This treasure of an island was discovered by Amerigo Vespucci in 1499. He found the islanders living in what has been described as "Stone Age" conditions. These conditions improved as the Spanish took control of the island. In 1634, the Dutch took control of Bonaire. The Dutch already held control of Bonaire's neighboring island, Curacao, and sought to protect her interests there by acquiring Bonaire.
In 1816, the Dutch established numerous plantations on this island. But in 1863, the abolition of slavery caused Bonaire's economy to collapse. Things didn't improve much until 1951 when the island's first hotel was built. Since then, Bonaire has become a premier tourist destination, primarily as a scuba diver's paradise. It also continues to be one of the world's leading exporters of aloe.
Bonaire is comprised of 112 square miles with a population of 14,000. The people are quite friendly and the capital city, Kralendjik, is charming. We spent the morning and early afternoon strolling through town. I love the color of the water there!
I like this shot: a lighthouse equipped with a cannon!
Rick enjoys trying the locally brewed beer on the islands.
At about 3:00, we embarked on our snorkeling excursion. We sailed via catamaran to the snorkeling site. These are shots I took as we sailed.
I took this photo from the deck of the catamaran. The water was so clear that you could see the minnows swimming below!
If you look closely at the surface of the water, you'll see the fish that these seagulls caught.
Our next house, ha ha!
This is where we stopped to snorkle.
Check out the turquoise color of the water!
Here's my sweetheart snorkleing. We saw flounder, rainbow fish, parrot fish, and sandy brown eels.
This is the main sail on the catamaran.
The story behind it is so funny! It is owned by a Japanese businessman who decided for whatever reason to name her "Moshi Moshi." After the catamaran had been built and the sails had been attached, he and his wife flew over from Japan to celebrate her maiden voyage. As the sails were unfurled, they discovered the spelling error had occured: instead of "Moshi Moshi" it was named "Mushi Mushi." The decided to leave it as is. However, this typo often causes quite a comical reaction. Apparently, in German "mushi mushi" is a phrase used by "ladies of the night" to entice customers. Our Dutch guides said they always know when a tourist is German because he/she looks at the sail and cracks up laughing! If I owned this catamaran, I'm pretty sure I would climb up the mast myself and change those u's to o's! LOL
I couldn't decide which of these sunset photos I like the best, so I'm posting both of them.
That evening, we were invited to a private wine & cheese party at the ship's Art Gallery (everyone who had purchased at either of the previous two auctions or who had purchased on previous trips on this ship was invited to attend). The largest auction was going to be held on Saturday, which was the day at sea. The advantage of this small gathering was that invitees had a semi-private auction meaning that there weren't many people there with whom you might engage in a bidding war. (Although we did acquire the other two paintings for the opening bid prices, thank goodness!) So we got all gussied up and went to the party. And yes, after a third night of dreaming about Vine Reflections by James Pratt (the one I showed in my last post), I bought it! Now I am like a little kid waiting for Santa to arrive~I am so anxious to get our paintings! My nose is practically pressed to the glass looking for the delivery truck. But delivery can take up to eight weeks, and it's only been two. I could be standing at the front window for a very long time!
Up next: Aruba.