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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bonaire’s Culinary Team Brings Home the Gold from Taste of the Caribbean

Earlier in June, Bonaire sent a contingent of its finest chefs and bartenders to Miami to compete in the annual Taste of the Caribbean competition.  Once again, the Bonaire team made us all proud, by bringing home the gold.

Although the Bonaire Culinary Team brought home prizes in various categories once again, by far the most important achievement was their gold medal as National Team of the Year--a first time! The team brought home a total of six medals in different categories during The Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition held June 19-21, 2015.

Teams get the chance to showcase their talents before the judges during many competition events, both as a team and on an individual basis and with the assistance of team manager Floris van Loo from Rum Runners Restaurant. Miguel Saragoza had the best beef dish and also became the overall winner in the beef/seafood competition.  Giovannie Veld received a silver medal in the Junior Chef competition, Channetton Jansen won a silver medal in the chef-of-the-year competition where he prepared a wonderful dish to amaze the judges. Bartender Jay Frans fascinated the judges with his cocktails with a Bonairean touch of Cadushy Liquor, which garnered him a bronze medal. Also receiving bronze medals were Pastry Chef Junior Janga and Ronald Gosepa who competed in the cheesecake competition.

Congratulations once again to the entire team!  This annual event just goes to prove what residents and visitors to Bonaire already know--that these chefs and bartenders offer up enticing, innovative food and drinks all year round!  Pabien!(Source:  Bonhata)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 30, 2015 at 2:15pm AST
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Friday, June 26, 2015

The Next Taste of Bonaire is Dedicated to Bonaire’s Talented Youth

This Sunday, June 28th, 2015, brings the season’s third Taste of Bonaire event in Wilhelmina Park from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.  This event will be dedicated to highlighting some of Bonaire’s talented youths.

The program will be filled with music, shows, food stands, and arts & crafts. Performing on stage will be Grupo Kara Kora, The Extreme Dancers, and a few other surprises.  Those who come to enjoy the event will also see the Bonaire Culinary Team, just back from Miami’s Taste of the Caribbean, as well as some of the local youth models and Bonaire’s windsurfing Pro-Kids.  (Source:  TCB)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 26, 2015 at 3:55pm AST
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tanki Maraka Heritage Park Opens

It’s not a well known fact to visitors of Bonaire that the island hosted a U.S. military installation during World War II, but now, with the opening of the Tanki Maraka Heritage Park, visitors can get a glimpse into this particular slice of Bonaire’s history and the island’s role during the second world war.

The Tanki Maraka site is a World War II Open-Air Museum highlighting the area of a U.S. military camp from 1942 to 1947.  This museum park has been presented as a combined effort by BONAI (Bonaire Archaeological Institute), the Government of Bonaire, Mondriaan Funds, and STINAPA.

In all, over 3000 documents were digitized, with many coming from the National Archives in Curacao and the Monqui Maduro Library, also in Curacao.  Here on Bonaire, oral history interviews were conducted with many of the island’s elders, who were living on Bonaire during World War II.

The archaeological site was first located using oral history reports, and then in July 2007, BONAI began to survey the site and do excavations.  The majority of artifacts that were found were surface finds.  The base included barracks, a personnel area, a sports area, and a technical area.

But why have a U.S. base on Bonaire?  Some history is in order:

On May 10, 1940, at 3:00 AM, The Netherlands was invaded.  The invasion was quick and effective.  On that same day, all German nationals or Nazi sympathizers in the Dutch islands were arrested and sent to interment camps on Bonaire.

May 11 and 12 brought the first U.S. military on Bonaire, along with British and French forces.  The call for troops came to protect the oil refineries on Curacao and Aruba, both helping with the war effort to supply Allied forces.

In February 1942, Holland invites a significant U.S. military presence but focusing on Curacao and Aruba because of the refineries.  It was just days later, on February 15 and 16, 1942, when Germany attacked both refineries.

