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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Golden Reef Inn Launches Innovative Vacation Program, “Name Your Price”

Golden Reef Inn has just launched a new, innovative vacation program entitled, “Name Your Price.” This program is valid for new reservations from August 1, 2009 through April 14, 2010.

How does one name their own price for accommodations for an upcoming vacation to Bonaire?  Interested parties need only to go Golden Reef Inn’s web site, by clicking here, and at the bottom of the page, click on “Have a Question?”

This will return an interactive form where one may fill out contact information along with intended dates of travel.  In the “Question or Inquiry” section, one can enter the price (per night) that is preferred, and then hit submit.

Within 24 hours, Golden Reef Inn will reply by email stating if your price was accepted. At that time, those wishing to finalize the transaction will be required to complete the on-line booking form within 24 hours to secure the rate.  “Name Your Price” rates should be for accommodation only, based upon the per night per room rate desired, and should not include room taxes or energy surcharges.

Conditions and a cancellation policy do apply, so for additional information, click here(Source:  Golden Reef Inn)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 29, 2009 at 8:58am AST
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Washington-Slagbaai National Park Hosts Open House At Slagbaai on August 2, 2009

This coming Sunday on August 2, 2009, STINAPA, the foundation managing Bonaire’s parks system, will host an open house for everyone at Boca Slagbaai. 

To attend the open house and enter Slagbaai without charge, those interested should present themselves to the south gate, where they can go directly to Slagbaai without having to pass through the entire park.  To find the south gate, pass the Gotomeer Lookout, and continue past the lake on the low ground.  Shortly after passing the lake, look for the rangers’ booth, and the road to the gate will then be on the left-hand side.

There will be a maximum of 30 cars or 120 persons, and space is first-come, first-served.  Entry can begin as early as 8:00 AM.  There will be acoustical music, the restaurant will be open serving drinks and BBQ, and domino tables will be set up for some play.  All in all, it promises to be fun, relaxing day in the sun.

Please note that normal entry fees will be charged for those vehicles who enter at the visitor’s entrance and who access the entire park.  (Source: STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 28, 2009 at 1:38pm AST
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Bonaire to Honor Dr. Sylvia Earle with Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Sylvia Earle, known as the ambassador to the world’s oceans, will add another accolade to her impressive array of honors when Bonaire’s first “Lifetime Achievement Award” is bestowed upon her. The award will be made during Celebrate Our Planet Week this summer, August 15-22, 2009, as a highlight week of the Bonaire Dive Into Summer festivities.

At a gala evening event at the Governor’s Residence on Wednesday, August 19, 2009, Dr. Earle will be honored and thanked for her lifetime of dedication to education and conservation of the world’s natural resources.  The island’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” is granted to “acknowledge exceptional efforts throughout one’s lifetime to preserve and protect nature, both above and below the water’s surface.”

Also while on Bonaire, Dr. Earle will lead a series of themed dives and activities and will participate in several on-island events designed to highlight Bonaire’s continued leadership in sustainable tourism.

From Dr. Earle’s early years, her parents fostered in her the respect of wild creatures and not to fear the unknown.  Throughout her teen and college years, Dr. Earle’s fascination with the natural world continued to grow, and it was in Florida where Dr. Earle first learned to scuba dive, as a tool to better assist her in the first-hand study of marine life. 

After earning her Master’s degree at Duke University, Dr. Earle joined a National Science Foundation expedition to the Indian Ocean for six weeks in 1964, which set the scene for the rest of her life.  Two years later, she received her Ph.D. from Duke University, and then Dr. Earle’s career led her to experience many “firsts”--a trip to one hundred feet below the waters of the Bahamas in a submersible, the leading of the first team of women aquanauts, and the making of an open-ocean JIM suit dive, setting a women’s depth record of 1250 feet (381m).  Dr. Earle also currently holds the women’s record for a solo dive in a deep submersible (3280 feet, 1000m).

From 1980 to 1984 she served on NACOA (the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere) and in the early 1990s, Dr. Earle served as Chief Scientist of NOAA (the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration). 

