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Monday, October 31, 2011

Queen Beatrix and the Prince of Orange, Willem Alexander, Complete State Visit to Bonaire

Her Majesty, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, her son, Willem Alexander, Prince of Orange, and his wife, Princess Maxima, completed a whirlwind visit to Bonaire today.  They spent their time on Bonaire, their first state visit since Bonaire became a special municipality of The Netherlands, touring facilities with a special emphasis on education, social services, and Bonaire’s nature.

The Bonaire Insider caught up with the royal entourage at the Mangrove Info & Activity Center at Lac, where the Queen and her son explored the island’s important mangrove forests.  Upon arrival at the center, the entourage was welcomed by Elsmarie Beukenboom (director of STINAPA) and Elly Albers (director of the Mangrove Info & Activity Center).  After a short presentation, the group was then escorted out to the mangrove area, where they took to the water in the center’s solar-powered touring boats.  While on the water, Kalli de Meyer, director of DCNA (Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance) explained the importance of the mangrove ecology and how this area serves as the nursery area for many of the species of marine life that visitors see today on Bonaire’s reefs.  During the tour, Lac’s uniqueness was explained, its RAMSAR and IBA status, some of the threats and challenges for management, as well as the excellent work
being done to protect the bay and restore conch population via the IUCN NL/Lottery funded conch project.

The Queen expressed her gratitude to the parks and DCNA for the outstanding work in protecting nature on the islands. Her Majesty explained that this is why she took the unprecedented step of becoming a patron.

As always, the Queen and Prince Willem Alexander were gracious, exhibiting a keen interest in this facet of Bonaire’s nature.  View images of their visit to the Mangrove Info & Activity Center on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 31, 2011 at 6:21pm AST
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Outback Yoga Bonaire Expands Class Schedule

Due to high demand with many classes running at capacity, Outback Yoga, operated by Desiree and Don Seaver, recently announced an expanded class schedule.

Effective tomorrow, November 1st, 2011, the yoga studio will offer the following classes:

Monday @ 7:45 am Gentle Yoga Flow
Tuesday @ 6:00 pm Vigorous Vinyasa Yoga
Wednesday @ 7:30 am Stiff Guy Moderate/Vigorous Yoga (men only)
Wednesday @ 12:15 pm Moderate/Vigorous Lunch Hour Yoga
Thursday @ 7:30 am Moderate Yoga
Thursday @ 6:00 pm Gentle Yoga Flow
Friday @ 8:00 am Gentle Yoga Flow
Saturday @ 8:00 am Moderate/Vigorous Yoga

Classes can be taken on a walk-in basis, or cards for five or ten sessions also are available.  For more information about Outback Yoga Bonaire, visit their web site by clicking here(Source:  Outback Yoga Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 31, 2011 at 9:51am AST
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Update on Bonaire’s Lionfish Situation

Bonaire’s dedicated team of lionfish wranglers are out on the reefs every day, removing hundreds of these invasive fish, which prey upon Bonaire’s naturally occurring marine life.  The Bonaire National Marine Park, under the auspices of STINAPA, works with the volunteers by scheduling and organizing official hunts--often in areas where there are fewer divers, and thus higher numbers of lionfish--to keep as much of the lionfish population as possible in check.

The last official hunt was Saturday, October 15, 2011 and took place in the Karpata Marine Reserve.  All of the fish removed were brought to Bonaire’s CIEE station to be analyzed and processed.  On this day, just from this one location, 214 lionfish were donated to CIEE for research purposes.  Stomachs were removed and the fish were returned to any of the hunters that wanted their fish back for dinner (or whatever other destiny they might have had).

Thanks to CIEE, there are some interesting statistics from the studies of these fish:

Largest by weight - 600g (1.32 pounds)
Largest by Total Length (TL) - 34.5cm (13.58 inches)
Largest by Standard Length (SL) (not including the tail fin) - 26.5cm (10.43 inches)

The single largest lionfish that was brought in over the past two years was donated by Joi Jenkins with a weight of 1050g (2.31 pounds) and total length of 43.8cm (17.24 inches).  The smallest fish during this same timeframe was brought in by Ramon de Leon with a total weight of 0.12g (.02 pounds) and a total length of 2.1cm (.82 inches).

