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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Young Divers Volunteer for Dive Friends Bonaire Summer Clean-Up

On Saturday, July 12, 2014, 119 volunteer divers gathered at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Yellow Submarine for the latest quarterly clean up dive.  Due to the summer holidays, there were a large number of families with younger divers in attendance.  There was also a group of American high school students from the Road Less Traveled, a summer community service program, along with the STINAPA Junior Rangers of Bonaire.  Their enthusiasm for volunteering really added to the atmosphere of the day.  The chosen dive site was the world famous Town Pier, normally off limits to divers.

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. 

After the briefing, the divers entered the water at Town 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. 

Volunteers collected 414 glass beverage bottles, 107 cans, 46 pieces of dangerous fishing line, 15 hats, 97 plastic fragments, 29 plastic cups, 10 plastic flowers, 50 metal fragments, 1 highway cone, 1 live bullet, 2 rubber boots, 11 shoes and much more.  A total of 1,308 items were removed from the marine environment. 

All participants and their families were welcomed back for a sunset BBQ and raffle at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis.  Dive Friends Bonaire and sponsors provided drinks and main courses, while participants supplied the pot luck side dishes.  In keeping with the spirit of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” Dive Friends Bonaire does not use disposable plates and cutlery, so the Road Less Traveled volunteers also spent a lot of extra time cleaning up after the clean-up.

The next quarterly Dive Friends Bonaire underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, October 18th, 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 July 29, 2014 at 3:58pm AST
Community ServiceEventsNatureScuba DivingSnorkelingWater SportsPermalink
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Sun Rentals Bonaire Announces Two New Vacation Properties

Sun Rentals has just announced the addition of two new properties which are now available to book for vacation rentals.  Additionally, their Bonaire Oceanfront Apartments has recently been awarded Gold status by Travelife.

Villa Isla Bella is located in Sabadeco, and features three levels and it has 5 bedrooms (fully air-conditioned), 6 bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen.  It also offers private ocean access, a great infinity swimming pool, separate jacuzzi, sundeck and a beach house, which contains a bar, a BBQ kitchen, bathroom and a changing room.  For more information, click here.

And for those coming to kiteboard, their second new property, Lighthouse Beach Resort 31, offers the perfect location just minutes from Atlantis (Kite Beach).  This townhome has two bedrooms, both equipped with air-conditioning and offers a pool-size view, perfect for families.  For more information, click here.

And great news to share, Sun Rental’s flagship property, Bonaire Oceanfront Apartments, has just been awarded Gold status by Travelife, an international certification association that helps hotels and accommodations to offer the finest product possible For more information about any of Sun Rental’s vacation rental properties, visit their web site by clicking here.  The web site is available in English, Dutch, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.  (Source:  Sun Rentals Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 21, 2014 at 1:22pm AST
Hotels and LodgingPermalink
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coral Garden Villas Opens for Vacation Rentals

Recently, Coral Garden Villas has announced that their property has been totally renovated and they are now accepting reservations for vacation rentals.  The property includes several villas located in Playa Pariba in Kralendijk.

Coral Garden Villas were previously only available for long-term rentals, but now visitors to the island can enjoy the great location and upgraded amenities as well.

The villas include a spacious front porch, full air-conditioning and ceiling fans in all rooms, free WiFi and cable TV, hot water, a security system and room safe, a personal sound system in the living room and bedrooms, and night-time security. 

The apartments sports a 42” LCD HD television, a fully stocked kitchen with stove, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, cookware, tableware, and cutlery, oven, and refrigerator.

Each villas has two bedrooms plus a convertible sofa, so each villa can accommodate up to six persons, although reservations for one or two couples can be made as well.  The master bedroom comes with a queen memory foam/pillowtop mattress, and the second bedroom comes with a king bed, which can be split into two individual beds if needed.

