Posted by: Lara Ortiz | March 14, 2010


On the way from La Blanquilla, we picked up a passenger for about 8.5 hours in the middle of a windy and quickly darkening evening. He hung out on our dodger all night, and upon seeing the lights  of Bonaire, he took his leave. I hope someone can identify what kind of bird he is. He was so tired, he tolerated me touching him and let me snap photos 6″ from his face.

The passenger

The passenger. Can anyone identify this bird?

Yesterday morning, just before sunrise, Jason steered Kijro into Kralendijk harbor, bobbing along slowly with only the jib running, awaiting light for mooring. He awoke John and I, and we made our way to a mooring ball about 50′ off the seawall.

The water here is crystal clear. Not Bahamas crystal clear, not even Ginny Springs crystal clear. We’re talking Zephyrhills bottle of water clear. All the way to the seawall. The license plates on the cars all say “Diver’s Paradise,” and they’re not exaggerating. About 55′ offshore, the sea floor drops from a sandy 15′ to a steep coraline descent that goes to 800′ deep in about 150′ of distance. There are fish everywhere—snook, tarpon, permit, bonefish, parrotfish, french and queen angels, pipefish, hawkfish, damsels, blennies, spotted eagle rays, you name it. And that’s just off the back of the mooring, not even on the so-called “dive sites.” Huge purple sponges rise 3-4′ from the bottom, long spindly gorgonians 1″ thick in branch width match the sponges in size. It’s a feast for the eyes. Needless to say, we finished my certification here, so congratulations are in order. I’m a PADI Open Water Diver now!

The roads in Kralendijk are clean and bricked, and the buildings sit closely nestled, painted pastel colors. It’s all so civilized. I love it. In contrast, Harleys, dirt bikes, and 4-wheelers seem to be the favorite street vehicles for many of the locals. Bonaire is part of the Dutch Antilles, so lots of people speak Dutch, but the principal local language is Papimiento, followed closely by Spanish and English as well. For such a small island, it’s rich in languages.

Kralendijk, Bonaire buildings

Kralendijk, Bonaire buildings

We had an incredible dinner last night at a place called Appetite. It is unassuming in front, but when you walk in the door, you realize it’s an open air building, full of small rooms painted a faint lavender and adorned with dark raw wood furniture, and capped in the back with a large courtyard with an assortment of tables, a large rattan lounge area, and a poured concrete bar. Everything is wood concrete, lavender or white, very modern, very simple, and the menus are square, upholstered in grass! The food is all made completely fresh and from scratch.

After sitting, the waitress brought us an “amuse bouche” of marinated tomato with gorgonzola and pear coulis that was divine. John had an appetizer of fish 3 ways and Jason and I split a goat cheese salad. For dinner John and Jason had tenderloin with red port sauce and I had mandarin duck breast. The flavors were so delicate and well balanced. If you are ever in Bonaire (and you REALLY should consider vacationing here), it is not a restaurant to be missed.

Today was “dive day,” and we intend to leave for Curaçao after an arepa breakfast in the morning. Chat to you next from there!



  1. Congrats on the dive certification, Lara! And thanks for the splendid descriptions of your travels…it takes me there.

    • Thanks Diane. You should put it on your vacation list! Surprisingly affordable too!

  2. I’m closing my eyes and imagining the sights, sounds and smells of Bonaire. Also, I’m looking forward to the bird id challenge!

  3. Yea for you Lara, dido congrats on the dive cert. You really should consider doing some writing; your written descriptions are very good. I’m becoming very jealous of the adventures you are describing. You guys are definitely on the adventure of a lifetime. You make Bonaire sounds like a better place to go on vacation than Hawaii. Apparently you have overcome the sea sickness problems or the seas have settled for your recent trips. Can’t wait to see pictures of your latest adventures.

    • Hi Pete,
      Thanks for the compliment. Seas have definitely not settled. We actually had some of our biggest seas on the way here, but it seems my stomach has settled. I finally have my sea legs! Working on pictures now. They’re on the photo site already!

  4. It is an immature brown noddy.

    The following information is on Plate 72 in Peter Harrison’s SEABIRDS.

    BROWN NODDY 42/83cm
    Anous stolidus

    ADULT: white forehad sharply demarcated from black lores. Remainder of plumage brown, darker on primaries and tail. Pale underwing shows darker margins. Appears two-toned at sea.

    JUVENILE; As adult but has dark forehead and crown and whitish tips to saddle, upperwing-coverts and secondaries.

    IMMATURE: As adult but usually lacks well-defined cap.

    • Thanks Paula! We knew you’d come through on that one. 🙂 John saw the auto show pics yesterday.

  5. the brown noddy sounds like Lara after one of her night ‘shifts’
    It bears repeating, La – no fair having a honeymoon before you’re married. Sounds like a dream land there. God made beauty that hasn’t been trampled yet. Ssshhhhhh …. dont tell anyone!

  6. Jason –

    I’ve always heard Bonaire was absolutely incredible. Thanks for confirming it 🙂 Just moved up on my list of places to go ….

    • It really should be near the top of your list. Bonaire is amazing!

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