2nd January 2019
We were visiting another of the ABC islands today and had high hopes. We have heard that the island of Bonaire is really beautiful and isn’t as built up as much as the other islands. We were not disappointed! The weather was lovely, warm and windy, i.e. perfect burning weather! We had booked our tour through Bonaire Vista Tours which were easy to find. A short walk out of the port and turn left towards the colourful tents and there is a tent with Vista Tours written on it, done. Our driver was there waiting for us and told us that he had moved his family from the Netherlands to work on Bonaire, he was great and full of information.
Our first stop was the salt flats. From a distance it looked like mountains, it was only once we got closer we noticed they were all white. They were mountains of salt! It was rather incredible. The pools of water in front of them were different colours depending on how far along in the process of making salt they were. There was a bright green and pink pool with what looked like snow along the edges which was actually foam. The pieces of salt our tour guide showed us were massive.
We then went to explore the old slave houses which are dotted along the shore. This gave us mixed emotions… The slaves would originally work 5 days a week and then walk the 9 hours to their home. Houses built by the salt flats housing 6 people so their families could live close by or so they didn’t have to walk the 9 hours home. However, stories vary from these houses being used by slaves to them being a propaganda stunt to show how well they treated slaves and were used for show and just to keep slavery in place on the island. It was sad to think that they may never have been used and even if they had been used, they were small and basic buildings. It was an interesting conversation to have with our tour guide, but a sad one non the less.
There was so much coral around this area we discovered finger coral and brain coral made by the sea. It is illegal to break or take coral from Bonaire whether it is alive or dead, so we took our pictures and left it there!
We then went to the cactus distillery, that’s right booze made from cacti! The island was covered in cacti and was even used to make natural fences to keep the goats and donkeys off people’s gardens. It was a cute little distillery where they are able to make vodka, whiskey, rum and gin from the cacti. We got to sample all the spirits and had a good chat with the bar man. It was lovely, we even befriended a cat while we were there!
We then moved into the National Park which protects around 80% of the island flamingos. In this part of the island you are not allowed to go swimming or diving as they use this area for conservation and see what damage diving is doing to the coral in other areas. Throughout the island there are yellow stones showing where you are allowed to dive. Such a cool idea and you literally saw them every couple of hundred metres. There were so many people going diving around the island. We were then on the Atlantic Ocean side, you were not able to swim here as it was dangerous, from the rough seas and wind. We could see why as the waves were huge and were so rough on the rocks. There was such a difference between the Atlantic and Caribbean side, even down to the colour of the sea.
Our driver dropped us back at the port where we wandered into town to buy a few things for family and home. They had some really unique shops selling some really good stuff. A lot of jewellery and wood carvings. By this point we were boiling and hungry so we headed back to the ship.
Aboard the Ship
We had breakfast and lunch as normal in Horizons Buffet Restaurant. We filled up on porridge, fruit and salad which kept us going for the day. It was coming to the end of our cruise and the holiday blues were now kicking in.
Sail away today was the Great British Sail Away as it was our last one before getting back to Barbados and then home. We love this party as it celebrates everything Britain has to offer. They even played Tom Jones as the Welsh part of the show. It is always a good show with lots of fun and the atmosphere is great.
Steps according to Fitbit: 12,388
Miles Walked Today: 6.16
Miles Walked All Together: 73
Important Question: This island was by far the most beautiful as it was the least developed. The beauty of the ocean and cliffs was breathtaking. It is very much a divers paradise. It does not really have your massive resorts and tourist stamp yet compared to other Caribbean Islands. It was rather quiet and we liked that. The water was the bluest we have ever seen and so clear. We loved our time on this island and is definitely worth a visit. As we are not into diving a one day stop on the cruise ship was a perfect amount of time.