A Travellerspoint blog

Cactus Adventure

February 26

We started out the day with Don going just down the street to rent a car. We got a little car to travel around the island in the next two days. Then we set off for the north part of the island. The island is only about 39 km long and up to 8 km wide so its not very big. Here in Bonaire most of the town names and the signs are in Dutch, sometimes English as well. When we shop, the labels are usually Dutch, so we are guessing from the look or pictures on the label.
We followed a route along the west coast and stopped twice for the guys to snorkel at 1000 steps (which are only 100, but feel like 1000 if you are carrying up scuba tanks at the end of a dive) and Karpata. I just waited in the car and read my book while they were snorkeling. At Karpata I was asked to take a picture of a couple in front of a huge cactus. They were Dutch and had had their picture taken in front of that cactus 20 years ago!! So they will go home and compare their pictures.

Coast at 1000 steps

Coast at 1000 steps

Rob going down 1000 steps

Rob going down 1000 steps


When they were done their second snorkel, it was time for lunch, so we went into Rincon, a small town, and had a delicious lunch.

Having lunch

Having lunch

Troupial at the top of a cactus

Troupial at the top of a cactus


There is a National Park in the farthest north part of the island, which we debated visiting, but the entrance fee was expensive and the terrain looked exactly like where we were driving around so we did not enter the park. We visited a overlook of the town of Rincon and also the highest point on the island, Seru Largu, at 123 meters! You can see the whole island from up there.

At the Rincon outlook, note my scabby knees

At the Rincon outlook, note my scabby knees

Flamingos on Gotomeer

Flamingos on Gotomeer


We drove along some little dirt trails and some paved roads. Everywhere there were cactus! Cactus in all shapes and sizes, and when we got out of the car, even the bushes that weren't cactus still had thorns on them and were very unfriendly. It was very hot and being in the sun was unpleasant even though there was a strong wind, but while we were moving in the car it was great.

Clever cactus fence

Clever cactus fence

Cactus along the dirt road

Cactus along the dirt road


On our way back home, we stopped at the supermarket and bought some food for supper. So its time to sit in the shade, drink beer or Curacao, and enjoy the evening.

Posted by katdill 15:10 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands Comments (0)

Snorkeling and Not

February 25

Today the guys went off for a snorkel trip on a sail boat with Woodwind Tours. They were picked up at 9:30 and didn't get home until 4:00, so they had quite a day of it. They said it was great and Rob had lots of pictures that he took underwater with his GoPro. They were dropped at three different spots and drift snorkeled until they were picked up. The guides were excellent and pointed out different fish and told them what they were. Lots of good information and they were given very good care. They were also given a delicious lunch. They saw lots of turtles, coral, even squid, and the water was so very clear!

Rob on the sailing ship

Rob on the sailing ship

I went for a walk and found some food stores that are quite a bit closer to us than the other ones. I bought one of the giant avocados that they have here. I just couldn't believe they were avocados they are so huge! But I ate some of it for lunch and it was delicious.

This is a desert island!

This is a desert island!

Giant avocado

Giant avocado


I spent a long time today wrestling with the iguana video, making one video out of several, trying to get it to upload without timing out, etc. Yikes! what a job - videos are much harder than just photos. I put some vegetable and fruit scraps out for the iguanas today, but apart from the little tiny lizards, only one sizable one showed up to eat.
Having his lunch

Having his lunch

Closeup Don took yesterday

Closeup Don took yesterday

There are a couple of trees just by the waterfront next door that have all sorts of things tied on to them. They seem to be flotsam and jetsam that have been beachcombed and hung up. One tree is the shoe department and the other one is miscellaneous.

The most photographed trees on the island

The most photographed trees on the island

Sundown from our place

Sundown from our place


After the guys got back we sat around and had drinks in the lovely time of day - late afternoon and sundown. Then off we went, back to Julian's Restaurant for another delicious fish dinner for very cheap prices.

Posted by katdill 17:12 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands Comments (1)

Iguanas and Birds

February 24

After getting some washing done, with Don doing most of it because my hand is still too sore, I went for a walk and Don and Rob went our snorkeling just in front of our place. There isn't very much shade on the streets here, because the trees aren't very tall and neither are the buildings. So walking needs to be done early or in the evening.
We were visited early this morning by a flock of parakeets, noisy as can be. And later in the day, a couple came back to eat the pods off one of the trees in the yard. We have an interesting variety of trees and we had lots of different birds visit.

Caribbean parakeet

Caribbean parakeet

Orange Fronted Yellow Finch

Orange Fronted Yellow Finch

Troupial

Troupial


After the guys got back from a not very exciting snorkel, we had lunch. Don went off to the store to buy some more stuff. We have a lovely shady patio to sit and enjoy the wildlife in the yard. There are lots of little lizards and about 4 or 5 larger iguanas.

Large iguana

Large iguana

About 4:30 Don and Rob went off to find an ATM which would accept their cards, not having had any luck last night. They also walked a long way to a larger supermarket and bought more food. They finally got home about 7:00 and then cooked supper. Of course, I was starving by then, even if I had had a couple of snacks in the meantime. We ate a lovely meal of fish with lots of vegetables out on the breakfast deck, with the breeze blowing in from the ocean. Very pleasant, indeed.

