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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bonaire’s Flamingo Airport to Re-Open 24 Hours a Day Starting Friday, July 29, 2011

As of Friday morning, July 29, 2011 at 06:45 LT, and, happily, precisely according to plan, the runway at Bonaire’s Flamingo Airport once again will be available 24 hours each day. At that time, the temporary closings of the airport that have existed for the past six months while the runway was renovated will be canceled.

Although work will continue at the airport in the coming months, it will no longer disrupt arriving or departing flights, and so Bonaire will return to a full load of flights coming in from international destinations as well as regional flights.

Some of the new work just commissioned is in the new west area, being the new turnpad, new runway lights, new approach lights, new runway markings, the new precision approach path indicators, the new Air Traffic Control Tower touch screen interface, and the new wind sock.  There will be additional work performed in the coming months, too, but nothing that will interfere with the airport’s arriving and departing flights.

Congratulations go to the airport team assigned to this massive undertaking for getting the job done on time and without accidents or incidents.  (Source:  Bonaire International Airport/Flamingo Airport)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 28, 2011 at 8:25am AST
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Next Go Green Farmers’ Market Will Take Place This Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Go Green Natural and Organic Shop will organize Bonaire’s next Farmers’ Market this Saturday, July 30, 2011 from 8:00 AM through 12:00 Noon.

The market is returning to Playa and will be held just beside Telbo and near to Go Green’s new shop.  It’s always recommended to get there early for the best selection.  A nice array of home-grown or home-produced items are available at the market, as well as a selection of Bonaire’s most popular herbs.  While there, take a few moments to stroll through Go Green’s wide display of natural or organic products at the nearby store, many of which are now available in bulk.  (Source:  Go Green Natural & Organic Shop)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 26, 2011 at 1:01pm AST
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Massive Clean Up Dive Effort Under Kralendijk’s Town Pier

On Sunday morning, July 11, 2011, visitor and resident divers gathered at Dive Friends @ Yellow Submarine to volunteer their time for a good cause.  The dive center was soon filled to overflowing and the volunteers kept on arriving.  Over 102 people came to help the marine ecosystem of Bonaire and enjoy a world-famous dive at the same time.

Asko Zuidam of Dive Friends Bonaire addressed the group to explain what trash should be recovered and what should be left behind, as well as how to keep from damaging any marine animals.  Eco-friendly, reusable grocery bags donated by Cultimara were handed out to all volunteers.  Shortly afterward, the divers relocated to the Town Pier for the dive.  They entered the water between the Town Pier and Karel’s Beach Bar, 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 in the dumpster that was donated by Selibon.

The Town Pier is a working pier, and thus the underwater terrain can accumulate more trash than is normal on the reef.  The statistics of the rubbish collected once again confirmed this to be true.  Items collected include:  901 glass bottles, 1 grocery bag, 19 trash bags, 81 plastic bottles, 49 cups, 1 diaper, 4 fishnets, 26 plates, 6 batteries, 132 beverage cans, 12 shoes, 3 car parts, 14 tires, 8 ropes, 3 books, 11 items of clothing, over 25 lengths of fishing line and much more.  A total of 1,530 items were removed.  That only one grocery bag was recovered shows that the reusable bags being used on Bonaire are having a positive impact on the environment.

In the later afternoon, all volunteers, their families and friends were welcomed back for a Pot Luck BBQ, with food and beverages hosted by Dive Friends Bonaire and NetTech.  Prior to enjoying a great dinner, all participants were eligible for a variety of raffle prizes, consisting of Reef t-shirts, Ouray caps, Deep Blue Gear dive accessories and a grand prize gift certificate for dinner for two at Capriccio Ristorante.  After dinner, everybody was treated to a cruise aboard the Good Return.

The entire program was videoed above and below water by BonPhoto and can be viewed by clicking here.

