Life coaching for Caribbean sailors

Sissi in the blazing sun off Kralendijk

The picture shows Sissi hanging on the mooring off Kralendijk in the midday sun. In the cockpit it can be endured very well, because we have put up a sun protection tarpaulin, which has so far proven very good on our trip. But that's not the topic of this blog.

This blog is about heat, the murderous temperatures that already exist in the Caribbean in January and February. For about two months now we have been living in the temperature zone between 28 ° C and 31 ° C. Every day. There are no changes. There are only warm days and hot days. It can be annoying. It annoyed us so much on the Atlantic that we ordered a couple of PC fans from Jörg and Burti. The two of us then brought the fans to Barbados. Since then we sleep better. The problem on the Atlantic is that although we would have had enough wind to ventilate Sissi properly, we could not open the windows so that the Atlantic did not come to visit our bunk.

Quiet PC fan

All the necessary technical data are on the fan, you only have to enlarge the photo. The fan draws 0.08 amperes and therefore needs 0.96 watts. Every ship's battery should be able to withstand this. It has a diameter of about 20 centimeters, so it is quite large for a PC fan. He is practically inaudible for that. One is mounted over my bunk, one over Jens bunk. If the fan is switched on, it ensures a slight air movement in the bedroom and that you are no longer braised in your own juice. Great! Thanks again to Jörg for getting and bringing it.

Sissi in the sunset glow

Even when the sun has set, the temperatures do not decrease. That is why the fans are so important. We had only planned a third fan for the guest bunk in the bow, but it is not used for that now. It now ensures an increased air throughput at the refrigerator compressor and we already notice that the energy consumption of our refrigerator has decreased - after two days on the buoy on Bonaire the batteries have not run out. I can't exactly quantify that yet, but I will definitely take measurements.

Kralendijk at night

If you think you want to equip your sailboat with PC fans, they have a few great features: Quiet, low power consumption and can be connected directly to 12V. But make sure that the fans are as large as possible and run slowly. Otherwise you won't be happy with it. A fan costs around € 45. I do not want to know how expensive they would be if they were in the sail shop.

ass

We rent scooters because there is no public transport on Bonaire. We don't want to rent a car, the island is much too small for that. Helmet has been mandatory on Bonaire since March 1st. I do not know what the legislator is doing here while filming with a smartphone. I haven't seen a policeman here yet.

Motoselfie

We start with the scooters, first in the south of the island. We plan the north for the following day. First we drive past the airport and the salt pans. Then come the pelicans, flamingos and the lighthouse.

We have already passed this lighthouse on the lake side

The scooter rental company told us that you can drive the route in the south in about an hour. We don't even have half after three hours and have to hurry because we still want to go to the donkeys.

The donkeys belong to the saline like the slaves too. When the donkeys were no longer needed for salt production, they were simply released and they multiplied on the island. This has existed since 1993 Donkey Sanctuary. Many donkeys have been collected and given space on an area of about six soccer fields for a species-appropriate life.

Jens in the donkey reserve

The admission price is reasonable in my opinion with 9$ per nose. There are really a lot of donkeys here. I want to buy another bucket of carrots for feeding, but the donkey keeper doesn't sell it to me. She thinks that we have no chance with the scooters. If the donkeys noticed that we had food for them, they would surround us and we would get no further. It's okay, we don't have to feed them.

Donkey procession for lunch

We have a good overview on a lookout tower. There are really many feeding stations for the donkeys and everywhere we see donkeys at their meal. If they were all going to storm our carrots now - unthinkable.

Feeding stations

On our way through the donkey park we suddenly see a black shadow on the edge of the path. We quickly stop the scooters and use the camera lenses on the rare animal. We see the first cat on Bonaire. We haven't seen any yet. We have already seen a couple of dogs lying in the shade, but it is little compared to the other Caribbean islands. And no chickens are kept here. At least not on the street.

