Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire Surprised by WWF-NL Junior Ranger Program Winner

20151125-STCBDuring the last week of October, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) was invited to a special meeting to be held at Harbour Village Resort. This important sea turtle conservation organization was not given any idea of why their presence was being requested, but away they went to the meeting.

They were pleasantly surprised to see Felipe Saelmans and his family.  Felipe, just 12 years old, was well known to STCB as he was the top fundraiser in the WWF-NL Junior Range program last year.  His personal efforts assisted STCB with the purchase of their new boat, used for field work and checking turtle nests on Klein Bonaire.  For his efforts, Felipe and his family received a trip to Bonaire and he participated first-hand in a number of conversation activities while he was here.

Bonaire and its nature-oriented mindset must have made a lasting impression on this young man.  After his visit to Bonaire, he returned back to his home in Europe, and he decided to raise additional monies on his own.  For that purpose, he founded a non-profit organization called Sea & Land Wonders Dutch Caribbean, with a stated mission to support conservation work in the Dutch Caribbean.

Felipe surely is a special individual, as, on a second visit to Bonaire with his family, he presented STCB with a gift of €6,500.  He did this by selling roses at school!

What a great story, and Felipe is truly an inspiration for everyone.  (Source:  STCB)

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Sanikolas Has Arrived on Bonaire!

The old gentleman is finally here, having arrived last Saturday afternoon on Bonaire’s Town Pier, all the way from Spain!  There was much anticipation, especially by Bonaire’s little ones, as the long-awaited Sanikolas (Sinterklaas in Dutch) and his Zwarte Piet were due to arrive.

Everyone gathered in Wilhelmina Plaza, where there were myriad activities for kids (and not-so-young kids!), including go-cart rides, a bouncing house, and even a demonstration of Kids’ Zumba.

But even though these activities proved to provide ample entertainment, the old gentleman himself stole the show.

Sanikolas_2015_07As the two tugboats came close to shore, everyone crowded along the ocean-side, to try and catch the first glimpse.  As the tugs drew close to Town Pier, amid water salutes, the tugs themselves seemed to dance, spinning in place, proving Bonaire’s tugboat pilots have some very impressive boat handling skills.

But the anticipation kept mounting, and finally the tugs were docked, and the Piets exploded onto the dock with energetic moves, dances, and long full-body waves, performed to the beat of a drum corps.  After a fine performance, Old St. Nick made his way down the dock to meet with everyone gathered.

Sanikolas_2015_24Tradition dictates that Sanikolas and the Zwarte Piets will spend the coming weeks visiting the children of Bonaire.  Young ones put their shoes out in a conspicuous place, and if they have been nice, he will leave presents and candy for them in their shoes on his special day, December 5th, the evening before he returns to Spain.  Some believe that if they stuff their shoes full of hay and carrots, Sanikolas will visit them for sure so his horses can enjoy the tasty morsels.

But what if you’ve been naughty?  Well, then you are stuffed in one of the Piet’s sacks and carried back off to Spain where you will become a Zwarte Piet!

View a photo gallery below of the 2015 event.  Click on any image to see an enlarged version.

Although there is much controversy in the European Netherlands over the Zwarte Piet, luckily for Bonaire there is no such concern, and a wonderful children’s tradition lives on.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

CIEE Students to Present Lectures About Their Research on Bonaire

Image courtesy of CIEE.

This week on Wedesday, November 25th, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, CIEE will be hosting their next free public lecture.

This is a very special lecture night, as the organization will be hosting their students from this semester, who will be giving short, 8-minute presentations about their research topics during their time here on Bonaire.  There are eleven students who will be presenting their research.  It should prove to be an interesting night with some excellent topics for discussion, including moray eel distributions, fluorescent fire worms, lionfish brains, and more.
As always, the CIEE lecture program is free, and everyone who has an interest is welcome to attend.  The lecture will be held at their headquarters on Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26 in Kralendijk.  (Source:  CIEE) 

Animal Shelter’s Annual Christmas Fair is November 29th, 2015

animal-shelterIt’s a wonderful way to get your holiday shopping done early and assist with a great cause, helping Bonaire’s homeless cats and dogs, when you shop at the Animal Shelter’s Annual Christmas Fair on November 29th, 2015.

From 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM, the shelter is open at Kaminda Lagun 26A.  There will be new and second-hand clothing, books, housewares, home-made crafts, baked goods, food and refreshments.  And, of course, there are all sorts of pet products for your favorite pet, including collars, leashes, toys, and more.

There’s even live music for entertainment and a Happy Hour from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

If you’re on Bonaire, please visit the Christmas Fair and bring a friend!  All proceeds will directly benefit the Animal Shelter, a non-profit organization, which helps lost and homeless dogs and cats find forever homes.  (Source:  Animal Shelter)


DCNA Hosts Diver Workshop To Record Coral Health During Dives

The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) is headquartered on Bonaire and coordinates nature conservation efforts within all six of the Caribbean islands in the Dutch kingdom.

