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Friday, October 23, 2015

Sunscreens Can Cause Damage to Reef Systems

A new study published this week in a toxicology journal has found that a chemical widely used in personal care products, such as sunscreen, poses an ecological threat to corals and coral reefs and threatens their existence.

It only takes one drop of that chemical, oxybenzone, to cause disaster.

Oxybenzone is found in over 3,500 sunscreen products worldwide, and pollutes coral reefs from swimmers wearing sunscreens and through wastewater discharges from municipal sewage outfalls and from coastal septic systems.

“The use of oxybenzone-containing products needs to be seriously deliberated in islands and areas where coral reef conservation is a critical issue,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Craig Downs of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory Virginia.

“We have lost at least 80 per cent of the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers. Everyone wants to build coral nurseries for reef restoration, but this will achieve little if the factors that originally killed off the reef remain or intensify in the environment.”

Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion are emitted into coral reef areas each year, much of which contains between one and 10 percent oxybenzone.

The results of the study, which was conducted in the US Virgin Islands and Hawaii, come less than two weeks after NOAA declared the third ever global coral bleaching event and warned that locally produced threats to coral, such as pollution, stress the health of corals and decrease the likelihood that they will resist bleaching, or recover from it.

It demonstrates that exposure of coral planulae (baby coral) to oxybenzone, produces gross morphological deformities, damages their DNA, and, most alarmingly, acts as an endocrine disruptor. The latter causes the coral to encase itself in its own skeleton leading to death.

These effects were observed as low as 62 parts per trillion, the equivalent to a drop of water in six and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Measurements of oxybenzone in seawater within coral reefs in Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands found concentrations ranging from 800 parts per trillion to 1.4 parts per million. This is over 12 times higher than the concentrations necessary to impact on coral.

A team of marine scientists from Virginia, Florida, Israel, the National Aquarium (US) and the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, undertook the study.

It should be noted that some retail outlets on Bonaire do sell only ecologically friendly sunscreens.  When visiting Bonaire, be sure to only bring or purchase on island sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone.  (Source:  Caribbean360.com)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 23, 2015 at 10:36am AST
Kite BoardingNatureScuba DivingSnorkelingWater SportsWindsurfingPermalink


Friday, October 03, 2014

It’s Party Time on Bonaire, 47th Annual Bonaire International Sailing Festival Kicks Off Now

It’s Regatta Week, so that means it’s time to party and enjoy the 47th annual edition of the Bonaire International Sailing Festival from Sunday, October 5th through 11th, 2014.  There’s a wide variety of events to keep everyone happy, with sailing competitions, windsurfing, kite-boarding, micro-boats, parties in Kralendijk, food, arts and crafts, and more.  Be sure to set some time aside in the coming week to enjoy this signature Bonaire event.

As usual, the week’s festivities will begin with the Jong Bonaire annual Swim to Klein Bonaire.  This sport and social event brings together families and individuals of all ages, with tourists swimming next to local residents, all to support the children of Jong Bonaire.  The Swim to Klein Bonaire is not a race, but a fun swim. For those who do not wish to swim back, there are many boats available to pick up people and return them back to the shoreline. Participants can use fins, masks, or even flotation devices.

After the swim, the Regatta will begin in earnest with captain’s meetings and parties.  The sailing competitions begin on Monday.  View the planned schedule for the week (available in PDF format) by clicking here.

And when everyone is exhausted from a week of burning the candle at both ends by watching the competitions and then partying in town until the wee hours, the folks at Washington Slagbaai National Park have a way to rejuvenate the soul--they will host another sunset hike to the top of Bonaire--Brandaris--on Saturday, October 11th, 2014.  There is space for only 20 participants, so secure your spot quickly and register by calling 786-5229 or send an email to washingtonpark@stinapa.org. Registration is required for participation. Participants must arrange their own transport to and within the park.  Admission is $10, and registered participants must be present at the entrance of the park no later than 4 PM. A good physical condition is important and children 10 years and up may participate if accompanied by parents or an adult. Put on hiking shoes and bring your own water and a snack and don’t forget to bring a flashlight.

