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Monday, April 30, 2012

Dia di Rincon--The Festival of Festivals Celebrating the Kunukerus, Past and Present

In our series of last three stories, we’ve been exploring the lives of current kunukerus on Bonaire, but today, to close out this series, we joined the rest of the island in the village of Rincon, for the annual Dia di Rincon Festival, truly a festival celebrating the kunukeru life on Bonaire when everyone becomes a kunukeru for the day.

With ladies in traditional costumes, bands playing local music, and it seemed everyone was dancing the simadan dance (the harvest dance), today everyone enjoyed the kunuku lifestyle.  There was plenty of krioyo food (local food), as well as plenty of beverages to wash the food down!  Bands were playing, people were dancing in the streets, and all had a wonderful time.

At sunset, the traditional Simadan was performed to give thanks for a good harvest.  Although the festival has been modernized over the years so that there’s something for everyone to enjoy, the roots go back to the traditional kunuku lifestyle on Bonaire.

View images of today’s Dia di Rincon on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 30, 2012 at 7:02pm AST
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Bonaire Kunuku Tradition is Alive and Well--Part Two

There’s definitely a revival and renewed interest in growing produce on the island for the enjoyment of those living on Bonaire and its visitors.  Locals, born and raised on Bonaire, as well as “transplants” are embracing the kunuku lifestyle once again.  Those born on Bonaire, much like Papa Lucia, are returning back to their kunukus to revitalize them.  But many people from outside locations are finding that this simple lifestyle, albeit with much work, is better suited for a good life.  One such person is Marjan of Plantage Mi Ramada.

Marjan and her husband lived for some years on Curacao, before returning to Holland.  Once there, they found they missed the Caribbean lifestyle so much that they returned to the Antilles, but decided to settle on Bonaire, a much more quiet island than Curacao.  Seven years ago, they purchased an abandoned and overgrown kunuku, named Plantage Mi Ramada, and began the hard work of lovingly restoring it to its former beauty.  Although there is still much to be done, a visit to the kunuku proved that they are succeeding.

Marjan works at the kunuku each day, propagating vegetables and herbs that can be used for cooking, baking, or even medicinal purposes.  She is working on areas of the kunuku with fruit trees, which she hopes will begin producing fruit soon, as well as a water lily pond with fish.  In fact, she has so many projects in mind that she’ll probably be busy for years to come, happily working the land.

Marjan sells her plants at both farmers markets on Bonaire, but in addition, she makes wonderful Italian-style home-made biscuits and muffins, using the herbs she grows.  She also creates jams and chutneys that work wonderfully with the biscuits.  Her products are also available at Elle’s Deli at the traffic rotary in Hato, but what is really a treat for visitors is that, with advance notice, Marjan will whip up a batch of her biscuits and muffins, and deliver them to your vacation residence along with any of her jams you choose.  What a delight to wake up to such a treat on the Sunday morning after a day of traveling to Bonaire.  For additional information about Marjan’s products, telephone 787-1425 or email her by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 28, 2012 at 6:46pm AST
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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Bonaire Kunuku Tradition is Alive and Well--Part One

As Bonaire hurtles forward toward progress and development, the concern is often voiced that the island runs the risk of losing its unique heritage, culture, and traditions.  And, although this might be true with certain subjects, there is one area of the Bonairean historical culture which is thriving, and that is the working of the island’s kunukus, or farms and ranches.

The Bonaire Insider has visited with three different kunukerus over the recent weeks, and we will highlight each one of them in the coming days, each of which is working their land using traditional methods.  Our first kunukeru (a farmer or rancher) is Papa Lucia, who farms his kunuku with fruits and vegetables.

