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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Insel Air Extends Introductory Fares from Charlotte (USA)

As reported in an earlier story, Insel Air recently launched their flights from Charlotte, North Carolina to Bonaire (via Curacao).  And now there’s good news for those planning a visit to Bonaire from this region, as Insel Air has extended their introductory special fare.

The booking window now has been extended to Saturday, October 1st, and the round-trip fare remains $366.70, including all taxes and also the Bonaire airport departure tax.  Flights are each Wednesday and Saturday.  It’s highly recommended to book early, as seats on this fare are capacity controlled, and this fare might not be available on all flights.  Travel must be completed by Thursday, December 15, 2011.  (Source:  TCB-NY)

Note Update October 7, 2011: We’ve just learned that Insel Air has once again extended the booking window for the special fare sale on the new Charlotte-Curacao-Bonaire and return flights.  Travel through December 15, 2011 can now be booked at the introductory fare of $366.70, space available, through December 15, 2011.  (Source:  TCB-NY)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 24, 2011 at 10:33am AST
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jentis Tours, Offering Sightseeing Options on Bonaire, Launches New Web Site

Jentis Tours has just launched a new web site, showcasing the various sightseeing tours they can offer those visiting Bonaire.  View the new web site at www.jentis-tours.com.

The slogan of Jentis Tours is “bringing tours to another level” and that is exactly what owner/operator Clay Davalaar offers with his sightseeing options.  What sets him apart is the personal attention he provides to his customers, even custom-tailoring a program for all or part of a visit to Bonaire.

Jentis Tours provides many of the usual sightseeing options, such as the northern route, the southern route, or a visit to Washington Slagbaai National Park, but Jentis also offers a variety of snorkeling tours, as well cave tours, and even a combination--cave snorkel tours!  For those who think they have “done” and “seen” everything on Bonaire, Jentis Tours can show visitors places they never knew existed.

The new web site also lists current specials that are applicable, currently including an automatic discount of 25% when booked on-line or via email.  Simply reference the code, JUJD11, and either email by clicking here, or use the on-line reservation form by clicking here(Source:  Jentis Tours Web Site)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 23, 2011 at 4:45pm AST
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Monday, August 22, 2011

New Restaurant Review:  KishiKishi at Bonaire’s Butterfly Farm

There’s a new eatery that recently opened, called KishiKishi, located on the way to Lac Cai at Bonaire’s Butterfly Farm, offering a quiet, restful ambiance for the perfect lunch.

I had the opportunity to spend a weekend lunch at the new restaurant and sample its menu.  Although the menu is not large, it truly focuses upon locally produced foods, as well as traditional Antillean or Caribbean dishes.

The day I tried out the restaurant, Sharon greeted me at the entrance, gave me her slow Jamaican (and quite beautiful!) smile, and then seated me while I waited for my lunch companion.  I ordered a carafe of water with lime and fresh mint--do be aware the KishiKishi is not connected to the island’s water supply, and therefore they must purchase water and there is a charge to the guest.  With a little prompting, Sharon explained that she, in addition to being our server, was also responsible for the preparation of menu items in the kitchen, so she was amply suited to explaining the menu.

The “Small Bites” section includes items such as spring rolls stuffed with yam, goat cheese, and thyme, served with a honey-sour cream dip, or two can share a butterflybread served with three dips, which are spicy, fresh, and creamy. 

Main courses consist of sweet pumpkin soup with coconut milk, served with brown bread, or catch of the day, cooked in banana leaf and served with crunchy baked yucca and papaya salad, or a vegetable terrine with grilled peppers and zucchini, served with a really green salad and bread.  Those lunching can also order a slow-cooked beef stoba (stew) made with yam and coconut, served with crispy funchi and veggies, or the Bonaire plate, with offers small, but typical Bonaire bites with a surprising twist.  And of course, there’s a dessert menu, too!

Both my lunch companion and I opted for the identical menu--we started with the spring rolls and then moved on to the pumpkin soup.  The spring rolls were delightfully light and perfectly deep fried.  They were served with a sla salad in a sweet vinaigrette.  The pumpkin soup arrived with brown bread, and it was also quickly consumed.  Both of us were very full afterward and couldn’t possibly consider dessert as well, but we were welcome to sit and chat as long as we wished.

KishiKishi, located just off Kaminda Lac, is an absolutely quiet and peaceful setting in which to enjoy lunch with a breezy, outdoor flair and away from the traffic and noise of Kralendijk.  If one is visiting the adjoining Butterfly Farm, it will do well to plan the visit so that lunch can be enjoyed either before or directly after the visit to see the butterflies.

KishiKishi is expanding their dining options by adding in occasional events.  They are currently offering a Caribbean Soulfood (Jamaican Style) BBQ every Sunday from 1:00 to 7:00 PM.  To get more information regarding their current events, phone 796-8989.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, photos courtesy of Elly Albers and Susan Davis)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 22, 2011 at 5:18pm AST
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Coral Spawning Takes Place Now through October on Bonaire

In the days following the full moons in August, September, and October, many marine organisms spawn, including both hard and soft corals, as well as some invertebrates.

