|Logbook||Entry 4 - 2006|
Date First Posted: January 28, 2006
Log Entry Start Date - January 19, 2006
Log Entry End Date - January 28, 2006
Location Covered - Bonaire
Present Location: Bonaire
Latitude: 12 09.8 N Longitude: 68 17.1 W
Weather: Partly cloudy
Distance covered since last entry: 0
Total distance traveled since departure from Antigua: 477
Upon arriving in Bonaire, we checked into the Harbor Village Marina, just north of the main town of Kralendijk. The marina is very nice, and we’ve got a perfect spot on a wall near the gas dock, on the side closest to town, the marina office, and the Internet Café. This photo is across the entrance to the marina at one of the restaurants in the complex, as we watch the sunset. Encore II is the last sailboat in the background.
While still in Los Roques, we had called ahead and made contact with a rigger who can help with our broken furling system. He came down to our boat once we arrived and told us he had found a used replacement for us in Ft. Lauderdale, and it was coming by Fedex. As of Sunday, it had gotten as far as Puerto Rico, and we hope it arrives Monday, so we can install it on Tuesday. This would allow us to leave Wednesday and get to Aruba in time to meet Jennifer, but it would be an overnight passage and the timing would be tight. Instead, we found an inexpensive connecting flight for her from Aruba to Bonaire, so we’ve decided to just take our time here, and perhaps bypass Curacao and Aruba on the way to Panama.
The local Internet Café also supports a wi-fi network, so we’re connected at high speed while we’re here in Bonaire. The owners of the Café are from Minnesota, and live on their catamaran, anchored off the town.
Salt Ponds, Bonaire
We’ve rented a car, and now have spent two days exploring the island. The south half is perfectly flat, and is covered with salt ponds, where sea water is evaporated and the salt collected (to be sold probably as expensive “sea salt”).
Lac Bay, Bonaire
On the windward side of the island is a good sized bay that is protected by a reef, and was filled with windsurfers.
On the leeward side of the island, there was a beach with about a dozen kite boarders. They use a short board about like a wakeboard, it a large canopy like sail/parachute that is about 50 feet in the air. The conditions were perfect for them with 20+ knots of wind, and no waves.
Toward the middle of the island, they have "land yacht racing", with small go-carts powered by windsurfer sails.
At the south end of the island, there were dozens of small concrete huts that were used by the slaves while working the salt ponds.
In contrast, the north end of the island is very rolly with small mountains. There are numerous ponds that provide perfect conditions to the hundreds of pink flamingos.
Our rental “car” was actually a 4 passenger S-10 pickup truck. This was needed in order to explore the Washington National Park at the very north of the island. We were warned that the roads were bad, and they were. It took all afternoon to make a 35 km loop of the park. The picture at right shows about the best road in the park, most have deep ruts that are hard to navigate.
On the northeast (windward) shore, the coral and rock cliffs provided a moonscape type appearance against the seas crashing ashore.
There are 9-12 foot seas running with 25 knot winds, and the view was spectacular with geysers shooting up in the air.
These were the seas that we sailed through. They're very impressive crashing on the shore, but much smaller than some we've seen.
Blow Holes, Bonaire
Cutting through the interior, there are forests made out of tall cactus plants, exotic birds, and thousands of lizards. Although we saw only two of the indigenous iguanas (sort of a turquoise stripe) which are a couple feet long, there is also a smaller type of lizard that we see everywhere we go. The larger ones are about a foot long, and have splotches of turquoise and spots. When we stop for a picnic lunch, they converge looking for handouts and are very tame.
Bonaire is known for its SCUBA diving. There are 60 dive sites along the coast and another dozen or so on an offshore island (Klein Bonaire). With a dozen or more dive shops, the economy seems tightly coupled. Even the rental car agencies mainly rent pickup trucks that the divers use to carry their gear. In fact, a wooden rack for dive tanks is standard in the back of every truck.
While we are waiting here in Bonaire, we are getting to meet more of the people that are participating in the Blue Water Rally. This is similar to the Expo 98 Rally we were in before, and consists of about 35 boats that will cruise in company around the world. Most of them arrived in Antigua in December from the Canary Islands, and they have until early February to cruise the Caribbean before they’ll rendezvous in the San Blas islands of Panama. We’ll be crossing paths with them often, and have now met about a half dozen of the boats. Two of the nicest boats are a Discovery 55, with 4 people from the UK onboard, and an Oyster 56 from Toronto. These boats are very similar to Encore II, so we have a lot in common.
It is now January 28th, and Jennifer has arrived here in Bonaire. We didn’t get the genoa furler repaired until late on the 25th, so rather than rushing to Aruba, we had Jennifer fly here instead. She was able to bring our backup files for the website, so we can now update the website and add new entries. We were unable to get a replacement laptop in time, so we’ll have to wait until Panama to get a new backup.
It looks like the wind and seas off of Columbia may settle down a bit by Tuesday, so we’ll wait until Monday to clear out of Bonaire and start west. We won’t stop in Curacao unless we have to, and probably won’t stop in Aruba. It will be about 675 miles to the San Blas Islands of Panama, and should take us about 4 days to arrive.
Meanwhile, its Happy Hour at Karel's Beach Bar (and dinghy dock) in downtown Kralendijk, the principal city in Bonaire.
In the San Blas, we don’t expect to have much outside contact, perhaps at best cell phones. Our next website update may not be until we reach the Panama Canal Zone.
This site was last updated 02/19/06