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Thread: Sand Dollar February 2017

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    28

    Default Sand Dollar February 2017

    Winter is a perfect time to return to Bonaire and this trip was no exception. It was our 42nd trip to the island and it gave us the opportunity to add our 23rd Bonaire Marine Park tag to both our BCís.

    The direct, nonstop United flight from Newark continues to be our choice for getting to Bonaire, and we are very happy with the service. As usual the night before we travel we stay at the Newark Marriott Courtyard. Itís nice to get up in the morning and have only a two-minute shuttle ride to the airport. Make sure you arrange the night before for a drop off at the terminal other wise you will be dropped off at a central location and have to take the airtrain. Also, if itís a one or two week trip, they offer a tremendous deal where you can park your car and spend the night.

    It was exciting to return to our two-bedroom condo at Sand Dollar, since this would be our first visit since getting the entire condo retiled in September. It gives the condo a fresh new look, and having recently completed renovating the kitchen and both bathrooms, all the major renovation projects are now behind us. We can now sit back and relax, or go diving, which we did a lot of.

    Most of our diving was done on Bari Reef, the house reef at Sand Dollar. Dive Friends Bonaire is now the sole dive operation there. You can just jump off the dock or catch a dive boat just a hundred yards from our condo. An added bonus of the Dive Friends operation is that they have four other locations on the island, so you can pick up your tanks where it is most convenient for you.

    Alan, and his friend John who had joined us for the week, did just that picking up their tanks at Hamlet Dive Friends and entered at The Cliff dive site located there. They then headed south covering four dive sites on one dive: The Cliff, La Machaca, Buddyís Reef and finally Bari Reef, finishing up back home at Sand Dollar. Joan had dropped them off at Hamlet Dive Friends and had our gear bags waiting for us when we got out of the water at Sand Dollar. It was a very nice dive.

    While diving Bari, our favorite site, we saw a large Green Moray, which we had never seen before in Bonaire. We also saw a fair number of turtles on Bari Reef.
    aMoray130.jpg aArrowCrab381.jpg aPuffer362.jpg
    Alan continues to shoot with a Nikon D200 in an Aquatica housing using two Nikonos SB-105 strobes. On this trip he added two Ultra Light buoyancy arms to help make his camera rig a little more neutrally buoyant. He also added a FanTasea 1000 video light to help his focusing when shooting close up pictures with the Micro Nikkor 105mm lens. Alan shoots his wide angle photos with the Nikkor 12-24mm lens. Tim Peters at FishEye Photo was a tremendous help in assisting Alan pick out the arms and the light. You can see Alanís work at our Bonaire Bari Reef Photo Gallery.
    aAlan2433.jpg
    Joan is really enjoying her Sony RX-100 in a Nauticam housing equipped with two Light & Motion Sola 2000 S/F video lights. She had a problem charging one light that went into a deep discharge, and it will have to go back to the manufacturer. To avoid, this you should charge the lights every three month if not in use. If you are interested in seeing the short video we produced on this trip please send her an email.

    Grocery shopping in Bonaire over the years has gotten a lot easier. Right down the road from Sand Dollar is Zhong Kong, a grocery and liquor store where you can find almost everything you need. They also have a larger sister store called called ďSupermarketĒ on Kaya Karona. Itís the old Progressive Supermarket. Although there are many other places to do your grocery shopping, Van den Tweel, a modern Dutch supermarket, and Bonaire Warehouse are the most well stocked grocery stores on the island. We suggest comparing prices between both places. At Van den Tweel, look for their DH brands for the best value.

    Although we cook in a lot in our fully equipped kitchen, we cannot pass up the many outstanding restaurants in Bonaire. We made multiple trips to our favorite place, Bobby Janís, for their ribs and chicken sate, itís one of the best values on the island. For sandwiches you cannot beat Between 2 Buns located in the strip mall at Sand Dollar, they also serve breakfast. We also get sandwiches to go for our return flight home.

    Another favorite place of ours is Capriccioís and we were not disappointed. Eddyís at Sand Dollar is also a great place for dinner. This year we catered Alanís birthday party from Eddyís for 32 people in our condo and they did an amazing job. Another excellent value is Divemaster Burger night on Wednesdayís at Zuzu Bar located at Bistro de Paris at Harbor Village. For $8.00 you get a fantastic burger, potato wedges and a salad. If you donít want to eat out and donít feel like cooking, there is DŲnor: The Fresh Market that has rotisserie chickens, side dishes and salads made to order. Itís located across the street from Bonaire Warehouse and next to Store25.

    We tried two new places on this trip. Jasmin Garden is a Chinese Surinam fusion restaurant that also serves traditional Chinese food. La Crťperie features Belgian waffles and French crepes. Both places are worth checking out.

    If you are looking for fresh fish, we continue to go to Nikiís Fish located on Kaya Dialma, which is very close to our condo at Sand Dollar. It doesnít get any fresher than this and you canít beat the price. You can also ask the front desk at Sand Dollar to get you fish as they have a connection with a local fisherman.

    On this trip we had a small medical emergency and the care we received at the clinic and emergency room was outstanding. They brought us a lot of peace of mind. One suggestion we would make when traveling abroad (anywhere, not just Bonaire) is to check on how you are covered with health insurance outside the United States. We found out that Medicare does not cover you outside the United States.

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

    As always, we updated our Bonaire Suggestion sheet. Itís a helpful reference guide to the island we started many years ago 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 Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Sorry, the hyperlinks were not included. If you would like a copy of our Bonaire suggestion sheet please click here and send us an email. If you would like to see Joan's video please send her an email by clicking here.

    Here is one more photo, the eye of a flounder.
    aFlounder422.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    42

    Default

    Hi there- I appreciate your trip report. Interesting that you mention not having seen the Green Moray before- do you mean just at that reef or never on Bonaire ?
    I recall seeing them regularly on our trips, along with the spotted, chain, and golden tail morays ( less common).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Eindhoven, Netherlands
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Love your report. Can't wait till Saturday when we (group of 7) will arrive at Sand Dollar. Just 5 more days and counting down!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    109

    Default

    We missed you again. We just got back!!

    I saw quite a few smaller eels this year which was nice since they were missing for the last a couple of years, but not the Green Moray. But, a friend did see it.

    Wish I had known about the waffles - next year!!

    Bea

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    28

    Default

    We just posted Joan's 4 1/2 minute video of our trip on our condo website. There is some really great turtle and eel video. We hope you enjoy it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Simcoe, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Awesome video Alan !!


    Dixie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    agawam, ma.
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Back from our march trip and already depressed. Diving was awesome, weather even better since we missed the two feet of snow dumped over new england. Will return again in oct

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,093

    Default

    Nice video. Thanks for posting.

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