Monday 24 November 2014

Week 35: Having a BLAST in BONAIRE !

Monday November 24th 2014

Bonaire !  You have dazzled us with your great little shops, your lovely “vibe”and beautiful, clean streets (What ?! Actual Sidewalks ?!!!) Free diving opportunities galore ! Crystal clear waters to swim in !  Europeen supermarkets ! Bicycles ! Wind mills ! Gelato ! 

This is such an interesting place too, because, being a Dutch Territory, the sign posts are in Dutch but many people who live here and have businesses here speak Spanish (being so close to Venezuela I guess this makes sense !)

Scooters !

After all of our waiting around in October and early November, we felt that we were due some serious fun and excitement ! So we decided to splurge and rented scooters for a day and toured the entire island! The rental process was simple enough : All we had to do is provide our drivers licenses and pay the fee. I had asked the nice lady multiple times whether my not having a “Motorcycle” class indicated on my drivers license was going to be a problem, and was told that it was not a problem. Great !

The helmet matches the beard, but the bike ? Not so much  

So we geared up with some funky helmets and got on to the scooters...and mere seconds before leaving, as it became obvious that I had NEVER driven anything like this before, all of a sudden the lady looked quite alarmed: “Ju mean to say that ju have no driven one before ?!  Aye aye aye...”  She looked like she was about to pull the plug on our big adventure so I assured her that:  “No no, I HAVE driven one, but it was MANY years ago, I’ll be fine!”, she still looked unsure, but said: 

 “Ju MUST drive slowly , pleasse !

After assuring her that I would be careful, we were ready to go: Meghan bravely putting her life into her mother’s hands by getting on the seat, behind me, and we were off ! 

Okay. Yes, in the first few minutes there were a few “Whooaaaas ! “  and “Oh  S#!T! ”  moments, but as I learned to tame the power of the mighty 50 cc Yamaha ”, (within a mere 15 minutes) all was good and we had a blast !  Meg was very enthusiastic and encouraging: “You are doing very well for a beginner mom!” and by the end of the day I found that I had, in fact, found my inner-biker-chick and felt very comfortable laying it out, full power, as we drove down the quiet ocean side road ! 'Full power' equating of course to about 30 miles per hour ! Most of the day we averaged about 10-15 miles/hour, it’s a good thing Bonaire is a such small island!  Hey, don't knock it ! That's faster than we've been moving on board Amelie over the last 7 months !!!

I was born to scoot !

Matthew of course LOVED this too, although if it was up to him, there would be no stopping, just go-go-go!

Mark and Matthew made a good team as well.....although I think that Mark would have preferred something a little bit more powerful than 50 cc (I saw him eyeing the Harley Davidson's they were renting). The scooter’s performance up hill for their combined weight was, well, I’ll let this picture tell the story.

Mark kept his sense of humour about the whole thing (And Bonaire is thankfully not very hilly!)

On our 8 hour exploration of the Island, we found some great rock formations, some noisy parrots, beautiful ocean views, fast moving lizards and even a swimming iguana ! 

These two sounded like they were having some sort of domestic dispute !

Who knew iguanas could swim ?!

Is the Cactus Bonaire's 'National Flower' ?  It should be!


We saw dozens of awesome looking dive sights, right off the coast (Bonaire is famous for having an enormous quantity of very good dive sites), and...we even saw...FLAMINGOES !


"Jibe City" is a wind surfers paradise !

It was definitely a highlight for us to see these beautiful creatures as they meandered around, with their heads kept mostly underwater, eating up the shrimp that give them their distinctive colour.

Meg loved the flamingos "backward bending legs"

We also saw mountains of SALT (Processed from the salt water).They looked like snow from afar. 

That's a lot of sodium !

These are slaves huts, built for those who worked in the salt mines

More slave huts

Meghan and Mark have been diving right off the boat every day, while Matthew happily swims above them. They could not believe the quality of the diving so close to the boat in the bay.The whole area is a protected marine park and anchoring is not allowed, that is why we have to use a mooring ball at $10 US/night. (The free diving makes up for the expense!)

Daily dives

Happy to be back swimming in the ocean everyday

Our two resident divers also joined a PADI group for a “U-V” night dive; Where special Ultra-Violet Lights are attached to the masks, bringing out the vibrant colours of the coral and other sea creatures in the night !  I will let Meghan tell you all about this in her next blog !

Welkom Sinterklaas !

Being a Dutch Island, Christmas comes early to Bonaire, Sinterklaas actually delivers his presents on December 5th (on St-Nicks Birthday), but on November 22nd he came to town right here in Bonaire, to visit school children ! There was a parade and lots of excitement and we came to understand that Sinterklaas rides on a white horse (or a boat like in the photo below),he carries a staff, has a side kick that looks sort of like a Jester (or clown) and that he wears a hat that looks a lot more like an Archbishops head dress than the red toque we tend to associate with him in our country. I guess he does not need his reindeer in these parts of the world ! It was fun to experience the cultural difference! 

Sinterklaas arrives on December 5th 

We hope to learn more about the different ways Christmas is celebrated at our next destination : Cartagena, Colombia!  Yikes I'd better get cracking in my Spanish lessons ! We will be joining our friends on S/V Perry on a crossing from Aruba to Colombia over the next 4-5 days, leaving Bonaire sooner than expected (On Tuesday) because of the Christmas Trade Winds which are coming in soon ! We look forward to sharing these experiences, and more, with you next time!Until then, Amelie IV is signing off with lots of love.

 Magnificent Frigate Bird catching lunch mid-flight !

Matthew getting into the cool and relaxing vibe of Jibe City

Jibe City, Bonaire


Great floating art work moored near us!



  1. The salt is reminiscent of Isle de Re, France.

  2. I seem to be having trouble posting comments these days. I write them, hit publish, then **poof** something on my phone makes it disappear. The basic jist, however, was that I learn so much from your blogs. Thank you! Keep posting xoxoxo