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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Julita Karkowska Receives Coco Palm Loyal Guest Award

Coco Palm Garden recently bestowed their Coco Palm Loyal Guest Award upon Julita Karkowska, from Poland, on the occasion of her tenth visit to Coco Palm Garden. 

After visiting Bonaire for many years, Julita first stayed at Coco Palm Garden in 2004. She’s a passionate diver, and through the years, Julita has introduced many of her friends to the easy diving on Bonaire. On her last trip (January, 2014), she had some bad luck and got a cold and could hardly speak. She didn’t manage to log a single dive this visit, but Julita has already started to plan her next visit in 2015 at Coco Palm Garden.  Thanks for always choosing Bonaire, Julita!  (Source:  Coco Palm Garden)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 30, 2014 at 11:16am AST
Hotels and LodgingPeopleTourism AnnouncementsPermalink
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bonaire’s Annual Lora Count Shows Population is Stable

During the annual lora count (parrot-count) last Saturday, it was discovered that nearly the same count was achieved as in 2013, which was the highest count ever. This year, the count stands at 847, while last year 865 lora were counted.

The number of loras counted only gives an idea of ​​the minimum number of birds on the island. There is no way to actually count all loras in the wild. Several participants in the census have reported that they heard more than they could actually see and count. In 2010, there were about 800 parrots counted, which, when considered with the 2013 an 2014 counts, provide the impression that the lora population is stable.

The distribution of loras on the island is different from the distribution of recent years.  This year, there were more loras counted in Washing Slagbaai Park than in previous years:  290. So there are less lora outside of the confines of the park.  Larger groups were also seen in different locations than in prior years. This rather erratic behavior of parrots makes the annual count a challenge for the participating volunteers.

As in previous years, there were staff STINAPA at twelve different locations in the Washington Slagbaai Park. Outside the park more than thirty volunteers were active in twenty-three different places . The lora are counted in a census simultaneously. This means that in the early Saturday morning before dawn, dozens of volunteers set off at the same time all over the island to count the loras. By counting simultaneously in all the different places it gives the minimum number of loras on Bonaire. The census is important for nature conservation in Bonaire.

The lora count is held every year on the last Saturday in January. The count this year was the nineteenth count and was organized by the Department of the Environment, STINAPA, and Echo Foundation.  (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 29, 2014 at 10:01am AST
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Dive Friends Bonaire Quarterly Clean Up Starts the New Year with a Clean Reef

On Saturday, January 11, 2014, volunteer divers collected their complimentary tanks from Dive Friends Bonaire @ Yellow Submarine and headed over to Karel’s Pier, a popular Bonaire nightspot.  They weren’t looking for a party, but they were there to clean up afterwards--underwater.  It was a beautiful sunny day with flat, calm conditions perfect for diving and the 122 volunteers were all very enthusiastic.

Karel’s Beach Bar is a very popular restaurant and night club located on a pier that extends into the beautiful blue Caribbean.  Every year, a large volume of beverage bottles and cups are blown overboard.  Asko Zuidam of Dive Friends Bonaire provided a safety briefing to address what items should be collected and explained that anything with coral growing on it or creatures living inside of it should be left behind.  He also gave an explanation of how to carefully remove fishing line so as not to damage delicate sponges or corals.  He dedicated the dive to the recently deceased Albert Bianculli, a long-time resident of Bonaire and frequent volunteer at the clean-up dives.

After the briefing, the divers entered the water next to the pier.  When their bags were filled with marine debris, they brought the bags to the surface and handed them over to the Dive Friends crew who were working as shore support.  Volunteers checked once again to be sure that no marine creatures had been inadvertently included.  Then, everything was counted, tallied for Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program, and disposed of responsibly. 

