Jul 252014
 

On Bonaire’s rugged east coast, you’ll find an idyllic lagoon as expansive and stunning as a Tahitian atoll.  It’s called Lac Bay, and it is part of Bonaire National Park.

On the Sorobon side of Lac Bay lies one of the windsurfing meccas of the world – Jibe City.  Windsurfers flock here for its consistent winds, warm waters and sandy bottom.

Lac Bay Panorama 1024x409 Lac Bay   a Windsurfing Mecca

Sorobon Panorama

windsurfer 1024x731 Lac Bay   a Windsurfing Mecca

We recently enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Jibe City’s Hang Out Bar.  The food was very good, the wine was very cold, and the view was simply stunning.  And while I’m partial to the ultra relaxed beach bars in the British Virgin Islands, Jibe City’s beach hut is right up there in terms of the qualities I prefer in a beach bar – sandy floors and salty patrons are the norm here.

lac view from lunch 1024x731 Lac Bay   a Windsurfing Mecca

View from the Hang Out Bar

jibe city signs 768x1024 Lac Bay   a Windsurfing Mecca

Lac Beach 1024x731 Lac Bay   a Windsurfing Mecca

Beach at Jibe City

 

If windsurfing is not your sport, Jibe City has plenty of others activities from snorkeling to paddle boarding to kayaking to massage to simply lounging on the beach.

Can’t get to Bonaire?  See the action for yourself on Jibe City’s webcam.

Jul 202014
 

Donkeys were originally brought to Bonaire to be used as work animals in the 1600s.  Fast forward several hundred years, and these animals now roam the island freely.  It’s not an easy life for these donkeys, since food and water are not readily available.  Those that don’t succumb to starvation or dehydration may become victims of traffic or other dangers.

Realizing the need for protection for Bonaire’s donkeys, Marina Melis and Ed Koopman founded the Donkey Sanctuary in 1993.  Here the donkeys are given food, water and veterinary care.  The expansive reserve currently shelters over 400 donkeys, and all have more than ample room to roam and enjoy their freedom.

sanctuary sign 731x1024 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

After paying your entrance fee (currently $7.00 for adults and $3.50 for children), you will drive your vehicle through the gates.  Immediately you will be greeted by a sea of friendly faces.

Entrance to Sanctuary donkey crossing sign 1024x731 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

These friendly faces will not hesitate to get close.  Expect window encroachment!

At the window with S 1024x768 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

nose in car 1024x819 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

Prior to driving through the grounds, you will encounter the special care area.  This is where donkeys with illness, injury or other special needs receive care.  The donkey below is only four days old.  It lives with its mother in the special care area.

4 days old donkey 1024x731 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

Newborn donkey

Below is a mother with her sweet newborn.

mother and baby 1024x768 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

Other shots from the special care area.

Lone Donkey 1024x819 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

M with Donkey 1024x767 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

S with Donkey 1024x768 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

Three donkeys 1024x768 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

five donkeys 1024x768 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

nose 1024x768 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

After visiting the special care area, you are free to drive around the expansive sanctuary grounds.  You may also climb the watchtower (pictured below) for an aerial view.

The tower 1024x731 Bonaires Donkey Sanctuary

We enjoyed our time with the donkeys, and I highly recommend that fellow animal lovers take the time to visit. The non-profit sanctuary depends on donations, and your entrance fee will help ensure that the donkeys continue to receive tender loving care.

More Details

Donkey Sanctuary on Facebook

info@donkeysanctuary.com

US tax payers can make donations through Support Bonaire

Jul 152014
 

On July 12, Dive Friends Bonaire hosted its quarterly clean-up dive at Bonaire’s Town Pier, and we were lucky enough to participate.  Since this was a clean-up dive, we left our cameras at home in order to free up our hands for the activity of the day.

The impact of the event was impressive, as 119 divers removed over 1,308 pieces of marine debris!  We personally removed over 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of debris, including a large rubber deck mat which Steve rolled up and swam with for 30 minutes (impressive).

That evening, Dive Friends hosted a beachside barbecue to thank the divers who participate in the clean-up. The entire event was extremely well organized and lots of fun.  Below are some shots from the barbecue.

At the BBQ 1024x731 Town Pier Clean Up Dive in Bonaire   July 2014

Playing Fetch 1024x768 Town Pier Clean Up Dive in Bonaire   July 2014

Playing Fetch

Mascot fetch 1024x768 Town Pier Clean Up Dive in Bonaire   July 2014

Dive Friends Mascot

hamlet oasis rock 1024x768 Town Pier Clean Up Dive in Bonaire   July 2014

The BBQ was at Hamlet Oasis

Giant Aloe 768x1024 Town Pier Clean Up Dive in Bonaire   July 2014

Hiding behind a beautiful giant aloe

The Town Pier, which is now closed to recreational divers, is a stunning example of how marine protected areas can have a positive impact on both coral health and the proliferation of marine species.  New coral growth blanketed the pilings, their colors mimicking the brightest of rainbows.  The marine creatures were abundant and unafraid, and the fish seemed larger than the same species living at Bonaire’s popular dive sites.

The next clean-up dive in 2014 is on October 18th.  If you are in Bonaire during that time, I encourage you to participate.  It’s a win-win.  You are helping the environment AND having fun in the process.

Jul 012014
 

danlogo Test Your Scuba Smarts

We have long been faithful members of DAN (Divers Alert Network), and if you are a diver or snorkeler, you should be too.  DAN membership benefits far outweigh the nominal annual fee, and the knowledge that DAN is there to help should you experience a scuba-related (or non-diving) medical emergency is priceless.  In a sport like scuba diving that carries a high level of inherent risk, security and safety are critical.

DAN’s most recent member email update provided a link to a series of picture quizzes on their website.  These quizzes were new to me, and being that I am a total nerd always on a quest for knowledge, I had some fun testing my scuba smarts.  I scored 11 out of 13 on my first quiz, “What’s Wrong“.  Not bad, but I’ll try for a perfect score next time.

Go here to test your own scuba smarts, and let us know how you did!

 

Jun 132014
 

As our trove of photos from Bonaire continues to grow, I’ve developed quite the backlog of shots that I intend to post here on the blog.

Bari Reef remains one of our favorite sites for photography.  It’s home to so many amazing species, and we’ve become quite familiar with the fish behavior on this reef.

Here are some of my favorite shots that we’ve taken in the past few months.

Frogfish M 1024x731 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Frogfish

Flamingo Tongue 3 S 1024x682 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Flamingo Tongue, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Arrow Crab and Anemone M 1024x819 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Arrow Crab & Anemone

Garden Eel S 767x1024 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Garden Eel, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Frogfish Pair 2 S 1024x768 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Frogfish Pair (notice the small grey fish), by Mr. Reeftraveler

and in the eel category…

Sharptail Eel S 1024x819 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Sharptail Eel, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Moray Closeup M 1024x767 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Moray Eel

and finally the jellies…

Jellyfish 1024x819 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Sea Nettle

Blue Tang Eating Jelly S 1024x819 More Beauty from Bonaires Bari Reef

Blue Tang Devouring a Moon Jelly, by Mr. Reeftraveler

The garden eel shown above was alone in very shallow water.  In Bonaire, we typically see them between 60-90 ft (18-27m), so it seemed a bit unusual.  Have you seen garden eels at shallow depth, or have you seen them alone?

Have a great weekend!