Sept 14-15, 2017
Since we have been enjoying the changes around Kralendijk, we decided to rent a vehicle and see how else the rest of the island had changed. There is now a distillery in Rincon, a remote, sleepy little town we remember driving through on past trips. It is hard to believe it could turn into a tourist location and that a distillery could survive there; But, cruise ships bring interesting changes.
We also needed to check out grocery store “mile” near the airport, compared to the one store that we remember in town. We ended up scoping out 4 different stores. The last one, Van den Tweel reminded us of a small scale Ling and Sons on Aruba or US Kroger. It has a very nice produce department and seems to be more upscale than the others. Now that we know what it has to offer, we need to find the old store in town because it is within walking distance of the dinghy dock. Otherwise, on Tuesdays and Fridays, we can arrange to have the grocery store shuttle van pick us up at the dock to take us to shop for an hour at Van den Tweel, another nice service that is new to us. We really do not need much and do not really feel like cooking with the temperatures in the 90’s. We only wanted to pick up tomatoes and mozzarella for caprese salad with our beautiful looking basil, and maybe some other salad items. We could not believe it, but they actually had burratta, and live basil, cilantro, chive and thyme plants, another HUGE plus. Angie’s green thumb is tingling. It may be time to start another herb garden!
We started the first of our two day road tour by heading North, along the sea, heading towards Karpata on our way to Rincon. It was interesting seeing developed commercial real estate along the way. We were disappointed that our mesh dive bag lady didn’t have the bags hanging in the trees in front of her home anymore. We bought our first one in 1999, and it has held up well over the years. The marina and dive resorts all seem to be about the same, and we were anxious to run the road along shore that overlooks some of the northern dive sites (Oil Slick Leap, 10,000 Steps, Weber’s Joy, La Dania’s Leap, oh my!). We had some great times lugging our gear and having to leap off of small ledges to get to the dive sites off shore. Now, we will be able to take our dinghy, tie off to the dive site marker, and back roll right on top of the dive site. The hillside housing developments we used to drive through looking at available properties have been more developed, but not in an obscene way. In fact, we remember some of the houses.
We ended up having a late lunch at Posada Para Mira, with wonderful views of the mountains. Angie had goat stew (delicious) and Mark ended up with a salt fish sandwich (recommended by other patrons) with real squeezed lemonade and tamarind juice. It was delightful and a nice breeze was whipping through the veranda. However, Angie did notice a shelf with all kinds of bug spray on it for people to use. Thankfully, none was needed!
Since we had a late start, we only did a drive-by of the Cadushi Distillery. We thought it would be an obnoxious modern building that would overpower the little town. We were delightfully wrong. It looks like it is in someone’s home with a modest commercial building next to it. Eva and Mike spent a lot of time there and insist that we go in and hang out with the bartender. They want to know if he remembers them. We will have to do that on another trip. We really wanted to drive through the Washington Slagbaai National Park and maybe see some flamingos and other bird sightings.
On the way out of town, we stopped by the Piedra Pretu, a black rock around which locals used to beat drums and get everyone worked up in a frenzy, sometimes causing them to dance “indecently” which riled the priests to “intervene and stop the music.” (Kind of sounds like our DJ experience in Aruba (haha))
We barely got through the entrance of the National Park in time before they closed down. We were “advised” to not dally and that we had to take the “Short Route” in order to leave the park by 5 PM. The road through the park was all dirt and 4wd was definitely advised. When we rented the vehicle we told them we were going through the park and that we didn’t want anything that could not be scratched or dented. We got an older 4 door pick up with no a/c and nothing much else. It worked out perfect.
We did see flamingos at a great distance in the salt water ponds. We drove by the beautiful Boka Slagbaai snorkel area, and we even had some other terrific bird sightings. We found a Northern Crested Caracara on a fence post, just off of a flamingo pond.
We spotted Bananaquits, Trupials (look like Orioles) and Brown Throated Parakeets. We found donkeys and goats throughout the park, and enjoyed the cactus groves and varying terrain. We didn’t stop to hike because that would be dallying, but it was nice to see that a lot of the beautiful parts of Bonaire have not changed.
We parked the truck overnight in front of the rental office next to the bar where we tie up our dinghy. Back at the dinghy dock, the staff at Karel’s bar talked us into a few Happy Hour beverages. It is the least we can do with us frequently using their dock.
That evening, while showering off the back of Uno Mas, getting all of the salt water off from snorkeling, Angie had an uncomfortable encounter with a voyeur’s drone hovering over the back of the boat. Hopefully, the operator understood her international sign language. If not, they are invited back. She found her wrist rocket and is in much need of practice.