Friday, April 27, 2007


Bonaire doesn’t allow anchoring in its waters for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the south side of the island only extends a couple hundred yards past the shore then drops rapidly. The bottom is quite hard so holding is questionable and should the wind reverse, as it often does, you’ll find yourself on the shore. Secondly, and most important, they are trying to protect the marine system. They provide moorings off the beach but it’s necessary to dive on the mooring, check the lines, chain and swivels yourself. They charge $5 a day; last I heard it had gone up to $10. We had heard about the fierce wind reversals and big swells that pound the couth coast at times. Of course it had to happen while we were there. The wind blew up to 30 knots and 2 meter swells started rolling in. We weren’t happy with the state of our mooring so decided to go into the marina that’s protected for a week. Lucky we did because the storm was so strong that one of the docks was completely smashed. The boats survived but the boaters went through a pretty scary night. Our friends Cedric and Jean-Pierre said they had to run the engine all night in gear and they had to stay on watch all night. Next morning lots of other boats had the same idea as us and we had a lot more company in the marina. Meri also got her fix of cable TV for a week so she was happy. The only downside was that the constant rain brought a swarm of mosquitoes and noseems and we had to be locked inside most of the time. At times like this it’s great to have air-conditioning.

When we were ready to leave we stopped at the fuel dock to fill up on diesel. Dimitri asks for the diesel nozzle and the very nice girl hands it to him and he proceeds to fill up. Some people we met on one of the islands were talking to us and then Dimitri noticed the smell of gasoline coming from our fuel filter and quickly told the girl to turn it off. She had accidentally given us the wrong nozzle and we had pumped 10 gallons of gas into the tank. I went into see the manager and told him what she had done and he reassured me that it wouldn’t cause any damage to our engine. What bullshit. I was livid and demanded that they empty out our tank and replace all the diesel. He refused and said it would be ok and they wouldn’t charge us for the gas. Wow, big consolation. When we said we would find an attorney to draw up a contract of responsibility if our engine was destroyed, he changed his mind. Living in the US has taught us a few things.

We went back to the moorings for a couple of days and Dimitri went diving right of the stern. Some of the best diving was right beneath us. The dive shop was across from us and it was an easy dinghy ride to the shop, fill up for a couple of dollars and do it again. He said it was spectacular, 100 foot deep wall of undamaged coral. I didn’t go in as I wasn’t feeling well I wasn’t into deep diving. That night it was Cedric’s 40th birthday and we had a little party. They had caught a big, delicious fish and they barbequed it and then we got shit-faced. Well, we went home fairly early but the boys continued to party all night until the wee hours and still managed to look refreshed after a couple of hours sleep. I don’t know how they do it. The town of Bonaire is very cute; all set up for tourism with bars and restaurants everywhere. On the weekends it was hard to sleep with all the loud music coming over the water. We decided it wasn’t really our thing so we set off for Curacao.


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