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Little Bonaire Packs a Punch

Author: Clark H.
Date of Trip: March 2010

We just came back from one of the best diving vacations ever. Wanting to get away from the cattle boats of Egypt, we decided to go a bit further, to Bonaire. Recommended by friends, who are regulars on this Island, we made a reservation at Bonaire Sea View Apartments, a private place on the hill of Republiek, north of the main town.

Just below Norman Everts’ house, our host instructed us to tell the taxi driver. We don’t know Norman Everts, but the taxi driver did and brought us to the right place. In spite of the early morning hour, 4:30 AM, it was still dark, our host Wietze was already waiting for us. He showed us the apartment and left us alone, we needed some rest after our 9 hours flight from Amsterdam.

The next morning we were in for a pleasant surprise. Our host had put some breakfast in the fridge (and a couple of beers and a bottle of wine, but it was a bit early for that). When we opened the huge sliding doors we saw what our tired eyes had missed when we arrived in the dark. What a majestic view! Right in front of us a botanical succulent garden and down the winding road we saw the Caribbean, Klein Bonaire and in the distance we even saw Curacao. In a tree on the left the local parrots were noisily eating the beans and the hummingbirds were swarming the little white flowers.

After breakfast we walked in the garden around the house and up to have coffee with our host. Wietze is a very hospitable guy and he shared lot of information on his favorite dive sites (quite a few) and about other things to see and do on Bonaire.

While we were talking Rob from Bonaire Rent a Car arrived with the rental pickup truck, exactly on time. You need a car on Bonaire, and for shore diving the pickup truck is the best. And thus our daily routine began.

We started our day waking up with the sound of the numerous birds in the garden. The cool breeze was coming in through the screened shutters, we did not need the airco once! A relaxed breakfast on the veranda looking out over Kralendijk. Then we did some diving. Now we are not the dive, dive, dive kind of people. It’s vacation, remember? So we did two sometimes only one dive a day and in the meantime came back to lounge on the deck chairs of our apartment.

The diving was so easy, so beautiful. Wietze gave us the best dive sites and good advice on when to dive them. The ridges of Karpata and the double reef of Angel City were the best. Of the leeward side that is. Wietze also convinced us to go with Bonaire East Coast Diving who dive the windward side of the island. Now we loved diving the west side of the island, but the east side is something different. Ger and Bas did an excellent job guiding our dives from their comfortable boat. One elegantly flying Eagle Ray after another on Funchi reef. Big Green Turtles too, and Stingrays. The second dive in the Blue Hole was even better. The coral wall was absolutely amazing. We were swarmed with Tarpons, saw a couple of big Green Morays and again a lot of Turtles. Such a pity we did these dives on our last diving day, we would have loved to go another time.

As I said before, diving is not the only thing in the world for us. We also enjoyed our trip in the Washington Slagbaai National park. It took us six hours to see it all. The museum at the entrance is small, but has a nice collection. The blow hole, the old light house, the beaches, the iguanas at the well that eat out of your hand. They will actually climb you to get there so you better have your hands near the ground! We had a nice lunch at the Slagbaai plantation building and snorkeled there too. A bit disappointing, not the best place to snorkel on Bonaire. We loved touring the national park, but the cherry on the cake was the Aerial sightseeing tour we did with the Bon Aero Club. This is absolutely the best way to see the unique character of Bonaire. To see the island from above: everybody should do it!

Unfortunately all good things come to an end. But we are planning to come back already.

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