Today Dr. Earle is Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. She has recently led the Google Ocean Advisory Council, which is a team of 30 marine scientists who provide content and scientific oversight for the “Ocean in Google Earth.” In her astonishing career, Dr. Earle has led over 400 expeditions, logging more than 7000 hours underwater, and she has received more than 100 national and international honors, including Time magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet” in 1998.  She is a Knight in the Netherlands’ Order of the Golden Ark.  Dr. Earl has authored more than 125 publications regarding marine science and technology.

Thanks go to Celebrate Our Planet Week’s host hotel, Captain Don’s Habitat, and to the host airline, Continental Airlines.  (Source:  TCB-NY)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 27, 2009 at 8:09am AST
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Sponge Guide is Newly Published and Available

For those Bonaire snorkelers and divers who want to be able to identify every marine organism they encounter, The Sponge Guide will definitely assist with the identification of the more difficult world of sponges.

The guide is a web-based, fully searchable pictorial guide to Caribbean sponges, and can be found by clicking here

This guide is the result of several years of work by taxonomist Sven Zea, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, by database and web-design wizard Tim Henkel, formerly a PhD student at UNCW and now a postdoc at Murray State University, KY, and coordinated by Joe Pawlik, with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, Biological Oceanography Program.

With more than 180 sponge species in the database, the majority currently come from the Bahamas, but the group hopes to add additional species from around the Caribbean in the near future.  Please note that at this time, only scientific names are used.  (Source:  Netherlands Antilles Coral Reef Initiative)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 23, 2009 at 2:13pm AST
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Dive Friends Bonaire Awarded PADI Five-Star Instructor Development Dive Resort Status, Announces IDC

Dive Friends Bonaire is pleased to announce that they have been named a Five-Star Gold Palm PADI Instructor Development Dive Resort.

PADI Five-Star Instructor Development Dive Resorts are facilities that meet all PADI Five Star Dive Resort standards, plus offer PADI instructor-level training. PADI Five Star Instructor Development Dive Resorts have at least one PADI Course Director on staff and are committed to offering instructor development programs and continuing education opportunities to dive professionals. By offering PADI instructor-level training, PADI Five Star Instructor Development Dive Resorts take on the responsibility of developing qualified PADI Instructors--benefiting PADI Members, dive consumers and the dive industry as a whole.

Accordingly, Dive Friends Bonaire will hold its initial Instructor Development Course (IDC) beginning November 25th, 2009 to coincide with the next Instructor Examination (IE) to be held on Bonaire December 5-6, 2009.  Conducting both the IDC and IE in Bonaire’s clear, warm waters make both the course and exam an enjoyable experience.

Dive Friends Bonaire can assist with on-island arrangements, such as accommodations or vehicle rental, for those coming to the island for the IDC/IE.  Those interested in participating in the IDC may visit http://www.dive-friends-bonaire.com/idc.html for additional information, or contact Dive Friends Bonaire directly by email for pricing and eligibility requirements. (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 20, 2009 at 4:47pm AST
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Captain Don’s Habitat Announces New, Expanded Dive Center

Captain Don’s Habitat has just launched their newly built, state-of-the-art dive operation, rental, and retail center. The new, larger facility also boasts a more spacious and modern conference area and classrooms, furnished with upgraded audio and visual equipment and wireless Internet service. 

Conveniently located next to the restaurant and bar, it is just a few steps from the dock and shore diving areas. The dive operation is a SDI/TDI Professional Development Center and a PADI, NAUI and SSI training facility.

In recognition of the new Insel Air flight between Miami and Bonaire, which began service on July 4th, Captain Don’s Habitat is offering 3 free boat dives to anyone flying on this airline until December 18th, 2009 with a 7-night dive package.

7-night dive packages are available from $716 per person/quad and include accommodations in a 2-bedroom bungalow, welcome rum punch, daily buffet breakfast, 9 single-tank boat dives, 6 days of 24-hour unlimited shore diving, and government taxes, service charges & energy surcharges. Double room packages are from $766 per person.  (Source:  DiverWire)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 17, 2009 at 9:35am AST
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bonaire is Prominently Featured in Audubon Magazine On-line with Parrots of the Caribbean

Bonaire’s efforts to save and preserve its yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot, commonly known as the lora, have been ongoing for years now, but the island is getting some excellent recognition of its efforts in an extensive article in the Green Travel section of Audobon Magazine.

