Okay, so I am running way behind on my story telling. And it is hard to catch up. Once you are having a good time, it is just not that appealing to spend time behind a computer (apart from regular technical difficulties that I’ll just skip for simplicities sake).
In Bonaire I got the spend a lot of time with my English neighbor Susie (from Wishful Thinking). She had been on Bonaire for plenty of time, knowing lots of people and taking a lot of time showing me around. Even more people know here by her two dogs, Shuby (spelling?) and Max, two well behaved spaniels that come along everywhere. She had a little open jeep as well, making life even more comfortable.
On my birthday we did the grand tour of Bonaire: went for a ride along the west coast of the island. Went snorkeling off the north point of the island (but on Bonaire, snorkeling is great all along the coast line, a jump from the boat for a snorkel made for good snorkeling already). Then we went by the Gotomeer, saw some flamingos. Had a great lunch in Rincon (one of the few towns on Bonaire) and went for Sera Largo: a great view point overseeing most of the island. On went to go by the salt flats, where they win salt simply by the process evaporation (helped by sunshine and wind).
At the Vespucci restaurant (next to the dinghy dock, start and end of all of our adventures) there was even a birthday cake!
Then in the evening we went for the grandioso pub crawl of Kralendijk. Unconfirmed rumour has it that I was even seen on the dance floor dancing the salsa with one of the Venezuelan girls that works at the Vespucci restaurant. Anyway, it got pretty wild and late. To top it of the key to the dinghy was missing at the end of the night. Leaving us with no transportation back to our boats. While I went for a nap on the dock, Susie woke up one of the other boaters at the Marina, and Bill (of S/V Hope) was nice enough to give us a ride in his dinghy. Saturday morning after some coffee and with the help of some daylight, the dinghy key was found without any trouble.
On Sunday we took Susie’s boat for a sail through the waters around Bonaire. Contrary to the other leeward Dutch Antilles, Bonaire protects you from wind and waves on its west coast. This made for a nice daysail. Always fun to sail on someone else’s boat, there is always something to learn from the different rigging and trimming solutions. At Klein Bonaire (Bonaire’s satellite) we went for a snorkel. Without use of the motor we let go of the mooring and later picked up the mooring at Bonaire under sail as well.
Monday was spend with some last shopping and checking out with customs and immigration. Then Tuesday morning I went into town one more time since the day before Susie had pointed out a non return valve at the marine store. At that time I did not think it was the right hose diameter, but actually it was. This non return valve would be the final solution to the bilge pump project that had remained unfinished from the days I was in Norfolk, VA (November 2006!). Got it installed in half an hour, and it appeared to work as expected on the trip to Venezuela (finally!).