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Friday, May 31, 2013

Vote for Bonaire’s Marine Park as the Eighth Wonder of the World

The Bonaire National Marine Park has just been nominated to be part of the VirtualTouris.com’s “Eighth Wonder of the World” contest.

Bonaire’s submission is one of more than 200; users of the Bonaire National Marine Park can show your pride and support for the park’s efforts by voting as often as possible. The landmark with the most votes will be featured in a national U.S. broadcast TV segment on a popular syndicated program as well as receive a massive media relations campaign push from VirtualTourist. Voting runs from June 3 until September 30, 2013 and can be done once daily. To vote for Bonaire, simply click here and select the Bonaire National Marine Park.

VirtualTourist.com® is one of the largest online travel communities in the world and boasts close to 2 million travel reviews and over 4 million photos of 61,000 destinations worldwide from 1.3 million members. VirtualTourist attracts 8 million unique visitors per month with a membership from more than 220 countries and territories. Virtual Tourist is a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc.

Please share the voting link on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages as well as with your friends and family so that once again, Bonaire can be #1. (Source:  TCB-NY)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 31, 2013 at 10:34am AST


Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Wind Dieties Are Smiling Upon Bonaire for the 9th ProKids Freestyle and Slalom

Starting tomorrow, Friday, May 30th, all flip-flops will be on the beach at Sorobon, Lac Bay, to watch, participate in, or enjoy the Ninth Annual Prokids Freestyle and Slalom Competition taking place through Sunday.  As usual with Bonaire events, it’s not quite enough to enjoy just the windsurfing, so the island will be playing it up big-time with a Taste of Bonaire event and a three-hour aerobics marathon as well.  And it appears the Wind Dieties will be at Sorobon as well, as sailing conditions are predicted to be top-notch with hearty winds.

On Friday, the event will open with a night sailing event and music by Foyan Boyz.  But don’t forget the Taste of Bonaire that will be hosted in Wilhelmina Park as well, starting at 6:00 PM and running through 10:00 PM.  There will be great food, local music, and handicrafts over which to oh-and-ah.  All “Tastes” from many of Bonaire’s eateries cost only $3.00.  There are performances by Grupo ESO and the dance group, Kayena, as well.

On Saturday morning, burn off the calories from the Taste at the three-hour Aerobics Beach Marathon back at Sorobon.  Three different instructors will keep you active with Pilates, Tae-Bo, and Zumba.  Cost is $10.00 per person, and includes a t-shirt and refreshments.  The marathon kicks off at 8:00 AM at the ProKids stage.

Saturday afternoon brings the first sailing competitions with Slalom, Freestyle, and Paddleboard all available.  To end the second day of the festivities, enjoy a beach BBQ, with dominoes, bolas, and beach volleyball.

Sunday it will be back at the beach early when the competition gets fierce with more Slalom racing, more Freestyle, and finally the awards ceremony.  Of course, for those on the beach, there’s plenty with which to keep occupied with beach soccer, a mode show with rappers, and more dominoes, bolas, and beach volleyball.

Then dance the night away on the beach to the strains of music with DJ Omega 13 and others.  There is something for everyone this weekend!  (Source:  ProKids Freestyle, TCB)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 30, 2013 at 3:31pm AST
EventsHealth & FitnessMusic and PerformancesRestaurants and DiningWater SportsWindsurfingPermalink


Renee Snorkel Trips Joins the Active Bonaire Facebook Community

Renee Snorkel Trips has just recently opened a new Facebook page to augment the company’s web site.  The Facebook page, available at http://bonaire.me/Z877, will be a great place to share photos, videos, and comments about experiences with Renee Leach.

Renee invites all those who have experienced her guided snorkel trips to visit her Facebook page and “Like” it, so that everyone may continue to follow the many exciting marine adventures that she and her visitors enjoy.  She welcomes those who have snorkeled with her in the past to upload their own images, videos, or comments.

