Bonaire Above the Water: July

We write a lot about post-sized adventures. This post will be a collection of smaller things, but no less meaningful to us for being a bit scattershot.

In St Croix, we met a boat called Caterpillar. We’d headed down to Bonaire a few weeks ahead of them, and kept them informed about the diminishing availability of mooring balls. They eventually made the crossing, arriving in the dark, and we helped guide them to the very last mooring ball. Here we all are at dinner – plus a turtle we saw along the pier as we walked to dinner!

We had a number of good sunsets, but July 2nd was one of the chart-toppers.

We made it back to Lac Bay to try wind surfing, which was an absolute blast. We had a lesson on land, and then they set us loose in the 2′ deep water, with brightly colored sails that marked us as amateurs with an implicit right of way. Action shots courtesy of Topher, who waded out to take pictures.

One day we were on the way to see Peter and Ninoska for a Sunday afternoon game day, when we found a guy gleefully decorating his friend’s car after what we presume was an excellent destination wedding.

We spent as much time as we could in the water, squeezing in dives before we had to give up the Carcycle. We did our best to keep it clean, so we didn’t end up with a huge cleaning fee. Here’s all our gear packed into a big plastic tub in the back seat. Also here: Jazz professing her love for this little engine that mostly could, before we had to give her up, and Andrew not loving a pumpkin pancake purchased in the grocery store parking lot.

Here’s a more typical sunset, to put the one above in perspective. We had a lot of Sahara dust blowing through, so the air was often hazy and the sun really red. The dust fell on everything all the time, and it rarely rained, so dust built up in piles and drifts. Even a day or two after cleaning, everything would already have a nice reddish sheen.

July was also the month that our brand new Balmar alternator decided to give up the ghost. We haven’t mentioned the alternator here yet, because it was overshadowed among things that came in on our USVI pallet by the new toilet. We’d ordered a new alternator and serpentine pulley kit as “Andrew’s birthday present”, because our old alternators had given us enough trouble and a new one would mean we would Never Have to Think About It Again™. We’d installed it just prior to our sail to Bonaire, after a bunch of back and forth with Balmar to get the right parts. Then, about twenty service hours into its life, as we used it to top up our failing batteries on a particularly cloudy day, the negative post snapped cleanly in half. Pictured on the right: Andrew’s reaction.

It would take weeks and a lot of back and forth with Balmar to determine that somehow this is not a warranty issue and to get a new part shipped to Bonaire. In the meantime, we decided the only correct reaction to the problem was was to go out for dinner. We’d been meaning to visit Het Consulaat, where we discovered a truffle-ham pasta that Jazz still has dreams about.

Captain was substantially less concerned about the whole thing.

At some point we discovered that Bonaire had a mini golf course, and we took Dorothy Rose over there on one of our Rust Bucket days.

Here’s their boat, experiencing yet another lovely sunset.

Meanwhile back in power-land, we’d been trying to figure out if we could squeeze more life from our batteries, and we found a guy with a reconditioning machine that could, in theory, equalize them up properly and find any problems. So we popped the batteries out, brought them to shore, and spent a couple of days living without power.

We went back to Het Consulaat with Patricia and Drew from Nautilife. Jazz got The Pasta again, Andrew got a lot of love and attention from the house kitten, and we all ended up at Gio’s for dessert.

We’ve mentioned Gio’s before, I think: the gellateria around the corner from the gym, with the big rotating selection.

Captain continues to live his best life, with occasional bouts of ennui mixed in.

We had a lot of fun times with Peter and Ninoska. Sometimes playing games, sometimes movies, and often with takeout from Bon Wokkie. Once we lost the Carcycle they were gracious enough to pick us up whenever they wanted to hang out with us.

We did another night dive to see the ostracods, this time at Kalli’s Reef off of Nautilife. As before, no pictures of the ostracods because our camera’s just not nearly that good, but here are some pictures of the shore and the sunset, now obstructed by the mainland instead of by Klein Bonaire.

We had managed to stay in Bonaire for a whole month without visiting a chandlery, and we’d been pretty excited about that. But the failed alternator led to some rewiring which would require new wires, so we walked to Budget Marine. Along the way we saw Baby’s First Heavy Bag, which we’re pretty sure used to be a fender. And we stopped for Arepas, where we were visited by this little lizard.

Over this time we were becoming better friends with Nautilife. Here we are having pizza on their boat.

We had a delicious Italian dinner courtesy of our yoga teacher, Elisabeta.

And finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a big shout out to Wannadive, who supplied us with the nitrox tanks on our backs in all the dive photos, and more importantly, with big rinse buckets and a hot shower. We may have a watermaker on board, but it only makes so much water, and it’s really great to be able to dive without worrying about whether we have enough water to rinse the gear. Plus they’re really nice people!

Above is their southern location; they have another one up north. It’s close to the mooring field, so we could pick up tanks by dinghy, but it’s a much less pleasant place to be. They’re on the site of a crappy resort, Eden Beach, which means they’re a little more squeezed for space, and it’s always busy with cars and resort traffic. Worse, they can’t sell beer. Still, even if we have to fight the water taxis to do it, bringing tanks straight to our dinghy with their wheelbarrows was pretty convenient.

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