Cat among donkeys

Then there is a breeding station for young animals and for animals that have been wounded in traffic. These are delivered to Bonaire in the donkey reserve and people are busy trying to spice them up. On the morning of our visit, a lone donkey baby was handed over that is not even a day old. The volunteer nurses pep it up with the milk bottle.

Donkey baby. Here he has a chance of survival

To complete the whole thing or for whatever reason you can still see a few turtles.

Donkey turtle

And a group of five flamingos were also donated. The owners of the flamingos had them in the garden for many years, then they went back to Holland and gave the birds to the donkey paradise.

Donkey flamingos

Finally, there is the old people's home. There really is a retirement home for donkeys here. At first I read the sign and was amazed: When the donkeys get older than 30 years, they come here to the old people's home and get special, age-appropriate food. I didn't know that a donkey could get that old.

retirement home

Dear readers, now you know at least a little what salt, slave husbandry and donkeys have to do with each other.

With all the donkeys, I always had to think of my former work colleagues. We software developers programmed an internal software called ESEL almost 20 years ago. This is (probably) still used at Denic today. I hope that the software is slowly coming to the retirement home, even if it has not yet turned 30. Many greetings to Frankfurt am Main!

Fright in the morning

A rumble and roar pulls me out of my sleep. There is a lot of noise outside, I have to see what it is. A giant pot, the Aidaperla, is just about to be attached to the tiny concrete pier.

Arrival of the cruise ship

I knew that there are practically no islands in the Caribbean that no cruise ships arrive at. I never thought that it would hit us so hard. Beeping from the intercom, announcements in several languages and noise from the machine. I go back to bed.

Aidaperla next to Sissi

Fortunately, when I can no longer sleep at eight o'clock, the noise from the fat pot has not stopped, Jens has already finished the coffee. We're going to run away with our scooters today. That is unbearable. Over coffee we watch the passengers make the immigration procession. Why can't they lock people out at sea for the corona virus? The Dutch are relaxed.

The Immigration Service is located in the yellow house

A cruise ship with more than 3500 passengers has arrived on Bonaire. Bonaire itself has only 18,000 inhabitants. That is quite a chunk. The water taxis drive the crusaders in a chord to Klein Bonaire, an offshore island with popular sandy beaches.

Water taxi

The crusader is so powerful, he even turns the wind. We usually lie east with the bow because the wind always comes from east. Now we're lying south with the bow, because this fat pot is so close that it once turned the wind 90 °. Mmmpf. This no longer fits properly with our sun protection tarpaulin.

I go ashore with Jens, who wants to go on an extensive hike in the national park. Then I go to the phone shop and have to wait in line behind three German crusaders who all need a SIM card for their phones. I have a SIM card and I just want to charge it. But that takes time because the Germans in the cruise ship age are not so good at English. And because certain words like "cell phone" or "prepaid" do not exist in this language area or have a different meaning. But the German thinks that he will be better understood if he speaks louder ...

When I finish and go back to Sissi, the glasses almost fall out of my glasses. I haven't seen that yet. Not only has one crusader landed on Bonaire, there are two of them.

Two crusaders

So there are about 7000 crusaders on the island in addition to the normal tourists. Wow. Can't the shipping companies at least coordinate with each other? If we wanted to clarify now, it wouldn't be possible because of the large number of people. We want to stay anyway, because we have rented the scooters until evening and have not yet seen the island completely.

I have another coffee in the cockpit when a water taxi suddenly comes from behind. There are some really drunk (it's 10:30 in the morning) Germans on it. They roar over to me. They greet the German flag at our stern. They show me the Hitler salute. I show them the middle finger. I hate crusaders. Not the people, most of them are completely normal and totally nice. The ships, the industry behind it and what it makes of the travel destinations.

Whale skeleton
Information board on the whale skeleton

Bird cattle

Penguins

The penguin is a kind of heraldic animal from Bonaire. It is available in the tourist gift shop as a soft toy in all sizes, but it is actually on every corner on the island. Penguins cannot fly. That's why they stand around in the water and look good doing it.

