Well finally getting around to writing up my trip report from Aug 2 to Aug 16. Using Microsoft word to type it and then do a cut and paste to put it in the website.
We had to fly to Dallas on American Airlines Sunday night Aug 1 and spend the night since you can’t get to Dallas in time for the morning flight to San Juan to get to Bonaire. Anyway left Dallas to San Juan to Bonaire on Monday at 8 AM and arrived around 8 PM in Bonaire where Renee met us to take us to the Golden Reef Inn. Picked up a car from AB Car Rentals and got the complete insurance. I got the full insurance for a couple of reasons, one piece of mind. Also I checked with State Farm and while they normally cover anything I rent in the US they do not cover outside the US and there was some question as whether my credit card insurance would as well. But as it turns out probably didn’t need it but that’s the insurance game, it’s a form of gambling. After getting to the Inn we shot over to the Lion’s Den for a quick bite to eat. Just had soup and spring rolls and then back to crash at the Inn for the night.
Tuesday we spent the day riding around the entire island, with the exception of Washington Park, to get the lay of the land so to speak. Didn’t have AC in the truck but didn’t really need it as we found it to be quite cooler and lower humidity than Alabama. On the northern loop we stopped at the Rose Inn for lunch. I had the catch of the day Dorado, while Kelly had the salad?? I kid here about coming on vacation to a new restaurant and getting the salad. Ate at Gibi’s and met some of the BT talkers.
Wednesday we snorkeled at Windsock which would make a great first dive too because of the easy access and proximity to town. Didn’t find any markers for it but it is just north of Belhem which is marked and actually close enough hard to tell the difference between the 2. Next on to Alice in Wonderland followed by Pink Beach. Saw the usual suspects including a couple of turtles, spotted eagle rays, and 2 different eels, one yellow with spots the other long thin white with black spots. Went to Casablanca for dinner and got the mixed grill for 2. As stated in previous posts this was very good and enough for leftovers the next day. I think this was one of the best meals we had. Reheating it the next evening wasn’t as good but I never care for leftovers unless I freeze it and have it a month later.
Thursday we snorkeled Andreas I and 1000 Steps. At Andreas I we parked at the top of the hill as I questioned the ability of the truck to get back up the hill and heck it wasn’t but a few steps to the bottom. Nice shade areas here with huts set up along the shore. A little tricky finding a spot to get out from the beach through the rocks and coral. 1000 Steps was easy to get out from. In all the spots we carried a 2 liter bottle of frozen water and stashed it in our towels and flip flops so when we finished we had cold water to drink. Sometimes it had thawed and was warm though. Leftovers from Casablanca for dinner.
Friday was cloudy and looking like serious rain so we decided this would be our Washington Park day. Got there about 10 although I had hoped to be there at 8. $10 each to get in and 30 minutes of arm wrestling to get Kelly to quit jabbering with the park ranger we were off on the long route. Kelly says the brochure claims it takes 2 & ½ hours to go the long route. I assume that is for some fast sightseers as it took us 4 & ½ and we didn’t snorkel or climb the mountain. The ranger said “if you were good”, what ever that means, it would take about 1 &1/2 hours to climb the mountain. There is a trail to the top but we would not have had time. At the spot where one can do bird watching Kelly got startled and bothered by the large iguanas. But the birds are almost tame to the point of flying in to open windows of our truck looking for either food or water. The road is not as rough as expected and most any truck can navigate without any worry and probably car too as we have worse roads here in Alabama sometimes in town. At some point in the week we had shopped at the Warehouse and then the Cultimara in town. Cultimara had significantly better selections except for one brand of mustard that I picked up at the Warehouse. After I made one sandwich and claimed that I really liked that mustard Kelly proceeded to bust that jar on the floor. As fate would have it we were never able to find it at either store again. She, Kelly, doesn’t want me to be too happy.