Thanks to Darlene and Tom Ellis, frequent guests of Renee Snorkel Trips, the Facebook page already highlights hundreds of special images of their past experiences.  Darlene and Tom are repeat Bonaire visitors, and their photography provides an exceptional diversity of the marine life that can be found while enjoying a snorkel excursion with Renee Snorkel Trips.  Some of the photo galleries available on the Facebook page include:

Turtles, Turtles, and Even More Turtles
Trumpetfish, Filefish, and Trunkfish
Octopi and Eels
Night Snorkel!
Drums, Pufferfish, and Squid
Marine Invertebrates
Corals and other Marine Creatures

Facebook users are invited to browse the various galleries and re-live their vacations on Bonaire through the splendid imagery.  Be sure to Like the page to see future albums as they are added.

Renee Leach has been offering underwater experiences to visitors to Bonaire since 1991. Her never-ending enthusiasm, love for the sea, and background as a biologist is evident to each participant.  Tours are by appointment, so the schedule is flexible to fit your schedule. Renee’s vast experience and intimate knowledge of Bonaire’s reefs will reward visitors with memorable sightings of some of the island’s most illusive creatures. Maximum groups of four to five persons ensure individual attention. Snorkel trips cater to any age group, 3- to 93-year-olds have participated. They are especially nice for divers’ companions who don’t dive. For additional information on tours, visit Renee’s web site by clicking here(Source:  Renee Snorkel Trips)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 30, 2013 at 10:27am AST
NatureSnorkelingWater SportsPermalink


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bonaire Deep Reef Expedition 1 To Be Carried Out May 30th through June 1st, 2013

On May 30th and 31st and June 1st, a deep reef study will be conducted on Bonaire during the “Bonaire Deep Reef Expedition 1.” With the help of the submarine Curasub and the research ship Chapman of the Curacao Sea Aquarium, the investigators of the IMARES institute from the Wageningen University will identify the biodiversity of the deep reefs. It is expected that new reef organisms will be discovered in these almost-unexplored depths from 60 to 300 m. This study is executed on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs with regard to the joint management by the islands and the Netherlands of the maritime biodiversity and fishery in the waters surrounding the islands, starting from the outer border of the maritime parks up to the Exclusive Economic Zone (Exclusieve Economische Zone - EEZ).

This study of the deep reef should provide information on life existing in these dusky depths. With the use of cameras and the collection of biological specimens, this fascinating ecosystem with unique biodiversity will be documented. The international nature organization, Conservation International, identified the Caribbean region in its total as a hotspot of biodiversity--an area with outstanding varied ecosystems, and various kinds of plants and animals.  Furthermore, the area within the southern Caribbean maritime area surrounding the Windward Islands was identified as one of the two with the richest maritime habitats. The Curasub has already made many dives on Curaçao, including dives with investigators of the Smithsonian Institute on board, who discovered various new species of fishes, shells and crabs. The Bonaire Deep Reef Expedition 1, along with other future surveys, will clarify if these species are also present on Bonaire or if other species are present in these waters.

The goal of the Bonaire Deep Reef Expedition 1 is to make a first inventory of the biodiversity. This information is essential for the protection of the nature and durable use of the reefs. It is an international responsibility for the countries to identify and map the biodiversity. To protect the deep reefs well, it must first be known what lives there and gain knowledge regarding the ecological processes which conserve the diversity. It is also important to map this richness of life, because the organisms could possibly be a source of materials which could turn out to be of great value in the future.

This study is executed by experts of the Dutch research institute IMARES in collaboration with the microbiologists of the Wageningen University and the taxonomists from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. An investigator of the Smithsonian Institute in the United States will also participate in the expedition. Besides fishes, shells, and crab-like animals, the expedition will also study deep water horn corals and sponges. The Curasub is able to take samples of sponge and coral, pick up shells, and even catch fishes living at that depth. All the samples will be documented and sampled photographically for molecular markers, which will be analyzed in Naturalis’ laboratory.

