Archive for August, 2010

My Hero, Caesar Finies

August 27, 2010

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Turtles Turtles Everywhere…

August 23, 2010

A few years ago I had the amazing opportunity to witness 120 lovely turtles hatch and run into the sea. It was one the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. Many friends on island are actively involved in the Sea Turtle Conservation. This amazing dedicated group of professionals and volunteers make a difference. Recently my friend Jamie Clark was part of a turtle count and assist here on Bonaire. The photo tells the story.

Photo by Jamie Clark

The Bonaire Insider recently reported 10 baby turtles crossed the street from Windsock Beach and were found lost and confused at the airport. The bright lights confused the babies who were misled thinking they were heading towards the moon. One sadly died but 9 were rescued to join their brothers and sisters. Once again the Sea Turtle Conservation was instrumental in this rescue.

http://www.bonaireturtles.org/

Bonaire is full of turtle bliss this month…safe travels babies…

Continental Seasonal Flight Schedule

August 22, 2010

From TCB Inc.

Dear Tourism Partners,

See attached airport schedule received today, pls. be advised of the below. It is important to have accurate facts with regards to recent changes Continental Airlines.

Historically, Continental Airlines seasonalizes their flights in September. In April we advised that they would start in August and therefore as of August 22, 2010 they will not operate their Sunday flights from/to Houston (CO 1898/1899) and Newark (CO 1553/1556).

The Sunday Newark flight will resume on October 31st, 2010; weekly; the Sunday Houston flight will resume October 2nd , 2010; no additional changes have been made to the Friday Houston flight and it remains the same.

This the shortest seasonalization Bonaire has ever had.

Windsurf Bliss at Kings Beach

August 20, 2010

Kings Beach is a premier oceanfront property minutes to windy Lac Bay. Enjoy sunset views, diving and snorkeling on site and the most serene area of the island. For 2010 bookings we are pleased to offer a special, 1200 USD a week plus cleaning fee and taxes. The property is a 2 bedroom suitable for two couples or a family.

Kings Beach

To sweeten the deal Caribbean Wind & Sun the on island representative is offering 20% discounts on windsurf gear rentals from Aug. – Nov. 30. Divers can enjoy 114.00 USD air packages including a free boat dive. Call 800-219-0118 or email ann@bonairecaribbean.com

Dema Dive Sale at Buddy, Belmar and Caribbean Club

August 20, 2010

Let the savings begin! Let the selling begin!

Like previous years, also this year, our three DEMA specials for our three resorts will allow 1 COMPLEMENTARY PERSON for every 8th person, plus a 50% FOOD CREDIT for every group member (at Buddy Dive Resort and Caribbean Club Bonaire) or a BBQ for FREE (at Belmar Oceanfront Apartments).

For those who already know that they are going to visit Bonaire next year low season, book before or during DEMA and receive the following extras to sweeten up their dive adventure:

Buddy Dive Resort
Every person gets a newly launched 3-tank “South Coast Trip” for FREE! Let your clients enjoy the south coast line from a completely new perspective, relaxing on board of the “Dive Buddy” and, of course, discovering those dive sites that are difficult to access from shore. The DEMA special added value is $205 per person.

Caribbean Club Bonaire
Every second diver dives happily for FREE! The DEMA special added value is $148 per person.

Belmar Oceanfront Apartments
Every person is invited on a unique 3-tank “Washington Slagbaai National Park Safari Trip” for FREE! The DEMA special added value is $149 per person.

Contact ann@bonairecaribbean.com and mention the Bonaire Bliss Dema special and earn dining credits for all new bookings. Dining credit offer ends Sept. 30, 2010.

Dive Bliss

Buddy Dive and the Galapagos Islands

August 20, 2010

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
BUDDY DIVE GOES LIVE ABOARD!
Buddy Dive is Expanding with Two Live Aboard Vessels in The Galapagos Islands

Kralendijk, August 19th 2010

“Today, August 19th 2010, will go into Buddy Dive’s history book as “The Day of the Milestones”. Buddy Dive does not only celebrate that exactly 30 years ago the resort officially opened its doors on Bonaire, today is also the day that Buddy Dive proudly announces that, as from September 2011, their operations will be expanded with two new Liveaboard vessels in The Galapagos Islands.” Says Lex Hofstede the COO of Buddy Dive.