Enjoy this special week!  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 03, 2014 at 6:08pm AST
EventsMusic and PerformancesWater SportsWindsurfingYachtingPermalink


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bonaire’s Kiri Thode King of the Caribbean Once Again

After five days of howling winds and intense competition, Bonaire’s Kiri Thode has successfully defended his title as King of the Caribbean in the just-ended, five-day Bonaire Event on the PWA World Cup 2014 tour.

After grueling days of heats, Kiri Thode (NB-61) placed first in the category of Mens Freestyle.  Second place went to Steven van Broeckhoven (B-72) from Belgium, and it was a big surprise that Bonaire’s Amado Vrieswijk (NB-20) came up the ranks to grab the number three position.  Amado will surely be a force to watch in the coming events.

In the Women’s Freestyle category, first place went to Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU-91) from Aruba, with second place going to Maaike Huvermann (NED-108) of Holland, and third place to Arrienne Aukes (H-131), also of Holland.

Congratulations to all the winners, but especially to the Bonaire contingent.  You make us proud!

But wind events do not end here, as the Tenth Edition of the ProKids Bonaire IFCA Championshipo begins today.  See www.prokidsfreestyle.com to follow the action, and we’ll see you on the beach at Sorobon!  (PWA/ProKids)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 25, 2014 at 10:23am AST


Friday, June 20, 2014

Back-to-Back Windsurf Events Start Today

Winds are great as the pros and kids gather on Bonaire for two back-to-back windsurfing events.  Tonight will be the opening ceremony for the Bonaire PWA World Cup 2014 tournament, which will run through mid-next week, after which the Pro Kids Freestyle will enjoy its tenth edition, from June 25 through 29, 2014.

All eyes will be on Bonaire’s Kiri Thode, who is the reigning PWA World Champion in freestyle, and he will enter the event as the favorite. The fact that Kiri was crowned the King of Bonaire in 2011--after winning both of the eliminations completed last time around--only further adds to his credentials as the man to beat.  Kiri is un-stoppable anywhere in the world, but here in Lac Bay, he’s on his home turf.  It will be an interesting PWA event as the island cheers for its own.

For the second week of competition for the ProKids, there will be lots of other events in addition to the freestyle and slalom competition, with live music, beach soccer, a Sorobon run, dominos, an aerobics marathon, bolas, and a paddleboard competition.  Nightly events will round out the days, ensuring everyone has a good mix of sun, sand, and windsurfing, with parties under the stars at night.

If you’re lucky enough to be on Bonaire during the next two weeks, be sure to head over to Lac Bay and enjoy these rock stars performing their moves!  (Source:  PWA and ProKids)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 20, 2014 at 1:33pm AST
EventsWater SportsWindsurfingPermalink


Friday, October 04, 2013

Bonaire’s Kiri Thode Wins World Champion in Freestyle Windsurfing!

Breaking News!  Congratulations go to Bonaire’s own Kiri Thode, who has just been awarded with the title of World Champion in the Freestyle Windsurfing Competition in Germany.  Conditions for the competition were not as kind as one finds on Bonaire, with cold temperatures, but Kiri ignored the cold and came out on top!  Pabien, Kiri!

Bonaire’s other windsurfers also did quite well with Tonky Frans finishing in third place in the top four for the overall ranking, and Taty Frans winning a sixth place to finish out of eight overall.  Bonaire is proud of all of you!  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 04, 2013 at 11:01am 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


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Celebrate Mother’s Day on Bonaire, Events, Specials, and Packages Help to Plan Their Perfect Day

Mother’s Day holds a special place in everyone’s hearts and especially on Bonaire. Select island establishments are offering big plans, so that all visiting moms enjoy their special day.  Restaurants, activity providers, and a wide variety of accommodation providers have announced myriad ways to celebrate Mother’s Day and in some instances, the entire month of May.