Posted by katdill 07:05 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands Comments (0)

Goodbye to Panama, Hello Bonaire

February 22 & 23

Yesterday was a very slow day. Don and I went for a little walk around the neighbourhood, in a different direction than previously. When we came back we all just cooled it, Rob catching up on his blog entries, Don getting caught up on keeping track of his pictures and me reading. We went out for lunch at the little restaurant we had eaten at the first day in Panama City. Because it was Sunday, they were only serving breakfast, but I guess we looked pathetic enough that the waitress said "I'll see if we can make an exception" and they did. They made us a nice fish, rice, and salad lunch, which was very kind of them. Then back home and started packing up and getting ready to leave. We went back to Tambal again for supper, because they have a good variety of food on the menu and it's fairly reasonably priced.
We were up early today, our driver was to come at 6:30 to take us to the airport. We started on our way, but Don realized he had left the iPad behind and we had to turn around and go back. We still made it to the airport in plenty of time and had some breakfast there while waiting. We flew to Curacao and had about 3 1/2 hours to wait in the airport for our flight to Bonaire. We had a little bite to eat, but were a little dismayed by the prices. Hopefully, once we are away from the airport the prices will go down.

Eating in the Curacao airport

Eating in the Curacao airport


Our flight to Bonaire was only 25 minutes and we got a taxi to our rental. Our landlady, Ria, was there to meet us and show us around. We have a house and Rob has a house right across the courtyard. We are just across the road from the ocean and I can hear the waves hitting the shore as I sit and type this.

Our house

Our house

Rob's house

Rob's house

Breakfast area

Breakfast area

Living room

Living room


After we got a little settled we walked along the water to the center of town and bought some food for breakfast at the grocery store. Then we had a lovely supper at an open air restaurant right along the waterfront - and it was very cheap! So now it's back home and trying out some of Rob's Curacao liqueur that he bought at the duty free shop in Curacao. We were amazed to find out that Curacao is it's own country now and Bonaire is staying Dutch. So the guilders we got out of the ATM in Curacao won't work here, they use American $. And we had to go thru customs and immigration again!! Travel is soooo educational!!

Posted by katdill 17:37 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands Comments (0)

Casco Antiguo and the Biodiversity Museum

February 21

We got a slow relaxed start to the day. We took the subway close to the old part of the city. We walked from the subway through a poorer part of town where the streets were full of people hawking their wares. They are restoring many of the old buildings and developing it as a tourist attraction. There are lots of old churches, which are very appealing. There is one spot where we saw part of the wall of the old fort, which was built around 1673. We even ran into our tour guide from yesterday, Harry, who was guiding a large group around "Old Town". We had a nice lunch at an outdoor restaurant, with even a large bowl of raw veggies and dip. Veggies seem to be in short supply when you eat in restaurants in Panama.

Old ruin

Old ruin

Panama City, old and new

Panama City, old and new

Sewing sculpture

Sewing sculpture

After lunch, around 2:30, we got a taxi and went over to the Biodiversity Museum. This interesting looking building was designed by architect Frank Gehry and holds lots of information about Panama's geological history and diversity of the flora and fauna. One whole section of the building was dedicated to the subject of bio diversity, with parts talking about all the new species they are discovering in Panama (about twenty or so, including new mammals in the last ten years) while many others are going extinct. They estimated that only ten percent of the total existing species have been documented to date in the world.
One of the interesting hypothesis had to do with the joining of North and South America and how it changed weather patterns, contributed to an ice age in the northern hemisphere, dried out Africa, which caused the precursors of man to have to come out of the trees and start exploring for food on the ground to survive. This led to the migration of homo sapiens around the world.
They also showed how the joining of the two continents allowed for some species to flourish and some to go extinct.

Biodiversity Museum

Biodiversity Museum

Being eaten by a megalodon shark although extinct now can you imagine one of these 60 foot monsters coming after you? one chomp and you would be goners.

Being eaten by a megalodon shark although extinct now can you imagine one of these 60 foot monsters coming after you? one chomp and you would be goners.


Once we had stuffed our heads full of info, we got the bus back to the Albrook Mall. And, of course, it was gelato time! On to the subway and in no time we were home. We had supper at Tambal again. It is close by and has good food for reasonable prices.

So as we were walking from the subway to the old town this morning, I tripped on a metal piece sticking out of the sidewalk and fell into the street. Luckily no one ran me down, but I left quite a bit of skin off my knee on the road and sprained my right wrist when I landed on it. So first off I had to clean the grit out and bandage my knee. Of course, bandages don't stay on knees all that well, so I frequently had to clean up the blood oozing out from under it. Once my wrist started hurting, we found a pharmacy and bought a tensor bandage so I could wrap it up. Having a sore right wrist is not so great when you are right handed. I started writing the blog with just my left hand, but being a touch typist, that is too frustrating, so I've found I can type if I don't move my hand too much. So Don is being my helpful assistant for all the stuff I just can't manage one handed. Hopefully this heals very quickly!

Posted by katdill 19:18 Archived in Panama Comments (1)

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