The Buddy Dive Live aboard vessels, “m.v. Wolf Buddy” and “m.v. Darwin Buddy”, will be offering luxurious dive trips with excellent service in combination with premium quality diving.

People who know Buddy dive’s philosophy “Eat, Sleep, (Buddy) Dive” will find the same convenience during their Galapagos trip as well. The vessels will reflect Buddy Dive’s vision and innovation when it comes to diving. The two new ships will be 120 feet long and consist of four decks, including a sun deck and Jacuzzi.

The luxury staterooms (each approximately 50 sqft/15m2) will be equipped with air-conditioning, a private entertainment center, regular beds, a private bathroom and plenty space to move around!
The spacious dive deck consists of two parts of which one part can be closed of and heated after many exciting dives. Not to forget the warm towels, 4 showers, custom designed camera tables and direct access to the outside bar for those much needed liquids!

The beautiful lounge and restaurant area will be the perfect setting for a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner, briefings and photo shows on the huge TV accompanied by the all inclusive beverages served by the onboard crew.
Buddy will continue to provide “Diving Excellence” to many hardcore-divers and divers-to-be with operations in two of the best locations in the world according to Scuba Diving Magazine’s “2010 top 100 Reader Choice Awards”.

Contact Ann Phelan at ann@bonairecaribbean.com to book your Galapagos trip. She is just back from Ecuador and create land packages as well. With 2.5 hour flights on KLM from Bonaire you can easily combine trips or dive the Galapagos and then enjoy Quito, Otavalo or the rainforest. Contact the Bonaire and Ecuador experts at Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations. Call stateside 800-219-0118 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-219-0118      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or in Bonaire 011 599 786 3134.

Photo of the Day

August 10, 2010

My guest photographer is David Eitman, a loyal dear customer who captured the essence of Bonaire. Thanks David!

Photo Courtesy of David Eitman

Mount Scenery Saba

August 9, 2010

I live in Bonaire and always wanted to visit our sister island Saba. Saba is a few hundred miles away but so close with DAE and Insel providing air service to Sint Maarten. There I can arrange your quick flight on Winair to Saba. The prices in Saba are from budget to high end. This island is about eco tours, diving and hiking. Hiking was on my agenda and I had plans to try a few trails and Mount Scenery. The base to Mt. Scenery is in Windwardside and the hike is around 2.5-3 hours. I also hiked the Dancing Place Trail. Lovely views of Statia, St. Kitt and Nevis.

There are 1064 steps up the 877 m elevation (almost 3000 feet). It is the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and I hiked it!

Breakfast at Scouts Place

I had a light breakfast at Scouts Place and borrowed a walking stick and bought a 2 liter bottle of water. I started up the hill at 8:15. Recently I had some sort of horrid flu whilst in Ecuador so still felt clammy and feverish. Still I was undaunted by my malady and headed up. The grade is quite steep and the cement steps are slippery from moisture and moss. When I reached the House on the Path and then the Eco Lodge I was quite winded. I took a break to listen to the tree frogs and the birds.

House on the Path

Along the way I saw some Saba Anole Lizards, Thrashers, I think a Purple Throated Hummingbird and Red Bellied Racer Snake. I also saw a fat rat, a black bull and a sad donkey tangled up near the Eco Lodge. Can someone check in on this fellow?

Near Eco Lodge

The flora and fauna was massive and beautiful. When I sat and rested I found the sounds of the rainforest calming and delightful. It was truly an amazing place.

I wish I could have shown the entire leaf..all over the Elfin Forest

The trail is pretty steep and the moisture and moss make for slippery conditions. There were three shelters thanks to Cable and Wireless for rest. I was all alone on the trail until 9:30 when I came upon 4 medical students heading down. They were covered in mud. I was advised to stick to the right trail at the top. They told me I was more than half way there.

The final 3rd of the trail was grueling. I felt lightheaded and was soaked in sweat. The walking stick was essential. I had already consumed a liter of water. I forged ahead.

The Summit

At the top I stayed to the right passing the cell towers. The clouds were intense but I did get a 30 second glimpse of the village below. I prayed and meditated up top and enjoy feeling so close to the sky and nature. It was pure joy.