On Thursday, November 19th, 2015, at 5:00 PM, they will host a workshop to inform and invite divers to participate in a research project which will investigate the link between decline on land and damage to the coral reef.  This will be ascertained by recording statistics on the reef health during your dives on Bonaire.

This study is being conducted by Ms. Michaela Roberts as part of her PhD Thesis in the Department of Geography and Sustainable Development of the University of St. Andrews, in conjunction with Bonaire’s local foundation, Echo.

Those interested in learning more, or signing up for the project, should visit the offices of DCNA (opposite City Shop) tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 PM.  (Source:  Bonaire Reporter)

Sanikolas is Coming to Town on Saturday, November 21st, 2015


Each year, Sanikolas, also called St. Nicholas (English), or Sinterklaas (Dutch), arrives on Bonaire via boat amid much fanfare. The old gentleman, along with his Zwartepietnan, will visit with the children (of all ages) on Bonaire over the coming weeks.

This year, those wishing to see this legendary man should be in Wilhelmina Park Saturday afternoon, where festivities are planned. There are activities and music from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM that will keep everyone happy and in a holiday mood. The Zwartepietnan do acrobatics and engage the audience, and the entire event is quite a show.

After, Sanikolas and his Zwartepietnan will make appearances all over Bonaire up until December 5th. Legend says on that night, he will go to all homes to check who’s been naughty or nice and will leave gifts behind in your shoe! (Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter)


CIEE Hosts Echo Foundation for Public Presentation on Bonaire’s Endemic Parrot (Lora)

20151113-LoraOn Monday evening, November 16th, 2015, at 7:00 PM, CIEE will host Ms. Lauren Schmaltz representing Echo Foundation for one of their free, informative public presentations.

Lauren will be discussing Echo’s work on the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrots, the threats which exist that are affecting the population numbers, health and stability, and what Echo is doing on Bonaire to conserve this special bird its native dry forest habitat.

All are welcome.  The presentation will be held at the CIEE headquarters at Kaya N. Debrot #26 in Kralendijk.  (Source:  CIEE)


Bonaire’s Coast Guard to Give Demonstration

20151111-CoastGuardThis Thursday and Friday, November 12th and 13th, 2015, the Coast Guard for the Caribbean Netherlands will be in the port of Kralendijk, and they will host an open house for the public, as well as give an exciting demonstration of just a few of the duties which this elite corps provides.

The Coast Guard ship will be open for the public to tour on Thursday, November 12th, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.  Anyone who has an interest in learning more about the ship and its crew is welcome to come on board during these hours.

On Friday, November 13th, 2015, the crew will give an exciting display of exactly what they do, including the stopping of a “Go Fast” boat, commonly used in drug interdiction, and also a simulated rescue at sea.

This is an excellent opportunity to view just some of the protection duties which Bonaire’s Coast Guard provides on a daily basis.  (Source:  Island Government)


Hike to the Top of Bonaire at Sunset on Saturday, November 21st, 2015

20151110-BrandarisHave you ever experienced sunset from the top of Brandaris? There will be a hike to the highest point of Bonaire with a STINAPA guide on Saturday, November 21st, 2015 for the sunset. Be at the entrance of The Washington Slagbaai National Park before 4:00 PM so the hike can start on time.

There is space for 20 participants. Secure your spot and register by calling 717-8444 or send an email to Registration is required for participation. Participants must arrange their own transport to and within the park. Admission is $10.00 for everyone who has pre-registered for this hike.

A good physical condition is important and children 10 years and up may participate only if accompanied by an adult. Put on hiking shoes and bring your own water and a snack and don’t forget to bring a flashlight.

Part of the hike is quite a clamber to the top, but once your reach it the views are spectacular! Part of the descent will be after sundown and in the dark, so make sure you have a working light! Everyone will be back at the park entrance around 8 pm.

If you are ready for an exhilarating and unique experience, contact STINAPA at 717-8444 or email to register for the hike up the Brandaris on November 21. See you there!!

Bonaire Says Goodbye to Yet Another: Michael Gaynor

Bonaire has lost several iconic figures in recent months (Ebo Domacasse, Jerry Ligon), so it is with great sadness that we report the passing of Michael Gaynor yesterday, after being involved in a traffic accident.

20151109-MichaelMichael made his home on Bonaire over thirty years ago, and he worked tirelessly to help many of the tourists who visited over those years.

As a PADI dive instructor, Michael assisted many divers in his early years on Bonaire.  Later, he opened the very popular Chat ‘n’ Browse, first an Internet and art shop, which evolved over the years to be a resource for anything visitors might need.

Michael was a resourceful person and got things done.  Many, many tourists to Bonaire went to Michael when they had questions or problems, and Michael never turned anyone away.

In recent years, Michael’s MS made mobility more of a problem for him.  However, just recently, with assistance, he was back in the water diving again.

On Friday, November 13th, 2015 there will a Celebration of Life for Mike Gaynor at Te Amo beach starting at 5:00 PM for a 20-30 minute ceremony.
Rest in peace, Michael.  Bonaire has lost another friend.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)


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