Feb 122017
 

The heavier rains that graced the island in December and early January have eased up considerably.  The island has been sunny, breezy and, well, just about perfect.

This week we have hosted family from the US. It’s been a busy and fun week of exploring and playing tourist, as well as a great reminder of everything this island has to offer.

Bananaquit at Cadushy Distillery.

Bananaquit at Cadushy Distillery

Steve with my step father Frank at Boka Onima

Steve with my step father Frank at Boka Onima

Entrance to Germaine's studio at GN Art

Entrance to Germaine’s studio at GN Art

Garden at GN Art

Garden at GN Art

Bird sanctuary area at Gotomeer Lake

Bird sanctuary area at Gotomeer Lake

The shoreline in Playa at downtown Kralendijk

The shoreline in Playa at downtown Kralendijk

With my mom in Playa

With my mom in Playa

Sailing with Blue Bay Boat Rentals Bonaire

Sailing with Blue Bay Boat Rentals Bonaire

Rainbow over Kralendijk

Rainbow over Kralendijk

Tui Dreamliner landing at BON

Tui Dreamliner landing at sunset

Sailboat at sunset

Sailboat at sunset from Rum Runners at Captain Don’s Habitat

Here are some links to the highlights of the week-

Drinking a cactus at Cadushy Distillery in Rincon – It is worth a trip to Rincon to taste their handcrafted spirits and relax in their garden.

Sailing with Blue Bay Boat Rentals – we had a great trip with this operation.  I highly recommend them for a sunset sail, snorkel sail or a daily boat rental.  The owner and crew area very friendly and professional, and the boat was in great condition.

Art shopping with Germaine at GN Art – Germaine’s driftwood art is unique and beautiful, and she is a delight.

Dec 042016
 

The holidays are rapidly approaching (yikes), and, if you’re like most of us, you may be struggling with gift ideas for those on your list.  We’re here to help.

We’ve put together a list of some of favorite products and services for Travelers, Photographers, Scuba Divers and Bonaire Lovers.

 

For Travelers & Global Nomads

Swatch Watches– I rarely travel without a Swatch watch.  The affordable price point means that you don’t have to fret about loss or theft.  And the fact that all Swatch watches are waterproof makes them indispensable for ocean lovers. Another plus, many larger airports have a Swatch store, and Swatch offers free battery changes for the life of your watch.  This white one is my new fave.

Amazon Kindle Voyage – This is the new device in my arsenal, and I’m in love.  Where do I begin?  The battery life is incredible.  It lasts for weeks.  The screen is easy to read, easy on the eyes and user-friendly.  And who doesn’t want access to new books at their fingertip?

Elta MD UV Clear Sunscreen, SPF 46 – Whether you are trekking in the Himalayas, Skiing in Taos or sailing the South Pacific, sunscreen is critically important.  I go through bottles of this product.  It has a high level of protection, yet it feels light and will never cause breakouts.

Dakine Split Roller Duffle Bag – My Dakine bag has not had an easy life.  It’s been thrown onto luggage belts in Fiji, rolled through rocks and dirt in the Serengeti and hauled in and out of multiple boats in The Maldives.  Yet it has held up like the workhorse it is.  And type-A neat freaks those who like multiple organizational options will love its many sections and pockets.

Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarers – These classic shades are now made in a cool folding design that fits easily into your pocket or travel bag.

 

For Photographers

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 – This is hands-down the most critical element of my photography arsenal.

Gitzo 3532LS Tripod – This sturdy carbon-fiber tripod is also flexible and adaptable.  We love it for outdoor and wildlife photography.

Think Tank Perception Pro Camera Backpack – This backpack went with me to Tanzania, and it was perfect for my safari needs.  Inside it I hauled one SLR body, two point and shoot bodies, two lenses, an underwater housing for my Olympus TG-4, my MacBook Pro and multiple other accessories.

The Underwater Photographer, by Martin Edge – If you want to learn underwater photography or want to perfect your underwater photography, this is without a doubt the book for you.

 

For Scuba Divers

Henderson Lycra Dive Skin – Whether you wear it alone for snorkeling or under a warmer wetsuit for diving, this dive skin is comfortable and well-made.

Reef Fish Identification Book – These fish identification books by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach have been a crucial part of our library for as long as I can remember.  They are a must-have for every scuba diver.  They are available for the Pacific and Indian oceans as well as the Caribbean and Atlantic.

Scubapro Spectra Mini Mask – My mask of choice.  The low-profile design and smaller size is a great choice for female or smaller divers.

Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) Membership – We faithfully renew our DAN memberships each year.  The benefits are numerous and include dive accident insurance, a subscription to Alert Diver magazine and dive safety education.  Membership is $35 for an individual and $55 for a family.

 

For Bonaire Lovers – Our favorite local Bonairean products & services

Cadushy Rom Rincon – This spiced and artisan-crafted rum is made for sipping.  Get it while you are in Bonaire. It’s not available anywhere else.

Phish Phaktory Bags – These tote bags are made from recycled sails and materials found in underwater cleanup dives on Bonaire.  The bags are cute, sturdy, well-crafted and will last forever.  The owners/artists are super cool and truly care about our environment.

Carrying my Phish Phaktory tote at Bonaire's Carnival

Carrying my Phish Phaktory tote at Bonaire’s Carnival

Flaming Flamingo hot sauces, salt and jams – We love these made-in-Bonaire products.  Our fave is the mango hot sauce (Steve practically drinks it).

A tank card from Dive Friends Bonaire – Give the gift of air!  Dive Friends Bonaire offers a handy tank card for local divers.

Elements Jewelry – Elements dichroic glass pieces made great colorful gifts and souvenirs.

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire hats and shirts – Help Bonaire’s sea turtles and wear cool gear at the same time.

Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire Diver Certification Course – We are both PADI certified Coral Restoration Divers.  It’s both fun and important work.  Courses are available at Buddy Dive, Harbour Village and Wannadive.

Cleaning the algae from a tree in the coral nursery

Meredith cleaning the algae from a tree in the coral nursery at Klein Bonaire

Italy in the World, Bonaire – Give a beautiful bottle of Italian wine or a great Prosecco from this boutique and restaurant in Bonaire.  We love the Santero 9-5-8 prosecco for a sunset toast.

An extensive wine selection at Italy in The World, Bonaire

An extensive wine selection at Italy in The World, Bonaire

Latitude 12° Designs Bonaire Necklace – OK, this is my jewelry design company.  I design and create custom jewelry in sterling silver (or the metal of your choice).  My Bonaire Necklace is a great choice for showing your Bonaire love.  But the choice is yours – all pieces are custom made, and the sky is the limit.

The Bonaire necklace in sterling silver

The Bonaire necklace in sterling silver

Custom mermaid necklace in sterling silver

Custom mermaid necklace in sterling silver

Custom, hand made necklace for the ocean lover, by Latitude 12° Designs

Custom, hand made necklace for the ocean lover, by Latitude 12° Designs

custom bracelet set by Latitude 12° Designs

custom bracelet set by Latitude 12° Designs

All of the products mentioned above are products we use and love.  We have purchased each of these products (some over and over), and they were not gifted to us or given to us for promotional purposes.

Aug 102016
 

This week on Bonaire has been hot!  Given that we are now well into August, this comes as no surprise.

Before we get to this week’s pics, I want to mention a few restaurants (some rather new) that we have recently tried and loved.

Barrel Wine Bar – This rather new addition to the island is a great place to grab a waterfront drink and dinner. They have recently started serving dinner, expertly prepared by Chef Hagen (of Cactus Blue fame).  Yes, Hagen is back on the island!  We tried his lionfish ceviche this weekend, and it was fantastic.

Italy in the World – This is a high-end wine and Italian specialty store, which now serves dinner as well.  Their pasta is simply fantastic, as was everything else that we tried.  This is a really nice spot for a special occasion dinner.

Italy wines

La Creperie – Another new addition to the island, this is a nice spot for breakfast or lunch.  They serve crepes and waffles in the traditional french style.  The atmosphere is chic, and the owners are friendly and helpful.  They also make an amazing cappuccino.

Blue Garden Brazilian Grill & Pizza Gourmet – In addition to the tradition Brazilian steakhouse offerings, they have an eclectic menu of pizzas to suit all tastes (even a dessert pizza).  The food and atmosphere are wonderful, as are the owners.

Wills Tropical Grill – Wil’s is one of our longstanding favorites on the island.  His smoked marlin is legendary, and for good reason.  Wil’s cooking is unique and flavorful, reflecting his passion for food.

Now, on to the pics…

This critter is a Rough Fileclam, also known as a Flame Scallop.

This interesting critter is a Rough Fileclam, also known as a Flame Scallop.

Flamingos gathered near the "mushroom tree", as we affectionately call it.

Flamingos gathered near the “mushroom tree”, as we affectionately call it.

If you've been to Lac Cai, you're sure to recognize this beautiful piece of driftwood.

If you’ve been to Lac Cai, you’re sure to recognize this beautiful piece of driftwood.

