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Friday, December 22, 2006

New Restaurant Review, Patagonia Steak House Gets a Thumps Up

Having now had the opportunity on two occasions to sample the new delights available at Patagonia Steak House, I now feel that I can comfortably give a thumps up review of the restaurant.  Arriving last Friday night for the restaurant’s first night in business, I was joined by many other eager residents of Bonaire, looking for the scoop on this new restaurant.  Although some had to wait for tables since the restaurant was packed, it was certainly worth the wait.

My dining companion and I elected to dine al fresco, at a waterside table overlooking the marina.  We watched the sun go down and enjoyed our drinks (the pina coladas are fine!) while we awaited our dinners.  Since menus had not been ready for the opening, our waitress simply gave us a choice of all the available steaks and other meals, and we could choose or mix and match.  My companion elected for the T-bone (see image), while I decided to combine a surf ‘n’ turf with filet mignon and grilled jumbo shrimp.  Our steaks came with a red wine peppercorn sauce which complemented the meats perfectly.

While oohing and aahing over dessert (individual apple pie and chocolate cake), Santa Claus even made a guest appearance and chatted with the folks at each table.  All in all, a great night, and kudos go the staff for making it happen.

I also returned on Wednesday for dinner with a friend.  This time, we decided to dine in the newly glass-enclosed, air-conditioned dining room, which offered a quiet get-away from the other diners while still offering a spectacular view through the glass windows.  Service was even better than the first night, with the staff wanting to be sure that our dining experience was nothing other than exemplary.  I again had the surf ‘n’ turn, as did my companion, but this time we opted for the mushoom sauce.  We closed out the evening with freshly-made brownies with vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream.  Delicious.

As for the menu, there is a heavy emphasis on steaks, with every imaginable kind being available.  The T-bone that was served my friend had to be two inches thick!  For those who are lighter carnivores, seafood, chicken and pasta dishes are also available and looked pretty scrumptious in their own right.  I guess I might have to plan a few more visits to return and try them out! (Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 22, 2006 at 5:48pm AST
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The Departure Tax Fee for Those Departing Bonaire by International Air to Increase January 1, 2007

It was decided by the Island Council of Bonaire on December 18, 2006 that the current departure tax, called the PFC (Passenger Facility Charge) will be raised for those departing Bonaire to other international destinations by air.  Effective January 1, 2007, this fee will now be FL 57.60 or USD $32.00 per person.  Consistent with current practices, Bonaire International Airport, N.V. will collect the fee at the airport tax booth.

A decision was also made to reduce the tariff to FL 5.00 (USD $3.00) for destinations to Curaçao, Saint Martin, Saint Eustatius, Saba and Aruba for passengers who are residents of the islands and who are younger than 13 years or have reached the retiring age of 60 years. To be eligible for the reduced tariff, passengers need to identify themselves with their identity card or sedula (for children who do not have an identity card: a birth-certificate) at the airport tax sales-booth at the airport.  For resident passengers of 13 years up to inclusive 59 years the tariff remains FL 10.00 (USD $6.00) for local destinations.  (Source:  Bonaire International Airport, N.V. Release)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 22, 2006 at 10:38am AST
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

First Gold National Swimming Medals for Bonaire

The Netherlands Antilles National Swimming Championships were held recently in Curacao, and Bonaire swimmer Samson V. Evertsz became the first Bonairean swimmer ever to win gold at this event.  Competing against top swimmers from Curacao and St. Maarten, Samson returned with three gold, one silver, and three bronze medals in the Minor Category (10 years and under).

Samson won gold in 50-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, and 100-meter backstroke.  His 50-meter freestyle time at this meet was the fastest achieved by any boy 10 and under in the Netherlands Antilles this year.  Samson won silver in 50-meter backstroke and bronze in the 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter breaststroke, and 200-meter individual medley.  In 2005, Samson was the first Bonairean swimmer to win a medal at the national level with a bronze in 100 meter butterfly.

Samson swims for the Bonaire Barracudas Aquatics Club.  The club was founded in 2004 and is coached by parent volunteers with the help of visitors to Bonaire who assist as “guest coaches” during their stay.  Masters swimmer Maryann Coburn, a backstroke specialist from Illinois, worked with the team this spring.  As a result of her help, five Barracuda swimmers qualified to swim backstroke at the National Championship this year.  Greg Long, a former All-American swimmer at Stanford University, has worked with the club, as has Olympic-medalist Enith Brigitha from the neighboring island of Curacao.  (Source:  Bonaire Barracudas Aquatics Club)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 20, 2006 at 10:14am AST
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mr. and Miss Bonaire are Chosen in Bodybuilding and Fitness Competition

This past Saturday, December 16, 2006, the Bonaire Bodybuilding and Fitness Association held their annual competition, entitled Night of the Best, 2006.  The show highlighted local women who have achieved a high level of fitness, and in the mens division, bodybuilding.

The evening opened with a dance presentation by the New Generation Dancers.  After this, the women’s division began competing with five contestants.