The debris collected by volunteers definitely reflected that the clean-up took place around a popular bar.  Volunteers collected 796 glass beverage bottles, 83 cans, 92 bottle caps, 304 plastic cups, 877 glass fragments, 66 pieces of fishing line, 16 items of clothing, 10 towels, 208 plastic fragments, 10 shoes and much more.  A total of 2,771 items were removed from the marine environment.

That evening, all participants and their families were welcomed back for a Pot Luck BBQ and raffle at the recently remodeled Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis.  Dive Friends Bonaire (with help from sponsors) provided drinks and main courses, while participants supplied side dishes.  The next quarterly Dive Friends Bonaire underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 19th, 2014.

Additional information about the cleanups is available by clicking here.  All are welcome to join in. (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 27, 2014 at 1:53pm AST
Community ServiceEventsScuba DivingWater SportsPermalink
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ingridients Now Offers Lionfish Night

Ingridients, the new restaurant on the premises of Buddy Dive, has just announced that each Monday the restaurant will serve up one of Bonaire’s more popular dishes, lionfish. 

The new Lionfish Night will offer a choice of two plates:  The first will be an assortment of five different bites, including lionfish ceviche, lionfish fritters, lionfish rosti, bacon-wrapped lionfish, and smoked lionfish.  This plate is $24.95 per person.

The second menu choice is a lionfish plate, served with grilled vegetables and a side order of choice.  This plate is $27.50 per person.

The kitchen is open from 6:00 to 10:00 PM, it’s closed on Wednesday and Thursday.  To reserve a table, phone 717-1684. (Source:  Ingridients Restaurant)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 23, 2014 at 10:08am AST
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Friday, January 17, 2014

A Veteran of the Dive Industry, and Bonaire Icon, Jack Chalk Passes Away

It is with regret that the Bonaire Insider announces the death of Jack Chalk, a long-time veteran of the dive industry, and a well known Bonaire icon.

Jack Chalk left Bonaire on August 29th, 2013 in order to receive advanced medical care in the United States, and he was also spending time with his family.  His physical condition was improving until recently when he was hospitalized, and unfortunately, his condition deteriorated quickly.  On Wednesday, January 16th, 2014, Jack passed away in the early hours of the morning.

Jack began his career at Captain Don’s Habitat in September, 1988 as the dive shop manager.  In 2001, Jack was promoted to General Manager and served in that function until August, 2013.  He also served as President and a director of STINAPA, and also as President and a director of BONHATA, and also over the years worked as a director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire.  Jack worked ceaselessly for the betterment of Bonaire, and he had a passion for protecting Bonaire’s marine park and reefs.  Jack was also a director of the Philippe Cousteau Foundation and of Earthecho International.

Rest in peace, Jack.  (Source:  Captain Don’s Habitat)

Note Update January 31st, 2014: There will be a memorial service to celebrate and remember the life of Jack Chalk at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 8th, 2014 at the Church of La Birgen di Coromoto, Kaya Korona 126, Antriol, with a reception following immediately after in the parking area of the Maduro and Curiel’s Bank in Kralendijk.

Posted by Susan Davis on January 17, 2014 at 4:46pm AST
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Thursday, January 09, 2014

26th Bonaire International and Local Fishing Tournament Is January 23-25, 2014

Another long time tradition in January on Bonaire is the International and Local Fishing Tournament, and in 2014, this will take place from January 23 through 25.

This great event provides over $15,000 in prizes, and boats of any size are welcome in either category.  The “international” portion of the tournament will be a Bill-Fish catch and release tourament, while the local competition will for fish for consumption (this category will be divided into large and small boats).  Even those who don’t fish can enjoy the festivities.

Registration and the event opening will be held on Thursday January 23rd and fishing will be done on Friday and Saturday, January 24th and 25th for the “international” event and on Saturday January 25th the “local” event will take place. Saturday afternoon there will be lots of activities by the water near the pier of Club Nautico.

