We left St. Thomas in the USVI just before sunset on Wednesday June 23rd, our destination was Bonaire. The plan was to sail as much of the 438 NM as we could. We needed to arrive by 2:00pm on Saturday, so that the dock hands at the marina would be there to help us check in and get settled at the marina. Bonaire is not a place where you can just anchor because of the nature of the underwater sea wall(which is what makes the diving so good). You must have a mooring ball or dock slip reserved before you come in.
Our friends Kent and Kathy on WE made the journey with us.
It was a relatively easy passage with beautiful weather and a lovely full moon.
We made it as planned!! Bonaire is a small island at 112 square miles and sits just 60 miles from Venezuela.
Such a cool place. The amount and variety of sea glass that Ashley found on day one was incredible.
We rented a car and began to explore the island. It had an amazing spot for Windsurfing.
And for Kitesurfing, which is on our short list of things we want to learn to do.
There are wild flamingos all over the island. Some nights when we were really lucky, we would see a group of two or four fly over our boats in the marina. That is a very unique sight with those long legs trailing their bodies in the sky.
Not your typical road sign, unless you are on Bonaire where there are 62 shore dives and many more than that for the experienced divers who are willing to be more adventurous on their water entry.
We of course found the Cudushy Distillery. A beautiful presentation, with a fascinating story but not our favor flavor as all the liquors are made with the cadushy cactus plant, that is very plentiful on the island.
The island is known for many things and one of the most charming is all the wild donkeys. Most are very kind and you can feed them from the side of the road.
With so much coast line on this desert island being covered with coral, there is a plethora of driftwood which leads to beautiful popup art.
In1499 when the Spanish arrived in Bonaire, they discovered salt. The Dutch took the island over about a hundred years later and have been capitalizing on the production of salt ever since.
Early in the process they used a system of colored obelisks to indicate the four different grades of salt. Merchants would come in and anchor as close to shore as possible. The women slaves would carry baskets full of salt on their heads to a small boat that would then transport the salt out to the merchants.
The slaves lived in these small concrete huts right by the water’s edge.
On the southwest end of the island the water comes ashore with a fierce power especially when the wind and water work together.
Addie has been practicing her painting feeling inspired by the amazing wild life.
Lots of new restaurants to try out, 150 to be exact!! Addie found her favorite!!
Time for a girl’s day of island exploring with our friends Darlyn, Celeste and Eden from Bliss.
First stop, Donkey Sanctuary where they have rescued 750 wild donkeys from around the island. We had bags of carrots and apples. They ate every bite and wanted more.
Old ruins capture Addie’s heart!!
The boys went on their own adventure. Shore diving on the east side of the island, jumping in from this ledge.
Afterwards, Kent, Martijn, Shannon and Harry (Bliss) celebrated at a small local brewery with the owner Arron.
The street art makes you smile.
Sunday brunch that includes a dip in the pool. Nothing better!
Can always find time for sundowners with friends.
“Thanks Mom and Dad. We love our new beds and haircuts!”
On July 19th, the boys head out for another island adventure. Shannon, Kent, Harry and Martijn check out the back roads of Bonaire in these open air vehicles.
New sights that require 4 wheel drive to see!
A super fun and dirty experience.
Until it wasn’t….
The ATV, that Shannon was driving with Harry as his passenger, rolled as they took a turn. Shannon’s hand got mangled under the roll-bar. He had to be flown to Aruba by air ambulance for surgery.
After second surgery looks he looks like Frankenstein…..
“Hope you feel better Dad!”
“Get well soon Dad, so you can come see us at Booneshine!”
“We miss you Dad!”
Sending you smiles and laughs to make you feel better.
“Thanks guys. Trying to follow Dr.’s orders.”
On July 28th, with Shannon still in the hospital in Aruba, Ashley and Addie head to NC for a 3 1/2 week visit with family and friends.
We left the dogs in very good hands with our friends, Cat and Martijn.
Shannon had one more surgery on July 29th, then he was set to meet up with them.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and Shannon was delayed in heading to the states. He tested positive for COVID and had to quarantine in the hospital for an additional 10 days.