In between divisions, the judo students of Bonaire entertained the crowd, showing off moves and gymnastics.  Lastly the popular men’s competition began with six excellent candidates for Mr. Bonaire.  After side-by-side comparisons, each participant also was given 1-1/2 minutes for his own personal routine, which really got the vocal crowd going!

While the scores were tallied, guest posers entered the stage and provided continuous entertainment.  However, the moment for which everyone was eager finally arrived--the scores were ready to be announced!  The mens division found Angelo Engelhardt in first, Lito Saleh in second place, and Arien Cado in third place.  Lito Saleh also received Best Poser, while Angelo Engelhardt received Most Muscular.

Images of the evening are available on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 19, 2006 at 3:29pm AST
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Monday, December 18, 2006

Dive Friends Bonaire Announces Used Gear Sale

Dive Friends Bonaire is how holding its annual Used Gear Sale.  After receiving its new set of gear for the 2007 rental season, the company is now selling all old gear, most of which is only one year old.

For those on Bonaire, this can be a great opportunity to upgrade your own equipment, or perhaps purchase something that you don’t yet own.  Visit Dive Friends at the Yellow Submarine location on the waterfront promenade early in the week for the best selection in wetsuits, regulators, BCDs, and open-heel fins.  (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 18, 2006 at 7:07pm AST
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Casablanca Argentinian Grill Offers Christmas Menu

Casablanca Argentinian Grill is offering a special holiday menu on December 24th, 25th, and 26th, 2006 for dinners from 6:00 PM until 10:00 PM.  (The restaurant will be closed for lunch on these days.)

The menu includes local favorites, as well as traditional holiday dishes.  To view the menu, click here (in PDF format).  For additional information about the restaurant, or to make a reservation, click here.

Please note that on January 1, 2007, Casablanca will be closed.  (Source:  Casablanca Argentinian Grill)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 18, 2006 at 4:45pm AST
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Action In Behalf of Coral Project Provides Educational Sticker

Thousands of divers explore the world’s coral reef ecosystems every year.  Unfortunately, many make careless contact with living coral--because they don’t understand the significance of their contact.  Now everyone can get an up-close and personal view of exactly why living coral is fragile in a sticker being provided to dive operators by the Action in Behalf of Coral Project.  “Divers are taught that coral is fragile,” says ABC Project founder Dee Scarr, “and then they see boulder-like formations.  The sticker shows how damage is done by a simple light brushing along even boulder-like coral.”

The ABC Project sticker has debuted on dive boats and in dive equipment areas in the Bonaire National Marine Park; it is now being made available elsewhere in the Caribbean and around the world.  Dive operators can contact the ABC Project about getting stickers by e-mailing Scarr at dee@touchthesea.com

The mission of the Action in Behalf of Coral Project is to protect corals by providing education.  In addition to the sticker, the ABC Project has created a series of short pieces about coral, each illustrated by a photo, called Coral Glimpses.  The Bonaire Reporter has published Coral Glimpses weekly since January, 2006.

Artwork for the Action in Behalf of Coral Project sticker was done by professional Biological/Medical Illustrator Gary Carlson, whose work can be seen at www.gcarlson.com

More information about Action in Behalf of Coral, and a list of supporters of the Project, can be found at www.touchthesea.com/abcproject(Source:  Action on Behalf of Corals Release)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 18, 2006 at 9:30am AST
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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Continental Airlines’ Inaugural Flight from Newark to Bonaire Lands

This morning at 5:40 AM, the first flight on Continental Airlines landed on Bonaire from Newark, New Jersey, opening up non-stop service to the island from the northeast section of the United States.

The flight took approximately four hours and 45 minutes, and now adds a second Continental flight for arrivals into Bonaire, as there is also a weekly flight from Houston. 

The flight crew were greeted by local dignitaries, and then both “Onnie” Emerenciana and Ramonsito Booi gave short speeches in which they look forward to the time when the current schedule is doubled with two weekly flights from Houston and two weekly flights from Newark.  After which, the local dignitaries were joined by Continental representatives to officially cut the ribbon and welcome the flight.

Images of this morning’s flight arrival and ribbon-cutting ceremony are available on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 17, 2006 at 12:03pm AST
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Saturday, December 16, 2006

International Bible School of Bonaire to Perform Christmas Concert

On Friday, December 22, 2006, at 7:30 PM, the choir of the International Bible School will perform a free Christmas Concert to all residents and visiting tourists on Bonaire.

All are welcome at the International Bible School, located on Kaya Amsterdam just by the traffic circle (round-about).  Various songs will be performed, including a children’s chorus, and traditional Christmas songs from different cultures and in different languages.  All are welcome, and there is no entry fee.  (Source:  International Bible School of Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 16, 2006 at 3:03pm AST
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Friday, December 15, 2006

United States’ TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Offers Holiday Checklist for Air Travel

TSA has developed a checklist for air passengers traveling to or from the United States over the holidays.

Of course, these regulations will apply to any passengers flying into or returning from Bonaire.  To view the checklist, click here (in PDF format).  (Source:  CHA)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 15, 2006 at 11:06am AST
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