The villas are located only a three-minute walk to supermarkets, a five-minute walk to the shore, casino, and restaurants, and a 15-minute walk into the town center.  It’s a short commute upon arrival, with only a five-minute drive from the airport to the villas’ location.  For additional information, visit their web site by clicking here(Source:  Coral Garden Villas)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 17, 2014 at 2:42pm AST
Hotels and LodgingPermalink
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Flamingo Airport Receives Accreditation with Safety Certificate Issued

Last month from June 3rd to June 6th, 2014 an extensive audit was held at Bonaire’s Flamingo International Airport, also known as Bonaire International Airport. This audit was conducted by Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport from the Ministry Infrastructuur en Milieu, and was based on ICAO International Regulations. The aim was to determine whether the Flamingo Airport meets the conditions to be eligible for an Aerodrome Safety Certificate.  We’re happy to report that the audit results showed that BIA meets all requirements and that the disposition, organization, equipment and the safe use of the airport are in accordance with the applicable ICAO International regulations. As a result, the Dutch Secretary of State has issued a Safety Certificate to BIA.  This is a milestone for not only the airport, but especially for Bonaire and marks a point in its history. This makes Bonaire one of the first airports--if not the first--to be internationally certified in the region.

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) audits facilities to a standard found in ICAO Annex 14, Volume I, “Aerodromes”, where it is stated that the operator of the aerodrome shall have an Aerodrome Manual required for the operation of the airport in use for public travel, Certification of the Airport and a Safety Management System implemented at the airport.

To be eligible for Certification the airport operator needs to demonstrate that:

a. It has a proper organization with sufficient personnel with the necessary skills and experience required to operate and maintain the aerodrome safely;
b. All facilities, services and equipment are at an acceptable level and in good condition that correspond to the provisions of Chapter 7 of the “Besluit Toezicht Luchtvaart BES;
c. The operational procedures of the airport sufficiently provide for the safe operation of aircraft;
d. It possesses and has implemented an Aerodrome Manual;
e. That a Safety Management System (SMS) is available and implemented at the aerodrome, in which also the organizational structure, obligations, powers and responsibilities of the staff members is described in order to ensure that operations are correctly and safely performed.

In connection with the above, Management of BIA filed an application with the Dutch authority “Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport” to obtain an Aerodrome Safety Certificate while submitting all required documentation, including the Aerodrome Manual and the Safety Management System.  With this, the Ministry Infrastructuur en Milieu acknowledges that the airport operator BIA effectively manages safety risks at the Flamingo Airport and is committed to continuous improvement in safety.

Congratulations go to the entire airport management and staff for reaching this important benchmark!  (Source:  Bonaire International Airport)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 14, 2014 at 11:09am AST
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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Buddy Dive Resort Announces Mission TechPossible 2014

Buddy Dive Resort, Technical Diving International (TDI) and Dive Rite, are excited to announce that they will once again team up to host their annual technical diving event at Buddy Dive Resort, October 11-24, 2014. This popular event offers dive guests two full weeks of tech-focused activities and the opportunity to meet and dive with the pros.

Recreational and technical divers of all certification levels can take advantage of two full weeks of tech diving opportunities and experiences. Mission Tech Possible participants will have the opportunity to check out the latest technical equipment and technology, attend informative presentations, and try out different tech gear setups including doubles, side-mount, closed-circuit rebreathers and TRIMIX. There will even be special tech-only boat dives scheduled throughout the event. Mission Tech Possible 2014 is organized to allow participants to complete all activities, whether they join for one week or two.

All certified divers are welcome to join Mission Tech Possible 2014. Participation is free for guests staying at Buddy Dive Resort, Caribbean Club Resort, and Belmar Resort. For others there is a fee of $50.00 per tech clinic.  Some of the technical diving professionals who will be hosting events and leading dives include Brian Carney and Lamar Hires. Buddy Dive’s own tech dive specialist, German Arango Gonzales will also be on hand throughout the event, offering his perspective and expertise on technical diving in the Caribbean.

Mission Tech Possible begins October 11, 2014 and runs through October 24, 2014. The program is organized so that divers can try everything within a one-week stay.  However, for those guests planning to join for the full two weeks, there will be a variety of new opportunities available each week.  For additional information, visit their web site of Buddy Dive by clicking here. (Source:  Buddy Dive Resort)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 09, 2014 at 3:00pm AST
EventsScuba DivingWater SportsPermalink
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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Dive Friends Bonaire Hosts Next Quarterly Underwater Cleanup on Saturday, July 12th, 2014

The quarterly underwater cleanups hosted by Dive Friends Bonaire have become very popular events, attracting both visitors and residents alike.  All are welcome to come and help out, divers, snorkelers, or those who can assist on shore.