Appetite Bonaire: On May 12th, 2013 a special Mother’s Day menu including a four-course chef’s menu with dessert and a free glass of prosecco will be available for $45.00 per person.  Let their chef take care of all the decision making on that special day, with a complete menu from fish, to meat, to shellfish, to cheese.

Bellafonte Chateau de la Mer: Between May 11th and 19th 2013, Bellafonte is offering a 15% discount off their normal room rates.  Additionally, all mothers will receive a bouquet on their special day, along with reservation assistance for a free 30-minute massage.  Reservations must be made directly through Bellafonte with a seven-night stay required. (One offer per room is permitted.)

Belmar Oceanfront Apartments: When staying at Belmar Oceanfront Apartments, all mothers will receive chocolates.

Bonaire Oceanfront Apartments: Bonaire Oceanfront Apartments offers mothers free diving with unlimited air, a discount of $159.00 for six days of diving.  This special is valid from May 6th through May 19th, 2013, for those families visiting with their mother, and it includes all taxes.  A seven-night stay at Bonaire Oceanfront Apartments is required to qualify for this special.  When booking, refer to Mother’s Day Special.

Buddy Dive Resort: When staying at Buddy Dive, all mothers will receive roses.

Captain Dons Habitat: From May 4th through 31st, 2013, Captain Don’s Habitat is offering the seventh night free. The seven-night dive package is priced from just $745 per person/double occupancy, and it includes ocean view room accommodations, welcome rum punch, managers rum punch party, 6 single-tank boat dives, 6 days of 24-hour unlimited shore diving, and government taxes, services charges, and energy surcharge (except on free night). Enjoy oceanfront dining, bar and pool, day spa, full-service dive operations, photo shop, and Free Wi-Fi. Airfare, vehicle rental and travel insurance also available through Captain Dons North America representative.

Caribbean Club Bonaire: Mothers will receive a complimentary glass of prosecco at Happy Hour.

Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations: When guests book a windsurfing or diving package (accommodations, vehicle and dive or windsurf gear rental) for two with Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations, they will earn one free massage at Namaste Spa for Mom. This offer applies to new bookings and is available for the entire month of May.

Divi Flamingo Beach Resort:  Divi Flamingo Beachs current Shore & Explore package is tailor-made for Moms special day.  All mothers get their own set of wheels to go wherever they like, including taking advantage of Bonaires renowned shore diving sites.  This package provides special pricing on a seven-night stay, unlimited shore diving and a 4-passenger pick-up rental, along with free breakfast daily. The “must-do” activity is the Mothers Day brunch at the Calabas Restaurant on May 12th, 2013. It includes an omelet and Indonesian station, and will be served from 11:00 AM through 2:00 PM.  There will be music in the garden, prizes, and surprises.  Rates for the Shore & Explore package begin at $872.00 per person, based on double occupancy. Taxes, service charges, and the Bonaire National Marine Park fee are not included. 

Elements of Bonaire: From May 10th through 11th, 2013, visiting moms can receive a free pair of earrings or a ring to match, valued at $15.00, with any purchase of an Omega Pendant.  These very special pieces of Dichroic Glass jewelry are carefully hand-crafted on Bonaire. Multiple layers of metal oxides are vaporized and electro-beamed onto glass in a vacuum chamber. In any kind of light the colors sparkle and change depending on the angle of view. Each piece is a work of art as no two pieces can ever be the same. 

H2O Visions Bonaire:  From May 12th through 18th, 2013, mothers go free for either a snorkel or island tour, with a minimum of three paying.

Horse Ranch Bonaire:  Previously the Riding Academy Bonaire, the Horse Ranch Bonaire is organizing a mother/daughter trail ride for the special price of $200.00 for two persons.  Groups are kept to a minimum, so advance reservations are recommended.  Reference the booking code Mother/Daughter Trail when making a reservation, valid for services between May 6th and May 19th , 2013.

