Antigua to Bonaire

January16-January23 2022

Armed with what would be negative PCR COVID tests we set sail for Bonaire Sunday morning. We had an enjoyable 3 day sail arriving predawn Wednesday. Mostly a broad reach with 15-20 knots of wind moderate seas and the occasional squall. A welcome full moon lit up our nights .

Arriving at 0400 this lighthouse was a welcome beacon off Bonaire’s rocky windswept coast

We joined Irish Blessing ,Juno, Intrepid and several other Oysters at Harbour Village Marina. Anchoring is not allowed in Bonaire, in an attempt to preserve the reefs so we were marina bound. This worked well as we could coordinate our daily dives at the marina. The diving here is truly special, crystal clear water with a fantastic variety of coral, sponges and fish.

Bonaire, a Dutch island 50 miles north of Venezuela, is smaller than Lake Tahoe measuring about 5 x 20 miles. Formed by the sea being pushed up from Northern Caribbean volcanic activity, primarily Monserrat. It is basically an island formed of dead coral , the southern part of the island no more than 10 feet above sea level with the tallest mountain to the the north 700 feet high.

The bedrock of Bonaire… Dead coral
Bonaire’s answer to Burning Man on the beach… these memorials are everywhere along the southern coast

Bonaire is famous for world class diving . It’s fringe reefs create spectacular shore diving with fish and coral coming right up to the shoreline.

The capital, Kralendijk, maintreet with fish and reef visible from the sidewalk. Boats all on mooring buoys

While the diving is exceptional Bonaire is also know for world class kite surfing and windsurfing. Five of the top ten competitive windsurfers are from Bonaire.

Kite surfing on the southern coast of Bonaire
Lac Bay , an in spot for windsurfers, strong winds with protected waters

While tourism is Bonaire’s economic driver it has for centuries been known as the world’s top producer of sea salt. This tradition continues with the southern half of the island devoted to salt pans or lakes where sea water is evaporated and sea salt harvested.

Sea salt harvesting
Salt Houses
Historic Salt storage “houses”

Colored Obelisk historically used by salt ships to know which quality of salt to load

Well time to move on. We leave for Cartagena, Columbia in the morning . I am fast realizing that despite all it’s great benefits a major drawback to the OWR is the limited amount of time we have to spend in so many fantastic places. It takes 2 or 3 days to start to know a new island or destination, the first day is recovering from the last passage . Then you discover that there is a lot more you would like to do and see but it is time to move on. Initially I thought 16 months would be a very long time to be away but most sailors take 3-5 years to complete a circumnavigation. Often spending months in just one location. Sixteen months is starting to feel like very short.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: