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Thread: Sand Dollar Summer 2018

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Default Sand Dollar Summer 2018

    Itís hard to believe that we have just completed our 45th trip to Bonaire. We have been coming since 1995 and somehow each trips seems to get better and better. This visit was no exception as, besides the best shore diving in the world, we had many new and fascinating experiences, including sampling goat stew for the first time.

    Before telling you about our adventures we would like to tell you about the many ways of getting to Bonaire. We are very lucky to have a direct flight from Newark on United Airlines. The service is great and you arrive in Bonaire in the early afternoon allowing you plenty of time to pick up your rental car (we use Budget), check into your hotel and do some grocery shopping. United also offers a direct flight from Houston, Delta flies direct from Atlanta and American Airlines flies direct from Miami.

    The night before we travel we always 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 spend the night and park your car while you travel.

    Our two bedroom, fully renovated condo at Sand Dollar is ten minute drive from the airport. Actually, nothing on the island is much more than a ten-minute drive. It features a complete kitchen, two baths, and our favorite feature, a fully screened in porch.

    We do most of our diving on Bari Reef, the house reef at Sand Dollar. Dive Friends Bonaire, the dive operator on site, does a wonderful job. Just grab a tank and take a giant stride onto the reef boasting the most diverse fish life in the Caribbean. There is a very nice gear storage room where we leave our dive gear so that we donít have to carry it back and forth to the condo after every dive.

    Bari Reef offers so much to see that we did 95% of our diving right out front. If it is your first trip to Bonaire we would recommend taking some boat dives to Klein Bonaire and some of the other sites not accessible from the shore.

    Alan continues to shoot with a Nikon D200 in an Aquatica housing using two Nikonos SB-105 strobes. He shoots his wide angle photos with the Nikkor 12-24mm lens and either a Nikon 60mm or Micro Nikkor 105mm lens for his close ups and fish portraits. While on Bonaire, if you ever have a question about underwater photography, or experience any equipment problems, Tim Peters at FishEye Photo is a tremendous resource. You can see more of Alanís work at our Bonaire Bari Reef Photo Gallery on our website.

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    Joan is really enjoying her Sony RX-100 in a Nauticam housing equipped with two Light & Motion Sola 2000 S/F video lights. She also sometimes uses a FanTasea light. If you are interested in seeing the short video we produced on this trip please send her an email.

    Besides the diving there is so much to do on Bonaire. If you are lucky enough to be on Bonaire during the last Saturday of the month we would strongly recommend attending the Monthly Cultural festival at Mangazina De Rei in Rincon, where you can learn a lot about the island history, purchase local handmade crafts, and sample homemade food.

    We would like to remind everybody about WiFi calling on your smartphone. 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 popular app is the international texting app, WhatsApp.

    Grocery shopping is pretty easy now. 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. Although there are many other places to do your grocery shopping, Van den Tweel, a modern Dutch supermarket, and Bonaire Warehouse, both on Kaya Industria, are the most well stocked grocery stores on the island. We suggest comparing prices between both places. Another great place for grocery shopping is BonDiGro, itís where all the local shop because it offers some of the best prices on the island and itís also located on Kaya Industria.

    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, and they also serve breakfast. Itís a great place to get sandwiches for your return flight home. Directly across the street is the DŲnor Station which has rotisserie and shaved chicken. Itís a great meal and a great value.

    One of our new favorite places is Italy in the World. Chef Christina is a genius, and we had some of the best and most imaginative Italian dinners ever. Eddyís at Sand Dollar is excellent and has the best steak on the island. Two other places we enjoy are Capriccioís and Donna & Giorgioís, you will not be disappointed. There is also a meal delivery service that will pick up from most restaurants and deliver it right to your hotel or condo.

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

    Here is one more photo. Sometimes, at the end of our dives, Joan enjoys hooking onto a loop on Alan's BC and lets him tow her in.

    Donít forget to checkout the latest edition of The Bonaire Reporter for the latest news on the island. Alan, a photojournalist back home, does a lot of photography and writing for them while we are on island.

    As always, we have updated our Bonaire Suggestion sheet. Itís a helpful reference guide to the island, that 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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Calgary, AB, Canada


    A very nice trip report, Thanks.
    S&E Tanton

  3. #3
    smits is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
    Join Date
    May 2011


    Great story, fantastic pictures.
    We'll be coming more often to Bonaire.
    We've bought a rental villa (3BR- 2,5 BA) on Curacao (Blue Bay Golf & Beach) and intend to make a lot of combination trips.

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