24 February 2014 - Bonaire
Roger and Phil Chaylt come for a visit
As planned, Roger Chaylt and his son Phil (from Timmins) came for a week long visit, and arrived on 15 February. Roger and I go “way back” to grade school years and then on through high school. In fact, it was on Roger’s first boat, an O-Day 21, that I first learned to sail and sampled the cruising life (as a 20 year old) - which of course has become much more refined with a toilet, refrigerator, freezer, washing machine, TV, Internet etc. Roger and Phil came to dive, and dive we did. Every day was a new day, with nearly an endless number of dive sites to choose from on the reefs of Bonaire.
Sometimes we dove from the stern of our boat …..
Sometimes we, or they - dove from our dinghy …..
At the end of every dive day, crew and guests were treated to smoothies (with or without coconut rum), “dark and stormys" (rum and ginger beer), rum and coke, wine, iced tea, soft drinks or water (if desired). It was very easy to please anybody. Here, Roger and Phil try a “Dark and Stormy” for the first time.
One day, we were treated to bagels with salmon and cream cheese for lunch, courtesy of Roger and Phil - who were keen to do their part.
At the end of every dive, we were entitled to a fresh water rinse on the stern of our boat. I remember from Roger’s trip to the Bahamas years ago (where he and his wife Carole and all 3 kids sailed through the winter in the Bahamas on a Jenneau 27) that he also valued the importance of a daily fresh water shower. However, with a smaller boat, the water tank was correspondingly smaller and an insecticide sprayer (instead of a shower head) was used to dispense the water. Here, Roger demonstrates his preference for a proper shower head.
The last dive of the week was a night dive for Phil and I - off the stern of our boat. Roger snorkelled at the surface, on security patrol. Phil and I saw several large tarpon, like large dogs following us around. Roger also saw them from the surface, looking down, but thought they might have been small sharks. We heard them every night hunting the smaller reef fish. They were quite active in the early evening, and we could see schools of fishing jumping at the surface and scrambling to avoid being eaten by the predators.
At the end of the week, both Roger and Phil had more than doubled their diving experience and Roger had transitioned from Mr Cautious to Mr Confident.
The day before flying, marking their second last day on the island, rather than diving - we chose to rent three 50cc scooters ($ 25US per scooter, per day) and explore the island. Naturally, one of the first stops was to KFC, where Roger cannot deny that he went to KFC while on his holiday! I can confirm that the menu was the same as in Canada, but noticeably more expensive.
As we were driving along the coast, we came across many of the dive sites that are easily accessible from the water in our dinghy. Alternatively, many people rent crew cab pickups and dive from the shore. Here’s a sign you won’t see back in Canada.
We did a perimeter visit of the Washington-Slagbaai park, in the North of the island. Here, Roger was perplexed as to which washroom was for men, and which for women.
The island has very few trees, but lots of cactus. There are some palm trees, noticeably near the resorts and tourist ares, but I never saw any bamboo. That illustrates how very little rainfall the island gets.
Bonaire still produces salt from an evaporation process and seawater. Here, we see large piles of this harvested salt awaiting distribution.
Back in the mid eighteen-hundreds, slaves used to do this work, and these are the huts they lived in.
In the Northern port of the island, it gets a little hilly and quite picturesque.
On the South East coast, we had a look at dozens of tourists enjoying the world-class windsurfing with shallow water and constant trade winds. Here are Phil and Roger on the beachfront.
On the South West coast, kite surfers enjoy flat waters (they are in the lee of the island) and constant trade winds. Here, it looks like Phil is talking up his father — maybe next year kitesurfing Dad?
Sadly, I’m unable to provide any underwater photos to document the many dives that we did. I did take a few with my SeaLife underwater camera, but then my batteries died. Would you believe that after several days of looking and many phone calls, I was unable to find AA Lithium batteries on the island of Bonaire? After consulting with Diane, we decided that this was the opportunity for a technological upgrade, and ordered a new GoPro camera — to be arriving “soon” (ordered through West Marine in the States - for delivery through eZone). In the meantime, I’ll offer this photo of a Bonaire iguana - who was trying to be “unseen”.
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 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