Jim and Sherri's Long-awaited Return Trip to Bonaire

Finally!!! We get to return to Bonaire! It's been a long time coming, and there were many hurdles along the way, but our trip to Bonaire finally happened! We started by leaving the house at 2:30 am (yes, am) for our 4:58 am flight from BWI to Miami on American Airlines. The trip to Miami was uneventful once we checked in, checked our bags and waited for security to open at 4:00 am. Once in Miami we then had to wait about 4 hours to board our flight to Bonaire. Sherri did a little shopping in Miami during the layover to start the trip off on the right foot. :) Our flight to Bonaire was uneventful and we arrived in one piece, but exhausted.

Once we arrived in Bonaire we were picked up by the folks from Harbour Village Bonaire Resort and taken to the resort where we were given fresh, cold, lightly scented towels to refresh us, along with some rum punch. We were in an Oceanfront 1-bedroom suite in Bldg. #2, which was beautifully decorated and lovely. The Harbour Village is well layed out, with everything within a short walk. They have a restaurant, La Balandra on the premesis, and a Dive Shop, Great Adventures Bonaire (GAB) (Harbour Village Layout).

The following describes the wonderful time that we had - to jump to a particular day, select from the following pull down list.

Day 1, Sunday - On our first full day in Bonaire we had to go thru a dive orientation and briefing, purchase a Marine Park Tag ($25), and perform a check out dive. After having breakfast, meeting Charlie the parakeet, unpacking our gear, and checking in at the Dive Shop, we jumped into the water right at the beach for a short shore dive. We spent 15 minutes, dove to 28 ft, and the water temp was a nice balmy 78 degrees, visibility was around 70-80 ft. Sherri had a few issues getting out of the water because of the surge, only to find a ladderfor easy in and out around the corner from where we were :). Jim had a few isssues with his regulator leaking but GAB was able to adjust it. (His octopus was leaking on the second dive so GAB was able to tweak that also - then there were no more issues for the rest of the trip). On this dive we did see Sea Cucumbers, Trunk Fish (Sherri's favorite), Parrot Fish, and Blue Tangs.

We had arranged for a Pickup Truck from XL Rent a Car . It was supposed to be an automatic so Sherri could drive and Jimi could navigate (don't ask why it works better that way for us). However the truck turned out to be a standard transmission (and yes, the price stayed the same as it was a newer vehicle) so Jim got to drive everywhere and Sherri navigated (good thing we were relaxed and on vacation). We also went to the local grocery store where we couldn't read any of the labels on the food as they were in Dutch. We had to interpret what things were by looking at the pictures on the labels. It was an adventure!

That night we had dinner at It Rains Fishes. We had a great table with a great view of the sunset (BTW, all sunsets in Bonaire are marvelous).

The view from Our Patio View from restaurant View from restaurant
View from restaurant Charlie Divers Paradise
Bedroom Living Room Avenue leading into Harbour Village
Sunset at It Rains Fishes Selfie at It Rains Fishes! Our Dwelling

Day 2, Monday - Dawned warm, bright, and sunny (like most days on Bonaire). This was the day we got into a semi-regular routine of one-tank dives in the morning with Great Adventures Bonaire. For the rest of our trip we went out on the boat, the Harbour Lady, with a group of folks from the resort. Most days our captain was Warren and this day our Dive Master was Bonnie. Our dive (52 min/56 ft/ 78 deg) was on the Captain Don's Reef. We didn't have a camera for this dive as we were trying to settle into a routine first. On this dive we saw Trunk Fish (Sherri's favorite), Cornet Fish, Parrot Fish, Fasiry Basslets, Four Eyed Butterfly Fish, Sea Slug, and a Reticulated Brittle Star.

After having lunch we decided to take it easy for the rest of the day as the previous travel had been quite exhausting.

Harbour Lady at dock Harbour Lady dive boat Get off the boat
View from Patio View from Patio Jim with Drink in Hammock
View from Hammock!! Bedroom

Day 3, Tuesday - Dawned warm, bright, and sunny (as always) and we decided to do another boat dive. Our Captain was Warren and the Dive Master was Alfonso. Our dive (39 min/52 ft/ 77 deg) was on the reef Rock Pile. The reef was very nice and we took the GoPro on the dive so we have some pictures. However we got short fills on our tanks so the dive was shortened because of this (because Jim is an air hog!). On the dive we saw Sherri Fish, Fairy Basslets, Trunk Fish (Sherri's favorite), Banded Coral Shrimp, a Lion Fish, and a Spotted Drum.

In the evening there was a little hotel get-together with drinks and some munchies for the new guests that arrived that week. They also had live music, which was very nice. During our stay at the hotel there was live music about half the time we had dinner in the restaurant.

Sherri Fish Trunk Fish Fairy Basslet
Banded Coral Shrimp Dive Master Alfonso Lion Fish
Spotted Drum Sherri with Rum Punch Jim with Rum Punch
Live Music Sherri and her Hat Charlie Returns

Day 4, Wednesday - Another day in paradise. On this day we skipped diving and went on a 5-hr tour of the island with Tropical Travel. It was very informative, we learned the history of the island and we got to see much of the island from the northern part (Washington Slagbaai National Park) all the way south to the Salt Works and Lac Bay. They picked us up at the Hotel and initially took us to 1000 Steps dive site. While it isn't exactly 1000 steps to get down and back up, I hear when you are wearing a dive tank on your back it sure feels like it. We went to Lake Goto, where there were hundreds of flamingos just hanging out and the view was fantastic. We then visited a museum in Rincon, where we were served some local food (it was tasty). After that we went to the southern tip of Bonaire where we saw the Salt Works where they dry out sea water to make sea salt. We also drove thru Kralendijk (the major seaport town).

