Bonaire’s Donkey Sanctuary

Shortly after our month-long rental of the Carcycle ended, we found ourselves at the top of the list for the community truck, aka “The Rust Bucket”. It’s an old Toyota, lovingly provided for the use of the cruising community by an ex-cruiser who went native. No frills, but it gets you around with working air conditioning.

We would end up using it to squeeze in a couple more dives, but first, we took it on a tour of the donkey sanctuary. The first stop when you drive through the gate is the infirmary, where the donkeys live when they’re sick, pregnant, or otherwise need special care. We arrived right around feeding time, so everyone was a little preoccupied.

Right next to the infirmary is an enclosure for a couple of flamingos. These birds were accidentally domesticated when a local guy started feeding them in his back yard. When he left the island, they were unequipped to survive on their own, and an neighbor brought them to the sanctuary, where they’ve been ever since.

Also adjacent is the baby nursery, where we got to meet some very young ones. These giant babies are only six weeks old! Apparently they grow up really fast.

Once the babies got tired of us, we piled back into the truck and prepared to enter the park proper. It’s customary for visitors to bring carrots, and the donkeys know this and are prepared. The park workers told us not to feed the donkeys near the gate, but apparently hope springs eternal.

So you roll through the gauntlet and the donkeys grudgingly move aside, but only enough to let you pass, because their real game is to get their faces through the car windows.

So we made our way through to the observation tower, checking out some of the shade along the way, and handing out some carrots once we were far enough from the gate.

We had an easy enough time getting out of the car, but by the time we got back in, another crowd had formed.

Fortunately, it seems to be a smell thing, because once we’d given out our last carrot, we became a lot less interesting to the natives.

We stopped for a snack and a drink before our obligatory grocery run (when you have a car once a week, you don’t get to choose when you do your errands.) And then when we went to fill up the gas tank (another obligatory end-of-day stop when you have the community car), we saw this sticker, which we thought was pretty a pro pos.

All in all, a pretty good adventure.

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