The next quarterly Dive Friends Bonaire underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011. All are welcome to join in. Additional information about the cleanups is available by clicking here(Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire and NetTech)

Note Update August 8, 2011: Due to a scheduling conflict, the next underwater cleanup will be Saturday, October 22, 2011, and NOT September 17, 2011 as noted above.  (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 25, 2011 at 5:44pm AST
Community ServiceEventsScuba DivingSnorkelingWater SportsPermalink
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Tango Workshops Join Salsa, Zouk, and Zumba at Bon Bida Spa and Gym

For those who love to dance, Bon Bida Spa and Gym is fast becoming the place to be!  In addition to their current roster of dance classes, including zumba, Caribbean dance, zouk and salsa, now tango is coming to the mix. 

A spectacular tango weekend is planned when two workshops are given on either Saturday, July 30th or Sunday, July 31st, from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM.  Additionally, on the Saturday evening of the tango workshops, a group will perform this South American dance at Sense Restaurant from 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM.

The instructor for these workshops will be professional Tango-Maestro Rafa Oliana, from Curacao and Argentina.  Pick your favorite day and reserve your spot by calling 785-0783 or 786-0378.  (Source:  Bon Bida Spa & Gym)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 18, 2011 at 3:41pm AST
EventsHealth & FitnessPermalink
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Bonaire’s Donkey Sanctuary Has a New Location

Due to the runway renovations of Flamingo Airport, the Donkey Sanctuary had to relocate, and they have recently opened their doors at their new entrance point on Kaya Statius van Eps.

This is the through-road between Belnem and Sorobon, also known as Kaminda Sorobon, or the road to Sorobon.  The new entrance of the Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is located just a short distance after passing through the residential section of Belnem, and with this new entranceway, visitors no longer have to face a bumpy, sand road to reach the Donkey Sanctuary.  There’s a small terrace at the entrance where visitors can sit and relax with a cool drink or snack, shaded by a traditional palapa, with a view onto the nearby salina, usually filled with flamingos.

And while on the subject of donkeys, all motorists driving Bonaire’s roads should take extra care these days, as those donkeys still in the wild are more active now during mating season, and “discussions” between males can be carried unexpectedly into the streets of residential neighborhoods, causing accidents with motor vehicles.  Although the vehicles usually have some damage after striking the donkeys, the donkeys have it worse off, as many times they must be euthanized.  So please take extra care and slow down when driving.  (Source:  Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire and Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 15, 2011 at 12:55pm AST
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dining “At Sea” a New Culinary Experience for Bonaire Visitors

It was only three short years ago that Kim van Dijk and Rick van den Broek opened their first restaurant on Bonaire, which quickly became a favorite of locals and visitors alike.  But now, they bring their culinary expertise to a new, larger, open-air restaurant, called At Sea.

Located at the southern end of the oceanfront promenade (Kaya C.E.B. Hellmund #25), At Sea offers oceanfront dining in the garden of a historical Bonaire home.  A great bar is available for those who wish to stop by for a drink, or dinner for those who are inclined.

As with their first restaurant, reservations are highly recommended, as many times all tables are sold out days in advance.  This was also true the evening that a bunch of friends and I decided to try out the new restaurant. 

This new eatery is larger than their first restaurant, which is welcome news for those clamoring for their cuisine.  Dinner can be ordered á la carte, or there is a “surprise” menu for a full dinner from start to finish.  My friends and I opted for the á la carte menu for our first visit.  Kim and Rick do change their menu about every three months, which ensures that there are always new items to try. 

Our dinners began with a complimentary serving of a cream of asparagus soup.  There were a variety of other appetizers which all seemed to be represented at our table once that course was presented.  I ordered the crab cookies placed over a Waldorf salad--delicious!  For main courses, several ordered the Dover Sole, served with fresh peas, zucchini strips, and potatoes.  I was particularly impressed when The American Dream--a large steak, perfectly done, which will keep any carnivorous person delighted--was presented to the person next to me.  I was trying to steal bites, but I was fended off at every turn. 

Dinner wouldn’t be complete without dessert, and large platters of ice cream sundaes and other desserts came as a final course.  All in all, everyone enjoyed their meals, the great food, and wonderful camaraderie.  To make a reservation, telephone 701-0134. (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 14, 2011 at 1:01pm AST
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 Offers 20% Discount for Stays September 3 through October 29, 2011

Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 is pleased to announce that those making a new reservation for travel September 3rd through October 29th, 2011 will receive a 20% discount off the already low rates the villa offers.