Penguin foraging

We are lucky and can see a penguin foraging for food. So far I only know them from the Frankfurt Zoo, where they have their place right at the main entrance. But I have to say that they are much better to see here in their natural environment.

Fountain bird while hunting. Unfortunately pressed the shutter too late.

Then we can still watch the filler bird. I already had one in primary school, but now I see one hunting in the wild. Unfortunately, I pressed the shutter release too late. The fountain after immersing in the water is neat.

The filler bird starts again

I can easily photograph the start after the first dive in “divers paradise”, then we watch the filler bird gaining altitude.

Filler bird is increasing in height

The bird circles higher, higher and higher. He searches for fresh fish from above in the clear water.

Filler bird at company level

With the thick neck and on the packaging of the fountain pen, the fountain pen does not look particularly elegant. However, that changes immediately when he circles in the air. And then he plunges into the floods ...

Filler falls into the floods

We could stand there for hours, but then we wouldn't get to the donkeys. I will write something more about the donkeys, but there is no time for that at the moment. So we get on our scooters, let the engines roar and hunt towards the donkeys. The path leads us past an impressive surf.

No bathing beach

Who has not noticed it yet - I have no idea about birds. But they still look elegant. And some of them are available in great colors. I don't have a name for this bird here, but it's nice yellow.

Yellow little bird

sed s / penguin / flamingo / g bird critters
sed s / filler bird / pelican / g bird cattle

Shopping like in Holland

We are in the Caribbean Netherlands. On Bonaire they take US$ instead of Euros, otherwise we feel like we are in Holland. They also speak like in Holland. Something that sounds like sore throat and English. A good supermarket should only be about a kilometer from our buoy. We start running.

Street scene in the Netherlands

So we walk down the street to the supermarket because we want to get some supplies. Going out to eat in a restaurant is stupid, expensive and doesn't taste good in the long run. In the Caribbean, the selection of dishes is not too big, only the numbers next to the dishes are of a strange size.

During our walk we notice that you cannot see the current coming into the street lamps. Here, at least in the capital, they laid the power lines underground. This was not the case on the other Caribbean islands.

Van den Tweel supermarket

After half an hour we are there. The supermarket makes a great impression from the outside. We haven't seen anything like this since Europe. Roughly in the Canary Islands, but there, too, the supermarkets were mostly of a manageable size.

Inside supermarket

In the rows of shelves we find tons of products that we last had in Stavoren saw in the Coop. That was really a long, long time ago. On some shelves there are signs that the containers from Holland are late due to bad weather and will only arrive in the coming week. In any case, there is still enough for us. We fish a great fillet of beef from the meat counter (origin: Netherlands) and green asparagus from Mexico. We look forward to dinner.

Then we are reminded of the season. Is it really Easter soon? If you are traveling without seasons like us, then there is absolutely no reference to such dates.

Easter is coming soon

We do not buy Easter bunnies. It's not that important. Instead, we circle through the remaining shelves of the shop and find one of the beers that we recently drank in Stavoren: Brand. From the oldest brewery in the Netherlands. Wow. We take a six-pack with us, the budget is not enough for more. A can costs 1,89$. No matter, it is worth it to us today. And it tastes good.

Brandje - cheers!

Salt - again ...

In the Atlantic, I got over that salt complained. Salt on the Sissi, salt on us and salt all around us. On Bonaire they try to do something about it.

salt

In the south of the island there is a large saltworks, there is a salt pier where ships can be loaded with salt. The business model is simple. The Atlantic is let into large, shallow lakes, then the sun shines and the water evaporates. Salt remains.

Saltworks with salt mountains

No matter how hard they try on Bonaire, they still haven't managed to desalinate the Atlantic a little bit. We are ahead with our Watermaker, but we don't want the salt, we want the water.

I think the mountains of salt look somehow as if they came from the Toblerone advertisement. Only without the Alps.

Mountains of salt. Ready to ship.

