Jan 142017
 

The island is still receiving daily rains (and we are still not complaining).  Due to the road conditions in the North, STINAPA has closed Washington Park until January 18 (conditions will be re-evaluated at that point).

Divers from the organization Freedom at Depth are enjoying a stay on Bonaire.  Freedom at Depth is Canada’s premier scuba diving training organization for those with disabilities.  We’ve met several of the divers, and their motivation and determination is impressive.  If you see them diving at Divi, stop by and say hello.

Due to elevated sea temperatures, NOAA recently issued a Coral Bleaching alert for Bonaire.  In December, STINAPA conducted a survey in response to the alert to ascertain the extent of the damage, if any.  The survey revealed that the impact was minor and that the health of the coral has stabilized.  The current situation is one of “No Stress”, per NOAA’s classification scale.

Here are some photos from around the island this week.

Sun rays illuminate Bachelor's Beach at sunset

Sun rays illuminate Bachelor’s Beach at sunset

Have you seen the amazing graffiti at the abandoned Esmeralda resort in the south?

Have you seen the amazing graffiti at the abandoned Esmeralda resort in the south?  It’s worth a look.

A wavy sea at Bachelor's Beach.

A wavy sea at Bachelor’s Beach.

A wet garden=a happy garden

A wet garden = a happy garden.  This is a Jatropha flower.

Reflection of palm leaves in raindrops in our garden.

Reflection of palm leaves in raindrops in our garden.

Nov 272016
 

This summer we had the good fortune to watch a Hawksbill Sea Turtle nest hatch in Bonaire.  We have long been curious about this phenomenon, and luck was on our side that evening.

Hawksbill turtles, like most sea turtles, return to the same beach each year to lay eggs.  The female turtle digs deep into the sand to lay her eggs.  Hawksbill can lay up to 150 eggs in a single nest, after which the incubation lasts for a period of around two months.

Please note:  We happened upon this nest hatching late at night and had no camera gear other than iPhones. Please excuse the quality of the pics.

Hawksbill Turtle Eggs

Hawksbill Turtle Eggs

When the eggs are ready to hatch, the hatchlings dig out of the hole as a group, generally at night.  Once they emerge, they head towards the brightest location they find.  Ideally, this would be the ocean, but in populated areas they often head in the wrong direction.  Hatchlings that fail to find the ocean quickly often die, and only one in a thousand baby sea turtles survives until maturity.

Newly hatched hawksbill turtle. It is being held by an experienced biologist who is gently shielding its eyes from the light to ensure the proper species ID. Once a photo is taken, all light sources must be removed.

Newly hatched hawksbill turtle. It is being held by an experienced biologist who is gently shielding its eyes from the light to ensure the proper species ID. Once this ID photo was taken, all light sources were removed.

Excavating the nest

Excavating the nest

This is where sea turtle conservation groups like Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) come into play.  This amazing organization has a mission to ensure that Bonaire’s turtles have a secure future.  Turtle nest monitoring is one of many valuable functions that STCB performs. In Bonaire, there are an average of 75 turtles nests each year.

STCB monitors each known nest in Bonaire and oversees the emerging hatchlings to ensure that as many as possible make it to sea.  Part of this process entails excavating the next to check for survivors and count the eggs.

The nest excavation

The nest excavation

After the excavation is complete and the eggs are counted, the baby turtles are taken to a dark location on the island and carefully placed into the sea.  This gives them the best possible chance to survive their entry into the world.

STCB does incredible work to ensure the health of Bonaire’s sea turtle population.  Please consider supporting this organization so that it can continue to make a difference.

Donate to STCB

Volunteer with STCB

Purchase STCB merchandise on Bonaire

Aug 172016
 

“The Heat is On”.  That’s my theme song this week.  Today it is 90° F/32° C with 64% humidity.  The bathwater sea is currently a lovely 83° F.

We had a really nice dive at Front Porch with a good friend on Sunday.  We bounced down to the wreck of the tugboat New York.  We expected to find lionfish under the wreck, but they were absent.  Another testament to the dedicated team of hunters we have on the island, which is doing a fantastic job keeping the population down.

Sand Canyon Goby in the rubble at Front Porch

Sand Canyon Goby in the rubble at Front Porch

Peacock Flounder at Front Porch

Peacock Flounder at Front Porch

Honeycomb Cowfish at Front Porch

Honeycomb Cowfish at Front Porch

Squirrelfish at Front Porch

Squirrelfish at Front Porch

Christmas Tree Worms at Front Porch

Christmas Tree Worms at Front Porch

Sailfin Blenny at Front Porch

Sailfin Blenny at Front Porch

Juvenile French Angelfish at Front Porch

Juvenile French Angelfish at Front Porch

I go to the beach almost daily to swim and photograph waves.  Lately I’ve been enthralled by the small things I find near the sea.

Today I was fascinated by this chiton that I found while sitting in the waves.  A chiton is a marine invertebrate that typically lives on rocks near the sea (tidal zone) and feeds on algae.  This particular chiton was about an inch in length (2.54 cm).

Squamous Chiton in Bonaire

Squamous Chiton in Bonaire

This is a Nerite Snail, and it is a common sea snail found in the inner tidal zones.  They are often seen clustered on rocks in full sun.  Like the Chiton above, this species is an algae eater.

sea snail bachelors

Nerite Snail in Bonaire

Nerite Snail in Bonai

And finally, here’s a pic of the wave action I was trying to capture while admiring the chitons and snails.

beach in Bonaire

What have you seen/done/heard in Bonaire this week?

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?

Aug 032016
 

Today brought much needed showers to the island with cooler temps and a nice breeze.  Here’s a peek into island life this week on Bonaire.

A flock of 60 flamingos at Pekelmeer

A flock of 60 flamingos at Pekelmeer

Making a splash at Bachelor's Beach

Making a splash at Bachelor’s Beach

A mangrove root reflection. Mangroves are important coastal barriers against storms and erosion, and they also provide crucial habitats for juvenile fish, crustaceans and birds.

A mangrove root reflection. Mangroves are important coastal barriers against storms and erosion, and they also provide crucial habitats for juvenile fish, crustaceans and birds.

From a kind soul in Belnem

From a kind soul in Belnem

Just sand and sea

Just sand and sea

A church in historic Rincon

A church in historic Rincon

A pelican roosting near Pink Beach

A pelican roosting near Pink Beach

And finally, we recently took part in the 13th annual Jellyfish Jamboree hosted by jellyfish expert Bud Gillan. Below is a specimen of Alatina alata, a box jellyfish seen in Bonaire’s coastal waters 8-10 days after the full moon.  This and other samples are collected, with permit, for research at CIEE in its tropical marine ecology program.

alatina alata in bonaire