Modern day sailors want to avoid hurricanes more than almost anything including wearing shoes and giving up drinking. We came to Bonaire for hurricane season and are happy we made the choice. Here are all the reasons we are happy to be in Bonaire for hurricane season.
Bonaire is Safe
Located in the western Caribbean near Venezuela, Bonaire is generally south of the hurricane zone. Which is a relief because 2020 is already a bad year for hurricanes and the season barely started.
Safety on Bonaire extends to crime. In some Caribbean islands, theft and worse crimes are common. In Martinique, we got our gas tank stolen out of our dinghy while it was locked to our boat, and in other islands, dinghies and more are stolen if you’re not careful. While we remain diligent about locking our dinghy, these crimes are rare in Bonaire, another good reason to stay.
Bonaire is also safe for Covid 19. The island has very few cases and is doing a good job to protect its residents from the pandemic. All boaters quarantine unless they are from safe places; Aruba has just been removed from that list, so we know the government is diligent. Everyone knows this could change so we are not letting our guards down nor are we tossing out our masks. While we are allowed to gather in public, and most people don’t wear masks, people are careful. Many restaurants are only offering take-out or outdoor eating, and most stores only allow a small amount of patrons at a time. Today Bonaire has no cases and we hope it stays that way. If it doesn’t, we’re confident the government will take proper measures for everyone’s security.
Excellent Scuba Diving
I keep reading it and it’s true: Bonaire is a diver’s paradise. Dive instructors are as common as a hipster coffee shop in Toronto. The marine park should be a UNESCO world heritage site. We don’t go diving every day, but at least a few times a week. We have adopted the common cruisers’ goal to dive every site and we’ve barely gotten started! If we do check off every dive site, we can always take another specialty class. We want to hunt lion fish!
The reefs are varied, the visibility is excellent and the marine life is abundant! What more can a scuba diver ask for?
Fun Outdoor Activities
We thought diving was all there was to do in Bonaire, but we were wrong. The other outdoor activities are another reason we are happy to be in Bonaire for hurricane season.
From wind surfing to snorkeling to water polo, watersports are easy to try in Bonaire. We’ve also hiked up Bonaire’s highest hill and we need to do it a few more times because we felt painfully out of shape the first time!
I took my first windsurfing lesson last week and we both can’t wait to go back to Jibe City for more.
Maybe I will learn water polo. They do that a few days a week just off the mooring field. We can’t get bored because there’s so many choices of things to learn and do in Bonaire.
Bonaire is no “Camp Grenada,” but the cruiser community is friendly and social. We’ve already been to the weekly music night, dominoes game and raced in a regatta!
Plus, I go to a noodling class a few times a week, and I still want to practice yoga. That’s only the start of the activities keeping us busy and engaged in Bonaire for hurricane season.
Bonaire has Beautiful Wildlife
Our love of Bonaire’s animals goes for those on land also. We’ve spotted what I call Bonaire’s “Big Four”: flamingoes, parrots, goats and donkeys. Goats and donkeys roam freely around the island: when we drive around we have to be on the lookout for them crossing the road.
I’m still trying to get photos of the parrots, who fly around in pairs, but the lack of evidence doesn’t mean we haven’t spotted them! All of the wildlife is fun to see, including the iguanas that live under the wall at the marina. Another reason to love being in Bonaire for hurricane season is the chance to spot more wildlife.
The Food and Drink Options are Excellent
Bonaire has a large variety of restaurants, and the supermarkets are top-notch for the Caribbean. Plus, Bonaire has every possible kind of cuisine. We’ve had burgers, barbecue, sushi, pizza, arepas, seafood and local stews. We still have to try the Indian, Indonesian, Chinese, Thai, Jamaican and more. For Brian’s birthday, we ate at the best restaurant we’ve been to in the Caribbean, dining out on a tasting menu with lion fish tempura and sous vide steak, among other dishes.
Before we came, we heard everything was expensive, but it’s not true! Corona beer costs $2 at most bars, and Amstel isn’t much more, 3 types of good cheese cost $10, and the fruit and veg in the supermarket, though imported, is cheaper than most Caribbean islands.
Bonaire is small, but as a Dutch principality it has the quality services we need. We’ve been to the dentist and gotten haircuts, which we couldn’t do in Antigua because of Covid 19. It may not seem like much, but it feels like a luxury to have clean teeth and proper haircuts!
Unfortunately, we also sampled Bonaire’s medical services! The other night Brian couldn’t eat or do anything because of severe stomach pain. After it went on too long, and vomiting didn’t ease the symptoms, a friend on another boat drove us to the hospital.
My past E.R. visits were terrible. In New York and Toronto, I was surrounded by smelly drunk and/or homeless people, waited forever to even get a bed, and then waited longer to be seen. When we arrived at the Bonaire hospital at 930PM on Thursday, we were the only visitors and were greeted almost immediately.
The orderlies first assessed that we were Covid-free and asked about our arrival date in Bonaire, our quarantine and any symptoms. Once that was completed, it was down to business, and Brian was whisked to a bed and assessed. After blood and urine tests, his diagnosis: a kidney stone. With pain meds in his system, and more in hand, we were sent home before midnight with an ultrasound appointment at 8:30 the next morning.
Brian must have passed the kidney stone before the appointment, because the ultrasound showed a couple small ones still in his kidney but nothing trying to get out. The doctor was a mite disappointed that we didn’t strain his pee for the stone, but no one had suggested it and I am relieved they didn’t. That is some sick souvenir!
Brian is fine now, staying hydrated (that’s all they can recommend for kidney stones), and we are happy we were here for this medical emergency. The hospital visits and tests only cost $750 US and the three prescriptions they gave us in case it happens again: $1.75. Thank you, Bonaire!
Bonairians are beyond friendly, they are among the best in the world. They are generous and helpful. From the EMT who drove us back to the marina from the hospital, to the volunteer on the coral nursery, people here treat us great. Strangers offer us rides and to borrow their car! The official languages here are Dutch and Papiamento, but most everyone speaks English, which makes communicating easy. We are lucky to spend hurricane season in Bonaire.
We may stay in Bonaire after hurricane season. Borders are still closed with the pandemic and may remain shut for months. If that’s the case, we are happy we came here and happy to stay. We’ll have time to meet more people and participate in the wide range of activities available here. Stay safe everyone!
See where the crew of Sava is now!