When we sailed away from Puerto Rico to escape Hurricane Maria in September, we chose the ABC Islands for their location and accessibility from PR. We did not realize that we would fall a little bit in love with Bonaire. But we have.
And we are not alone. We have met many cruisers and land lovers who return to Bonaire year after year. We understand the attraction! Bonaire provides a great location for several activities we love.
Frank kiting near the mounds of Bonaire salt.
Kiteboarding: the wind is almost always great for kiting. We can launch and take down our kites right on LIB so we don’t have to deal with sand on the kites and us when we finish the day.
French angel fish and a photo bomb by the Spanish hogfish.
Scuba diving: Bonaire is years ahead in their protection of the reefs and their efforts are apparent in the health of the marine life. These are the best reefs we have seen during our cruising life.
A fabulous view while biking.
Biking: there are bike paths on some of the streets here and many people ride bikes. The terrain is varied so you can have different types of bike rides. No, you won’t find downhill biking or epic mountain bike rides, but you can ride off road or on road and have excellent views and get plenty of exercise.
The string along the sand is a “lane line” for swim practice.
Swimming: the mooring area is crystal clear and an excellent place to take an afternoon swim. Plus we joined the swim practices and three times a week we reel off laps as we watch the ocean bottom for sea life.
LIB sporting her spinnaker.
Sailing: the wind is generally from the east and we are on the west side of a low lying island which usually means pretty flat seas with generous winds. These conditions make for some very fun sailing!
Education/Giving Back: occasionally there classes about local sea life or island history and we hope these resume soon so we can attend. Also, once a quarter, the local dive shop puts together a reef clean up day. They provide the tanks and bags and divers volunteer to gather debris from the ocean. We will definitely participate as soon as we can.
Volunteers for the parrot count.
Recently we participated in the annual count of the yellow shouldered amazon parrots on Bonaire. Approximately 50 volunteers were assigned observation points around the island and one Saturday morning we all assumed our positions by 5:45 am and counted how many parrots lifted from our designated area and which direction they flew. This year the estimated count, which is really an estimate to determine if the parrot population is increasing or decreasing, was up from 700 to over 1,000 parrots spotted. Good news for this endangered bird.
BSSA kids spend the afternoon on LIB.
We have also met several people from the Bonaire Sailing School Associaltion (BSSA). We invited the kids out to sail with us on LIB and Frank organized a work day where cruisers volunteered and made repairs to the BSSA sailboats.
Even in the rain, Bonaire is beautiful.
Another plus is that the weather and water are a little warmer in Bonaire than in the Virgin Islands or Bahamas this time of year, which makes water activities way more inviting. Further north, the weather patterns are more unsettled in the first quarter of the year than they are in Bonaire.
Bonaire may be a small island, but it has plenty of activities, excellent grocery stores, tons of restaurants and a variety of shopping available. Even though we have stopped here longer than anywhere else, we feel like there is much more to explore and learn about Bonaire.
Even so, our time in Bonaire is coming to an end. We have plotted our next move and surprisingly, it will be westward. We are off to Curacao in a week or two. We didn’t explore Curacao at all as we traveled between Aruba and Bonaire, so we will take a look around that island for a week or two. By the time we see a little of Curacao, mid-March will have arrived and the weather should allow us to leave the ABCs. We have a few weeks to determine which direction the wind will take us after Curacao.
This week at the Miami Boat Show, the first HH55 with an aft helm station, Hai Feng, was on display. We have chosen to have our HH55 with the aft helm version. From what I have heard, at times there were lines of people waiting to see the Hai Feng at the show. Though I have not seen her in person, I am sure she is quite fetching! Frank actually was aboard Hai Feng for her sea trial in China a few months back and he was impressed with the boat’s performance. During the sea trial, sails were lifted and lowered several times to make sure all was in order and the Hai Feng was put through her paces. The highest SOG Frank saw was 18 knots! Pretty awesome.
Hai Feng wrapped and ready for shipment!
We are really looking forward to the day our boat will be wrapped and ready for shipment to California!
For those interested in a slightly smaller performance cat, HH has introduced the HH48 and she looks stunning!
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