Later that year, in October, 1942, it was decided that a small base, but with radar capabilities, would be constructed on Bonaire, one of several U.S. bases in the region.

With the end of the war on May 9, 1945, the troops remained for about two years more, as they decommissioned the base.  The Tanki Maraka camp was completely cleared of all wooden structures and technical equipment by February, 1947.  Only the concrete foundations were left behind.

The Tanki Maraka Heritage Park provides a self-guided tour through the premises of the old base.  The signage is excellent, giving visitors to the site an amazing perspective into life on Bonaire during World War II.  The images from the war are compelling, adding to the sense of history that one feels while walking through the grounds.  The walk takes about one hour to complete.  The park can be found along the road to Rincon.  After leaving Kralendijk, be watchful for a sign to the park on the right, and then the driveway to the entrance is just a short distance.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 18, 2015 at 11:38am AST
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

There’s Good News for Bonaire’s Coral Reefs

Bonaire’s coral reefs remain among the healthiest in the Caribbean. Although the island’s reefs have suffered bleaching disturbances similar to those plaguing reefs throughout the Caribbean, on Bonaire, it’s unique that the reefs are showing signs of recovery and a higher degree of resiliency.  Every two years, the Bonaire National Marine Park, under the auspices of STINAPA, and in conjunction with some of the best-known reef ecologists, performs a reef monitoring study, with historical data going back to 2003.  The results of this year’s monitoring in March, 2015 are now available.

The findings are put in the context of both the trends recorded since 2003, when regular monitoring began, as well as the most recent research related to the factors controlling the structure and functioning of healthy coral reef ecosystems.  It was determined that focusing upon the trends and key indicators ("drivers") of coral health would be the best for Bonaire’s reef system.

Although coral reefs are complex ecosystems, relatively few drivers control much of their structure and how they function. “Drivers” are key processes that control functionally important aspects of coral reefs. Several processes can interact with one another.  For example seaweed (also called “macroalgae”) are known to poison corals and reduce or halt the settlement and survival of reef corals. It has also been shown that herbivorous fishes are capable of reducing or eliminating macroalgae from coral reefs. Thus, herbivores--such as parrotfish--facilitate the recruitment of reef corals, reduce toxic seaweed, and create complex habitats into which juvenile reef fish can find homes. These drivers and their interactions have been viewed as integral to a complex system of feedbacks that maintain healthy coral reefs.

One driver is coral cover.  At all the monitored sites, coral cover was nearly 50% and algal cover was extremely low from 1999 until the coral bleaching event of 2010, when about 10% of the coral died and macroalgal abundance markedly increased. For these two indicators of coral reef health, the impact of the bleaching event is easy to see. However, how the ecosystem responded after the event is extremely important. Coral cover increased very slightly in 2015 and it was observed that some of the heavily impacted coral species, such as Colpophyllia natans, were recovering from the bleaching event.

Additionally, Bonaire’s reefs see a positive trend in seaweed abundance because it is low and declining. The impact of seaweed scales with its volume. A cover of low-canopy seaweed has much less impact on reef corals than does one with a high canopy. This is represented by an “algal index”, which is the volume of macroalgae. The macroalgae index recorded in 2011 was less than 300 whereas the Caribbean average ranges between 700 and 900.

Overall, Bonaire’s monitored coral reefs have relatively abundant fish that contribute to healthy reinforcing ecological feedbacks thus maintaining resilient reefs. Recently a review of reef fish abundance for the ocean systems of the Pacific, Indian and Caribbean determined that reef fish biomass was “functional” around 1000 kg ha-1 and that it could take as long as 30 years for a reef depleted of fish to recover to functional abundances. However, Bonaire’s reef fish biomass is similar to the biomass of fully protected reefs within no-take reserves.

Coral cover has not only remained high relative to the rest of the Caribbean, it has shown signs of recovery following the bleaching event of 2010. This, along with the increase in crustose corraline algae and the decline in macroalgae since the 2011 assessment, suggests that Bonaire’s reefs are relatively resilient.