The Chapman arrives in Bonaire today and will moor in the harbor, from where the first dives will take place tomorrow. During the remaining days of the expedition, dives will also be conducted from the WEB pier at Hato and the Cargill pier.  (Source:  Rijksdienst CN)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 29, 2013 at 2:26pm AST


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Announcing Challenge #5 in InfoBonaire.com’s “So, You Think You Know Bonaire” Contest

InfoBonaire.com, The Bonaire Information Site, has just opened its fifth Challenge in the 2013 series, so anyone over the age of 18 and not residing on Bonaire is welcome to try their luck at answering the puzzle.  The new challenge can be viewed at http://bonaire.me/Z526.

This particular Challenge is featuring one of Bonaire’s many special birds.  Here’s the Challenge:

What is the common name of this bird (be specific, as just naming the type of bird will not be sufficient), and state what area of Bonaire is its habitual roosting grounds?  Hint: This waterbird may be seen at various locations around Bonaire, but it only roosts in one specific location.

Challenge #5 Prize is a $50.00 credit for activity services as provided by The Mangrove Info Center. Credit is valid against any of their services through December 31, 2014, when booked in advance via their web site and subject to availability. Entry for Challenge #5 will close on June 18, 2013. Also, see their downloadable coupon on Paradise Rebates.

The first person to submit an entry that is correct and complete will win the prize, so don’t delay!  Click here to submit your response.  Good luck to all.  (Source:  InfoBonaire.com)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 28, 2013 at 3:04pm AST
NaturePotpourriTourism AnnouncementsPermalink


Monday, May 27, 2013

Announcing Winners in Challenge #4 of “So You Think You Know Bonaire” Contest 2013

InfoBonaire.com has just announced that there are two winners in their fourth 2013 Challenge in the “So, You Think You Know Bonaire” series of contest puzzles.  Mel B. from Virigina, USA was the first winner, and he will receive a $50.00 gift certificate with AB Car Rental Bonaire, good on his next visit to Bonaire against a rental vehicle with that company.  Further, since there was not a winner in the third challenge, that prize was also carried forth to Challenge #4, and Anke L. of The European Netherlands has won a $50.00 gift certificate good at the Richter Art Gallery.

The original puzzle was:  Where is this marker specifically located, and state its geographical importance to Bonaire.

The correct answer is: This marker is located at the top of Brandaris, in Washington Slagbaai National Park, and its geographical importance is that it is the highest point of Bonaire at 784 feet/239 meters.

For those with a more specific interest, this marker notes one of Bonaire’s geodetic datums, which define the size and shape of the earth and the origin and orientation of the coordinate systems used to map the earth. Hundreds of different datums have been used to frame position descriptions since the first estimates of the earth’s size were made by Aristotle. Datums have evolved from those describing a spherical earth to ellipsoidal models derived from years of satellite measurements. Modern geodetic datums range from flat-earth models used for plane surveying to complex models used for international applications which completely describe the size, shape, orientation, gravity field, and angular velocity of the earth. While cartography, surveying, navigation, and astronomy all make use of geodetic datums, the science of geodesy is the central discipline for the topic.

The triangulation network of Bonaire consists of 35 stations, and all angles were measured with a Wild T-3 theodolite. The baselines of the network (Station 1-Station 2, 1-3, and 2-3), were measured with a Tellurometer MRA 1. The origin point for the Bonaire Datum of 1951 is at Station Grandi where Fo = 12° 10’ 46.971” N, Lo = 68° 15’ 06.639” West of Greenwich, and ho = 98.45 m. The IAGS colocated with stations Grandi, Brandaris, and Will. Station Grandi is also the origin for the Bonaire Transverse Mercator Grid, and the False Easting is 23 km and the False Northing is 20,980.49 m. From the Bonaire Datum of 1951 to the WGS84 Datum, implemented as the North American Datum of 1983 by the National Geodetic Survey, the geocentric translations are probably quite similar to those for both Aruba and for Curaçao.

Our original Challenge image was digitally altered to remove identifying marks. The unaltered image is show below.

