Ages and ages ago, we arrived in Bonaire, our friends helped us get checked in and settled, and we immediately started diving like it was our job and life’s calling. But we did spend a little time out of the water as well. One of the first things we did was take a stroll around Kralendijk, which has a cute little downtown with some great street art, and a trans-issues radio station.
Captain did not particularly like Kralendijk. He does not like cars, and the one place that’s far enough from cars is the side of the pier. The pier has water noises, which he also does not like. So our attempts to walk the cat were thwarted.
One of our first car excursions took us to Lac Bay, courtesy of Dorothy Rose’s day with the “rust bucket” community truck. Jibe City, a beach bar slash windsurfing school, proved to be a pleasant spot, and we would return later in our stay to try the windsurfing part. This stop was just for post-dive drinks, and to watch the sargassum drift in and get raked up and carted away, essentially one person’s full-time job. On the way back, we picked up a hitchhiker, and I volunteered to ride in the back of the truck.
Dinner followed, steaks at the Brewery, also with Dorothy Rose.
In fact Dorothy Rose did a lot of showing us around. They quickly introduced us to Gio’s, which would become one of our most frequent downtown stops. This gelateria and coffee shop has a constantly rotating set of flavors, such that Jazz’s mission to try them all proved to be impossible despite a substantial effort. We also joined a gym, which was a wonderful break from our usual idleness, and since it was right around the corner, we got in the habit of having a post-workout gelato. Maybe our favorite thing about the place: a coffee always came with a tiny sampler of a random flavor.
We didn’t only hang with sailors, though. We also spent a good amount of time hanging around the house, planning dives (which is exhausting), exploring the possibilities offered by dutch supermarkets (stroopwaffels!), and not feeding the cat human food. Plus, enjoying the view off the back of the boat.
Here we are on a date night at Bon Tapa.
We also made a surprising number of land friends pretty rapidly. We stopped into a salon for end-of-day pedicures, and ended up really liking the owner, Ninoska, and her boyfriend Peter. We would all end up hanging out quite a lot, starting with a trip to a just-opened tiki bar. We apparently didn’t take any group pictures that day, but here’s a terrible selfie and some ambiance from the very good bar.
A few days later we would manage to get that group shot: they took us to one of Holland’s Euro Cup games, where the bar had helpfully provided lots of orange for their staff and many enthusiastic friends.
We tried to have them over for dinner and drinks. But it turned out that even in the relative calm of the Kralendijk mooring field, the motion of the boat wasn’t going to work. We would have to hang out on land.
Like, for example, at the local theater, which features both indoor and outdoor screens, as well as an excellent mural.
Another of our new land friends was Laura, who oddly enough we also met at a salon. Laura invited us over to her beautiful beach-side house, where her friend Madeline almost immediately offered to cook us an Italian dinner. Which of course we accepted. We returned on the appointed day with dessert, wine, and Captain, who immediately made himself at home. Dinner was salad, grilled jack, and lasagna, and was outstanding.
Captain didn’t show any interest in the fish, but he did very much enjoy the box that the wine came in.
He also continues to be very much interested in whatever Andrew is doing. Especially when it involves chicken.
At one point he had a minor bladder issue and needed a vet visit, which was a great excuse to take him walking a little further from downtown. He’s always excited to get back to the boat, though. You can tell we’re going to the vet from how we’re dressed; it feels like fair warning to whoever ends up having to deal with us.
Speaking vaguely of animals, there’s a Saturday-only second-hand shop that benefits the local animal shelter.
This is about the time we met Patricia and Drew, on NautiLife, a couple of mooring balls in front of us. More about these lovely humans in a later post.
We started going pretty regularly to a yoga class, and more on that later as well. One of the people there told us about a restaurant’s “going-out-of-business-very-slowly” wine sale: they had ordered a full container of bottles right before having to shut down for COVID. So they’re trying to get rid of all that excess inventory at very reasonable prices, and we were happy to help them do it.
We brought a very small fraction of that wine over to Peter and Ninoska’s, where they cooked us a delicious dinner and we got to learn some new board games.
One more dinner party (and for Jazz, a massage) at Laura’s, and we’re already at the end of June! Time flies when you spend most of your time underwater.
But this is, ahem, far from sunset on our time in Bonaire.