Greeting us as we were arriving in the bay at Bonaire were two playful dolphins leaping out of the water in unison just off the port side of Qi. Sure, they weren’t wearing a lei but their timing was perfect.
After a week of hard work in the heat at Curacao, we were ready for an island escape., (yes, I hear you, “What they work one week and then they need a 51 week holiday!!!” but it’s the fact that we actually remembered how to work hard was why we’re so proud).
The clear waters promised in Bonaire were the draw card that had enticed us to back track 30 nautical miles off our course on the way to Colombia. We waited for a weather window with a southerly wind and had a beautiful sail close to the wind. This was a bonus because there are usually the easterly trade winds in the Caribbean and otherwise, we would have had to motor most of the way.
The heat persists but being able to dive into the water directly from the boat is greatly appreciated. It’s like we’re in a giant
swimming pool – is so beautifully clear. Strange wind reversals causing untenable waves in the bay that feature at this time of the year and a number of squalls passing by had us a little concerned at first. We were told that the waves get so fierce that a boat our size can pick up the mooring blocks and move five metres at a time. Wild stories of wild weather got a few boaters with deeper drafts to ride out a few of the squalls out in the bay rather than staying on their moorings. We found a local weather report that showed no indication of the reversals. But we’re still watching things closely.
Lots of beautiful parrot fish swim below the boat amongst other common species. Plans to visit the nearby Klein Bonaire in the dinghy for some snorkelling and various other sites will keep us occupied over the next few days. Thomas has continued with the home improvements with adding an AIS transmitter to our GPS systems. Now we’ll be able to be seen by the big ships on their tracking devices other than radar. It is a real bonus for our Pacific crossing. We will be able to have more rest during our watches. I have been busy making cushion covers, curtains and place mats. Staying in Germany reminded us of some civilised practices that we’d missed out on so we’ve added these to the home improvements. This has kept us occupied while the squalls pass over head.
A lovely Australian couple that we met, Joyce and Paul, gave us some old sail material from their old spinnaker that blew out on them at 18 knots of wind, to make a wind scoop. Thomas had been talking about getting a wind scoop and decided we could probably make one. Lacking a design and the material we set out on a mission to talk to people with them flying over their hatches. I copied the Australian boat’s design and now we are wondering how we ever lived without
it. It catches an incredible amount of wind and sends it racing through the boat. We call the scoop the Diva because when she’s full of wind, she looks will an oversized opera singer. It’s a real bonus for visitors in the front cabin to have all that fresh air. We’ve actually spent the last couple of nights sleeping in there.
Joyce and Paul have a charming young daughter, Darien, who is seven years old. I’ve been doing a bit of school work with her. Joyce and Paul have greatly appreciated it and have offered to take me diving with them. Paul’s a Dive Master who used to do some work for Mike Ball on the Yongala shipwreck off Townsville. We had a quick dive under their boat and it was so clear. An angelfish came right up to my face as if to say, ‘welcome’ or ‘who the hell are you?’ Not sure which. Thomas had a tooth squeeze on the plane and after snorkelling so is giving diving a miss. It’s nice that I don’t have to miss out.
We have been terribly creative with solving any of our little problems when doing our home improvements. My sewing machine’s reverse handle snapped off after the first time I used it. I managed to put it back on but is was ready to break completely. I gave it to Thomas to work out how to fix it. He had just been making arrows in Germany for archery and he decided to use a technique that he applied to the arrows. It works better than before. I think I gave the old curtains their first wash ever and upon rehanging them, my tough guy tore one. Problem solved by cutting up another curtain that was too big for its window, cutting off the bad piece from the torn one, resizing them and swapping them over. Just feeling so clever as we get used to making do with what we have available. It’s a fun part of cruising life.
We arrived in time for Bonaire Day where the island celebrates its new independence from the Netherlands. It seems that everyone on the island owns a Harley or a scooter and love to parade these on the esplanade in front of our mooring. Reeving their motors and throwing wheelies as they do the block, creates a raucous at all hours. We’re glad the celebrations have come to an end and we can sleep peacefully again.