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Sand Dollar Winter 2022

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  • Sand Dollar Winter 2022

    We just returned from our 50th visit to Bonaire. It was great to be back on the island visiting all our friends and, of course, enjoying the great diving Bonaire has to offer.

    Living close to Newark Airport, we are able to take the non-stop United flight that gets us to Bonaire in a little over four hours. The night before our flight we stay at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott which is right on the grounds of the airport. The following morning we have a five minute shuttle ride to the airport.

    Entry requirements into Bonaire are constantly changing. Check to see what the current rules are when you are traveling. Also, currently the United States requires you to taken an antigen test 24 hours prior to your return to the states. There are several places on Bonaire that handle this. We did ours at BonBida which is across the street from our condo at Sand Dollar. It took ten minutes to get our results and documents to travel home.

    If you are planning to rent a car make sure you place your reservation as far in advance as possible. Cars, and particularly pickup trucks, are hard to find on the island. Over the years Budget Rental Cars has always taken very good care of us.

    We always enjoy returning to our two bedroom/two bath fully renovated condo at Sand Dollar. Our well-equipped kitchen can actually cause a dilemma. Yes, you can save some money by eating in, but you also do not want to miss the many great dining options Bonaire has to offer. Our screened in porch provides a breathtaking view of Bari Reef and dock that is just a two-minute walk from the condo and the best shore diving in the world.

    Dive Friends at Sand Dollar is the local dive operator who does an excellent job. There is a gear storage room located just off the dock so you do not have to worry about carrying your equipment back to the condo. Dive Friends will supply you with the combination for access. Their dive boats leave from the dock at Sand Dollar and they also have many locations around the island where you can pick up tanks.

    As we have mentioned in our previous trip reports, part of how we rate our trips is based on the photo and video ops. This visit exceeded our expectations.

    Joan just upgraded to the Sony RX100-VII from the original Sony RX100. A leap of seven camera generations and the improved video quality was immediately noticeable.

    Joan was very happy with her original Nauticam housing however all divers knows every new camera also means a new housing. After learning about some new features on the latest Nauticam housing Joan knew she was not changing brands. The biggest selling point was where the trigger/shutter release button is now located on the new Nauticam housing. By reassigning the rear video button on the RX-100 VII to the shutter release trigger on the top of the camera the Nauticam housing allows for easier video shooting. Joan also added the Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 Underwater Video Light which she loves. Here is a link to her latest video.

    Alan also had a very successful photo trip taking stills using his Nikon D850 in a Nauticam housing, equipped with a pair of Sea & Sea YS-D2J strobes. On this trip Alan used either a Nikon 16-35mm or 105mm lens, each paired with the appropriate port, depending on what he planned to photograph on each dive. Alan also continued to practice using the SMC-1, a super macro converter, that is on a flip mount on the housing when using the 105mm lens. You are working at a distance of only a few inches which presents many challenges, the first, and most important, being buoyancy control so that you don’t damage the reef.

    Here are some of Alan's photos:

    Crab180Bari2022Sm.jpg BlennyBari870sm.jpg Frog634BariSm.jpg Octopus460Barism.jpg

    There are many grocery shopping options on Bonaire. Zhong Kong, a left out of the Sand Dollar parking lot, is a grocery and liquor store where you can find almost everything you need. They also have a larger sister store called called “Supermarket” on Kaya Karona. Terra Basket, just before Zhong Kong, is a great place for fresh fruits and vegetables. Bonaire Warehouse and Van den Tweel are modern Dutch supermarkets, both on Kaya Industria, and are both very well stocked. We suggest comparing prices between both places although Bonaire Warehouse has been written up as having some of the best prices on the island.

    Bon Di-Gro Grocery, also located on Kaya Industria, is a no frills store with excellent prices on basics such as beverages, canned fruit, cereal, juices, milk, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. There is also a new supermarket called Jia Xing, featuring a lot of American products and is located on Kaya Korona, across the street from Our Lady of Coromoto Church in Antriol.

    It’s easy to call home. Most cell phones operating on a major carrier have a feature called WiFi calling. As long as you have an internet connection, your phone will connect to your carrier and work just like at home, for free! Just make sure you turn off Cellular Data and Cellular Roaming. Another easy way to stay in touch is the international texting app, WhatsApp which also allows you to make phone calls.

    When we are not cooking in our modern, renovated kitchen, we enjoy the many wonderful restaurants Bonaire has to offer. One of our favorites is Bobby Jan’s which has great ribs and chicken sate. It’s only open on weekends and is an excellent value. A great place for sandwiches is Between 2 Buns which recently moved just south of the rotary near Sand Dollar. Another great rib place is Holy Smoke, located just south of the airport on Kaya IR Randolph van Epps. They have excellent smoked ribs and smoked turkey legs both served with fries. They are only open on Saturday and Sunday.

    Directly across the street from Sand Dollar is the Dönor Station, which has rotisserie and shaved chicken. It’s an excellent meal and a very good value. A few doors down is Luciano,a sister ice cream shop to the one located in town on the waterfront. Also in town is a new donut shop that is very good and is more than just donuts.

    A few of our other favorite restaurant include Eddy’s at Sand Dollar which is always excellent. Two new places we enjoyed were La Cantina in town and The Dock Bonaire located at Ocean Breeze Marina by the airport. For gourmet Italian we suggest Capriccio’s, which also has an extensive wine collection. Sebastian’s is another restaurant not to be missed.

    We continue to enjoy going to the English Catholic Mass at our Lady of Coromoto in Antriol on Saturday at 6pm.

    As always, we have updated our Bonaire Suggestion sheet that we started many years ago. It’s a helpful reference guide to the island, and contains a listing of grocery stores, restaurant recommendations, and many other helpful suggestions. If you would like a copy just send an email directly to us

    Attached Files

  • #2
    again.... an Awesome trip report Joan & Alan, loved the Video too
    PRA & ET Inc
    Proof Readers Anonymous & Extreme Testers


    • #3
      Thanks, again, Alan and Joan, for feeding our love of Bonaire while we remain home.