1000 Steps Marker Sherri on 1000 Steps Beach at 1000 Steps
1000 Steps Lake Goto with Flamingos Lake Goto with Cactus
Sherri at Lake Goto Huge Termite Nest Rock Arch
Rincon Museum Cactus Fence in Rincon Southern Saltworks (salt mounds)
Slave Huts @ Salt Works Sherri with Slave Huts Windsurfing
Sherri searching . . . Wild Donkey Beautiful Clouds
Sunset Sherri and Jim

Day 5, Thursday - Back into the water for another one-tank boat dive in the morning. We dove (48 min/87 ft/77 deg) on the Hilma Hooker, which is a wreck that Captain Don sank back in the 80s after the authorities confiscated 25,000 lbs of marijuana. Our Captian was Warren and the Dive Master was Alfonso. It was a fantastic dive sight, the wreck was nice and the reef leading to it from the mooring buoy was full of life - Alfonso found three Yellow Frog Fish in adddition to Flamingo Tongue, Tarpon, Orange Spotted Filefish, Spotted Drum, some Cornet Fish and the ubiquitous Parrot Fish.

After a "strenuous" dive in the morning we decided to have Swedish massages - it was heavenly. There is nothing as relaxing as having a massage while you are on vacation!! That night we went to the Mona Lisa restauraunt which is in downtown Kralendijk. We sat outside and had a great night.

View from the Dive Boat Frog Fish Frog Fish
Parrot Fish Flamingo Tongue Coral
Cornet Fish

Day 6, Friday - After diving, touring, massaging, etc. we decided to take a day off and relax on the beach, after all we are on vacation. The nice thing is they serve you drinks on the beach - so of course we partook. After a relaxing day we had arrangements for dinner on the beach at La Balandra (the hotal restaurant). It was fantastic, a beautiful sunset, nice breeze, great food and the company was fantastic. :)

Drinks on the Beach Dinner on the Baach

Day 7, Saturday - OK, back to diving again. We were drying out so needed to get back into the water. On this day, the Captain was Alfonso and the Dive Master was Bonnie. We dove (55 min/52 ft/77 deg) on Lenora's Reef off of Klein Bonaire. It was a nice dive with lots of nice corals and lots of small critters. We saw Blue Tangs, Barracuda, Parrot Fish, Cornet Fish, and Sherri's favorite, TrunkFish (have you figured out that Sherri loves Trunk Fish?).

Then in the afternoon we went on a walking tour of Kralendijk. Its a nice town with lots of little shops - Sherri did some souvenir shopping (I think she got more T-Shirts for herself than anything else).

Coral Grouper Coral
Fish Coral School of Fish
CornetFish Coral Blue Chromis
Divemaster Bonnie

Day 8, Sunday - Sunday morning we joined up with Tropical Travel to kayak the mangroves in Lac Bay. It was another beautiful day so we slathered on the sunblock and went kayaking. Sherri and Jim shared a kayak, with Jim sitting up front so he couldn't tell if Sherri was paddling or not the whole time. We got up close and personal with the mangroves, even went through a few tunnels where the trees had overgrown the water. It was a blast, even though we seemed to lag behind everybody else in the Kayaks (and why was that Jim?).

Our Kayak The View while Kayaking Tunnel through the Mangroves
Sherri working Hard Our Guide, Michele Jim and Sherri resting
Jim Cruising up Front

Day 9, Monday - Since we were going to make this our last day of diving we did boat dives in the morning and afternoon. For both dives the Captain was Warren and our Dive Master was Andrea. For our morning dive, we dove on the dive site Andrea 1 (no relation). Our dive (58 min/58 ft/77 deg) turned out to be Sherri's favorite. We saw Trunk Fish (who's favorite?), Parrot Fish, large schools of Blue Tangs, Arrow Crabs, and a pair of mating Porcupine Fish (Sherri had no idea what they were doing). Our afternoon dive (56 min/52 ft/78 deg) was on Punt Vierkant (Four Points) and as expected, it was another great dive site. We saw Spotted Drum, a Huge Green Moray Eel free swimming, a huge Cornet Fish, some File Fish, and Black Durgon. As on the other dives the visibility was around 80 ft (fantastic!)

That night we went to Sebastions for our "special" dinner. We were repeating our dinner at what was then Roberts last time we were in Bonaire (on our honeymoon). We sat outside as previously and had a great time. It started to rain, but we waited 3-4 minutes and the "storm" was gone. The food was fantastic - if you are ever in Bonaire, we highly recommend Sebastions.

Huge CornetFish Angel Fish Sherri Fish
Seargent Majors Green Moray Black Durgon
Porcupine Fish Arrow Crab School o' Fish
Sherri Jim Sunset at Sebastions
Sunset at Sebastions

Day 10, Tuesday - Aahhhh, another day of relaxation. Since we are travelling tomorrow we thought we'd take an extra day and off-gas all the Nitrogen we absorbed diving. Also, it is vacation so we're supposed to take things easy!! We made good use of the hammocks, the beach, and the lounge chairs.

Sherri in Hammock Sherri's View from Hammock View from Patio
Cruise Ships Charlie Returns for a Snack Sherri and Jim

Day 11, Wednesday - Alas, the fun in paradise comes to an end. We are travelling home today - Boo hoo. We still enjoyed the day, ordered room service for breakfast, had lunch, went for a final swim in the ocean, packed our bags, and headed for the airport. Another long day of travelling, we didn't get home until about 1:30 am the next morning. Overall it was a great trip and Sherri wants to plan next years now and Jim wants to do more diving next time.

Another Beautiful Day in Paradise Iguanas Iguanas
Sherri and Jim depressed on the way home

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