17 June 2012 | Kralendijk, Bonaire
Distance: 423 nautical miles
Min: 110 on 15/6
Max: 150 on 13/6
Bonaire is a Caribbean island east of Central America and North of Venezuela.
Weather: almost constant at 27 degrees celsius
Terrain: Outstandingly managed and protected land and marine parks. Flat, scant vegetation and natural resources of beaches and salt.
Size: 290 km2
Language: Dutch, Papiamentu (Spanish and English are also spoken)
Currency: US Dollar
Local Activities: Scuba diving, Snorkeling and Windsurfing
Bonaire's coral reefs are their most precious asset. The coastlines of Bonaire, Lac and Klein Bonaire have been designated as protected areas.
Coral reefs are complex associations of living animals. Stoney corals are the major reef builders, they look like brown/green colored rocks. The tiny animal, called a polyp, extracts calcium from seawater and deposits this beneath itself as a limestone skeleton. The polyps of one coral head are all linked together into one giant colony. The limestone structures produced by stoney corals provide a perfect home for myriads of tiny bottom dwelling animals as well as being a safe haven for the dazzling array of reef fish you see swimming above the reefs.
Bonaire and Klein Bonaire are surrounded by one almost continuous fringing reef. A shallow and narrow terrace slopes down gently from the shoreline to a depth of 10 meters (30 feet) and then drops, typically at an angle of 45 degrees, to depths of 40 meters (130 feet). There are, of course some variations to this general description, like vertical walls or double reef formations.
We left Trinidad on Friday morning but the Simrad did not work. We turned back and spent the weekend at Coral Cove Marina. They fixed the Simrad on Monday and we left Trinidad behind on Tuesday, on our way to Bonaire.
The wind was fair except for a swell of 33 knots on day 2. Luckily it only lasted for an hour or two. Eddie took the stearing and Johan reefed the main when the wind went down to 20
The pole that Johan built up is working quite well. We were able to cover more than 100 miles per day in very low winds.
We had one rainstorm with higher (22+) wind. It however did not last long enough for Johan to finish washing himself.
The simrad, fixed in Trinidad is still causing problems . It is not able to handle any load. It is a huge disappointment, seeing that we need a bnackup in the event of a failure of the main simrad. We will have to buy a new one to take with us when we arrive in Bonaire.
The information we had on Vonaire was very limited. We were not able to find the Marina very easily. We got a waypoint from Ian, but we added a few of our own, ignoring his. Our ignorance caused some turmoil in finding the moorings.
The wind came up quite strong (25 knots) during the last 8 miles before we reached Kralendijk. Johan was steering by hand and did a splendid job.
When we arrived Johan and I went shopping and discovereed the supermarket called Tops. We bought very nice bread, as the Dutch can bake. Dinner was therefore sandwiches with cheese and/or cold meat. I did not feel like cooking after the passage and just wanted to start my Sabbath, enjoying the very nice view of the marina.
The water is very clear and you can see the bottom of the ocean. Eddie took a swim when we went to the shop. He apparently got a fritght when he got out of the water. A vin appeared where he were minutes ago, flapped and disappeared into the water. Was it possibly a shark... He is not too confident to get into the water again.
There are plenty restaurants and bars on the beach, but none of the noise we heard in so many other islands. I fell asleep with very nice calming music in the background.
What a rude awakening in the early morning hours with music blasting in my ears. The restaurant/bar closest to us changed into a nightclub. The music continued until 03h00. The people was howeer still around for another hour or two.
We went to customs in the morning, just to find out that we are not allowed on the island without a visa. Johan and I have Seaman's passports which grant us permission to stay for 48 hours. Eddie is however not allowed to go ahore until we leave the island. They warned us that we would have the same problem in all the Dutch islands. We still want to go to Curacao and will face the music when we get there.
We were like naughty kids when we returned from customs. Instead of going back to the boat with the dinghie, Eddie and I walked back to the dinghie dock at Karel's bar. Johan went around to fetch us, but decided to meet up with us on shore instead. Technically, Eddie was not on the boat yet (after being at customs) and could therefore not be deported. They said he is not allowed to come ashore from the boat, but he was not on the boat yet.
We went with him to buy presents for his kids. We stopped at an icecream parlour where he enjoyed home made icecream before his return to the boat. He wanted us to join him in shopping but we kept on explaining that it is Sabbath and we do not shop at all on a Sabbath.
We spent the rest of the afternoon reading whilst Eddie snorkeled around the boat. Karel's bar is on stelts in the ocean and technically not on the shore. We "allowed" Eddie to have lunch with Johan on Sunday - Father's day BBQ special.
Eddie got news in Trinidad that his brother was diagnosed with cancer in his throat. They planned to operate on him to remove the cancer and Eddie did not get any news from his daughter yet. We went to the cellphone shop but Eddie decided not to get a new simcard because there were still TT$12 on his Trinidad simcard. It might have been a mistake, because he was not able to make any connection with his daughter in SA.
It affected him so badly that his blood pressure shot up tremendously. It did not help that we were on shore, and he all by himself on the boat. The devil is not kind to you when you are idle. I tried to get internet access to contact his kids for news on his brother, but it did not work. None of the keys at Karel's worked and the other wifi spots were not open until the afternoon.
Eddie reached the stage where he wants to return home to South Africa instead of continuing to Panama with us.
Eddie's brother is waiting for chemo and radiation to start. There is no need for him to rush home and he is therefore still sailing with us to Panama. We will assess the situation once in Panama.