Check in for volunteers will begin at 9:45 AM at the Yellow Submarine location, with a briefing for all volunteers at 10 AM.  Please don’t forget to bring certification cards, if they are not already on file with Dive Friends Bonaire.  This cleanup will focus upon the area around Town Pier.  Please make sure to have the BMP tags along with you, as is required.

Lionfish hunters are encourage to bring their ELFs.  There will also be an effort to collect any discarded fishing line, so please bring along a dive knife or shears.  Those who do not dive are always welcome to assist with the shoreline cleanup and to also log items removed from the water for PADI Project AWARE.  It’ll be fun for the whole family.

At 6:00 PM, we’ll be hosting a potluck BBQ for the volunteers at the Hamlet Oasis location.  It’s a potluck, so please bring a snack, side-dish, or dessert to share and Dive Friends will provide the main course and one beverage.  For additional information, telephone 717-2929.


Posted by Susan Davis on July 08, 2014 at 4:02pm AST
Community ServiceEventsScuba DivingSnorkelingWater SportsPermalink
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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Bonaire is Tops Again, as Caribbean Chef of the Year is Awarded to Bonaire

It seems Bonaire just can’t be beat these days, whether it’s in windsurfing or cuisine, as just now, the island has received the accolade of Caribbean Chef of the Year through Rashindra Donge, one of the Bonaire team to compete at the recent Taste of the Caribbean in Miami.

The Bonaire team flew up with lionfish, caught fresh by many of the island’s local lionfish hunters, to show what our island can do with our own ingredients, and obviously, this was a good strategy.  Rashindra is not only the the first Bonaire chef to win such a title as “Caribbean Chef of the Year,” but she is also the first women ever in the history of the Taste of the Caribbean competition, to win this award.  Pabien, Rashindra!  We are proud of you.

But Bonaire also received a very special award, the “Tony Mack Award,” which was given to the team that showed the best competitive spirit during the contest.  And here are some other great final standings garnered by the Bonaire team:

Silver:
• Team of the Year.
• Giovanni Veld:  Junior Chef Competition

Bronze:
• Ronald Gosepa:  Seafood Competition
• Tjitte Knol:  Beef Competition
• Jay Frans:  Bartender Competition

Honorary mentions:
• Tjitte Knol:  Cheesecake Competition
• Junior Janga:  Pastry Chef Competition

Our Bonaire team will arrive home this evening victorious.  Congratulations to them all for a fine job!  (Source:  Bonhata)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 03, 2014 at 12:36pm AST
Restaurants and DiningPermalink
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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

New Study Indicates Hope to Reverse Loss of Caribbean Corals

The loss of corals in the Caribbean has been a hot debate now for many years, but there’s a new study that has just been published by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) that indicates that there’s a glimmer of hope to actually reverse the trend of degrading Caribbean coral reefs.  The report, Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs 1970-2012, is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date--the result of the work of 90 experts over the course of three years. It contains the analysis of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at 90 Caribbean locations since 1970, including studies of corals, seaweeds, grazing sea urchins, and fish.

The results show that the Caribbean corals have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s. But according to the authors, restoring parrotfish populations and improving other management strategies, such as protection from overfishing and excessive coastal pollution, could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to future climate change impacts.

Climate change has long been thought to be the main culprit in coral degradation. While it does pose a serious threat by making oceans more acidic and causing coral bleaching, the report shows that the loss of parrotfish and sea urchins--the area’s two main grazers--has, in fact, been the key driver of coral decline in the region. An unidentified disease led to a mass mortality of the sea urchin in 1983 and extreme fishing throughout the 20th century has brought the parrotfish population to the brink of extinction in some regions. The loss of these species breaks the delicate balance of coral ecosystems and allows algae, on which they feed, to smother the reefs.

The report also shows that some of the healthiest Caribbean coral reefs are those that harbor vigorous populations of grazing parrotfish. Bonaire is included in this assessment, along with the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda, both of which have restricted or banned fishing practices that harm parrotfish, such as fish traps and spearfishing, as does Bonaire. Other countries are beginning to follow suit.

(Source:  International Union for Conservation of Nature)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 02, 2014 at 3:53pm AST
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