Papa Lucia tells us that he first became interested in growing food 65 years ago.  When attending school at a young age, all school children had a small plot of land which they had to tend and where they grew vegetables.  It was then that he fell in love with the idea of growing food on the island, an arid island not known for being conducive to growing fruits and vegetables.  However, Papa Lucia can prove that wrong!  He has multiple greenhouses on his kunuku, where he plants tomatoes, cucumbers, a variety of sweet or hot peppers, spinach, eggplant, and other herbs and fruits.  When his harvest comes in, it is so plentiful that he gives much of the produce away, so that it is not wasted.  He grows organically, shunning pesticides or other harmful chemicals.  Although sometimes he might lose a crop to an insectivore infestation, he prefers to keep things organic so they are healthy for everyone.

Papa is experimenting now with a variety of different systems for growing hydroponic produce.  This system does require modifications in his greenhouses, and he is enthusiastic about his goals to find just the right system that will work well on Bonaire.  In many ways, Papa is an optimist:  He feels if everyone on Bonaire could plant two papaya trees, which grow easily on Bonaire, there would be no need to import even one papaya to the island.  Getting the rest of the residents on the island to go along with this idea is the hard part!

As Papa also works within the tourism sector (he conducts tours of the island as well and is especially busy during the high season), his growing season begins about now, and he will continue with his planting and subsequent harvest over the coming six months.  Although many who try their hand at growing their own produce get frustrated when the plants do not do well during the heat of our summer months of July, August, and September, Papa reports that his plants thrive as long as he can control the heat in his greenhouses with cooling water.

When Papa’s next harvest is in, he’ll be opening up a farmers stand at his kunuku where anyone can purchase fresh-picked produce.  His harvest is also always available at the Go Green Farmers Market on the last Saturday of the month, as well as the Kriabon Marshe di Kunukeru on the first Saturday of the month. (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 27, 2012 at 4:42pm AST
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Caribbean Wind and Sun Offers Shoulder Season Special

Caribbean Wind and Sun Vacations is offering a distinctive special at either Coco Palm Gardens or Windsock Apartments for the shoulder season months of May and June and even into July. 

Coco Palm Gardens is a casual bungalow-style property located in Belnem. Walk to Bachelor’s Beach or drive just a few minutes to over twenty dive sites.  Now through June 30, 2012, stay for seven nights and pay for six.  Rooms start at only $65.00 per night, double occupancy, including taxes.  Air-conditioning is optional and is $12.50 additional per bedroom per night.  The special applies to new bookings only, and is subject to availability.

Windsock Apartments are also located in Belnem, just south of the airport. The property features a pool and private beach, as well as a dive facility on site.  This property is offering a special where you can stay for seven nights and pay for six, which continues through June 30, 2012.

Or, starting June 1, stay for 14 nights and pay only ten, or really splurge and stay 21 nights, and pay for only 15 nights.  Taxes are additional on this special and are $6.50 per person per night.  This special applies to bookings made through Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations.  Visit their web site for for applicable rates based upon your chosen occupancy.  (Source:  Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 26, 2012 at 1:20pm AST
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Choose From Daily Special Events on Bonaire Over the Next Week

There’s no lack of things to do on Bonaire over the next week, so in addition to diving, snorkeling, and windsurfing, those lucky visitors who are here right now should check out some of the following events.

On Friday evening, April 27th, the year’s first Taste of Bonaire event will be held in Wilhemina Park from 6:00 PM until 10:00 PM.  There will be a variety of stands offering local favorites, as well as international foods, and the Tourism Corporation Bonaire will be offering a welcome drink between 6:00 and 8:00 PM.  Come and enjoy the music and dance groups that will be also performing.

In conjunction with the Taste of Bonaire, the Bonaire Arts and Crafts Association will hold a Happy Hour Market, also in Wilhelmina Park from 5:00 PM through to 9:00 PM.  This is a new weekly event and will take place every Friday, but this week is the inaugural event.

Also, on Friday evening, April 27th, enjoy a Jazzy Happy Hour with Andreina and Friends presented at Hotel Roomer by Club Roomer Bonaire.  Dinner specials are only $10.00 per person, and include pasta, stamppot, or friend rice.  The evening begins at 7:00 PM, and there’s no cover charge.