Since the villa can accommodate up to ten persons, the 20% discount makes for an economical stay while still enjoying oceanfront vacationing on Bonaire.  Costs are as low as $50.66 per person per night (plus tourist tax and cleaning fees) for a group of six staying for a week, while a group or family of ten will enjoy a per person per night rate of only $34.40 (plus tourist tax and cleaning fees) for a weekly stay.  Oceanfront living has never been easier or more economical than during such a special.

The property completed major renovations in 2009 and again in 2010, and those vacationing at Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 will have the use of up to five bedrooms and five bathrooms, a large and fully equipped kitchen, a third-floor roof-top terrace, facilities for washing clothing, and a cable TV/DVD player and WIFI access. 

Located at Hamlet #9, Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 offers the ease of diving from your own property, as the famous “Cliff” dive site is only 100 feet from the property’s beach.  Two diving facilities are within a short walk of the villa: Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet to the north, and Captain Don’s Habitat to the south.

Those contemplating a Bonaire vacation during this special can also enjoy Bonaire Dive Into Summer events through September 30th, or the Bonaire International Sailing Regatta in October.  When making a reservation, please reference “September-October Savings” to receive your 20% discount from the normal rates.  All reservations must be booked and deposited no later than September 30, 2011; new reservations are subject to availability.

Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 is one of Bonaire’s premier oceanfront properties offering villa-style vacationing.  It offers affordable accommodations for any Bonaire visitor, but especially caters to those coming to the island to dive.  For additional information or to check availability, visit their web site at www.bonaireoceanfrontvilla.com, or e-mail: info@bonaireoceanfrontvilla.com(Source:  Bonaire Oceanfront Villa)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 13, 2011 at 11:35am AST
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bonaire Hosts the Caribbean Wetlands Initiative

Last week, the island hosted an august group of individuals representing 16 countries in the region for the Caribbean Wetlands Initiative, which originates from the treaty for the protection of wetlands, also known as the Ramsar Convention.

This important regional meeting was taking place on Bonaire thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I), the Ministry Caribbean Netherlands, and also in cooperation with the Public Body Bonaire. During the conference, discussions focused upon the protection of internationally important wetlands and the various activities in this field in the Caribbean region.  The conference’s purpose was to come up with a strategy for a larger focus in the Caribbean area on such protections, in combination with a priority list and a budget for the next two years. Such efforts in the protection of wetlands is very important for Bonaire, as the island has five wetlands of international importance, also named Ramsar areas.

There are currently 1947 Ramsar areas worldwide. Since 1980, the Dutch Kingdom is a party of this treaty to which 160 countries are currently associated. Six Ramsar areas were designated in the former Netherlands Antilles, of which five are located on Bonaire (Lac, Pekelmeer with Flamingo Sanctuary, Goto, Slagbaai, and Klein Bonaire) and one is located on Aruba. For the size of Bonaire, it holds as many Ramsar sites as do larger islands in the region, such as Jamaica or the Dominican Republic.  Only Cuba, with six sites, outranks Bonaire.

Bonaire has also played an important role with the legal interpretation of the obligations in the Ramsar Treaty. In connection with a planned development right next to the Lac, the Council of State in The Netherlands eventually determined that resolutions adopted by the parties of the Ramsar Convention are binding for the parties and the development was halted.

The Treaty for Wetlands of International Importance or Ramsar Convention was concluded by numerous countries throughout the world in 1971 in the Iranian city Ramsar. At that time, the treaty was particularly meant to protect birds in wetlands of international importance. The convention compels the governments to protect the areas and to give the importance to the nature in the areas by providing preference over designation for human interests, allowing only “wise use.” Other animals and plants were also added to the convention over time. The concept of what constituted a wetlands was also expanded to include shallow sea areas and coral reefs. The Ramsar convention requests the participating countries to identify their wetlands of international importance and register them as Ramsar sites. (Source:  Island Government)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 12, 2011 at 1:35pm AST
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Dive Friends Bonaire Announces Next Instructor Development Course (IDC)

Dive Friends Bonaire is pleased to announce their next Instructor Development Course (IDC) will begin on November 22nd and continue through November 29th, 2011. The Instructor Exam conducted by PADI will follow on December 3rd and 4th.