All of these mountains will sooner or later land on a ship and then be sold as sea salt in supermarkets around the world. That's how it is.

Jens and I rented scooters to explore the island. The saltworks was just the first of many destinations we headed for. Salt extraction has been going on for a long time on Bonaire, in earlier times slaves were used to do the hard work. In addition, donkeys were used, but I will write another blog about the donkeys. So let's get to the slaves.

Slave huts - the explanatory text

Slavery still existed here around 1850. Huts were built for the slaves to stay in. They are about 1.50 meters high, at most small children can stand in them.

Slave huts

More than sleeping was certainly not possible in the huts, but probably not wanted either. The dog also gets a dog house so that he has some weather protection. Or the donkey gets a roof that gives it shade. But I'll come to the donkeys later.

Also in pleasing yellow - the slave huts

In any case, working in the saltworks was no easy task. I would like to conclude with the salt at this point, we saw so much on the island today that it will probably take me several days to prepare it for the blog.

Caribbean Netherlands

I like the license plates. "Divers Paradise". I don't have to write anything about that either, because we are at one of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the Caribbean.

Bonaire

What a ride. Just imagine getting in your car and going full throttle for two and a half days. Or almost full throttle. We have that behind us. The wind has increased and blown us towards the ABC Islands at 25 kn. Luckily Sissi drives all by herself, we only have to worry about a little. For example, Jens has time for a thriller.

Thriller at top speed

In the evening, the weather presents itself from its most beautiful side. The clouds and the setting sun create a fine kitsch atmosphere. Countless sunsets at sea don't get boring. Jens goes to bed a little earlier than usual because the night is getting short today. We are too fast.

Finest kitsch

We can not go out a whole time, because in the morning we are at the Bonaire lighthouse at 8 a.m. We have been jogging around the southern tip of the island for the first time in four days, then we head towards the main town of Kralendijk. Here is the only port to clear.

Okay, port is a little thick. There are two concrete walkways on which even large cargo ships can moor. Only we cannot fix it. I call the port on all possible radio channels that make sense to me, but unfortunately the radio remains silent. And so we stand a little stupid in front of the jetties on which a dozen people have cast their fishing rods.

Right now we want to put all our courage together and still go to one of the concrete walkways, when a customs boat approaches us at high speed. We wave them to us. They tell us that we cannot invest anywhere there. We should take a mooring buoy and then drive the dinghy for clearing. Okay, of course we can do that. We are fixed at 11:30 a.m., half an hour before the Etmal, so to speak.

The clearing itself is then done in a quarter of an hour and free of charge. In contrast to other countries, they want to see the entire crew here. I left Jens on the boat because in almost all countries only the skipper goes to the authorities. I don't have to go get Jens afterwards, but I should bring him along to clear things up. I like to do it.

Then an inflatable boat comes to us at the buoy and brings us the rules for using the buoy. The buoy is paid in advance in the marina, but is not part of the marina. Anchoring is forbidden all over the island, which is why the nature conservation authority has created a huge buoy field. This is how the underwater world is protected from us sailors. I think that's good. People jump into the water directly at the buoy to snorkel, because all the buoys are somehow placed pretty directly on the reef edge.

The buoy keeper spoke of half an hour's walk to the marina. So I grab the dinghy and prefer to drive. On the way to the marina I still find the Daphne that we last saw in Portugal. Nice to see old friends again.

Marine turtle

I then come out of the marina office and go back to the dinghy, my eyes almost fall out of my face. A sea turtle paddles leisurely through the clear water of the harbor basin. I only have my smartphone with me, but that's better than no camera at all. I keep on it and look forward to it. Finally a good turtle shot.

So in the last twenty-three and a half hours we covered 138 miles. Now the wind is getting unfavorable for us, so we stay on Bonaire at least until Monday. Then let's see how it fits. I still want to go to Aruba because there is a tram there. Maybe we can also take Curacao with us, that's in the middle. There are no real distances between these three islets.