Posted by: orst86 | February 11, 2012

Day 5

12 d 8.97′ N
68d 16.66′ W

Temp about 85F

Welcome to Bonaire. Took us just overnight from Aruba to get here. Just like Aruba this is basically a desert island as well, covered with lots of cacti.  By the way, Bonaire is the furthest east island of the ABC’s, so we actually sailed right by Curacao to get here.

Bonaire is another former Dutch colony, having used their own gilder as money up to a few years ago. Now they use the US dollar. The island is famous for a few things. Great diving and snorkeling, flamingos and sea salt, which, by the way is operated by Cargill on the south end of the island in massive salt evaporation flats. They have mounds to white salt that one can see from miles away.

The waters around the island are either coral reefs or snow white sand. Fish of every color size and shape can easily be seen just off the dock. Being that it is famous for the diving,I decided to do some snorkeling. Got on a rickety old school bus with “Chill Out” painted on the side. Took us to a secluded beach on the other side of the harbor (see photo you can see some snorklers in the water and our ship in the distance. There we could get to the reefs just by walking in from the beach.  Apparently that is one famous thing that makes Bonaire such a diving heaven, you need only walk off the beach, you don’t need a boat to get to wonderful diving areas.

And it was cool. The water was perfectly clear,the sand was startling white. Basically the entire island beach is a national park, so no taking and no touching. We were given the snorkel gear and told to stay in the sand area until the water depth was enough so that we would touch the coral. The water depth really changed fast.  Started at about 3 feet and then got to about 15 feet on the other side of the reef. If you wanted to go further out, the depth dropped off to 200 ft in a matter of a few feet. All within 50 feet of the beach. There were so many fish of all shapes and colors. I saw schools of fish just plugging along. Cuttlefish (Caribbean reef squid)  that would swim right up to inspect you, if you wiggled your fingers at them, they would then extend their arms and wave back at you. Too many to describe just have to say that it was a real unique experience.

I did get to some flamingos eating in the salt flats area. Of course their pink color comes from the tiny shrimp they eat.

The people here are really friendly. But they won’t let you move here for more than 90 days at a time. Every day after that you get fined $250.

Tomorrow we get to Curacao (pronounced cara sow). To another adventure. Just about 40 miles away, we are moving very slowly.

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