Lazy Bones Welcomes Friends Aboard!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

After a pretty nice three day sail from Grenada, we arrived in Bonaire at 4am.  The passage across was very chill - we caught a few fish along the way (tossed back the barracuda, kept the tunas).

The only hiccup was when we accidentally jibed under main alone.  With the traveller fully over, we weren't able to jibe back immediately and rounded up to the wind instead ... no issue, other than the fact we had four lines out and they wrapped around the port rudder & sail drive.  With the sun setting, we dropped the main, put out the sea drogue to slow down and Mike hopped into the sea (with a harness and line on) to untangle the lines.  Definitely added a bit of stress for Megan!

We arrived at 4am, and coming into the harbour of Kralendjik was a little stressful as the lights on our charts bore little resemblance to the actual lights we were seeing.  We picked up one mooring in the dark, and waited for morning.

The one thing about Bonaire that makes it a bit tricky for cruising is that there is no anchoring anywhere on the island.  There are a number (~50) moorings along the harbour front in Kralendjik that cruisers must pick up for $10.60 a night.  They seem to be pretty well maintained, and each mooring block has two separate lines to tie off in a bridle arrangement.

We spent our first day in Bonaire recovering from the passage & checking in.  The next couple of days we rented some diving gear to explore some of the 90 named dive sites. The diving on Bonaire is some of the best in the Caribbean as the entire island is ringed by coral reef. Conservation efforts started by the government in the 70s have seriously paid off with no anchoring allowed anywhere on Bonaire, thereby allowing the reefs and fish life to flourish. It's cheap too - 'all you can breathe' for a week packages are available and it works out to $30 per dive, including equipment rental. We loved the freedom of being able to dive alone and at our own pace without a guide or large groups. Out of all the dives we did, we only saw three other people - amazing!
After some serious time underwater, we started getting ready for our friends - Greg, Lisa, Oskar & Crystal, who were joining us for a week aboard. When they arrived, it was a bit of a trip getting everyone & their bags ashore -  with our little dinghy, it took a couple of trips (first was baggage and the girls!)
After a quick boat briefing, we started to relax and enjoy the island ... first stop was Karel's Bar.

Blue drinks were the theme of our first lunch ... yum!
Who was tipsy by noon?!

The Venezuelan fruit market in downtown Krajlendijk
Lisa and Greg in front of the mooring field

Windsurfing trio at Lac Bay

Then the girls got their shot ... I think they may have picked it up faster!
You can see how shallow and calm it is inside Lac Bay, compared to the waves breaking on the outside reef.

We then drove around the bottom of the island.  There remains some slave huts from the days when salt was harvested by hand.  These huts are barely bigger than a doghouse - you must crawl to enter & one person can touch all four corners lying down.
Bonaire's salt industry is still thriving - apparently watching salt being loaded on freighters is one of the fifty top things to do in Bonaire! (So, yeah, basically it's diving and windsurfing).
2 of the 400 wild donkeys found on Bonaire.  A donkey sanctuary is also a tourist destination, but at $7 pp, we decided the free ranging ones were good enough.
These pelicans wait for the fisherman's daily catch to arrive in hopes of getting the scraps.

Carribean flamingos! 
We had a great time in Bonaire - lots of poker games - Crystal cleaned up, winning all the peanuts!
Our friends also spoilt us with fantastic meals ashore, including a great meal out at "It Rains Fishes" - delicious!
How many Canadians does it take to pick up a mooring?!!
 A quick 'pre snorkel' to see what's on offer below.
While not allowed to anchor outside of the main city, there are moorings that can be picked up for diving (provided your boat is less than 45 feet).  On our last night, we decided to stop and have a snorkel at the northern tip of Bonaire in the Washington-Slagbaai National Park.
And then a huge spaghetti dinner before we got underway (many of the crew later regretted how big a meal it was!)

 Oskar trimming the gennaker sail
The beginning of our 90nm, overnight sail to Aruba. Bring on the 4 hour watches!
We had a great sail across to Aruba from Bonaire - and timed it just right to arrive at Haven Barcadera to clear in around 10am. Once cleared in, we moved up to the "airport" anchorage - one of the handful of places to anchor in Aruba.
Downtown Oranjestad - the capital and cruise ship hub of Aruba.  

The Dutch influence is still very strong.
While Aruba is safe and clean with beautiful long beaches, it's not an ideal destination for cruising as the overnight anchorages are very limited.  
Lots of these guys around sunning themselves.

We did have a nice day trip up to the north west end of the island with great snorkelling and loads of huge turtles seen sailing up the coast.
Plenty of time to relax on board.

Any opportunity for a photo bomb....

 Enjoying cocktails at Nikki Beach Club, Aruba (just in front of the airport anchorage).
The gang treated us to an amazing last meal meal at Barefoot Restaurant. We had a great time with our friends on board - it was really a very special week and we were sad to see them go!

Next up for us is some time off the boat with Megan's family at an all inclusive here in Aruba, then off to Panama (or maybe Colombia).


Crystal Johansson said...

I loved every minute of it! Well, maybe not the sea sickness on the overnight passage, but everything else was a dream. Thanks for being hostesses with the mostestes and having a big adventure that we could be a part of. Love you guys and safe sailing to Sydney!

Wassim bazzi said...

Thanks for posting these pictures, they brought back alot of memories of when i lived on Bonaire. looks like Karels did some remodeling. Living there for 16 months was not enough time.

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