Bonaire – Dutch Caribbean
Once part of the Dutch Antilles, Bonaire is now an island municipality of the Netherlands and lies off Venezuela’s coast in the southern Caribbean. There has been a tremendous amount of development since we were here last, over 35 years ago.
Diving here is a big deal. Anchoring is not allowed in order to protect the coral reefs. The coast is protected by Bonaire National Marine Park. Visiting yachts have to be on a mooring or in a marina. Dive sites are well marked and have moorings for dive boats. Most of the dives can be accessed from the beach, so we have rented a Toyota pickup truck and some tanks that we can refill ourselves any time. It is really nice to go where we want, when we want. Bonaire is very clean, feels really safe, and the provisioning is excellent.
The prohibition on anchoring has been a problem for some of the OWR fleet as there is a big fishing tournament at the end of this week and all the slips are booked. Some of the Oysters are too big for the municipal moorings. There are empty (booked) slips all around us, so it is frustrating to see friends who have sailed all this way have to leave without getting to experience Bonaire.
In addition to the diving is the Washington Slagbaai National Park with beaches, lagoons, caverns and some great hiking.
We’ve been in Bonaire about 10 days. Ken and I did quite a few dives and explored the Park, hiking and diving there. It really feels like another world out, rugged and remote. Neil snorkeled and explored via dinghy, paddle board and scooter. Last night the local OWR fleet was treated to a great dinner at Capriccio to celebrate Marie’s birthday. Thanks to Robert and family of Talaba for a wonderful evening. It was great to see everyone as we all prepare to set off to our next destinations.