Many divers who haven’t yet witnessed such an event, plan their visits to Bonaire to coincide with the expected coral spawning dates.  Although some species may be spawning now in August, this year it is predicted that the majority of species will spawn in either September or October, or both months.

Thanks to the Bonaire National Marine Park and STINAPA, we have a fairly accurate forecast for when individual species will spawn.  Spawning is always tied to the full moon, usually occurring three to nine days after the full moon in each of these two months.  Times are approximate, and it should be realized that even though divers may be in the water at the exact predicted times, these animals sometimes have a schedule of their own, so a fair amount of time in the water is necessary to witness this spectacular event.  The full prediction schedule for 2011 is available by visiting STINAPA’s web site, or by clicking here (in PDF format).  (Source:  STINAPA Web Site)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 19, 2011 at 3:47pm AST
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Washington Slagbaai National Park Will be Closed on Sunday, August 21st, 2011

STINAPA would like to advise any visitors or residents who were planning to visit Washington Park this weekend that the park will be closed on Sunday, August 21st.

There are only three days each year when the park is closed, the other two being Christmas Day, December 25th, and New Year’s Day, January 1st.  For additional information, phone STINAPA at 717-8444 or the park manager at 586-5229.  (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 17, 2011 at 1:18pm AST
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) Places the First 2011 Monitoring Tag on Toyo

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire’s (STCB) team of staff and volunteers intercepted a large female loggerhead turtle at 2:45 AM on Sunday, August 1st, 2011 at Playa Chikitu in Washington Slaagbai National Park.  After outfitting her with a satellite transmitter attached to her carapace, the team released her.  They are now able to track her migration home.

Toyo was the surprise of the night, as the STCB team expected to deploy the transmitter on a green turtle.  In the nine years since STCB began systematic beach monitoring, only green turtles have been recorded nesting at Playa Chikitu.  But Toyo is a loggerhead, so it was a surprising first for Playa Chikitu and STCB.  The fact that Toyo has not laid other nests on this beach (this season or the past nine) and that this is the end of the loggerhead nesting season on Bonaire indicates that she may have been returning from a nesting site elsewhere to her home foraging grounds, and that she suddenly felt the need to lay one more nest, finding Playa Chikitu on her way.  Toyo’s name is a combination of “Ton” and “Hayo,” in honor of Quartermaster Ton Akkerman and Policy Advisor Hayo Haanstra of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I), who have sponsored the costs of this satellite transmitter to support STCB’s ongoing sea turtle satellite tracking program.  RCN-EL&I is responsible for national obligations related to various biodiversity treaties, including the Inter-American Convention for the Protection of Sea Turtles.  STCB’s work plays a vital part in the local and national governments’ ability to fulfill treaty obligations related to sea turtles.

Since August 1st, when the transmitter was deployed, Toyo has swum a total distance of nearly 250 km and as of August 10th was now approximately 160 km southeast of Playa Chikitu.  After leaving Bonaire, Toyo turned east and reached Las Aves on Saturday August 7th.  Las Aves is an archipelago (group of islands), part of the country of Venezuela, located 60 km east of Bonaire (between Bonaire and Los Roques).  This archipelago has two groups of islands:  Aves de Sotavento (western) and Aves de Barlovento (eastern).  Toyo spent about 24 hours in Aves de Sotavento and then kept on swimming east until she reached Aves de Barlovento where she spent another day.  It was wondered if Las Aves would prove to be Toyo’s foraging grounds and thus the end of her journey, but she quickly proved this prediction wrong and departed Aves de Barlovento on August 9th, heading in a southerly direction.  It is not uncommon for sea turtles to take brief rests on their migrations to refuel with food.  The Las Aves reef complex is a “well stocked restaurant” for a loggerhead sea turtle like Toyo.  As of August 10th, Toyo has taken another sharp turn to the east and was located approximately 75 km south of Los Roques. She traveled an incredible 66 km on August 9th.

STCB’s satellite tagging program helps to track the migration routes of sea turtles as they travel from their nesting beaches on Bonaire to their adult feeding grounds elsewhere.  This research helps determine effective management and protective measures for the conservation of sea turtles throughout the region.  To date, STCB has tracked 22 turtles across the Caribbean.  (Source:  Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 12, 2011 at 3:24pm AST
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The 2011 Wounded Warriors are Honored by Bonaire’s Lt. Governor Glenn Thode

Lt. Governor Glenn Thode and his wife hosted a reception at their home Wednesday evening to honor and salute this year’s contingent of Wounded Warriors--David, Gloria, Thomas, Ryan, Garth, Tasha, and Thomas.  View images of the evening’s reception by clicking here.

In a Bonairean tradition for visiting Wounded Warriors, the Bonaire Bikers provided an escort from Captain Don’s Habitat to the Lt. Governor’s residence.  After their arrival in parade fashion, Lt. Governor Thode warmly greeted the warriors, their spouses and family, and welcomed each of them to his home.

The reception is a time when many of the event’s sponsors get the opportunity to meet and speak with the warriors and their families and extend to them their thanks for all they have done.  Many of the warriors shrug off the thanks--to them, it’s a job which just has to be done!

