This was my ninth trip to Bonaire since February of 2000. I really do enjoy the beauty that Bonaire has to offer on land, with friends and in the sea. Trip number ten will be in March with my husband so I donít have time for PBD to set in. I am going to try to shorten up my report so it wonít be as long as previous ones. Letís hope I can!
I used Air Jamaica both ways. I made it through all customs and checkpoints without any bag searches which was a bonus! All flights were on time and wonderful. The only hitch was that prior to leaving Air Jamaica had cancelled the MoBay to Boston leg of my trip for the way home. My travel agent, Kim at Caradonna, was right on top of things and gave me my options. I could come home four days early or come home a day late. That was a no brainer!!!
My first stop on the Saturday that I arrived was the Cinnamon Art Gallery to see Jake and Lindaís beautiful work. Our hosts of BT are two very talented people!!! The two artists opening were Nina Ledezara and Tony Trinadad and their art was nicely presented at the gallery. It appeared to be a very successful evening.
I always make it a point to go to JanArtís open house on Friday evenings. I love her paintings. The fish are my favorites. I bought three more of her prints. I just canít help myself!
Marlise has a little pink store just north or town on the main road. She makes beautiful dive bags and lots of other nice things. She also will make the Bonaire flag for anyone interested.
The store at the Divi is one of my favorites. Luti, one of the dive masters at Divi owns it now and he always has a lot of nice merchandise as well as some staple food supplies.
I did my grocery shopping at Cultamara. I usually buy breakfast, lunch, snack and soda supplies at Cultamara and then have my dinners out in the evenings.
I find all the restaurants in Bonaire to be incredibly good. I didnít get to as many as I would have liked to this trip as I had dinner with friends on island on several nights. Casablanca is one that I didnít get to. You need to go early in the week because when you get the mixed grill that I like to get, you have left overs for three more meals!! I didnít get to the Swiss Chalet either and that is another one of my favorites. Who am I kidding! They are all my favorites! Thatís just one of the reasons that I keep going back!!
Gibiís: I was so sad that Gibiís will be no longer. I have had many good meals of local food there. Gibi and is big smile was always joining us and making sure everything was just right. I have enjoyed meeting all the BT folks on island and have been able to put the faces with the names of the people that I felt like I already knew. This trip there were six of us from New England all there having way too much fun thanks to Tom C. and his props.
Bo-Bo Jans: It is located on a little side street just past It Rains Fishes. Most people just do take out but I like to eat in their little back garden. I went there several times. Their steak is delicious and so are their ribs and both are very reasonably priced.
Chez Lucilleís: She now has an elegant open dining restaurant nestled beautifully in the Harbor Village Resort. Her presentation of food and service were excellent as always. I had the tomato basil soup as an appetizer that was to die for and then for the main course I had the garlic shrimp. It was a very leisurely enjoyable evening!
It Rains Fishes: Located on the waterfront in town. I had Wahoo in mustard sauce and it just melted in your mouth!!! They are noted for their mustard sauce and I canít tear myself away from always ordering it when I am there.
Pasa Bon Pizza: It is a really nice pizza place just to the north of town on the main road. They say they are at the only stoplight in Bonaire which is a cute little ad for them because the stoplight is on their fence and not a real traffic light as everyone knows there are none on Bonaire! There is a nice dining area there with a bar. The pizzas are really, really good!!! Pasa Bon Pizza is open till eleven at night so it is another good place to eat for those late night arrivals! Just take note that it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. There pizza is so good it was just mentioned in the New York Times!! I love their fish pizza and this time the special was topped with artichoke hearts, broccoli, fresh fish and clam sauce!! Yummy!!!!! It was so good that I had it twice!
Donna & Georgioís: It is an Italian restaurant located on the main road in town with outside dining and a nice presentation of food. I had one of the specials which was barracuda in a lemon sauce and it just melted in my mouth!!! It was my first time to ever eat barracuda! I also had their tara misue (no idea on spelling) for dessert and it was to die for!!!!
Chibi Chibi: Chibi Chib is in the Divi resort and you sit on an outside deck over looking the water and is great at sunset time. I had coconut shrimp that was excellent.
Dive Inn ---I got a great deal this trip and stayed at the Dive Inn for the first time. The room was very clean and well kept. They couldnít give me the room that I requested so they upgraded me to an ocean view room. Was it beautiful to awaken and draw the sliding glass door drapes to see the ocean water glistening in the sunlight! The Cha Cha pier is their front yard for easy entry into the water.
My first week there was Regatta. I found it to be quite interesting. I loved seeing all the sails in the water. The first day when all the boats sailed down the coast was breath taking. I got to see the parade of nations where every one dressed in their national cloths and carried flags. They had another boat parade of the dive and tour boats and Ulf and Dee were kind enough to invite me along for the sail. They all decorated their boats and sailed up and down the coast at sunset. It was a lot of fun.
In town at night they close off a street and had food and souvenir stands. I guess a lot of people come over from Curacao and Aruba and the street was very crowded with activity. They also had music on a stage. It was very interesting and fun but I think once is enough for me. I must be getting old because I am really getting mellow! Renee and I did a takeout from one of the stands and went back to my room and ate outside on the patio over looking the moon lit water. I had a mixed grill and tried Kobrito.
