Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tuesday 24th April


12 09.387 N
68 16.822 W

How nice to wake up to cool air and plenty of water. Gerry got stuck into the “jobs” as soon as there was enough light, he tore apart our auto pilot as it has been leaking hydraulic fluid periodically; he planned to get a replacement cylinder here or if that wasn’t possible to try and get it re sealed. As soon as the shops were open he took off in the dink to see if he could get a replacement part plus some of the things that we had on our “ongoing list”. I gathered up laundry, sorted it into bags and then started to do washing – just the stuff that I knew would dry quickly on the boat rails. I was about half way through the washing when Gerry reappeared, he was grumpier than usual – the store needed more information on the type of auto pilot in order to locate and order the spare part; it meant downloading the manual from the web site. Soon he was on his way back to the store, hopefully for a more successful outcome. Lorie and I dinked across the marina and left our heavy laundry loads with the dock office – it will be gone for 2 days, Just as well we have enough clothes to see us through! On our return I finished hanging out the washing I’d done on board and then Gerry arrived back only to head straight out to organize a hire car. When he returned again it was just about lunchtime so he asked Dale and Lorie if they wanted to go out for lunch, they didn’t but we went as there wasn’t any bread on the boat to make sandwiches with. We went back to the place that we‘d eaten at on our first night here – they did good burgers fairly cheaply and that’s what Gerry fancied for lunch. The burgers were good but the service was slow, it took us and hour and a half to have lunch then we returned to the marina to pick up Dale and Lorie for a tour of the island. A word or two here about the hire car – I think it should have been called “hire a wreck”- it was a Suzuki jimny (like a jeep), with the back window missing, the 2 rear seats had no locking system so they were permanently in the recline position, the zippers were missing on the side windows and the whole interior was covered in orange dust! Lorie and I climbed in the back and decided it was very uncomfortable. Gerry drove us all around the island; we visited the salt ponds and saw the salt mountains waiting to be transported on the cargo ships, we visited the sites of several different coloured obelisks – which were used to indicated to cargo ships which dock to go to in order to pick up their cargo, then it was on to the slave huts which have been restored for historic purposes. The next bit of the tour took us around the southern tip of the island where we finally saw the ponds full of flamingos which Bonaire is famous for. Lorie and I climbed out of the car and walked over the scrub to try and get close enough to take photos of them, they seemed very shy birds as they began to move away from us as soon as they noticed us approaching; we did get some photos though. As a lot of the trip was along the coast road we saw how the weather had deteriorated on the same passage we had taken to get here – the waves were crashing on the beach with unbelievable ferocity. The trip turned inland for a while and became quite boring – not too much to see apart from cacti and a few rocks, then we hit the shoreline on the other side of the island and followed it for a while finding the nudist colony and the popular windsurfing area. We made our way to Rincon, the second biggest “city” and planned on taking the loop coast road back – only to find that it was closed to traffic and we had to retrace our route to return to Kralendijk. The car spluttered and died on us at the bottom of a steep hill, Gerry turned it over a couple of times and got it going again but from there on we were concerned that we wouldn’t make it back so we headed straight home. Once we were within sight of the car hire place it all seemed to be working OK again – obviously we had taxed it too much doing a round island trip! We stopped at a supermarket to pick up some soft drink and then made it back to the Marina. After a shower and change of clothes we were back in the car and heading out for dinner. I had read about Richards – a restaurant which the cruising guide recommended and suggested we try to find it. We almost gave up as we were heading away from the popular town area and seemed to be running out of restaurants but we found it and what a find! It was a terrific restaurant on the water front, the food was fantastic – the best steak I’ve had since Ruth’s Chris. We all agreed it was well worth finding. Dinner eaten, it was time to head back to the boat for the night.



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