Log 15th May 2019 - "Bonaire!"
Pos: 12:09.5 N; 68:16.9 W
Our final night (14th/15th) to Curacao brought strong winds, 25-30kts. It was a wild downwind ride! The sea actually remained slight-moderate and with full genoa and no main we were doing 10 plus kts surfing down waves! It was very exhilarating! The moon was almost full and this enhanced the whole experience.
During the night we were chasing another British yacht (Wild Bird) that first appeared on AIS about 10 miles ahead of us (subsequently we learnt they had sailed from Guadeloupe). By morning they were only 2 miles ahead of us!
The speed at night corrected for the fairly slow albeit relaxing morning. We decided to spend the day and one night at Bonaire and are so pleased we did as it is beautiful!
We arrived at Kralendijk at around 1030 and picked up a mooring north of town towards Harbour Village Marina. The moorings are on a narrow shelf of shallow turquoise water close to the shoreline and the drop off is very sharp. It was gusting 25kts plus when we first attempted to pick up a mooring and Nina lost the boat hook. A neighbouring cruiser in his dinghy (Edward - Dive Lander) saw our struggles and kindly came over in his dinghy to help us secure to the two mooring balls.
I snorkelled over the mooring to check it. Wow - the water was so clear and there were so many fish just underneath Safena. It was immediately apparent why Bonaire is so highly regarded for Scuba diving.
Nina and I took the RIB ashore to clear in through Customs/immigration which was straightforward and free! We then went for beer, cocktails and lunch at Carol’s Bar on the beach overlooking the water. This was fantastic.
Then we went to Harbour Village Marina to pay for the mooring. It is a very impressive marina.
It was incredibly hot during the afternoon with a perfectly clear sky. We swam off the bathing platform and had more drinks. Tim and Gale from White Bird stopped by in their tender to introduce themselves. They are also OCC. We discussed the night sailing and they expressed their happiness with Curacao Marine where they were heading and had laid up for the previous 4 years.
That evening, tired from the 3 day passage we stayed on board. Bonaire is beautiful and has a completely different culture to anywhere else in the Caribbean we have experienced so far. It is also a diver’s paradise. One day is not enough. We must come back. Learning to dive is also very much on our menu!