Watch for the announcement of Challenge #5 coming soon.  (Source:  InfoBonaire.com)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 27, 2013 at 4:26pm AST
NaturePotpourriTourism AnnouncementsPermalink


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Last-Minute Special for Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn

For those who can travel at short notice, there’s a just-announced special at Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn for upcoming dates in June and July.

For those can book now for any non-seaside room for travel between June 1st and June 15th, 2013, or June 29th through July 6th, 2013, a free shore diving package is available for each person booking during the selected travel dates.

For additional information, visit the Carib Inn web site by clicking here, or email info@caribinn.com(Source:  Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 25, 2013 at 2:35pm AST
Hotels and LodgingScuba DivingSpecialsWater SportsPermalink


Thursday, May 23, 2013

This Weekend is All About Nature, Food, and Fitness--It’s What Defines Bonaire

Once again, there are several unique activities in which visitors can take advantage during the upcoming weekend.  Featuring many of Bonaire’s enjoyable attributes, there truly is something for everyone, including nature presentations, “Last Man Standing” competitions, mountain bike rides, and a culinary barbecue by Bonaire’s “Dream Team.”

On Saturday morning, grab your binoculars and meet at the STINAPA headquarters at 8:00 AM for a presentation to celebrate the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival.  This bird-watching presentation is a great family activity to interact with nature.  It’s intended for amateur bird-watchers, so everyone and anyone is welcome.  After the presentation, there will be a field walk in the surrounding area to practice bird recognition.  Entrance is free, and the experience will last about two hours.

Sunday, begin the day with a great meal and help send Bonaire’s Dream Team to the Taste of the Caribbean competition in Miami.  The culinary team and bartender will prepare an awesome cookout beginning at 12:30 PM at the back entrance to Chez Nous (the cooking school at SGB).  A three-course meal, including wines, will be offered for all to enjoy.  Space is limited to only 40 participants, price is $45.00 per person.  Call 786-9299 to reserve your spot.

After the cookout, head out to Sorobon at Lac Bay to photograph “The Revenge” in the Last Man Standing competition, which will be held from 10:00 AM through 6:00 PM.  There will be wet rope boat pulling, timber team pushing, grease rope pulling, car and truck pushing and pulling, and a tire relay--all fun events which are sure to create some laughs and fantastic photo ops.  The surprise finales will include Hit & Move, Power vs. Stamina, and one that is truly a surprise!  We can’t divulge the secret.  Be at Sorobon to find out the ending.

And for those who want a little exercise themselves, the year’s third fun mountain bike ride will take place at Washikemba on Sunday as well beginning at 8:00 AM.  There are two routes--the “fun” route (five laps of 3.5 kilometers) which is promised to be easy, while the “elite” route (six laps of 4.5 kilometers) will be a challenge.  Entry fee is $10.00, participants must wear a helmet.  For more information, contact the sponsors, Xtreme Sports Bonaire at De Freewieler.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 23, 2013 at 12:52pm AST
EducationEventsHealth & FitnessNaturePermalink


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Low Level Aerial Bonaire Images Now Available on InfoBonaire.com

InfoBonaire.com has just premiered a new area on The Bonaire Information Site, providing birds-eye-views of the major areas of Bonaire.  Many of the island’s most popular tourism providers are indicated by their logo, so visitors can see at a glance exactly where their potential hotel, dive shop, or restaurant is located.  View the new images at http://bonaire.me/Zb93.

The images were taken at a low-level flight to provide in-depth coverage and details of the coastline and other important areas of Bonaire.  This is a great tool for first-time Bonaire visitors, as they can easily see in which area they might like to stay or visit while on the island.

Many of the most popular full-service resorts, intimate small resorts or apartments, restaurants, dive facilities, vehicle rental agencies, Bonaire travel services agents, and activity providers have logos which indicate their locations on Bonaire.  Clicking on the logo will bring the viewer to their individual web sites.