Saturday, April 28th, is World Tai Chi Qigong Day 2012.  On the last Saturday of each April every year, all the Tai Chi and Qigong clubs as well as all individual practitioners worldwide, practice their exercises from 8 am until noon local time, which creates a global wave of energy that flows around the world from one time zone to another.  Bonaire will be participating on this day in the Wilhelmina Plein from 8 AM onwards. We would like to invite all those who might be interested in watching and perhaps even joining us in a low-impact form of gentle exercises that can be performed anywhere at any time with no special equipment or clothing.

Also on Saturday morning is the monthly Go Green Farmers Market, located at the Pakus di Pruga at Kaya Lib. Simon Blv. 17 from 8:00 AM through Noon.  Visit with some of the people who farm and ranch on kunukus on Bonaire, buy fresh fruits and vegetables, plants and herbs, or simply enjoy the fun of people-watching while they choose their purchases.

Monday and Tuesday, April 30th and May 1st are legal holidays so many establishments will be closed on Bonaire, due to the Queen’s Birthday and Labor Day.  However here on Bonaire, in addition to celebrating the Queen’s birthday, we also celebrate Dia di Rincon, which will be a full day of parties, music, food, culture, dancing, and fun, fun, fun.  The day starts off with the annual 17.5 kilometer Rincon Day walk and run, at 6:00 AM at the soccer stadium in Kralendijk, and will finish at Rose Inn in Rincon.  For more information on the run, click here (in PDF format). 

Then, everyone will head to Rincon for the day to enjoy the festivities of this annual event which gets bigger and better each year.  Rincon’s people have been preparing for weeks already, so visitors shouldn’t miss this unique event which is totally Bonairean.  Happenings will begin about 10:00 AM and go straight through to the wee hours.

Take a rest on Labor Day, Tuesday, May 1st, but then again, on Wednesday May 2nd, CIEE will present its next public lectures from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM at their headquarters at Kaya Gobernador Debrot 26.  “The Lionfish Invasion of Klein Bonaire” will be presented by Fadilah Ali, M.Env.Sci. Lionfish and Coral Reef Ecology Intern, CIEE Research Station Bonaire.  Since February 11th, 2012, divers having been going out to Klein Bonaire for a 2 tank lionfish removal dusk and night dive trip. Led by Menno de Bree of of LaTina Divers, the aim of this trip is to go out twice per month until no more lionfish can be found at Klein Bonaire. All lionfish caught on these dives were measured and weighed and their stomach contents analyzed on the boat, before they were sold to local restaurants. This public lecture will present the main findings of this study and make comparisons to mainland Bonaire in terms of the progression of the lionfish invasion.

Then, “The Development of an Online Lionfish Control Application” will be presented by Nathaniel Miller, Conservation Project Officer with the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance.  Nat is developing an online repository that records, displays (on a map) and performs some basic analysis of lionfish hunting and spotting data. This data should enable hunters to make more informed decisions on where to hunt. It also, combined with transect data and some of the hunters’ data collection, should provide better insight to lionfish impact and control success. The website and mobile application will be user-friendly, fun, and interactive to encourage reporting and attract interested public. The entire project will be map-based within Google maps.

So, there’s truly something for everyone in Bonaire’s upcoming events.  Be sure to take advantage of these unique opportunities.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 25, 2012 at 11:12am AST
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Charles Vos Joins Sand Dollar Condominiums as General Manager

Sand Dollar Condominiums recently announced the appointment of Charles Vos as General Manager. He assumed his new role on April 16, replacing exiting manager Gilberto Lira, who leaves to assume a position with the Dutch Government. 

Mr. Vos brings a breadth of experience that includes 20 years in hotel and restaurant management in The Netherlands. Before moving to Bonaire, he spent five years as the General Manager of two WestCord Hotels including the Golden Tulip & Tulip Inn Amsterdam Art and Fashion Hotel Amsterdam, as well as more than five years in a variety of management positions at the Golden Tulip Barbizon Palace Hotel in Amsterdam. 

