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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
02/24/2008, Lac Baai

We traveled to the southeast side of the island today to check out the windsurfing haven. Lac Baai is a large, shallow, sand bottom mangrove bay just behind a fringing reef. It is on the windward side of the island and almost always has wind in the 20s if not the high teens. If you wipe out the water is deep enough to break your fall but shallow enough to make it easy to stand up and get going again with a beach start.

Em, Hideko, Roq and I visited the bay in the morning and watched so pros doing lessons for 12 year olds that were better than I'll ever be. We came back in the afternoon for lessons of our own.

Hideko made big strides and was riding around the bay with greatly improved control after some tips from the instructor. I was tired of raising the mast with the uphaul and came to learn one thing: how to beach start. The instructor gave me just the tips I needed and before long I was getting going with the mast in the air everytime.

The water in Lac Baai is very shallow and thus very warm. It was a great day under the sun with just the right amount of wind for us.

Deep Diving
02/23/2008, Andrea I

We went out diving today (what a surprise). We did Em's deep dive. In a futile attempt at demonstrating the wit dulling affects of nitrogen narcosis, I asked Em to do a math problem at the surface and a similar but different problem at 100 feet. She did the math faster at 100 feet. Go figure. We had a great day diving and another tasty evening at the pizza place afterwards.

Rainy Day Dominoes
02/22/2008, Harbor Village Marina

It rained a bit today. The weather in Bonaire this time of year seems to be a bit overcast. You get some wonderful days and a lot of great afternoons but it is very windy and you can get a bit of overcast. Not a crew to fight the weather we let the dive gear get a good rinse and played Dominoes.

More Scuba
02/21/2008, Front Porch

We did some more diving today. We are now sporting a proper Bonaire dive pickup instead of the beater van that we had when my parents were here. The truck is smaller but works much better for diving.

We did a night dive at Front Porch. It was a great dive. Em knocked out her skills and while she was to navigating with a compass and dive light a huge 5 foot tarpoon followed her using her dive light to hunt.

Dive Sites
02/20/2008, 1,000 Steps

Cuz Em decided to go for her Advanced Open Water certification while we were in Bonaire. Bonaire is such a great dive destination I can't blame her. There are great beach entry spots all up and down the coast.

The photo here shows "1,000 Steps", a great location off a nice beach at the base of a cliff. To get there from the road you have to climb down about 70 steps (with your gear). The site is named after what it feels like when you have to climb back up the steps after your dive with all of your gear.

The entrances to most of the Bonaire dive sites are often a bit rocky but quickly taper off into a 15 foot sand bottom running a hundred feet or so to a wonderful coral wall that drops down to 100 to 130 feet. We had a great day in the water followed by some spicy lasagna at the local Pizza place.

03/20/2008 | Randy sr.
I counted the steps when we were there. There are 72 of them not 50.
Yellow Submarine
02/19/2008, Bonaire

There are various dive shops in Bonaire. We moored just in front of Yellow Submarine the night we arrived and the facility looked pretty comprehensive. They have lots of class room space, a small shop, a great compressor setup friendly Dutch staff, and plenty of gear.

They did a visual inspection on our tanks at their facility on the south side of town today and set us up with tank cards so that we can just swap out their tanks and get our tanks filled quickly. We have four of ours and two of theirs which lets Em, Hideko and I do two tank dives.

We did a dive right off of Yellow Submarine's beach late this afternoon and it was a fantastic spot.

The Folks Fly Home
02/18/2008, Bonaire

Mom and Dad flew home today so we spent some time onboard today cleaning up. We miss Mom and Dad already.

We have been getting to know the folks on Banjo next door and they are a wonderful couple. Diving nuts like the rest of us. They have given us several great diving tips and other local knowledge. Cruisers are general just wonderful folks.

Hideko and I have officially added Bonaire to our places we could live list. The island is quaint but not too deserted. There's a great place for breakfast in town, a solid pizza place, many wonderful restaurants with various cuisines, enough shopping options to get electronics, groceries and other stuff as needed (in particular fresh milk) and, of course, fantastic water sports. We're looking forward to testing out the Windsurfing and Kite surfing beachs. The island is not crowded at all (15,000) and get cruise ships far less freqently than most ports in the neighborhood. Best of all the people of Bonaire are friendly and kind.


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