Bon Bini to Bonaire

Sailing from Bequia to Bonaire. A distance of about 520NM…we were thinking of 3-4 days sailing….

We left tuesday October 27 in Bequia which is their independence day, for this reason the check-out was 100EC dollars instead of for free. There goes our nice restaurant dinner money !
We planned to leave at 3PM but when we tried to start the motor on the port side it did not work, the starboard did work.We turned off the starboard and then the port side worked but the starboard did not want to start. With a 3rd try nothing started anymore and there was no noise. We both thought it was the battery. Luckily we could start the generator and after about an hour the both engines started  and off we were. We had nice winds and were able to sail between 5-6 KTS, later on even 7KTS. Stefan put out his fishing rod and at 6 PM we prepared dinner, while Otto (our autopilot) took care of the route to be followed. At about 9 PM just before Stefan was going to sleep ( I did the first watch from 9 PM to midnight) we heard the line of the fishing rod go off quickly. Stefan quickly stopped it and started to haul in,  whatever it was it was fighting. On top of that we were sailing at 7KTS so that did not make it easier…After 10 minutes we saw the prize but the prize was fighting fiercely. It was a huge MahiMahi. Stefan got him to the steps of the boat and I handed him the gaff (with a hook) to kill it . Just as Stefan took the gaff, the fishing rod together with the metal rod holder broke off and everything disappeared in the black hole of the sea. Stefan and I just stood there staring in the black hole….Going from extreme excitement having caught such a huge beautiful fish to utter amazement when we lost everything…. so close! During my entire watch I was mad I had not taken any pictures when Stefan was reeling in the MahiMahi…

I was happy when it was midnight and I could go to bed till 3 PM. The first day passed by uneventful, there was less wind during the day so we only made between 4-5 KTS. I became nauseous  after my watch from 3 AM to 6 AM, mostly because of not being able to see the waves coming and because I was tired. A pill and some sleep did the work. After 2 days I did not feel sick anymore, apparently this is the time your inner-ear needs to adapt to the new situation.
Thursday October 29th, it was only 7.30 AM when Stefan called me out of my sleep to bring a towel. I quickly did and great was my surprise when I found Stefan not sitting at the steering wheel but on the starboard side with the wing of a large bird under his one foot and bent over with a tool to cut wire from the beak of the poor thing! Instead of catching another MahiMahi, he caught a brown booby! It was a young bird. With the towel we covered his eyes so he would stay calm and we could untangle and clip the fishing tread from its wing and the hook from its beak. After taking a picture, he was free to fly 🙂 and I went back to bed !

Stefan with his Brown Boobie all fixed up!
Stefan with his Brown Boobie all fixed up!

Friday October 30th, there was hardly any wind, we only did about 4-5 KTS, really boring.

A lonely visitor, taking a rest.
A flying fish who took a wrong turn and landed on our trampoline.
Reading, reading, reading, I finished All the light you cannot see from Anthony Doer. Definitely recommended reading.

I had hoped to arrive Friday late in the afternoon but realised already in the morning that that was not possible. We had some problems with Otto who all of a sudden would loose his course and thus we had to intervene. We are not sure why this is, Stefan will try to find out with a technician from Raymarine as soon as we can find one. I read my book during the day and even did a small load of wash. At about 3 PM Stefan looked at his fishing rod and noticed that almost all the tread had played out….Getting it back in was not an easy task ! We did not know what was at the other end since it was so far away and it was really difficult to reel it in. At one point we thought it must be a whole load of seaweed ….It took us nearly an hour when we finally saw the MahiMahi on the end of the line, still fighting but not a lot anymore. This time I had my camera ! We were prepared with all the necessary tools :-). Stefan killed the fish with a blow from a baseball bat. He filetted the fish and we put it in the freezer. The 4th night was a difficult one, I was dead tired and the thrill of the first nights being alone with a full moon, lots of stars and Mars and Jupiter was gone. I wanted my bed for 8 hours straight. But I managed!

The fighting Mahi Mahi.
The fighting Mahi Mahi.

Saturday October 31st, at about 9 AM we decided to motor a part as otherwise we would only arrive at Bonaire at 11 PM. We were only doing 3-4 KTS which is very frustrating at the end of a passage when you really want to be there. We motored about 5 hours. I cannot describe the feeling when you finally see the land ! At 2 PM we had nice winds and sailed with 6-7 KTS to Kralendijk on Bonaire. What a great feeling ! We could sail all the way till the buoys. A Dutch sailor helped us hook up to the buoy and at 5 PM we could turn off the motor and get ready to go on land and have a decent meal in a restaurant called At Sea 🙂

Map showing the location Island of Bonaire in the Caribbean
The next island we will visit is Curacao and then Aruba. They are a day sail away.

November 1st – November 4th : discovering the island at our own leisurely pace with our bicycles. We found an AH supermarket and needless to say we were exited to be able to get all the varieties in cereal, yoghourt, vegetables etc…only the prices were 50% more expensive.We had mussels (1kg) for dinner and a tomato mozzarela salad, speculoos with our tea :-). Bonaire is a popular destination for cruise ships and since about two weeks the season has started. This means on tuesday, wednesday, thursday and sometimes also friday a ship with about 2500-3500 passengers arrives in the harbour. About 16.000 people live in Bonaire so needless to say you can clearly feel it when a cruise ship is in town ! They usually arrive at 8 AM and leave around 6 PM.

Colourful houses in Bonaire.

The snorkelling is fantastic here ! It is really like swimming in an aquarium. I had some bread and the fish ate it out of my hand. Stefan and I did a “discovery scuba dive” and it was super. Being so relax in the water only hearing your own breathing and the bubbles and enjoying the great underwater scenery.

Scuba Diving is at its best on the coasts of Bonaire
Parrot fish as seen during our dive ! Awaiting pictures from Stefan’s underwater camera this one is from internet.


Today we explored the countryside of Bara di Karta with our bicycles, about 35 KM in total. So different ! We saw parrots, iguanas, wild donkeys and lots of cacti ! Bonaire has five different cacti. They even use the cacti as a fence, minimum care and no way somebody will get through 🙂 It was 4PM by the time we were back at the boat. We washed up and changed and went into town with our laptops to find good wi-fi and finish our blog update. But….nowhere we can find strong enough internet to upload our pictures :-(…

This blog update was made possible by the internet from Whattaburger 🙂 More pictures to follow in the next blog update.

Wild donkeys in Bonaire.
Cacti in Bara di Karta.
Taking a break under the Tamarind tree