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Bonaire

 We left Ballast Bay a little anxious and nervous, ahead of us was a 442 miles passage. The last 3 months in the Caribbean has been easy sailing and no long passages. We have covered only 500 miles during this time. Now there is a 4 day passage ahead of us. But this is just the beginning, sometimes a daunt feeling. The days of bay hopping are over and now we have some serious mileage to cover until New Zealand. We realized that, as we sailed away from St Kitts, saying goodbye to the Caribbean. The trade winds appeared 40 miles offshore, together with some dirty big clouds. We jibed south to miss the bad weather. The wind increased in the evening and we were flying at 6 to 7 knots. It wasn't just us, a flying fish managed to fly into the cockpit hitting Judit during her watch. The fish was granted life and thrown back into the sea.

 Most of the following days progress was under motor as the winds died down and we were too tired to use the cruising chute. By heading further South we found  some wind, making  2 days of very pleasant sailing, with a nice breeze and gentle seas. It changed to a nasty swell and confused seas in the last 10 hours of the trip. Even with little sleep we arrived just before sundown, nice time to arrive.

 Bonaire is beautiful and very unspoiled. The water is unbelievable, crystal clear and with a turquoise colour that we haven't seen yet. This is the place for diving and snorkelling. And the locals are so proud of their reefs and marine reserve, doing what they can to protect it. All the number plates on cars say "Divers paradise". Kralendijk, the capital, is very charming with colourful buildings and little restaurants.

Many of the local residents came here on holiday from different parts of the world and still here, falling in love with the island and the life here.  We were very surprised to find that even Father Christmas made his home in Bonaire instead of Lapland. He owns a restaurant here, originally from Lebanon, he did all the adverts for Coca Cola.  And Father Christmas does the best pizzas in town, plus you can give your Xmas presents wish list personally.

There are over 40 official diving sites, but to dive you have to purchase a permit. With that you are able to dive everywhere. The marine life is abundant with barracudas, rays, parrot fish, sponges and corals, an absolute bliss. We dived twice on the 20th March and wanted more.

The hospitality received here was unbelievable. People got out of their way to help us. That included the locals and the Dutch that are living in the island. Everybody is so cheerful and very friendly. Top 10 for Bonaire.