Saturday we took the ferry to Klein Bonaire. We were going to do the drift snorkel but the guy driving the boat said it was not a good day for that so we with 4 others to where he dropped folks off at No Name Beach. We took the 12:00 trip over and the 4:30 trip back. We walked a good ways south from No Name Beach and then got in the water and basically snorkeled back. There is a small wall like reef that runs along the shore about 30 yards out. We noticed that while we were on the outside of this reef that there were a lot of big parrot fish and other fish on the inside of the reef. Probably would have been the other way if we stayed on the inside. We also walked around quiet a bit up the beach and towards the interior. Gets warm quick towards the interior as the winds dies down and I noticed that there are a lot of sand spurs in the interior. My flip flops were covered with them after walking back there. Went to the Garden Café for dinner and I got the special plate that was a sampler. Not sure what all was on it but everything was very good. White stuff, red stuff, more white stuff, some fried stuff, sausages, and some green stuff. I liked it all.
Sunday went to Jeff Davis site first and then to Karpata. Tried to find La Daniea’s Leap but it isn’t marked on the road. So we ended up at Karpata. From there we were able to snorkel down to La Daniea’s Leap and drift back . Saw a turtle at Karpata otherwise the usual sightings. Days later we stopped along the road at where we approximated the leap should be and walked down to the shoreline. There was a yellow rock with the name “Hofi Di Jolande “ typed on it. We ate at Chibi Chibi’s that night and I had the catch of the day which was Dorado and seemed like in most places the catch of the day was always Dorado ( Mahi Mahi, dolphin). One thing though probably because of the time , around 6:00 PM, it was extremely hot since we had no breeze. Probably was the only place I was uncomfortable and in a hurry to leave. I was burning up.
Monday we had a snorkel from Renee and it was great. She pointed out several things we would have never noticed on our own. At one place there was barracuda about one inch long, shrimp, jelly fish and lobster. That night we ate at the Old Inn and got the Indonesian Special for 2. It cost around 45 guilders each but it was an enormous amount of food. We ate off that for 2 days and it was good. Like the mixed grill at Casablanca I would get that again.
Tuesday we went to Torri’s Reef which in my opinion was not the best for snorkeling although it was a very easy area to enter since you can get in on a small canal that feeds the salt pans. It’s a fair distance to get to the reef though and a bit deep to see well snorkeling. We never did do any diving because we felt you could see most everything snorkeling. Renting wetsuits, tanks and a regulator for Kelly would end up costing us close to $90 a day so we opted just to snorkel. Leftovers for dinner
Wednesday through Sunday we moved to Sorobon. Thought it was great, not many people. About 7 or 8 other couples. We snorkeled the reef there and thought it was the best one we tried. It is a bit of a walk and once we kayaked to it and decided kayaking wasn’t any easier than walking. One is just a different kind of pain than the other. During the part of our stay we ate at Pasa Bon Pizza and had the fish pizza, which was very good. It did not have a strong fish flavor very subtle. Also had hamburgers at the City Café which was very good , the Cuban Empanada at Buddy’s restaurant, Belle Vista I believe it is called and had a breakfast at the Lost Penguin all of which was good.
Some general observations. The Golden Reef Inn was nice, clean and in a quiet neighborhood close to “town”. AC worked well and the refrigerator/freezer was a good size. Most evenings we sat on the porch reading. Think I read close to 12 books. Neighbors probably thought that is all we did because in the morning we would be sitting out there drinking coffee and reading when they left and then in the evening we they returned for the night we would be sitting there reading sipping on brights. No where on the island did we run in to a mosquito or bug problem. I had brought plenty of 100% DEET spray but never opened it. Never had bad or slow service in any restaurant or any bad food. Had no problems with theft or crime in any way. Weather was great, not hot although Kelly actually got a little cool at night. One thing I would bring with me next time is one of those large triple insulated cups to put ice and water in or other drinks. I use one playing golf and it will keep ice and water for a day and a half. Also because we got cold snorkeling I would definitely bring wetsuits next time. Water was considerably colder than what we are used to. In south Florida and Cozumel water temperatures are 85-86 F right now. ATM cards worked fine at MCB banks with no charges. I would bring less clothing next time. My charger worked for my camera and my AA batteries with out any problems but I used a surge protector. If you buy regular Amstel beer the bottles are returnable but the other brands or Brights are not from what I was told. Since this is getting very long I’ll stop now. I will try and put some picture up later. One last thing no problems with flights back on American to San Juan although we had to fly around TS Earl and then on to Dallas and finally Huntsville. Even our 2 cats didn't seem made at us for abandoning them for 2 weeks.