Since October 2009, a total of 2750 lionfish have been donated to CIEE for research purposes, but many more have been removed from Bonaire’s reefs.  Of these, the stomachs of 2,200 fish have been dissected and the contents analyzed.  Ms. Fadilah Ali, a PhD student at Southampton University in the UK, will be presenting the results of this research project on lionfish feeding ecology in Bonaire at the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute conference in Mexico in November.  CIEE will be writing a scientific paper on the topic and will share it when it’s available.  Jerry Ligon has donated time and expertise in order to identify the fish, as well as other items, found in the stomachs resulting in the following list of the number of fish from different families that were found in lionfish stomachs:

Scientific Name, Common name, Number of Fish Found in Lionfish Stomachs

Pomacentridae Damselfish 91
Apogonidae Cardinalfish 77
Grammatidae Basslets 76
Labridae Wrasses 56
Serranidae Seabasses 47
Gobiidae Gobies 68
Blennidae Blennies 41
Lutjanidae Snappers 53
Scaridae Parrotfish 14
Holocentridae Squirrelfish 3
Haemulidae Grunts 11

Although it’s virtually impossible to totally eradicate the invasive lionfish, Bonaire continues to be at the forefront of efforts in the Caribbean region to diminish their harmful effects.  Thanks go to all Bonaire’s lionfish wranglers, as well as those at STINAPA, the Bonaire National Marine Park, and CIEE, who continue through their efforts to help the reefs.  (Source:  CIEE)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 30, 2011 at 4:25pm AST
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CIEE Presentation To Be Held Tonight

CIEE is pleased to announce a public lecture this evening Wednesday October 26, 2011, dealing with the topic of coral overgrowth in Lac Bay by an encrusting red algae. 

The presentation will include a discussion of overgrowth rates, frequency of colony overgrowth and inhibition of coral recruitment of an encrusting red algae in Lac Bay. Presenters will be Caren E. Eckrich and M. Sabine Engel. CIEE presentations are open to the public and the content include research topics which are relevant to Bonaire and its ecology.

Tonight’s presentation will start at 7:00 PM and will be held at the CIEE Research Station at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26. All are welcome to attend. (Source: CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Ann Johnson on October 26, 2011 at 8:33am AST
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bonaire’s Lighthouses to Receive Facelifts

Lighthouses have always performed an important role in maritime communities, warning those at sea of close contact to land or shallow reefs.  Bonaire has five lighthouses, although not all are well known.  There is a new effort by Bonaire’s governments to renovate these historic landmarks.

The Rijkswaterstaat will immediately begin work to renovate Bonaire’s five lighthouses, which are located at Willemstoren, Spelonk, Wecuwa, Seru Bentana, and Klein Bonaire.  While this work has the goal of increased safety for those people who maintain the lighthouses, the monumental character of the buildings will also be protected. It’s estimated that the work will take about a year to complete.

Since October 10, 2010, the Rijkswaterstaat has been responsible for keeping the light burning in the lighthouses, figuratively speaking, as electro-technical maintenance is utilized. During the renovations of the lighthouses, the lights will remain operational, so vessels will not be hindered.  The public body of Bonaire actually owns the buildings and structures, and these are considered historic monuments.  During the renovations, the work will be done in such a way as to preserve that monument status and all historic and ancient elements that need replacement will be brought to Bonaire.  The island is still searching for a suitable location for the old lamp of the lighthouse at Seru Bentana.  (Source:  Rijksdienst and Public Body Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 25, 2011 at 9:01am AST
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bad News and Good News on Today’s Underwater Cleanup

Dive Friends Bonaire regretfully informs us that today’s underwater cleanup must be canceled due to unsafe sea conditions in Kralendijk Bay, due to a wind reversal and other weather conditions.

The good news, though, is that the potluck BBQ is still happening, and they hope to see everyone at Dive Friends @ Yellow Submarine at 5:30 for all the usual fun!

Due to the late nature of this cancellation, please spread the word if you know of anyone who was planning on attending.  (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 22, 2011 at 9:20am AST
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dive Friends’ Dive Retail Outlet Reopens after Renovations

One of the three retail stores in Kralendijk operated by Dive Friends Bonaire, the Dive Retail Outlet, has just reopened after extensive renovations.  The store is sporting a spiffy new, expanded look, and with new items in stock. 

