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Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean Islands

May 29, 2016

Apologies for some delay in updating this sail blog. Sometimes there is not much to write about. Our last update was from Rodney Bay anchorage, Saint Lucia. We spent a week in Saint Lucia but the weather was unsettled. Lot of rain, some rather windy days and a village that showed all signs of going in to ‘sleep mode’ with shops, restaurants aimed at tourists either closed or only open for weekends etc.  Talking to locals we understand that this place goes into big time party mode by the time ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) arrive with 200+ boats around mid-December every year.

Anyway, we used our time here to do some minor repairs, got our diesel tanks filled (US 0.6 / litre) and prepared for the 500 nautical miles (900 km) sail towards Bonaire. We delayed our departure two days due to sustained wind speeds of around 30 knots (15+ m/s) to get a more comfortable 15-20 knot ESE wind with less than 1.5 meter waves.  The sailing was “un-eventful”, meaning rather boring actually, no fishing luck (had two probably Mahi-mahi’s) but the jumped off, few birds, actually only sign of life was (mostly) dead flying fish on deck. A big bonus was clear skies and a fantastic, near full moon.

This route passes uncomfortably close to the Venezuelan coast. Reason for the un-comfort has been many years of bad reputation of theft, robbery and even violent murders. A general advice amongst cruisers is to avoid coming closer than 50-100 miles to the Venezuelan coastline and shutting down any AIS transmitter AND Ships lights. Just before we left St Lucia we read about escalating riots in Venezuela with people being fed up with the regime. Obviously we kept a very active watch and had our radar on day and night.  After 3.5 days and 515 miles we made landfall in the Kralendijk, Bonaire yesterday afternoon.

Bonaire’s official nickname is “Diver’s Paradise”. The island is about 100 km north of the western part of Venezuela, Colombia border being about 150 nm to the west from Bonaire.  Rulers of this small island, as with most Caribbean countries have been almost all west European countries with colonial appetite. Since the 1600th the Dutch has governed Bonaire. Independence struggles (as all Caribbean former colonies) happened during the last decades but a final decision to keep the current relationship with Netherlands or become (semi-) independent is still an open question.  As we are happy users of a “EuroSim” communications service, Bonaire seems at least from their perspective to belong to the European countries.

Now moored at a buoy – no anchoring allowed as the whole coastline is a marine nature reserve since close to 40 years. Just below our boat, the water is crystal clear and we have all possibilities to snorkel.

From → Sailing Notes

  1. Lovely write-up. Was in Bonaire for a day during a cruise and loved the island. I did go snorkeling – have written about it on my blog – and enjoyed it too. Thanks


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