This article highlights the efforts of parrot-people Rowan Martin and Sam Williams, doctoral students at the University of Sheffield in England, who have been conducting research and spearheading preservation efforts for the lora on Bonaire.  Many times it is education of the populace which can end up saving a species, and Rowan and Sam have organized lectures, parrot counts, and other events on island aimed at just that goal.

The article includes an excellent discussion of Bonaire and the island’s commitment to preserving its natural areas.  Those interested may read the article in full by clicking here. (Source:  Audobon Magazine Green Travel)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 16, 2009 at 2:52pm AST
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

There’s Lots of Exciting Happenings at Cactus Blue Bar and Restaurant

Cactus Blue Bar and Restaurant always offers innovative menus and amenities.  Chef Hagen has informed the Bonaire Insider about the latest happenings at his restaurant.

The first Book of Recipes (limited edition) has nearly sold out, as there are only 30 available left for purchase.  Chef Hagen is currently working on the second edition and hopes to premier it soon.  The restaurant also has been remodeled to include an air-conditioned shop which has all the popular Cactus Blue merchandise available for viewing or purchase.

The restaurant has also just announced an Early Bird Special for only FL 18.00 (USD $10.00) with some of Cactus Blue’s signature dishes.  The special runs from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM each day they are open for dinner.  On Monday evenings, enjoy the music of the Black Diamond Reggae Band, playing at 7:00 PM.  For more information, visit their web site by clicking here (Source:  Cactus Blue Bar & Restaurant)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 15, 2009 at 12:06pm AST
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Enjoy the Next Taste of Bonaire on Friday, July 17, 2009

This coming Friday, July 17th, 2009, the next Taste of Bonaire will be held in Wilhelmina Park from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM.  All are invited to socialize and enjoy great food, music, dancing, and fireworks.

Over ten of Bonaire’s most popular restaurants will have stalls where some of their signature dishes will be available for FL 7.00 per plate (about USD $3.93).  The New Generation Dancers will be performing, as will the On Time Band, and there will be stalls selling the wares of Bonaire’s local artisans.  A fireworks show will complete the evening at 9:00 PM. (Source:  TCB-Bon)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 14, 2009 at 12:57pm AST
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Bonaire’s Underwater Cleanup Removes Much Trash from Yacht Anchorage

On Saturday, July 11, 2009, 35 individuals made up of tourists and residents met together under a perfect Bonaire sky to pitch in and help to keep Bonaire’s reefs beautiful.  Divers, snorkelers, and those who assisted on land worked seamlessly together to process a large amount of trash removed from the island’s yacht anchorage.  Images from this cleanup are available on-line at the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here.

During a complete briefing by Susan Davis of NetTech, it was explained what trash should be recovered and what should be left behind, as well as how to keep from damaging any marine animals.  Shortly afterward, the divers entered the water, descended and began to fill their bags with trash.  When filled, the bags were brought to the surface to those working as shore support.  There, Dive Friends crew and volunteers checked once again to be sure no marine creatures had been inadvertently included, counted and tallied the trash for statistics, and then disposed of it responsibly.

It was only nine months since this area was last cleaned, but still a large amount of trash was extracted and properly disposed:  3 plastic bags, 93 beverage cans, 23 pieces of clothing or shoes, 4 tin cans, 3 bait containers, 8 fishing lures, 15 light sticks, 3 tools, 1 can of paint, 23 pieces of dinnerware, 11 pieces of tissue or newspaper, 1 straw, 2 toys, and 4 pieces of metal.  Additionally, 2 fishing nets, 7 pieces of rope, 10 pieces of fiberglass, 1 strapping band, 1 spark plug, 5 pieces of building materials, 1 small tire, 3 towels, 9 pieces of wood, 25 pieces of plastic, 3 wires, 18 glass pieces, and 3 pieces of linoleum were also tallied.

The group was able to retrieve even more trash, which was more than could be processed and counted on Saturday.  These piles of trash are in the shallows and will be removed, checked for marine animals, and tallied next weekend by Dive Friends staff.

After the dive, all participants and their families were welcomed back for a Pot Luck BBQ—Dive Friends Bonaire and NetTech, the sponsors of the Bonaire cleanups, provided drinks and main courses, while participants supplied side dishes.

The next quarterly underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 10, 2010.  Additional information about the cleanups is available by clicking here.  All are welcome to join in. (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire and NetTech)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 13, 2009 at 3:01pm AST
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