the mangroves, which I couldn’t organize for that day but the following, so we explored the north of the island instead. Went for a dive at one of the 64 dive sites on the west of the island called 1000 steps, was pretty good and she got to try her mermaid tail out. I couldn’t dive down past 2m as my ears hurt, so I tried just clicking my ears hands free and that seemed to help and I got down to 12m. We ended up in a town called Roncon where a street party was being held, I think the whole island was there, the streets were sectioned off, food stalls, music and people everywhere, I think there was a parade with traditional dress and loud pumping music.
The following day we visited the mangroves which were ace, the tour guide was a very thoughtful lady. She even gave Sienna a little present! A little pink jewellery box which her daughter had grown out of, after the kayaking she had some yummy food and drink awaiting us, she introduced us to waffle biscuits – yum! A thin outer crust of waffle with a yummy caramel inside, we were addicted!
The Kayak was great fun, after Jake and I made enemies of the intruder boat (Alex and Stu’s Kayak), by splashing them we followed the tour guide along mangrove lined pathways showing us upside down jellyfish, baby fish breeding areas and the different types of mangroves. We all loved it and the lady was terrific.
Thanks for reading 🙂