Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reminiscing About Bonaire

This is the longest we have been away from Fine Line since we started sailing. We are getting a bit boat-sick. A bit of reminiscing is in order to bolster the spirits. After leaving the beautiful islands of Venezuela we headed due west to Bonaire. Here is a large map to put it all in perspective. We are a long way from home.

Bonaire lies 50 miles north of Venezuela. Although it is located at approximately the same latitude as Grenada (12 degrees) it has a much drier climate. It is a small island, approximately 112 sq. miles with a population of 111,000 people. It is part of the Dutch Antilles with Curacao and Aruba being sister islands. This group of islands are referred to as the ABC islands...no explanation needed, right?

The Dutch people are friendly and speak Dutch (duh), English, Spanish, and Papiamentu. I am sure they speak other languages also but we were so impressed by this linguistic talent and quite embarrassed by our own language limitations. Is it genetic? Probably more of a survival skill since this island is very popular with people around the world due to the incredible diving found here. By the way, Papiamentu is a local language made up of many languages, OK!

Kralendijk is the capital city of Bonaire. All boaters are moored directly off this very nice town. The water is pristine right up to the town wall and you can literally jump right into the water anywhere and swim.

See how beautiful the water is? People will float like this all day. This person happens to be our good friend, Laurie. She did come up for air once in awhile.

The Bonaire Coast Guard patrols the waters of Bonaire. They have quite a problem with drugs coming up from Venezuela and Columbia. They are very nice and speak English.

Bonaire, like many islands, have a regatta. This is the small fleet.

Very small fleet, toy sized. But don't call them toys.

These are high performance models with sponsorships.

The race begins with owners alongside their mini-yachts in the water.

For the most part the boats sail a straight course. If not, it is an owner/operator issue. You must position the rudder of the boat correctly or it will go astray.

Like other Caribbean islands, there is a work-boat fleet.

Rounding the mark

The big yachts are next.

Laurie came to visit us in Bonaire for a week. Laurie and Anne are high-school girlfriends. Once we got her out of the water we took her on a road trip to see the sights.
As usual there is debris washed up on the shore. Here is local recycle art work.

Historical relics on the leeward side of the island. Salt production has been a big industry on this island for many years and many artifacts of this trade remains.

Slaves were used to work in the salt flats. They lived up island in Rincon but would walk to the salt flats (15 miles)to work. During the week they would live in these small huts returning home only for the weekends.

Not a lot of room and there were generally 4 workers per hut.

Bonaire does not receive alot of rain. Water is provided by desalination. The local golf course reflects the islands water conservation program.
The Captain takes a practice swing.

There is not alot of maintenance required here.

The "green" fees are pretty reasonable.

Maintenance is preformed my non-union staff.

The all volunteer staff is colorful.

The windward side of Bonaire is true to it's name...it is windy here. Lac Bay is a favorite spot for wind surfing, water sports and just hanging out.

Time for lunch.
On this particular day a cruise ship from Venezuela was in port. This beautiful beach is usually not very crowded but today it was full of skimpy bikinis. The Venezuelan's prefere itsy bitsy swimsuits.

On the other side of the island we found some old stairs leading to a great walkway along the water. Imagine building these without modern machinery.

We found some great wildlife along the way

You can easily find solitude away from the tourist destinations.

A short trip from the main island is Klein Bonaire. The local marine park has installed free day use moorings. The swimming and snorkeling is great here.
The weather is unpredictable and a good day can quickly become a "oh, I think I am going to be sick" day. This particular outing to do some snokeling was a bit rolly!

The view below is great here.

A fish with attitude.

The water is really this color, honest.
Not a day went by that we did not float in the water. It is irresistable. Laurie flew back home and we dropped our mooring line and sailed to the west. It took us about 5 hours to get to Curacao. Here we hauled the boat out of the water and flew home. SIGH!
Still in San Diego,
Anne and Steve

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It's All About The Cookies

It is February 2010. We are still in Carlsbad, CA. We wish we were on our boat but there seems to be a lot of tasks for us to complete here on land. They are all important but honestly, the real reason is right here Girl Scout cookies appear at the end of January. Is there anything more delicious than a Thin Mint?
They are tough to resist. Good news is the Girl Scouts are prepared (not just a Boy Scout motto) and have lots of cookies so when this batch disappears in a week we know where to find more.

And so it seems we will be on land until the cookie sales stop or until our daughter Meghan's new house is all fixed up. Not sure what will happen first or last but being on a sailboat has taught us not to make too many permanent plans because we are bound to break them almost every time.
Here is the new house. It is very cute. It is in escrow. Escrow is sort of like a real estate version of doing your taxes. You don't understand the words, no matter how many times you read the instructions they don't make sense and in the end you hope you are not signing up for a long vacation in Siberia.

It has suffered from a bit of neglect. It is a victim of a "short-sale"

But luckily, the Walsh family are HGTV gurus and we know how to make this dejected home into a model home of comfort and luxury.
The galley, oops kitchen, will get a makeover
The decks, oops floors, will be renovated with cherry wood
New cabinets, appliances and countertops will make this space a cooks delight (that's HGTV talk)

We miss our boat but we would never miss the opportunity to see our daughter's delight as she moves into her first home
Congratulations Meghan!

So this blog will take a dry turn and we'll take you along as we do the renovations.
Stay tuned.
Anne and Steve
On Land in Carlsbad