Vitamin C is an essential, water soluble, nutrient necessary for a healthy life.
We have been snorkeling at least once every day. The nearby swim area, with depths to 60’ well beyond our range, is full of life. On our first day here within 15 minutes of getting wet we saw eel, tropical fish, and a small dinner plate sized Green Sea Turtle. Don’t get any ideas by the comparison, they are highly protected & well watched.
We have also made two trips by boat to Klein Bonaire, a small island which is part of the Marine Park, only a half mile away.
These dives gave us a look at the wonderful underwater coral gardens surrounding the island.
It was time to explore more, our first stop, Lac Bay . Located on the east coast it’s shoreline takes a constant beating from the prevailing trade winds. The bay itself, is protected by a huge coral reef that surrounds the entrance. It’s common to see large waves send geysers of spray into the air as they crash only a few hundred meters away.
With it’s sand bottom and large sea grass beds we went looking for the marine life that makes this habitat, home. With any luck we expected to see both conch & turtles and although protected they would be great subjects for Jeff’s brother, David, to photograph.
We entered the water at a near deserted beach site to find a very strong incoming current, which gave us choppy conditions and poor visibility. We drifted over the grass beds into deeper water only to find that the bay made a perfect location for windsurfers. So, after about 30 minutes we decided to try another spot.
Driving south, David, stopped at the southern tip of the island by one of the five lighthouses that guard this islands rocky coast.
As we “ turned the corner” and headed north along the islands east coast we passed a giant system of ponds. Operated by the Global Corporation, Cargill, this is Bonaire Solar Salt Works.
Using the traditional Dutch, Dike & Windmill System, seawater is pumped into the ponds using windmills. In the hot sun, the water evaporates, concentrating the salinity of the water, until all moisture is removed. Finally, the salt is collected, washed, and stored in huge piles. Bonaire produces and ships 400,000 tons of industrial grade salt, yearly.
This pond system also serves as its own ecosystem. It provides a natural habitat for brine shrimp which feed other fish and birds including Pink Flamingos.
We were most interested in the pier complex where salt is loaded onto ships. Cargill allows diving & snorkeling around their loading pier, as long as a ship is not there, and we were in luck!
Immediately after entering the water we found ourselves surrounded by tropical fish of every size. The numbers grew as we swam closer to the steel pilings that make up the supports of the football field long pier.
Although we were warned about the dangers of stepping on spiney sea urchins, this was the first time we had seen them. This one, at 15” was one of many that dotted the bottom.
This was a great dive with calm clear water and plenty of marine life. The star of the show was a small Green Sea Turtle. Afraid of scaring the turtle off, David filmed, and the three of us circled from a safe distance. His interest was in eating the short grass growing from the hard bottom.
Leaving the water refreshed, invigorated, and renewed proved our dose of
Vitamin SEA “is” an essential, water soluble, nutrient necessary for a healthy life.
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
J & W