After arriving in Bonaire nearly a month ago, we have totally fallen in love with this unique little island. It has a very mixed population, a strong Dutch influence with a Caribbean twist plus there are quite a few Spanish speaking Venezuelans here too. The snorkelling here is fantastic, straight off the boat we have a wall of coral behind us and sand in front leading towards a small shallow reef which runs along the town frontage. Huge parrot fish munch on the coral, beautiful Queen and French angel fish are abundant, and we have watched a hawksbill turtle by the boat surface right next to us whilst snorkelling completely unafraid of his goggled audience.
Chris, Saff, Lily and Tom arrived as guests on board Joy shortly after we arrived, and we spent 10 days with them here, plenty of beach days, snorkelling and of course dominoes. Water sports are plentiful here, water-skiing and wakeboarding for the boys gave us a great opportunity to whizz around in a small speed boat. The highlight of their stay for me was watching Tom (almost 13) get up on the wakeboard and stay up for several minutes with a huge smile on his face, riding with one hand looking very comfortable and cool. We all had wind surfing lessons at Lac Bay, a beautiful protected bay on the south east coast with crashing waves on the reef outside, but inside it is shallow (waist deep with pixie legs) and as warm as a bath, so the occasional dunking really didn’t matter. Two hours of great fun, and a few aching muscles after.
We had the opportunity to see the southern part of the island by hire car, the road runs right around the south coast so we had spectacular views out to sea one side of the road and glistening pink salt lakes on the other. There were quite a few flamingos in the lakes, although a bit too far away to get a good look at them, the wild donkeys however were more obliging along the road side. The landscape is so dry and barren it is a wonder how they all survive.
We took the car ‘off road’ and followed the unmade track to Lac Cai which is right around the other side of Lac Bay where the windsurfers were. This is an area where the bay disappears into the mangrove swamps, stunningly beautiful but full of biting critters as we found out when we stopped at the end of the track by the beach for a picnic, we were actually on their lunch menu. There were piles of conch shells, a practice now banned in the waters around Bonaire as this has driven them to near extinction and when you see the many thousands of shells here, you can understand why.