I stopped by at the Divi to see the manager, Frits. He left a great impression with me when he remembered me after only meeting me once at a Divi manager Cocktail party the previous trip. He has done a great job revitalizing the Divi. The new lounging area by the tanning pier is awesome. Anyway, he invited me to the managerís cocktail party and it was great! They had these young dancers from Curacao perform and they were fantastic!! I also used the Diviís new internet room down by their southern most pier. It has air co and four computers that were reasonably fast.
I met a lot of new BT folks this trip. I just canít say enough of how wonderful BT is and all the great friends I have met through this board!!! John and Asa Stiggard (STARBUCKS), Bill and Donna Goodwin, Ruth, Greg, Liz and Ed, Martin and Angela and Smack, Tom C.ís friend. As you know there were six of us from New England, Myself, Denise, Sue, Geoffrey, Tom and Smack. We are all friends thanks to NE BT cookouts at Corney Ann and John Carterís house who I will get to see in March! I actually made three cam appearances which is unusual for me because I never rent a vehicle so it is tough to get there. The first week I did a guided snorkel with Renee and John and Asa joined us! John talked Renee into going to the cams before dropping them off. I didnít have any of my signs with me so I put the new dive bag that I had just gotten from Marlise in front of me because it had kissing angels on it and mine and my husbandís initials on it so he would know that I was thinking of him. John treated us to a fruit smoothie while we were at Bongos! Boy was it good! The first Tuesday that Sue, Geoffrey and Denise were there the girls went to the cams with the purple hats on before going off to Gibiís. Then the new England gang planned a day together and the cams with the tiara were the first stop before heading up to Captain Donís for the afternoon dive and snorkel where I met Charlie the huge house tarpon! On another guided snorkel with Renee, Liz and Ed joined us. I got to spend a little more time with Martin and Angela and Ruth the day we did the snorkel and KFC with the kids from Maria Hopners. That was a great experience for all involved!
I split up my morning time with Reneeís guided snorkeling and sailing on the Woodwind with Ulf and Dee. I love doing Reneeís guided snorkels and I think her prices are very reasonable. It is like having your own personal guide any time you want one to take you wherever you want to go!!! She knows all the good entries and she always has something good to show you. I call her old eagle eyes!! She sees things that I would have missed all the time!!!
I also love sailing on the Woodwind with Ulf, who is the captain, and his wife Dee. Ulf and Dee are really nice folks and Dee is also great at spotting the critters. It is a really nice way to spend your morning. The Woodwind sails from the Divi and does a drift snorkel off No Name Beach on Kline and then another stop to Andrea I, II, Pietreís Pillar or Small Wall with drinks and lunch included. My friend Sue also helps out on Sundays and when there is a large group aboard. My husband and I call her the ambassador of Bonaire because she is so friendly and likeable. Sue also shares her knowledge of fish ID and fish behavior during the snorkels! I was very lucky this trip to see not just one but two turtle hatching releases over on Kline!!!! One were Loggerheads and the other were Hawksbills. It was just awesome !!!!! I also saw two dolphins in the distance while sailing!
I did many different sites this year as the water was calm and had easy entries for me. I have been to Bonaire in January, February, March, September, December and now October. I have decided October is my favorite month because the water is so calm and warm. I usually wear a two mil skin with a three mil long sleeve shortie and sometimes even a helmet as I usually freeze, but this trip all I needed was the two mil or a bathing suit!! It is very hot and humid on land during the day but the nights are still enjoyable.
The sites I went to this trip were: in front of Green Submarine, a drift from Carib to Plaza, Plaza, Between Margate Bay and Red Beryl, a site that was after Old Blue and just before Bopec (where the Windjammer is), Invisibles, Torries Reef, Lac Bay, Red Slave, Calabas (Divi), Andrea I, Andrea II, Pietreís Pillar, Eboís Reef, Jerrys, and No Name.
All sites were great and had their own flavor so I guess I would say they are all my favorites! J At Red Slaves I was snorkeling amongst huge beautiful gorgonians and saw four huge Tarpons. At the site up near Bopec there were rolling brain and other corals and that is where I got to see four of the usually deep Queen Angels! At Lac Bay you had to walk a ways but it was just breathtaking when you got there. It is very shallow so you are right there and I spotted my own juvenile Queen Angel. Renee spotted at least ten octopus when we were there!!! At Calabas I watched an octopus move about for about 15 minutes and I even got to see him ink when he scared himself landing on or near a sandiver.J
Some of my other highlights were: snorkeling amongst a school of huge Rainbow parrotfish, seeing at least 9 turtles including the three flipper resident one at Kline, a cute little baby trunkfish that looks like dice but only black and yellow, a huge grouper, a huge lobster, a Cubera Snapper, a Jolthead Porgi, a Midnight blue Parrotfish, Green Morays, Spotted Moreys, Tile fish, Glass Eye Snapper, a male Hairy Blenny, squid, and all the regular critters!!!
When I wasnít out with Reneeís guided snorkels or sailing on the Woodwind, I would be snorkeling around the divi and it is just incredible! The cement pier is full of life and the corals continue to grow! The southern pier of the Divi has beautiful corals and sponges on the pillars. Of course I still love hanging above the little boat that they have sunk to the right of the cement pier with all kinds of life on and in it. I also snorkeled down towards the town pier and there is lots of fish life in the rocks along the shore!
I guess I donít know how to do a short trip report just like I donít know how to pack lightly! I am already looking forward to my next trip!
I havenít had a chance to do my pictures yet but I promise I will post a few when I do!
Happy snorkeling and diving!!!!!