Since Kaya Grandi has undergone extensive street repairs over the last few months, Dive Friends took the opportunity to completely remodel the building housing this popular retail store.  The building has a new roof, new street display windows, and, inside, walls have been removed to open up the space which previously consisted of many small rooms.

Now that there’s more room for stock, the store has also expanded their ScubaPro and Subgear lines, adding in even more dive computers, regulators, fins, BCDs, and wetsuits for sale.  Dive Friends will be attending the upcoming DEMA dive trade show, and they have informed the Insider that the Dive Retail Outlet will have some new and exciting items available here on Bonaire after the show.

Everyone is welcome to stop in and browse and see the new look the store is sporting!  (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 20, 2011 at 11:11am AST
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No Landing Zone Established on Klein Bonaire for Vessels

Unfortunately, there’s been an increase of stranding of rental boats or kayaks on the eastern shore of Klein Bonaire, which is harmful to the marine environment in that area.  Accordingly, the Bonaire Insider has been informed by STINAPA that a “no landing zone” has been established to avoid further damage.

Effective immediately, it is no longer allowed to embark or disembark on Klein Bonaire with any type of vessel in the area between Ebo’s Reef (12.09.881 N 68.17.703 W) and Nearest Point (12.08.081N 68.17.372W). This measure is necessary to preserve the shallow reef of that area, the only sea grass patch on Klein Bonaire, and the only foraging area for juvenile green turtles.

In the place of this area, No Name Beach may continue to be used as a landing area for all vessels.  (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 20, 2011 at 9:03am AST
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Duo Xtreme Mountain Bike Race Had an Excellent Turnout and Close Finish

Bonaire’s second annual Duo Xtreme mountain bike competition was held on Sunday October 16, 2011, with the top two teams finishing the 79 kilometer route just 20 seconds apart.

Teams from Aruba finished the grueling ride in first and second places, and a team from Bonaire finished third. Ignar Bareno and Jean Carlos Ras of Aruba finished in first place with a time of 3:33:57, followed by Aat Hoek and Daniel Bermond, also from Aruba, with a time of 3:43:48. Bonaire’s team of Brat Breukelmans and Dirk Jan Methorst finished in third place, with a time of 3:49:00.

116 competitors turned out to ride on a beautiful Sunday morning, after a night of moderate rains, making conditions somewhat muddy. Teams came from Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Venezuela, and Peru to compete in the event. Of those teams, 15 were mixed, 11 were seniors, 2 were women, 2 were juniors, and the rest were men. The Duo Xtreme showcases Bonaire’s rugged and challenging terrain, while allowing participants to compete for fun and over $3000 in cash prizes.

The 79 kilometer course as described in a prior story was challenging, taking the riders along rough trails to Washington National Park, through the park, along the windy eastern side of the island and finishing at the Divi Flamingo Resort Beach Resort & Casino.  The event concluded with an award ceremony at 1:00 PM at Divi, where prizes, trophies, and a champagne shower were awarded to the top finishers.

(Source: Duo Xtreme)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 19, 2011 at 3:10pm AST
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bridanda Apartments Open for Reservations for 2011/2012

Bridanda Apartments is a new property just becoming available for bookings for the balance of 2011 and also for 2012.  The property is located in Hato, just a few moment’s walk to the sea, and offers accommodations with luxurious touches in a laid-back ambiance and at an economical cost.

There are two types of accommodations from which to choose:  studios or one-bedroom or two-bedroom bungalows, and all sit amid a lush, tropical garden, where there’s also a natural saltwater pool, outdoor shower, Jacuzzi, and lounge chairs. For those diving or snorkeling, a rinse tank and storage for equipment are also available.  The units are all fully equipped and each has its own spacious porch.  The setup is ideal for couples, groups, or families.

For those who plan a last-minute trip to Bonaire in 2011, a special reduced rate is offered, subject to availability.  Packages including vehicle rental, diving, or other activities can be arranged, too.  The owners of Bridanda, Danny and Danielle, will work together with you to make your visit to Bonaire the perfect holiday.

To learn more about Bridanda Apartments, visit their web site by clicking here(Source:  Bridanda Apartments)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 18, 2011 at 1:45pm AST
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