Fri 2 Apr 2010 01:32
12.09.541n 68.16.909w
We had a superb sail on 400 miles to Bonaire. The trade winds and current took us straight to our destination. All downwind easy sailing at 5-7.5 knots. The sea was lumpy, but only the bottom end of moderate, so apart from the odd wave rolling us a bit it was very comfortable.
We waited to travel to Bonaire for a while as low pressure above Colombia combines with the trade winds and can make these seas very high and extremely uncomfortable
Bonaire is all a marine park and you cannot anchor here. The mooring buoys are thankfully not too expensive and we are playing at being tourists for a few days.
The island is 75 miles off th coast of Venezuala and has a totally different feel compared to our other Caribbean stops. Maybe its because (brief synopsis of Caribbean history - apologies to any experts reading) the Caribbean islands were all occupied by the Arawak, but the Caribs migrated from South America and took over most of the islands, killing almost all the Arawaks. Then Europeans took over the islands and slaughtered nearly all the Caribs (there are a couple of villages called Massacre in honour of our efforts!!). Bonaire is unusual in that the Caribs didn't take over the island and some of the Arawaks survived the Spanish conquest and mantained an identity until the end of the C19. The island is now Dutch and they seem to have friendly happy islands (its flat too, so they feel at home). Best of all, the Customs and Police were charming and helpful (and free!).
Today we had to prove we were competent to be allowed in the Marine Park, so $50US and less than 5 minutes later we had accomplished our fin pivots and were awarded with our plastic tags. Its reassuring to know that a dive shop employee standing on a pier watching us (occasionally) can see the innate skill and expertise we have developed over the last 20 years!!  ;-)