Canadian born, Vos moved to The Netherlands at 16 where he studied at the Golden Tulip Business School and the NH University and also earned several certifications from SVH (Stichting Vakbekwaamheid Horeca).  A fanatic road cyclist and marathoner, Vos has been bitten by the scuba diving bug since arriving on Bonaire over a year ago.

Sand Dollar offers some of the most spacious and comfortable ocean front accommodations on island. All units have air-conditioned bedrooms, full kitchens, dining and living areas, and roomy porches or balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea. These reasonably priced condominiums have an abundance of amenities. Sand Dollar’s quality and flexibility make it an especially popular destination for couples, families, and groups seeking value and relaxation.

For further information contact Carol Bradovchak at Marketing@SandDollarBonaire.com or visit www.SandDollarBonaire.com(Source:  Sand Dollar Concominiums)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 20, 2012 at 12:02pm AST
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

STCB Reports Receiving Signals from Turtle Toyo After Seven Months

Bonaire Insider readers may recall the story about Toyo from last August, when STCB staff and volunteers placed a satellite transmitter on a large female loggerhead turtle, named Toyo.

The last satellite transmission of Toyo’s location was received September 3, 2011.  Recently, nearly seven months later, Toyo’s transmitter sent 13 signals confirming her home foraging grounds of Los Roques, Venezuela.

Toyo was already traveling from her breeding and nesting grounds when she stopped by Playa Chikitu of Washington Slagbaai National Park to lay a final nest in the early hours of August 1, 2011.  The Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire team then tracked her to several Venezuelan islands: Las Aves, La Tortuga, La Blanquilla, and Los Roques in a looping migration. Unfortunately Toyo’s transmitter signal gave out after 31 days and 1,200 kilometers of travel, placing her just southwest of Los Roques.  At that time, her home foraging ground could not be confirmed.  Toyo’s looping migration took her over 1,200 km from her nesting site on Bonaire.

STCB now can confirm Los Roques as Toyo’s home foraging grounds.  This archipelago, only 150 km east of Bonaire, is very important for Bonaire’s sea turtles.  In fact, STCB has now tracked all three species of Bonaire-nesting sea turtles (green, loggerhead, and hawksbill) back to these rich foraging grounds.  The island chain is a national protected area of Venezuela, although some turtle harvesting still occurs there.

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). EL&I sponsored the costs of this satellite transmitter to support STCB’s ongoing sea turtle satellite tracking program.  (Source:  Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB))

Posted by Susan Davis on April 19, 2012 at 1:38pm AST
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From Vienna to Broadway, Art Marshal and Friends to Perform Saturday, April 21, 2012

The ensemble, Art Marshall and Friends, will perform a live and in-concert musical review spanning eras, continents, and styles this Saturday, April 21st, 2012 at 8:00 PM at Cacique Hall.

The next in the season’s concerts organized by Bonaire’s Classical Music Board, Clarinetist and arranger Art Marshall (stage name of Hein van Maarschalkerwaart), along with friends Andrew Solomon on oboe, singer Monique Andersen, and pianist Ilja Huang will perform a medley of musical selections running the full gamut from European classical and operatic to contemporary tangos and Broadway and Hollywood tunes. You can expect familiar pieces from Mozart, Brahms, Puccini, Verdi and Bizet, Piazzolla, Gerswhin, Marricone and Weill, Blake, Bechet and Jenkins.

Tickets are $20.00 in advance, or $25.00 at the door, space available.  Children’s tickets are $10.00.  Tickets may be purchased at Addo’s Books & Toys, Flamingo Bookstore, Chat ‘n’ Browse, and at the Plaza Resort Reception desk.  (Source:  Classical Music Board Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 19, 2012 at 8:41am AST
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Earth Day Beach Cleanups Scheduled for This Weekend

It’s going to be a busy weekend making and keeping Bonaire beautiful, as, in addition to the underwater cleanup already announced for Saturday, April 21st, there will also be two separate beach cleanups as well on Earth Day, this Sunday, April 22nd, 2012.

