Bonaire is part of the Netherlands Antilles, with its
sister islands of Curacao and Aruba. All together they are known as the ABC
islands. The population of Bonaire is about 12,000 and the languages are
Dutch, South American Spanish or the local Papiamentu (used in all the ABCs).
The currency is the Netherlands Antilles' guilder or florin (NAf). It's
pegged to the US dollar at 1.78NAf to the dollar. Dollars are taken, which
is good as that's what we came with, but the change always comes in NAf.
So we've swapped the TT dollar (approximately 10TT to the £1) for the US
dollar/NAf combination. All the prices are labeled in NAf, but when you ask a
price it tends to be given in US dollars - it can be confusing, so we
have to think twice before we buy anything!
From what we've seen so far we like Bonaire,
especially after Trinidad. It's small, clean, touristy, the buildings are all
painted in lovely pastel colours and it hasn't rained since we arrived. It has a
wonderful selection of waterfront and main street restaurants and the
sea is some of the clearest in the Caribbean. The reefs have been
looked after for years and are in great shape, making it a diving mecca. To
protect the reefs boats are not allowed to anchor anywhere round the island.
They have installed about 40 buoys off Kralendijk, the capital, and these have
to be used. They're on a narrow shelf of beautiful turquoise water, which
disappears into the deep just where our stern swings. So we can see all sorts of
fish from the boat. The buoys are only $10 US a night, so not too
Bonaire's two main industries are salt and tourism (especially
diving). They have large salt ponds at the south end of the island and we could
see white 'mountains' as we came in. The salt ponds attract large
flocks of flamingos. A lot of divers come here as the water and reefs
are so good, and there are about 90 dive sites. The commercial pier
can accommodate cruise ships and there has been a different one each day. They
arrive about 9am and leave about 6pm the same day.
The problems with our fridge were resolved by replacing the
control unit, using the spare we brought from the UK. The control units appear
quite fragile, so not having a spare for the next part of the trip is a concern.
So we sent an email to a possible supplier in the US the day before
Christmas Eve and received the following response:
Fear not, said he, for in the
far-off land of Annapolis there exists
many E254412 controllers. No need to
follow any stars, just give us a
complete shipping address and phone number
(very important) and we'll
look at options for you first thing on Monday. At
some stage we'll need
credit card info ( sorry, we don't accept Frankincense
or Myrrh, but
gold is OK), and you can either e-mail that or call us if you
So good news. The only issue now is whether to get it sent to
Bonaire and risk having to wait for it, or get it sent to Panama.
Looking ashore from our mooring.
Looking along the moorings to the
looking the other way, with a cruise ship against
The moorings are on the west coast and the view to
the west is clear, so lots of sunsets!
We have some friends here, Mohea, Aphrodite and
Indian Summer who all did the ARC with us (although we only met Indian Summer
this week). We've also met Peter on Troutbridge (remember the Navy Lark?) who is
an OCC member like us. We've talked to him over the net before, but never met
until this week. Troutbridge is a catamaran, so we were all invited to
bring our food for a buffet Christmas lunch and Peter and
crew supplied the rum punch - mixed in a (new) bucket!
The crew of Mohea arriving on Troutbridge for
Our hosts on Troutbridge - Simon, 'Doc' and
Aurora B's Christmas decorations - we
Christmas Tree worms on a brain coral - taken on a
Boxing Day snorkel!
A French Angel Fish at a distance. There are lots
of fish here and we hope to have better pictures before we