Villa Ganshi: Visitors can enjoy a discount of 15% from the normal rates for any Saturday-to-Saturday booking from May 4th through May 18th, 2013.  Those who can enjoy Bonaire’s great diving and windsurfing for a fourteen night stay during this time can enjoy a 20% discount on the normal weekly rate. 

Woodwind Snorkel & Sailing Trips: Mothers definitely will feel pampered on Woodwind’s guided snorkel trip on Sunday, May 12th, 2013 from 9:00 AM through 2:00 PM.  Everything is always included on Woodwind’s trips, so only a towel is needed.  The excursion includes snorkel equipment, a warm lunch, dessert, and open bar.  A mother and son/daughter duo enjoy half-price rates, $25.00 per person, or mothers are free when accompanied by others paying the normal rate of $50.00 per person.

(Source:  TCB-North America)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 24, 2013 at 3:25pm AST
EventsPotpourriRestaurants and DiningScuba DivingSnorkelingSpecialsWater SportsWindsurfingPermalink


Monday, March 18, 2013

Ninth Annual ProKids Freestyle and Slalom Windsurfing Competition Is May 31 through June 2, 2013

Occurring each year now since 1996, the ProKids Freestyle and Slalom Windsurfing Competition has been set for May 31 through June 2, 2013.  Taking place at Bonaire’s famed windsurfing location, Sorobon at Lac Bay, the event will attract the sport’s youth from both Bonaire and around the world.

This fun event is sure to deliver great sportsmanship, great camaraderie, and great food and drinks at even better event parties throughout the competition. Although normally held at the end of July and into August, the dates are being changed this year to the end of May and beginning of June, in the hope that better winds will prevail to make the event even more exciting for both participants and spectators.

And to add to the fun, enjoy bolas, beach volleyball, beach football, and other sorts of games throughout the days of the competition.  For those sailing, there will be two days of competition in freestyle, slalom and racing, followed by a barbecue night with music and a mega concert as a grand finale.  Be sure to save the dates!  For more information, click here to view the event web site.  (Source:  ProKids Freestyle)

Posted by Susan Davis on March 18, 2013 at 1:54pm AST
EventsWater SportsWindsurfingPermalink


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Eighth Annual Pro-Kids Freestyle and Slalom Windsurfing Championship August 2-5

2012 marks the eighth consecutive year that Bonaire will host the Pro-Kids freestyle and slalom windsurfing championship at Sorobon at Lac Bay.  This year’s event will take place from August 2 through 5, 2012.

The focus of this year’s event is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Bonaire’s only local windsurf club, Aquaspeed Bonaire Windsurfers.
Along with the windsurfing competitions, the event features beach culture with music, food, dance, beach soccer, beach bolas, dominoes, and a new Starboard paddle board competition and Telbo mini splash.

Throughout the event, there will be a steady supply of music from Dushi Band from Aruba, Rincon Kriyoyo, On Time, DJ Toad, DJ Robert2, DJ Indjo Ras, DJ True Clipz, DJ Pempi, and Loading Bank with Emphrem J.

The entire island warmly welcomes all freestyle and slalom competitors to come and compete!  See you on the beach for this great event!  (Source:  ProKids Freestyle)

Posted by Susan Davis on July 18, 2012 at 1:25pm AST
EventsWater SportsWindsurfingPermalink


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Caribbean Wind and Sun Vacations Offers ABK Bonaire Summer Windsurf Camp

Andy Brandt, the windsurf guru, will return to Bonaire this summer to conduct a one-week camp between August 20th and 24th, 2012, which will also focus upon freestyle.  Andy’s team of instructors will help all participants reach the next level and beyond.

The five-day camp commences Monday morning and will end Friday in the later afternoon. There is land and on-the-water instruction, as well as video formats and viewing.  For more information or to book this windsurf camp and vacation, contact ann@bonairecaribbean.com. Nanny services also are available for clients of Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacation.  A special kids’ camp runs the same dates, so it’s easy to make this a family week of sailing fun. Special discounted package prices apply for this week.  (Source:  Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 12, 2012 at 1:52pm AST
Water SportsWindsurfingPermalink


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