The first of the two beach cleanups is hosted by Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire and STINAPA and plans are to clean the most important sea turtle nesting beaches on Klein Bonaire.

In 2011, a total of 15 loggerhead and 18 hawksbill turtle nests were recorded on Klein Bonaire, and recent monitoring also shows that during 2011 a total of 2075 baby loggerhead and 3417 baby hawksbills emerged from their nests and went into the sea.

The main turtle nesting ground for Bonaire is around No Name Beach, on Klein Bonaire.  STCB already has a full agenda outlined each year to monitor the beaches during the nesting season, collecting data while protecting the nests and hatchlings from natural or man-made threats.  The goal is to protect the nesting areas for turtles to ensure the future of Bonaire’s sea turtle populations.

Anyone can come and join in this beach cleanup at Klein Bonaire on Sunday.  Meet at the Harbour Village Marina (Aquaspace entrance) at 7:00 AM.  The cleanup is planned to end by 1:00 PM. Participants should bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and good closed shoes.  For additional information, call STCB at 717-2225 or 701-0433 or STINAPA at 717-8444 or online here, or on Facebook here.

The second beach cleanup this Sunday will take place at the southern end of Bonaire and is sponsored by the students at the CIEE Research Station Bonaire.  Their cleanup will take place from 10:00 AM through 2:00 PM at Willemstoren Lighthouse, and once again, anyone is welcome to come and lend a hand to help remove debris and trash which has washed ashore from other locations.  For additional information, call 717-4146.

(Source:  STINAPA and CIEE)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 18, 2012 at 10:35am AST
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

CIEE’s Spring Semester Students Present Results of Their Reseach

The CIEE Research Station Bonaire would like to invite anyone with an interest to attend the culmination and presentation of research projects of the station’s spring semester’s students.  These presentations will take place over two evenings, tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18th, as well as Thursday, April 19th, 2012.

Wednesday’s presentations will include the following:

--“Size, distribution, and behavioral differences between the color morphologies of Trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus” by Devon Chalfant (University of Colorado at Boulder)
--"Diver impact on coral communities: A comparison of sites with varying intensities of diving” by Clare Chisholm (University of Oregon)
--“The effects of damselfish on coral reef benthic composition” by Abbey Elmer (Drake University)
--“Habitat preference of coral dwelling gobies, and the effect of coral disease” by Crystal Wilson (University of New Hampshire)
--“Threespot damselfish gardening and yellow band disease in the Montastrea annularis species complex” by Juli Schroeger (University of North Carolina Wilminton)
--“Incidence of disease in ocean surgeonfish Acanthurus bahianus” by Shelby Penn (Allegheny College)
--“Mating location preference by sergeant majors” by Max Mossler (Arizona State University)

Thursday’s presentations will cover these subjects:

--“Sand Dwelling Organisms in a Coral Reef Environment” by Johnny Appleby (Stockton College)
--“Temporal use of two artificial reef morphologies by coral reef fishes” by Amelie Jensen (Saint Michael’s College)
--"Examining the impact of different grazers on algal biomass” by Catie Alves (Connecticut College)
--“Diel vertical migration and luminescent activity of bioluminescent dinoflagellates” by Juli Pilla (Ursinus College)
--"Comparing fish assemblages of branching artificial reef habitat to adjacent habitats” by Wiley Sinkus (Wofford College)
--"Herbivory and Predation Pressure on Artificial Reefs” by Ashley Marranzino (Regis University)
--"Lionfish Chronobiology” by Hilary Scherer (Occidental College)

Each evening’s presentations will be held from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the CIEE Research Station headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot 26.  All are invited and entrance is free.  (Source:  CIEE)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 17, 2012 at 4:12pm AST
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