Descending was tricky. The cement was slick and my legs were like rubber feeling a little shakey. I came upon about 30 hikers all around 20 ish and most medical students. A few were zipping up the hill and most heaving with winded breath.

At the bottom I met James Johnson at the Trail House and had a nice chat. I earned a certificate of completion and had a long rest. I arrived at 11 AM, it took about 3 hours with many stops on the way up and no stops down.

Hiking Trail Center run by James Johnson

Imporant Facts About Saba

August 9, 2010

Saba has the shortest commercial runway in the world: 400 meters!

shortest commercial runway in the world

It has the world’s lowest and smallest cloud forest.

Saba has the highest per capita consumption of Heineken in the world. Beer is cheaper than water and the tourist consume bottles..and bottles!

Windwardside

Island Hopping: Saba

August 9, 2010

Living in the Caribbean makes island hopping a fun way to see different geographic and cultural areas. I have had dive clients ask me for new destinations. I am pleased to offer Saba. It is an easy flight from Bonaire to Sint Maarten then a quick 15 min. hop over via Winair.

The runway is freaky (shortest commercial runway in the world, 400 meter) and the island amazing. Passengers originating from the US will find cheap easy connections to Sint Maarten. Europeans can fly Air France or KLM.

The approach

I spent two days in Saba traveling solo. I met some great people and two lovely hikes. The island reminded me a little of the Abacaos, Bermuda and Nantucket. The houses are charming and the flora and fauna amazing.

Windwardside

I stayed at Scouts Place, a dive property I have sent some divers and will no doubt send more. I had a casual little apartment with amazing views. I had some trepidation not having AC but at night the island is very cool and comfy. Tree frogs sang me to sleep. Tinke the office assistant was amazing. It is a casual low key kind of place in Windwardside, a little village on this 5 sq. mile island. My intentions were to hike and chill.

Glen Holm Director of Tourism in Saba at Scouts Place

flowers near Scouts Place

My first meal was at Tropics which is associated with Julians Hotel. I was in awe of the views and the lovely gardens. Upon arrival the reception was a little chilly as the Dutch chef just sort of gazed at me and the waitress was not so welcoming at first. Later she revealed herself to be most kind and helpful. The menu had no fish (I don’t eat meat) and was quite Americanized. I chose nachos. The Ting and the lovely setting with views made the lunch fabulous. Also I was in search of Saba Spice and the waitress went out of her way to help me find some. Much appreciation. I cannot get Ting in Bonaire so tend to OD on it in the Eastern Caribbean.

Tropics

Juliana's Hotel

Dinner was at Eden. The setting is magical with little white lights adorning the tree, tree frogs serenading diners and a fat cutie pie cat who did not disturb but came to greet me. The waitress was great and the owner Nina wonderful. Again no fresh fish only important Bass, Salmon and flash frozen tuna. I had Italian Risotto and a cold Pinot Grigio. I cannot imagine a prettier spot to dine at night.

Eden Restaurant

I did not try dessert but the banana creme brulee sounded intriguing. If you seek a quiet romantic dinner, Eden is the spot.

Eden Restaurant

I had a drink at Saba Treasures. Walk past this place..the bartender was the most unfriendly person I ever met. It had a weird vibe. I took my Ting and sat alone outside.

Breakfast was at Scouts Place. I ordered the Caribbean breakfast (saltfish, Johnny cakes, bush tea). I settled in at a table with an amazing view of Mt. Scenery and the lovely German waitress apologized they were out of salt fish (?). I had some fresh pineapple and a fat chewy Johnny Cake before I set out for the mountain. This is a must do location for breakfast or lunch. Friday nights is a big Kareoke program.

Windwardside House

Lunch was at Queens Garden. The property is gorgeous with lovely views. I inspected the rooms and will post a review on soon. I chose Saban lobster. They caught the poor thrashing fellow before my eyes in a tank. It was about 2 pounds and was delish but I felt a wee bit bad (alright a lot bad). It came with standard fries and lovely veggies.

62.50 USD lobster lunch

The waitstaff were great. I will share it was the most expensive lobster of my life, 62.50 USD for the lobster alone. With tax and tip and a Ting and wine my bill was 90 USD! I was astounded.

Queens Garden Saba

Check out my blog on Mount Scenery coming soon. I love Saba!