A yellow trumpetfish hiding amongst the coral

A yellow trumpetfish hiding amongst the coral

Seafoam at Bachelor's Beach

Seafoam at Bachelor’s Beach

A tropical mockingbird with flamingo in the background

A tropical mockingbird with flamingo in the background

West Indian Top Shells (also called whelks or wilks) in a tidal pool

West Indian Top Shells (also called whelks or wilks) in a tidal pool

What have you done in Bonaire this week?  Have you tried any new or notable restaurants?

Sep 152014
 

One of the best things we can do to help control the Caribbean lionfish population is to eat it.  Don’t be afraid!  It’s a fantastic white flaky fish with a wonderful texture.

Bonaire is far ahead of many other Caribbean islands when it comes to eradicating lionfish and creating consumer demand for it as a food fish.  You’ll find it at several of the island’s restaurants, thanks to a team of dedicated lionfish hunters and skilled chefs.  Thankfully, demand is high, and it’s not uncommon for restaurants to be sold out of lionfish.

One of our favorite ways to eat lionfish is on the beach with Hagen.  Hagen is the owner of, and chef at, Cactus Blue on the Beach.  This funky food truck is one of Bonaire’s most popular eating establishments, and for good reason.

Cactus Blue food truck

Cactus Blue food truck

cactus blue2

The always-friendly Hagen is undoubtedly doing his part to help Bonaire’s reefs.  He hunts his own lionfish then skillfully serves them up in the form of his ever-popular lionfish burgers.

lionfish burger

The word is out, and everyone wants this highly-coveted lunchtime favorite.  But be forewarned, Hagen often sells out of lionfish well before noon.  But you can still get one of his awesome wraps or kite burgers (he makes a fantastic veggie wrap) and consume it while staring at the turquoise sea and pondering your next dive.

View from Cactus Blue's current location

View from Cactus Blue’s current location

Cactus Blue is currently located on E.E.G. Boulevard by the airport runway.

Editor’s Note, Oct. 10, 2014 – I’ve just found out that, sadly, Cactus Blue has permanently closed.  This is a disappointment to all of us who enjoyed its wonderful lunches.  We wish Hagen the best in his new endeavors.

Editor’s Note #2, October 16, 2014 – I stand corrected.  The beloved Cactus Blue truck has been purchased and is still serving the famous lionfish burgers (among the other great offerings).  Look for it at Windsock Beach, and follow them on Facebook for more info.  

Sep 032014
 

Did you know that every piece of plastic that has ever been produced still exists today?  The more I ponder that statement, the heavier it weighs on me.

I’ve long known that plastic is bad for marine ecosystems.  That’s why I stopped purchasing water in plastic bottles years ago.  I bring my own bags to the grocery store.  I don’t let the clerk give me a bag when buying just a small item or two.  I dutifully snip the rings that hold a 6-pack together.  I recycle.  I even participate in underwater clean-ups.  And yet, after reading Captain Charles Moore’s book “Plastic Ocean”, I don’t think I’m doing nearly enough.

While on a sailing voyage from Hawaii to California in 1997, Captain Moore, after deviating from his normal route, noticed that he was sailing through water resembling a “plastic soup”.  This area in the North Pacific Ocean was subsequently dubbed the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch.

Map Showing the Pacific Garbage Patches, Captain Moore discovers the Eastern patch

NOAA Map Showing the Pacific Garbage Patches, Captain Moore discovers the Eastern patch

Astounded, and deeply concerned by what he had witnessed, Captain Moore has since dedicated his life to studying, researching and ultimately fighting against plastic pollution via his foundation Algalita Marine Research Institute.

“Plastic Ocean” has just given me a much needed education about plastics, their history and their impact on our oceans.  The facts are sobering.  This is not a small problem.  This is a huge problem!  And as a society, we continue to ignore it.  Out of sight, out of mind…

"Marine debris on Hawaiian coast" photo by NOAA

“Marine debris on Hawaiian coast” photo by NOAA

I urge you to read the book, and then decide for yourself if you are doing enough to help curb our plastic addiction.  And in the meantime, here’s a 10 minute short film called Synthetic Sea which profiles Captain Moore’s quest.

 

Links for further reading

Plastics are Forever Brochure

Plastic Debris from Rivers to Sea Brochure

Research Paper – Density of Plastic Particles Found in Zooplankton Trawls from Coastal Waters of California to the North Pacific Central Gyre

My Plastic Free Life

NOAA Marine Debris

 

Donate to Algalita Marine Research Institue to help stop plastic pollution.