Archive for February, 2009

Fundraiser for a Friend, Erwin Muller

February 23, 2009

Olympian Patun Saragoza

Bonaire – March 8 is a monumental day when Constantin “Patun” Sargoza and Elton “Taty” Frans windsurf from Bonaire to Curacao. The event is a fundraiser for Bonaire’s own Erwin Muller. Erwin, a dive master and former windsurf hero on Bonaire suffered a serious stroke in January. He is recuperating in Curacao and has a long rehabilitation ahead. Erwin is well known in the community for being a man who loves adventure whether it’s riding his quad or delivering a yacht across the Caribbean.  Locals and tourists are rallying to support Erwin and his family, Ellen and Jason. The March 8 race is dedicated to Erwin, one of the original founders of windsurfing on Bonaire. Saragoza, a former Olympian will race across to Curacao with Pro Windsurfer Taty Frans. Taty, one of the top freestyler’s in the world recently circumnavigated the island in 2008. He is perhaps the fastest slalom sailor presently on Bonaire.  The race commences at 9 AM outside BOPEC. Spectators are welcome for the send off. Helicopters and chase boats will accompany the two sailors across the passage. The record set back in the 80’s by Erwin is 4 hours. They will race to Light House Point on the East side of Curacao and then head down to the pier near Breezes Resort.  Donations for this fundraiser may be contributed via Paypal to: Erwin2CanDive@gmail.com.

For those wishing to accompany the flotilla it is important you speak with Elvis Martinus by calling 786 2288 for clearance. The safety of the two windsurfers is paramount. This is a very exciting yet intense voyage. We wish them well as they race for a fellow man of the sea, Erwin Muller.

Photo Of Erwin Courtesy of Linda Baker

Erwin and Moka

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Windsurfing Scene

February 21, 2009

Windsurf Stickers Even On Trash Cans

Bonaire, the sleepy sister island to bustling Aruba is best known as one of the Caribbean’s best dive destinations. Much of Bonaire’s coastline is designated as a marine park. Heavily enforced rules keep the reefs healthy teeming with sea life. Above water, year round cooling trade winds make this island windsurf paradise. On the southeast corner lies a tranquil area called Sorobon. Here a mellow nudist resort and two windsurf shops share Lac Bay. The gin clear water and brown sugar sand attract beachgoers on weekends. What makes this perfect for windsurfing are the steady onshore breezes. Newbies revel in the beginner conditions. Intermediate sailors love the bump and jump conditions on a super windy day and enjoy blasting around towards the mangroves. Expert sailors head upwind to Cai to catch the waves. The entire area is surrounded by one of the island’s best reefs. Windsurfing is big on the island. Its a common sight to see windsurf stickers on cars, buildings and even on trash cans. Folks love their local windsurf heroes. The island hosted several PWA windsurfing events in recent years.  I was one of the organizers enjoying every minute of these high adrenaline events. Now, the island is the site for the annual Starboard Pro Kids Worlds held each Aug. In one previous event over 131 kids competed for the coveted title of Pro Kid. The children start early as young as two years and spend weekends training. Some come daily after school. Parents and grandparents sit on the shore’s edge or at the windsurf club, Aquaspeed watching their children sail. The kids and adults that windsurf are a dedicated bunch. Some have gone on to be pros competing internationally. Tonky Frans, Kiri Thode and Taty Frans are in the top 10 in the Professional Windsurfing Association’s (PWA) Tour. Others compete in the European events including a handful of talented kids. One year a group went to Alacati Turkey to compete in the Slalom Worlds.  Last year they went to Italy. They are the ambassador’s for this little country of 14,000 residents. It’s really quite impressive and has created a national pride for the unofficial national sport, windsurfing. When visiting Bonaire, take an afternoon and head to Lac Bay. Enjoy one of the two on site restaurants. There is plenty of shade or sun and it’s a great place for all ages.

Pro Kids

Wicked Wind

February 13, 2009

Windguru (www.windguru.cz) and our local weather forecaster (www.meteo.an) were right on with the weather forecast. The winds have been great for our windsurf tourists. The ABK Clinic attendees are certainly having  a great time on the water. The next two weeks are easily two of the busiest weeks on island. If you can find some last minute airfare, call me at 800-219-0118. I have some killer last minute deals.  It’s 4.5-5.5 wind all the way.

Enjoy a photo of our rock star Kiri Thode on the water!!

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Local Culture – Yatu Fence

February 13, 2009

When I was building my house I needed a fence to keep my beloved dogs inside instead of hunting flamingos. A concrete block fence was going to cost about 30,000 ANG. A Cactus fence was quoted at about 5,000 ANG. I loved the look of the fence and also considered the natural protection this barrier created. I employed a local man who had a great reputation. Roger came and inspected my yard, measured it with his feet and told me during the next full moon he would cut my cactus. Locals use the moon for planting cycles. I had to hire a man with a jackhammer to dig 40 holes. My land is all Klip or coral so a shovel would not work. After he dug the holes Roger placed tree limbs for the frame. He then wrapped two rounds of wire around each creating a barrier. The next part was the tricky part made much easier but the use of two primitive yet useful tools, one to hold the cactus and other to clamp it in place as the cacti are woven inside the wire in a criss cross manner.

Yatu Fence

It was a labour intensive job but the end results revealed a compact neat fence. 4 years later the fence is still growing. The Trupial birds love to eat the nectar from the Yatu blossoms each morning. I love my fence.

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Bonaire Faces

February 10, 2009

Here is a face on Bonaire many of you know. His name is Ralph Stewart but you may know his as Moogie. (face to the far right)  Moogies’ is one of the top musicians on island serenading tourists and locals at several hot spot party zones. Moogie, a resident of the island hails from Florida. Over 17 years back he came to Bonaire and still remains. I met him in 2001 when I was at Habitat at the famous  Monday Night Rum Punch Party. He was singing lively island style music at the oceanfront Deco Bar at Rum Runners. It was a fabulous time. He is an island institution.  Since first meeting we have become friends. We share a love for reading.Moogie can take on a good debate. He is animal lover too. I always look forward to seeing him.  Recently we had a fun time during Xmas with the Koos van Dijk Family, The Stewart Family and my family. Moogie is one of a kind. He plays at Rum Runners Monday Nights 6-8, Wed. 7-9 at Cactus Blue and Thur. at Habitat again at Rum Runners. You may also find Moogie Friday nights at Buddy Dive’s Rum Punch Party. He is at the Divi Hotel on select nights as well. His music is fun and will have you jumping on the dance floor.

Koos, Ray and Moogie

Birds Eye View of Lac Bay

February 5, 2009

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My windsurf buddy Jim Polstra buzzed Lac Bay in his plane and shot some aerial views of our serene bay. Enjoy!

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Getting to Bonaire

February 3, 2009

As a travel agent I have learned the most current ways to scour the internet for the best possible deals for my clients. My favorite search engine is http://www.yapta.com. You may download the software free and enter in your flights for as many trips as needed. Yapta will automatically notify you if the fare drops. I have seen AA flights fluctuate hundreds of dollars in one day. Yapta has saved my clients and I thousands of dollars. Kayak is a great site. You have to know how to fine tune your searches but their daily or weekly email alerts are great. Presently we have Sat. non stops from JFK (Delta) and Newark (Continental),  Atlanta (Delta) and Houston (Continental). There is also a non stop Friday night on Continental from Houston.  You may fly AA into San Juan Tue. Thur. and Sat. American Eagle flies from San Juan  to Bonaire but there is a long layover sometimes in Puerto Rico. Never fear, I have done it many times and have great tips on cool things to do so contact me.  Insel flies from Miami to Curacao and on to Bonaire. My client Jerry just flew this route and swears by it. From Amsterdam, Martinaire flies into Curacao. KLM has non stops daily from Amsterdam. Arkefly has two weekly flights from Amsterdam. If you need air from South America, there are many options so contact me, please.  It pays to know your search engines and to use them. I recommend Kayak and Yapta for my Caribbean bound clients.

American Eagle

Windsurf News

February 1, 2009

Andy Brandt's Kids Camp

Andy Brant’s world famous ABK Windsurf Clinics are in full gear. His first 2009 freestyle clinic just ended. There is limited space is available for the February and March Bonaire clinics. His clinics are multi level and truly the way to go if you want to hone your skills or take it to the next level.

Windsurf maniacs take note, new 2009 gear just arrived at Jibe City.  DJ the owner ordered 26 boards including 13 Rockets, 1 Freestyle, 1 Manta and 6 Cool Rider Beginner Boards. HE has 109 new Gaastra Sails as well. Check out the surf shop for very hip surf duds.

Bonaire Windsurf Place continues to stock Starboards, an island favorite and Hot Sails. When the wind is light enjoy a clear kayak to explore the mangroves.

Former Olympian, Constantine Saragoza