To summarize, the 2015 monitoring study has determined that there are five drivers which have reversed a negative trend and are now indicating a positive trend.  This is the first time that such a wide reversal has been seen, since monitoring began in 2003.  Bonaire also created Fish Protected Areas in 2010, and it’s theorized that these FPAs are now showing positive results.

This study was completed by Robert S. Steneck (University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences), Suzanne N. Arnold (The Island Institute), Ramon de Leon (Reef Support BV), and Douglas B. Rasher (University of Main, School of Marine Sciences) on behalf of STINAPA and the Bonaire National Marine Park.  (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 17, 2015 at 4:33pm AST
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Antillean Wine Announces New Wines, Try Them at Their Monthly Wine Tasting Event

Antillean Wine has announced that there are some new arrivals in the wine department and those who want to be among the first to taste them should be sure to attend the monthly wine tasting event on Saturday, June 13th, 2015.

The event will take place at their retail store location at Kaya Industria 23 from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM.  Small snacks will be served as well.  Entry fee is still only $10.00 per person, so be sure to stop by and enjoy some great new wines and good company.  Noel and Marjolein always have a wonderful selection planned.  (Source:  Antillean Wine & Food Company)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 12, 2015 at 2:01pm AST
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day Spa Face & Body by Nubia Launches New Web Site, Offers Father’s Day Special

Bonaire’s Day Spa Face & Body by Nubia has just launched a new web site, with some popular favorite services, as well as some new services to enjoy.  Nubia is a professional in massage therapy, facials, reflexology, lymph drainage, Shiatsu, deep tissue massage, hyaluronic acid treatments, and other body and facial therapies.  View the new web site at www.bonairedayspabynubia.com.

The new web site is responsive, so it can be viewed easily on any device.  Navigation through the wide menu of available services is easy, delineated by Facials, Body Treatments, Manicures, Pedicures, & Waxing, and Specials & Packages.

Six different types of massage are offered, with even a special massage just for divers. Another favorite for visitors when they are on Bonaire is to enjoy a Bonairean Salt Body Scrub, utilizing salt made by the wind and sea, and harvested here on Bonaire.

Nubia offers a variety of specials and packages, including a birthday special, a honeymoon package for couples, and wedding packages to prepare the bride or groom to look their best.  And of course, with Father’s Day nearly upon us, make sure Dad is nice and relaxed and looking great for his big day.

Nubia is well known on Bonaire, having first come to the island nearly twenty years ago, when she worked at the spa at the Harbour Village Resort.  She has been managing the Day Spa Face & Body since 2002.  On your next visit to Bonaire, enjoy a day at Nubia’s Face & Body Day Spa.  (Source:  Day Spa Face & Body by Nubia)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 11, 2015 at 3:45pm AST
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Monday, June 01, 2015

Save the Date--Sunday, June 7th, 2015--for Washington Park’s Annual Open House

It’s an annual tradition for STINAPA to hold an annual open house at Washington-Slagbaai National Park.  Admission to the park on this day is free, and there are plenty of activities to keep one occupied from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

As usual, there will be a variety of food and beverages available. The kid’s corner will be present again, as well, with the very popular face-painting.  STINAPA will host a guided hiking trip for adults at 8:00 AM through Mondi Suit and a mountain bike race starting at 7:30 AM.  For those who don’t want to traverse through the entire park, there is transportation available to Slagbaai at 9:00 AM then again at 12:00 Noon. At 3:00 PM, transportation is available to bring everyone back from Slagbaai.

Local bands will be making music for anyone who just wants to dance starting at 1:00 PM.  There is a market specializing in local food and handicrafts. It’s a great day to come out, meet your neighbors and friends you haven’t seen, and enjoy the day.

Posted by Susan Davis on June 01, 2015 at 3:19pm AST
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