The IDC format will focus upon workshops and interaction, while utilizing the PADI Guide to Teaching. PADI Course Director Thommy Kurtz will conduct the program in English, but candidates have the option to conduct their presentations in English, Dutch or German.

Concurrent with the IDC course, Dive Friends Bonaire will also offer Emergency First Response (EFR) Instructor, Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Staff Instructor and an option for a post-IDC internship at the dive facility. Costs for these courses are:

-- IE Prep Course, FREE
-- Full IDC (no E-Learning), $1,200.00
-- E-Learning IDC, $1,080.00
-- Emergency First Response Instructor, $270.00
-- Staff Instructor, $650.00
-- Master Scuba Diver Trainer, $650.00 (five specialties)

All candidates are also eligible for two days of free unlimited air for shore diving after the IDC.

Dive Friends will be offering the new E-Learning option for this IDC again, which allows candidates to save time and travel expenses by taking advantage of home-study methods. They can start the IDC on the third day for completion of the program with Dive Friend’s course director. E-Learning is easy; all candidates must do is login to PADI’s web site at www.padi.com and click on E-Learning. Enter the dive center’s number, and follow the instructions provided. PADI’s cost for E-Learning is $320.00 per candidate.

During the two days between the IDC and the IE, Dive Friends Bonaire offers a free IE Preparation Course. These two days will be used to refresh knowledge of theory and skills.

Together with their accommodation partners, Dive Friends Bonaire can also offer the Full IDC + 14 days accommodation for $2,117.00 (materials and PADI fees not included).

All rates are in U.S. Dollars; books and PADI’s fees are additional.

Dive Friends Bonaire can assist with on-island arrangements, including accommodations and/or vehicle rentals. Those interested in participating in the IDC may visit http://www.dive-friends-bonaire.com/idc.html for additional information.  Dive Friends Bonaire is one of Bonaire’s premier diving facilities offering full diving and snorkeling services while still providing personal attention. Three retail stores are available in Kralendijk, in addition to four diving facilities. (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 11, 2011 at 4:17pm AST
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The Next Generation of Bonaire’s Parrots and Parakeets Need Help

On Friday, July 1st, after receiving a confidential tip, STINAPA seized a group of 112 parrots and parakeets from an illegal trader, along with a variety of other illegal animals. These birds are native to Bonaire and were believed to be bound for Curacao where they would be sold into the pet trade.  To help with the birds, STINAPA asked Echo--a World Parrot Trust FlyFree partner--to assist with the recovery and care of the birds.

Many were close to perishing, and one had already died. The foundation began immediate care of the parrots and parakeets--yellow-shouldered Amazons and brown-throated Conures, and their staff worked through the night by lantern to try to save them. The birds were in a terrible state, and desperately needed feeding after being kept in appalling conditions and without food for several days. Out of the 112 birds about 90 babies now require one-on-one care.

The immediate need for these youngsters is hand-feeding formula. The team will attempt to foster some of the parrots into wild nests, but many of the chicks are very young and may have months to go before they are able to eat on their own.  Intensive care is needed right now to help these birds survive.  After the first week, there are now 82 unweaned chicks which are now being hand fed twice each day.  Although Echo has received emergency financial aid from the World Parrot Trust, which covers the immediate needs of these parrots, there is a need for both financial donations as well as volunteer workers.  It’s hoped that all these birds can be released back into the wild, once they are able to fend for themselves.

If you are interested in assisting financially, donations can be made via the Echo web site by clicking here.  Those who are on Bonaire now or in the coming weeks, can help with feeding.  Please contact Sam Williams at Echo Bonaire be calling 795-1188.  (Source:  Echo)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 11, 2011 at 11:34am AST
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