23 April 2014 - Last Post from Bonaire
We arrived on 8 February and are rapidly approaching the three month tourist visa limitation governing our stay in Bonaire. We’ve done a fair number of dives whilst here, 41 for Wade and 31 for Diane. In addition to SCUBA diving with each other, we also dove (or dived as the Brits would say) with Tony on SV Capisce (UK flagged), Brian and Paula on SV Magique (Canadian flagged) and Paul on SV Talulah Ruby III (UK flagged). In summary, Bonaire has lived up to its reputation as one of the best diving locations in the world.
In the Eastern Caribbean, we nearly always needed (by law) to hire a local guide for diving. That made the dives cost (per dive, per person) $ 40 - $ 60 US depending on the island/location and outfit. In Bonaire, we are permitted to dive from our own boat, or dinghy, or even shore dive with a rental car (which we never actually did) - all without a guide. Since we had all our own gear and you are not obliged to hire a dive guide, our diving costs were limited only to the cost of tank fills, at approximately $ 6 per fill.
Early on, we went to a couple of REEF fish identification lectures, given my Kim White (who also runs the Caribbean Safety and Security website) and she inspired us to take more effort when diving to identify fish. That motivation, and armed with our new GoPro camera - enabled me to take hundreds of videos and still photos - and then try to identify the fish! What follows is a lot of fish pictures, where I’ve done my best (and oftentimes aided by Diane) to label the creature(s) that we encountered.
I had yet another problem with my ONAN 6KW generator. This time, the alternator seized, causing the belt (that turns the alternator and the internal water cooling pump) to quickly burn up. I removed the alternator and took it ashore where an auto shop took it apart and replaced three bearings. After that, the alternator seemed to work just fine. It seems that there is a lifetime limit for those bearings, 15 years and a little over 900 hours of run-time. The generator was only out of commission for a few hours and the cost of repair was under $ 60. A complete replacement of the alternator is more like $ 600 and I’m still wondering whether that is worth the cost.
Another issue worth mentioning is that SV Joana is filthy dirty, inside and out. We haven’t had a decent rainstorm since we left Trinidad in November. What little rainfall we’ve had in Bonaire has only resulted in sand/mud streaks. The decks are so dirty, we’re going to resort to washing them in salt water, with a fresh water rinse - when we reach Curacao. Mooring on the leeward side of Bonaire means that the sand and dust that blows off the surface of this island is deposited on our decks!
For those who follow in our footsteps - our Internet provider was Splash Wifi ($ 60 per month is the best rate) which we connected to from our boat when moored just 4 balls South of the Yellow Sub Dive Shop. They say that you can get free Internet if you moor just off Karel’s Beach Bar, but then you have to suffer when they have a live band. Another option is to buy Digicell 3G coverage, but then you’re into serious bandwidth limitations. In general, the Internet that we’ve used in Bonaire has been crap, and went off frequently, sometimes for as much as 24 hours ….
Our next destination is the anchorage of Spanish Waters in Curacao.
To see previous log entries, just use the tab at the top.
SV Joana is listed for sale at this site (in case you're wondering why, we're not planning to give up the cruising lifestyle or our home, but most things are for sale and since we've met many cruisers who have listed their boat, we figured we'd do it too).
Departed Canada: May 2009
Bermuda: June - August 2009
Bonaire: February - April 2014
USA: August - November 2009, June - November 2010
Bahamas: December 2009 - March 2010, December 2010 - February 2011
Cuba: March - May 2010
Dominican Republic: March - April 2011
Puerto Rico: April 2011
US Virgin Islands: May 2011
British Virgin Islands: May 2011
St Martin /Netherlands Antilles: May 2011
Antigua: May 2011
Dominica: May 2011
St Lucia: May-June 2011, December 2011 - February 2012, December 2012 - February 2013
St Vincent and the Grenadines: June 2011, February 2012, December 2012, April-May 2013
Grenada: June-November 2011
Martinique: March 2012, March 2013
Barbados: March 2012
Guadeloupe: March 2013
Tobago: March-May 2012
Trinidad: May - December 2012, June - November 2013
Venezuela: November 2013 - February 2014