In Lt. Governor Thode’s speech, he informed those present that, over the years, he has been so impressed with the Wounded Warrior project that he has been in contact with Queen Beatrix in Holland, as well as Parliament, to see if a similar program can be started for those Dutch military personnel who find themselves in similar circumstances.  He eloquently expressed his hope that, one day, Bonaire can host a contingent from the U.S. and one from Holland, so that they may all get the opportunity to meet each other.


Then, each warrior received a certificate, medal, Bonaire flag pin, and key-chain to commemorate their time on Bonaire.  They were each bestowed with the status of honorary Bonaire ambassadors.  These men and women will be ideal ambassadors to spread the word about Bonaire and its close ties to the United States and all those who visit from there.

The evening ended with one of Bonaire’s dance groups providing entertainment by presenting a variety of traditional Antillean folkloric dances.

Today and tomorrow will be the warriors’ final full days to enjoy the island, as they will depart on Saturday for their homes.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 11, 2011 at 10:41am AST
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Enjoy a Taste of Bonaire on Friday, August 12, 2011

The island will be hosting a food festival, Taste of Bonaire, this coming Friday, August 12, 2011, highlighting samples of many of the island’s restaurants, eateries, and snacks.

The event will take place in Wilhelmina Park in Kralendijk from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM.  This is a popular cultural event focusing on food, music, dancing, handicrafts, and a lot of fun.  All are invited to attend the evening’s event, when everyone can enjoy small plates of signature Bonaire dishes.  For visitors, it’s a time to rub elbows with the locals, as people mix and mingle enjoying their food, the music, dancing, and looking at the various items available for sale.  (Source:  TCB-Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 10, 2011 at 9:06am AST
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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Wounded Warriors are Now Certified!

It’s hard to believe, but this year’s contingent of Wounded Warriors--men and women in the U.S. military who were severely injured in their country’s service--are nearly half-way through their jam-packed week of diving and other Bonaire activities.  Now, all warriors are certified, and today they went out for a shore dive in front of Captain Don’s Habitat, where they are staying.  View images of today’s dive on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here.

Consisting of five men and two women, as well as partners and family members accompanying them, the group this year has easily fallen under Bonaire’s spell!  From the time they landed on Sunday morning, they’ve been kept busy with their certifications, as well as getting to know the island and all it has to offer.

Monday they were filmed while diving by Jonathan Bird for an upcoming PBS segment, while Monday evening they enjoyed the barbecue dinner at Habitat, compliments of many in the BonaireTalk.com community, who donated funding in order to thank these folks for their sacrifices.

Tomorrow, the Bonaire Insider will catch up with the group once again, when they are honored at a reception at the home of Bonaire’s Lt. Governor, Glenn Thode.  We’ll be sure to keep our readers posted as the week progresses.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 09, 2011 at 5:13pm AST
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Low Season Bonaire Specials Entice Divers and Snorkelers

At a time when it’s risky to plan dive vacations to some Caribbean destinations, due to the chance of tropical storms or hurricanes, Bonaire continues to be mostly insulated from the effects of these weather systems.  So it’s doubly good to plan a trip to Bonaire for the coming months, when specials are offered, to enjoy a great dive or snorkel vacation and save some money at the same time.

Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations is offering some sizzling summer and fall specials to make your next trip to Bonaire more affordable.  Enjoy a holiday at Windsock Apartments--when you stay seven nights, you pay for five nights. The two-bedroom apartments offer garden- or sea-views and are best suited for a family of four or two couples. Each unit has air-conditioning, full kitchens, WiFi, television, and comfortable furnishings. There is a pool on site, a private beach, and dive shop on premises.

Or, choose a visit to Belair Oceanfront Apartment, where visitors can stay for seven nights, while paying for six nights. The property features three air-conditioned bedrooms, a newly refurbished kitchen, washer and dryer, and all the comforts needed for a great holiday escape.

Both properties feature free concierge services.  For more information or to make a reservation, call (on Bonaire) 786-3134, email ann@bonairecaribbean.com or visit the web site of Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations by clicking here.

For those looking for the amenities of a larger resort, Sand Dollar is offering a special where visitors pay for a five-night stay in any size ocean-view condo--studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or three-bedroom--and the sixth and seventh nights are free. This special is valid for travel now through October 28, 2011. (Pay only the $6.50 per person per night government room tax on the two free nights. This special is valid for new reservations only and is subject to availability.)

Visitors staying with Sand Dollar between September 16 and 19 and October 15 and 18 (four to seven nights after the full moons) will have another treat in store for them--the opportunity to watch Bari Reef explode with life during the annual coral spawning. In addition to witnessing the magic of hundreds of polyps being released at once, night divers will also see sea-stars, sea cucumbers, and a myriad of reef fish swarming the area to feast.

For reservations contact your favorite dive travel specialist or call directly toll free to 1-800-288-4773, Florida: (954) 453–5025, email res@sanddollarbonaire.com, or visit their web site by clicking here.

(Sources:  Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations and Sand Dollar Condominiums)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 03, 2011 at 10:53am AST
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