Surface Interval Fun: Above Water Adventures in Bonaire
Although it’s difficult to imagine doing anything in Bonaire except diving, you inevitably have to entertain yourself above water. We had a blast exploring the surprisingly diverse landscape of the island, primarily by rental car. Here’s what we found:
After a particularly draining morning dive at Klein Bonaire, we explored Washington Slagbaai National Park, situated at the most northern point of the island. We blocked off a full afternoon, as it took about an hour to reach from Buddy Dive and well over an hour to drive the rugged dirt roads. Juxtapositions abounded at Slagbaai; brilliantly colored parrots perched on cacti, iguanas scurried across the cracked arid soil, and flamingos foraged in saline pools with a mountainous backdrop. Within 100 yards, we saw donkeys, wild goats, and flamingoes. It was quite the unique place!
After a full day of diving, we never missed stopping for gelato in Kralendijk on our way back to Buddy Dive. We frequented both Gio’s and Lilly’s, both of which are exceptional and reasonably priced ($1.75/scoop).
Between dives we searched for sea creatures in the tidal pools on the southwest side of the island (Alice in Wonderland in particular). No shortage of life there! We found large slugs, urchins, eels, hermit crabs, snails, and an octopus!
The southern end of the island starkly contrasted the north, trading cacti for trash and goats for iron windmills. The flamingoes were still there though! Although barren of residents, south Bonaire is home to the Cargill salt pier, a lighthouse, and various abandoned structures. The wind and surf pick up significantly around the tip of the island, where trash, likely washed up from countries along the Gulf, abounds. Kite surfers use the strong winds to their advantage, rocketing across the ocean.
Most of the east consists of harsh lava rock, extremely high winds, and strong surf. However, an eastern oasis exists at the mangroves of Lac Bay. Guarded by reef, Lac Bay has shallow and consequently bright turquoise waters that extend hundreds of yards out to sea. Although we didn’t take advantage of any of these services, wind surfing lessons, paddle board rentals, kayak mangrove tours, and snorkeling are all available. These amenities drastically alter the vibe of the island from laid-back and diving-focused to Hawaiian party cliché.
Bonaire, Above Water Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelingchicha/sets/72157628913483471/
What do you do on diving surface intervals? What are your favorite aspects of Bonaire above water? Comment below!