Come by and cheer for your favorite fishermen!  (Source:  Bonaire International & Local Fishing Tournament)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 09, 2014 at 4:25pm AST
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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Bonaire Does It Again with Seven Awards in Scuba Diving Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2014

Bonaire has once again received top honors and secured seven different awards in Scuba Diving Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, including three #1 ratings, underlining the island’s long held reputation as a diver’s paradise.  For the 21st consecutive year, Bonaire has taken first place for the #1 Shore Diving Destination. 

The #1 Caribbean/Atlantic region rankings received by Bonaire include Best Macro Diving, Best Shore Diving, and Best Beginner Diving. The #2 rankings include Best Overall Destination and Best Marine Environment. Bonaire is also ranked #3 for Best Overall Diving and #4 for Best Visibility.

For the Readers’ Choice Awards, thousands of Scuba Diving subscribers and web users rated their dive experiences on a scale of one to five. Results of the 2014 Awards are featured in the January/February issue of Scuba Diving magazine. (Source:  TCB-North America)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 08, 2014 at 11:17am AST
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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Bonaire Welcomes the New Year with Rich Cultural Traditions

As in many parts of the world, the new year on Bonaire is welcomed in with a colorful show of fireworks cascading over the coastline of Kralendijk, but fireworks are not the only New Year’s tradition on Bonaire, as the annual New Year’s Day performances of the Maskarada are just as bright and colorful.  View images of Bonaire’s 2014 Maskarada on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery at http://bonaire.me/Zb77.




At the stroke of midnight, the skies lit up with the simultaneous ignition of hosts of fireworks from Sabadeco in the north to Belnem in the south.  It would be difficult for anyone on the island to miss the sound of the booms and the cascading “whoosh” as the fireworks made their way up against gravity to explode in a burst of color.  For a small island, those on Bonaire really know how to party, and this year proved that the right place to be come New Year’s Eve was dushi Bonaire.


But this was not the only party in town.  In fact, it’s a 25-year tradition that on New Year’s Day, the Maskarada perform throughout the day at a variety of venues.  Beginning with the home of the Lt. Governor, these revelers, who cannot speak, and are totally covered so that they cannot be identified, show up to play antics with the spectators, as well as perform short skits by miming and dancing a story line.  Even this reporter was not immune to the horns of the bull, who delighted in tormenting everyone!  Some of the favorite skits include a bull and bull-fighter who go horn-to-red cape while another reveler tries to lasso a horn.  Or, enjoy the spectacle of a fisherman in a boat, “hooking” a shark and reeling him in.  Once landed in the boat, all the Maskarada join in to be sure the shark isn’t the one fish “that got away.”


After their first performance, the group headed to the elderly home to perform for those living there.  Smiles of joy were evident everywhere as these folks enjoyed this festive tradition.  Then, it was onward to visit five homes in the neighborhoods of North Salinja and Terra Korra.  It’s tradition that, when the Maskarada come to visit, the hosts reward them with food and drinks to keep their energy up.  And energy they needed, performing seven times throughout the day.


The group dances to the music of Grupo Maskarada, with traditional “squeeze-boxes,” “chapi,” a small percussive instrument made from the metal part of a hoe and struck with a metal bar, guitar, and quarta, a four-stringed instrument.  The musicians lead the way for entries and exits, as well as the parades down the streets of Bonaire’s neighborhoods.


The identities of the revelers remain secret throughout the day.  They cannot speak or in any other way give away their identities.  But.........at the ending of their final performance, the Maskarada are “unmasked” and finally everyone can see who has spent their day performing for them.

For those who missed the revelries, there is a second chance to enjoy this unique Bonairean tradition.  The Maskarada will perform again this coming Sunday, January 5th, 2014, in connection with the Feast of The Three Kings, in the neighborhoods of Terra Korra and Antriol, and culminating in Rincon.  A schedule of events can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, images by Rolando Marin and Susan Davis)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 02, 2014 at 5:48pm AST
EventsMusic and PerformancesPermalink
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