From the initial aerial view of the entire island, the viewer can select from fifteen different aerial views of Bonaire, including Hato North, Hato South, the Playa Lechi area, Marina North, Kaya Playa Lechi, Kralendijk Playa Pabou, Kralendijk Playa Pariba North, Kralendijk Playa Pariba South, Flamingo Airport (Bonaire International Airport), Belnem North, Belnem South, Kite Beach (Atlantis), Lac Bay, and Washington Slagbaai National Park.

Be sure to bookmark the new area on InfoBonaire.com at http://bonaire.me/Zb93 so that it is readily handy when planning the next Bonaire vacation.

Like InfoBonaire.com on Facebook by clicking here, or follow on Twitter by clicking here to stay up-to-date on Bonaire’s latest tourism news.(Source:  InfoBonaire.com)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 22, 2013 at 4:51pm AST
PotpourriTourism AnnouncementsPermalink


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting the Shot--Photographing Bonaire’s Parakeets (Prikichi)

When love is in the air, there are a great many opportunities to create fabulous vacation images of Bonaire’s nature.  And, from sea turtles to parakeets, and many species in between, love is definitely in the air on Bonaire.  Here’s a short tutorial on getting “the shot” of Bonaire’s parakeets.

Breeding and nesting activities often mean that wildlife may not be as mobile as normal, and thus, images can be taken which might be much more difficult at other times of the year.  The key for any great images of wildlife is to allow the subject to become comfortable with you.  This might entail minutes, hours, or even days.  In the case of this breeding pair of prikichi, as Bonaire’s parakeets are locally known, they made the decision to cohabitate with me, stubbornly insisting on nesting under the roof tiles of my home on Bonaire.  As they see me coming and going every day, they have become very comfortable with me, allowing me to approach within six or seven feet (approximately two meters).  Of course, this did not happen overnight, but over several weeks.  When they are outside the nest, I still approach them in a non-threatening manner, avoiding eye contact and moving in a slow, relaxed manner.  Even with my ability to make a close approach, my camera setup is a Nikon digital SLR with a 300mm (1:4) telephoto lens, allowing images which fill the frame with the subjects.  Because the parakeets were deep in foliage, I used a small fill flash to help eliminate harsh shadows.

Pretty images of beautiful and colorful wildlife are always fulfilling, but if an image can also tell a story, by documenting a behavior, such as feeding, mating, or grooming, then the image will always have much more impact.  The image below illustrates two prikichi in Washington Slagbaai National Park, engaged in mating behaviors.

Of course, there are definitely some mandatory rules of etiquette when photographing any wildlife, and especially those when mating or nesting:

1) First, do no harm!  The environment should not be trampled or changed in any way to “get the shot.” Nothing should be harmed or killed for a photograph.  The challenge in photography is to get the shot without disturbing the subjects or their environment.

2) Do not disturb natural behaviors.  Do not get so close that the subjects stop their normal behaviors to flee--if they are feeding, mating, or going about their other normal behaviors, such an interruption can cause harm.  Any subject will telegraph their concern when their comfort zone is being invaded, as they will show agitation, or fear, or begin to look as if they will flee.  If you see this reaction, then it’s time to retreat to a distance which is more comfortable for the wildlife.

3) Do not harass the subjects with repeated flash bursts.  In some species, this can cause undue stress.  Also, in the case of our prikichi, if the parenting birds feel their chosen nesting site is not safe, it might cause them to abandon the nest.

4) Other nesting birds should never be approached so closely so they feel the need to flee.  Some birds which are nesting on Bonaire at this time, must stay on the eggs to keep them cool and out of the sun, or otherwise the eggs might be literally “cooked” if the sun overheats them.

5) Don’t ever relocate a subject for a better background.  The challenge in photography is to get the shot in the subject’s chosen environment.  Do not remove foliage, bend it, or break it, as this would violate our first rule, do no harm.

If these simple rules are followed diligently, then the mating/nesting season on Bonaire will certainly provide myriad opportunities to photograph a wide variety of species.  Be calm, be patient, and the shot will be yours!  View the prikichi photo album on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, images by Susan Davis and Rolando Marin)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 21, 2013 at 3:01pm AST


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