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View Full Version : March Bliss in Bonaire



vineyarder
03-06-2013, 06:25 PM
I have been a long time lurker and an occasional participant on the old board and have been checking in on the new forumn.
We have returned to Bonaire on March 1 for the 12th trip over 20 years and have had some time to reflect on the changes we have witnessed. This Island is magical, we have travelled all over the Caribbean, as tourists and working as crew on charter boats and yet no place as has drawn us back with anything even remotely equalling the frequency of Bonaire. If you do not dive or windsurf I can't imagine spending time here. 20 years ago I was an avid participant in both, 20 years later and a couple of 50 lbs (25 kilos?) and a lousy back I watch with envy at Aquarius and Lac Bay and happily spend my time sedately blowing bubbles underwater.
We flew the red eye out of Newark ( what the hell happened to the airfare ?. We didn't come down last year and two years ago I paid around $700.00. This year $1200.00 ouch!!)
We have stayed at Sand Dollar almost every past trip but this year they did not have room for us :(. We are happily ensconced in Bellafonte and meeting new neighbors.
Our first night we ate at Joe's Grill House seduced by their proximity to home base and the roadside sign promise of grilled Mahi Mahi. It was delicious and a relative bargain. $65.00 for a shared huge Caesar salad , 2 grilled Dorado w/ pesto Creme , 2 Amstel & 2 Sauvignon Blanc and dessert, very friendly and efficient service despite a full house... We will be back!!
The New Grocery Store- Holy Crap I think I died and went to foodie heaven in Bonaire. I remember having to go to every grocery store on the Island to aquire just the basics on the first day. This place has everything... Except fresh mozzarella but now I am picking nits.
For the first time in 20 years we had our truck ransacked at Andrea 1. I have always read about it happening and have always been extremely conscientious about leaving junk behind when we go diving. Got complacent and so long Maui Jim sunglasses, Patagonia shorts and Reef flip flops. My own fault but disappointing none the less. It was a fun dive and two years ago at the same sight we counted 12 to 15 lion fish and this year 0. Let's hear it for the hunters!!
I will check in again

coldwaterlloyd
03-06-2013, 10:56 PM
Thanks for the great report , keep em coming ! Oh Yeah , welcome to BT

DiverVince
03-07-2013, 02:56 AM
Nice to hear about Joe's Grill House. We'll give it a try later on this week. As a long time visitor to this island, I've noticed with each trip there are always changes. Some good like the vast improvement in the quality of food/grocery shopping and of course others not so good, more cruise ships and an increasing petty crime problem and increasing prices. Kudos to the folks at STINAPA (and all the LF hunter volunteers) for their work and policies governing the lionfish population which appears to be down from a couple of years ago. Great for the reefs and also the gastronomic proclivities of the "hunter-gatherers". The "magic" still remains.

schoude
03-07-2013, 08:21 AM
I am pleased to hear about Joe's Grill House as well - I have been reading a bit about it and thinking we might try it, but I think now it will be a definite for us! This will only be our second trip down there, but we have already said that we plan spending more time there! Of all the places in the Caribbean this is only the second place we have visited twice. There are a couple of places we would go back to (Belize, Roatan/Utila), but I can more definitely see us spending even more time in Bonaire!

petri hausmann
03-07-2013, 04:05 PM
actually cruise ship tourism was down 38% this year ......

JimMc
03-08-2013, 10:29 AM
As I think of my buddy Vincenzo down on Bonaire, thoughts of Joe's Grill House, diving at Andrea I, or anywhere else on Bonaire, I look out our back bay window. The landscape is as white, right now, as the salt pyramids on Bonaire. And it is still coming down big time. Up north, Boston, etc they are getting majorly whacked once more. But this time, next week, we shall be in South Florida. It is not Bonaire, but a hell of a lot better than this. :)

schoude
03-08-2013, 10:41 AM
Yes, we are getting socked - once again - but thank goodness our trip is scheduled for NEXT week, not this week! I don't think I could have handled another cancellation! Someone may have gotten hurt! LOL I am the only one in my group at work that made it in today - should have worked from home, but it's that old work ethic...

esculley
03-08-2013, 02:18 PM
yea for the hunters. liked the report

DiverVince
03-08-2013, 06:15 PM
Susan..Safe travels down here. I know the flights from Boston to Newark are delayed due to the weather. Next week should be fine! The sun is hot, the water is 80 degrees.
**Jimbo** Enjoy your hiatus to So FL!! :sham:

vineyarder
03-11-2013, 09:38 AM
And so further observations if anyone cares. we have seen more big grouper this year than I think we have ever seen, the green moray population seems to be reinvigorated and the lion fish populations seems down. Soft corals, fans and sponges are back to creating beautiful gardens. All good things!!
We have been using Dive Friends for our tanks and between their multiple locations and genuine friendliness it has been a true pleasure.
And now back to food... Capriccios remains the class of the Island in our estimation. Their Ragu bolognese and the mushroom pasta are quintessential comfort food. Paired with a wine list that would make any mainland Restaraunt proud , I defiantly spend more there then I should. In full disclosure, I also consider Andrea, Lola and their crew friends.
We went for sushi at Osaka and it was very good. They had just brought in a large yellow fin tuna so that was sublime and we were introduced to new local offerings such as Jack, blue marlin and snapper. We had the four course dinner plus a volcano roll and yes I was uncomfortably full but very happy. Placita Limena has been consistently good for us over the years. Their traditional ceviche and fish soup are always winners. Sunday nights Joe's Grill House has a $22.95 all you can eat BBQ. 6 meats, fish, chicken, sausage, pork, beef and ribs along with a variety of salads and draft Heineken and again I was a sated satisfied corpulent consumer. They cook the fish on demand so it is fresh( the ubiquitous wahoo) everything else is ready and waiting. The beef was a tad over cooked to my taste but everything else was delicious.
We are into the 2nd and final week of our time here and again remembering why we come back

Sandman
03-11-2013, 04:10 PM
We flew the red eye out of Newark ( what the hell happened to the airfare ?. We didn't come down last year and two years ago I paid around $700.00. This year $1200.00 ouch!!)

Really? We area going on that flight in April and only paid $660.00

vineyarder
03-11-2013, 04:59 PM
Really? We area going on that flight in April and only paid $660.00
Thank you, now I feel much better😊. I know mine were a little higher cuz we fly from PVD to Newark but still ... Ouch

Sandman
03-11-2013, 05:56 PM
Thank you, now I feel much better. I know mine were a little higher cuz we fly from PVD to Newark but still ... Ouch

Sorry Vine. We are driving to Newark and going directly from there. Guess United must have to pay their baggage handlers lots to transfer your luggage.

ModFreddie
03-11-2013, 06:57 PM
that is quite a ride for you Sandy !!!!!

Sandman
04-03-2013, 02:29 PM
that is quite a ride for you Sandy !!!!!

Sorry, been busy and did not get back here sooner. Not bad for a drive. Only takes about 6.5 hours to drive to Newark from our place. We could fly from Syracuse but there is a 12 hour layover and I figure without changing planes, there is at least a little better chance our baggage will arrive with us. 23 days and counting down

JimMc
04-06-2013, 08:53 AM
We have done the flights from Newark, three times now. I love getting that extra day on Bonaire, along with being in the water at 9:00 AM. Little tired, but all worth it.