Within 30 hours of arriving back in Bonaire we managed to visit the ice cream parlour 3 times, socialise on ‘Horizons’ courtesy of Jeff and Di, meet John from ‘Oystergo’ another OCC Belize rally participant, eat half a pizza each and have the rest for lunch the next day, do the laundry, pay for 21 nights on the moorings at a cost of 7 GBP a night, catch up with Ken and Judith on ‘Badgers Sett, have drinks with ‘Horizons’, ‘OysterGo’ and ‘Amarula’ at Karel’s Bar, eat Venezuelan arepas for another evening meal and attend the Venezuelan event in the town square.
The grandly titled leaflet from the ‘Consulate General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Bonaire, CN’ promised an evening of handcrafts, various stalls, live music and an egg and spoon race. We passed on the salsa dancing competition though. The photographs of different regions of Venezuela showed the amazing variety of mountains, tropical islands and plains. It is just such a shame that none of us would dare visit given the current risk of violence against cruisers during boardings and robberies. I did love the painting I saw for sale, of their flag, with doves of peace instead of stars. Let us hope peace and prosperity does return soon, for the sake of the Venezuelan people and those who would love to explore their country.
We cooled down in the crystal clear water several times off the back of Beyzano, walked all the way from the marina to the Budget Marine chandlery in town and have ordered a new outboard propeller as the bush on ours has gone meaning we can’t motor very quickly.
We caught up with several friends this week and there is plenty going on as usual. On Tuesday there is live jazz at the marina bar and tonight we have burger night, again at the marina. There are 16 on the cruiser’s table this week. We are taking the free shopping bus to the lovely supermarket out of town on Friday at 1700 but it also runs on Tuesdays. You need to email Therese, the driver, in advance to reserve a seat.
We had our first dive in 4 months, under the boat for safety but saw lots of lovely fish, big tarpon and several moray eels.
James Bond is showing at the open-air cinema and we were informed that they now sell food and drink there, so must have obtained their license since we were last there in June. They have a Facebook page with the film schedules and it is a really nice experience.
If you want to learn about Bonaire’s marine environment, several dive resorts have talks you can attend. The turtle conservation group also puts on presentations. Pamphlets detailing all the events are published weekly and can be found at local bars and the tourist office has lots of information.
As tourism is Bonaire’s main source of income, bars and great restaurants abound, so you are never short of somewhere to go in the evening. They also have cruise ships arriving now though, some with thousands of passengers and it was interesting to see what kind of stalls and activities are put on for them all. We haven’t been here in cruise ship season before. ‘Boat guests’ as they call us, are not really in the same league as cruise ship passengers for buying power but we went along to see what the island deems their best products and tours. I met Errol, a local tour guide who was very happy to see the ships back in port. Watching it berth on the tiny dock was fascinating. It must look minute when they are coming in but the pilot clearly knew what to do and the long lines were tied almost to the shore to keep the ship in place.
Several yachts arrived today, some of which we recognised from the boatyard in Curaçao. The last lull in the wind virtually emptied the moorings here as everyone took the opportunity to head east and north but they are almost full again as people return to their boats at the end of hurricane season. We are happy to stay here a few more weeks, starting to watch the weather more carefully towards the end of November and hope to head west again when the next good weather window appears. For now we are too happy to stay in Bonaire with our friends as once we move on west there are many we won’t see again for years. There are more in the Eastern Caribbean we have already had to say goodbye to and can’t say if we will ever meet them again. We have wonderful times with great people and then it is time to go. The saddest part of the cruising life.