12:09N 68:16W Bonaire

Conor & Marion Wall
Thu 27 Jan 2011 05:29
The sail from Los Roques to Bonaire was a difficult one to gauge so as to
arrive in Bonaire by daylight. The distance was approximately 110 miles but
we needed the sun behind us leaving Los Roques so as to be able to see the
many reefs that were a hazard on the way out of the group. As we were
heading west this meant that a morning start was the natural choice. We had
been making good distances with the strong trade winds that we had been
experiencing and there also appeared to be a favourable current of about 1
knot under our keel most of the time, occasionally more. With this in mind
we decided to leave at first light 0600 Wednesday 26th January.
No blog is complete without a sunset or sunrise.
An interesting and pleasant sail passing firstly the small uninhabited
islands of Aves Barlovento and then Aves Sotavento. Both of these islands
have an anchorage that is relatively safe but we were warned that there were
so many birds that they would be a nuisance as well as mess up the boat and
would probably keep us awake at night. Coupled with the fact that time was
running out for us to get to Panama we did not stop, we did however sail
past both islands at a stone throw distance and did indeed see thousands of
We arrived in the dark at Bonaire but found it easy to find a mooring just
off the main section of the town. You are not allowed to drop an anchor
anywhere on this Island and hefty fines are dished out to those who do. For
this reason there are a large number of maintained moorings for visiting
yachts along a stretch just to the north west of the town. There is a marina
of sorts a little further beyond and north of the moorings but it seems to
be reserved mainly for local game fishing boats. This marina monitors the
moorings and this is where we paid.
Water so clear we could see divers underwater from this cliff view.
Bonaire is part of the Netherlands and has a real Dutch flavour about it.
The main town is attractive with pastel coloured buildings and red tiled
roofs. It boasts some of the cleanest waters in the world for diving and
people come from all over the world to dive here. We could easily see the
bottom of our mooring which was 8 meters deep and beautiful fish in
abundance everywhere around the boat.
Iguana about 3 foot long with tail. They sometimes eat them here.
I think I ate one but it was chicken I ordered.
Next morning we did the necessary checking in with customs and immigration
which turned out to be a rather quicker experience than we were used to.
Everything was done in the small but efficient office close to where we had
moored our boat. We were then free to  explored the pretty town and had
breakfast at a waterfront cafe only yards from where Toucan was moored.
Marion wanted to visit a laundry as it had been some time since we had the
opportunity and I wanted to take an empty gas bottles along to the marina
place for filling. We also wanted to tour the Island as it was small enough
to see in a day so we hired a scooter at a very reasonable rate. We picked
the scooter up the following morning and set off after a short discussion
with the scooter hire place over the amount of fuel in the tank. Take full
return full. I shouldn't have listened to him, he convinced me that it was
full and that there would be more than sufficient fuel to do what we wanted.
Off we set, first the north of the Island then the east coast and finally
the south.
Replicas of the tiny huts that the slaves used to live in, 1 tiny room.
We were having such a good time we forgot all about the petrol and
we ran out at what must be the furthest point from the hire shop. We were
right down at the lighthouse at the very south of the Island. Not many cars
were about but eventually a couple of Swedish chaps came along in their
hired car and gave us a lift back to town. Everything was sorted and we were
given a new scooter and told to keep it for another half day.
Whilst we had the scooter we took the opportunity to take the laundry to the
laundry place about a mile or so outside the town. There were two buildings,
one where you drop off your laundry and pay a fortune and another which is
actually a laundrette. Well you should have seen the look on Marion's face
when we walked in, it was the largest and cleanest and most modern
laundrette that we had ever seen, huge machines all looking brand new and I
would say the prettiest girl that I have ever seen (except for Marion of
course) running the show. We left the laundry and would come back later in
the day to find everything smelling lovely again.
The gas bottle was also filled and some lures for fishing were purchased as
I had lost two on the trip to Bonaire although I only caught one fish, nice
size for the two of us for a dinner and a lunch. Next to the tuna I rate
this a close second best for taste.
Kingfish minus head, forgot to take photo before cleaning it.
While we were in Bonaire a large cruise liner called and parked up only meters
from us, it was even too close to take a photo of it as all I could see when
I looked through the lens was the white sides. We have been seeing cruise
liners in lots of the popular places but not the small islands. They seem to
go only to the main town of the larger or unusual islands. I suppose the ABC
islands are a bit unusual in that they were once Dutch and still have very close
ties with Holland.
We stayed on the mooring for 4 nights and enjoyed Bonaire very much.