Category Archives: People

Fabulous Undersea Artwork Coming to Bonaire’s Hato Traffic Rotary

Recycling unwanted scrap metals into a beautiful, undersea piece of art which can be enjoyed by all of Bonaire’s visitors.


Bonaire is famous for her beautiful and protected underwater environment.

The value placed by Bonaire on protecting the environment is what has kept tourists from all over the world flocking to Bonaire, year after year. Now, some of that beauty and environmental protection will be spilling over into a community-based public art installation at the Hato Traffic Rotary, which traditionally has been a serviceable, albeit not beautiful, piece of land.  But that will all change soon!

Artist and sculptor Mark Ansier will create an undersea landscape in Hato.

The Hato traffic rotary will be the site of artist/sculptor Mark J. Ansier’s monumental sculpture of an underwater scene and diver, the natural subject of choice for an island known as “Diver’s Paradise!” It will be constructed completely out of metals reclaimed from throughout Bonaire. The metals will be recycled and sculpted into a coral garden, turtles, stingrays, tropical fish, topped by one or two divers. Reclaimed metal includes steel which is naturally rusted, coming from cars and buildings, stainless steel and other metals from appliances. Artist Mark says,

“This is the time for art. Collect steel and make a fish! Why not clean up the island and create something beautiful and meaningful on that piece of land?”

— Mark J. Ansier

This sculpture will be a personal memorial to the artist’s son and dive buddy, Matt, who he tragically lost in 2007.

New undersea artwork coming for Bonaire's Hato traffic rotary.When can the Hato Traffic Rotary artwork be viewed?

Work will commence in mid-October with a target completion date before the end of the year.

The entire Bonaire community will be involved.

In order to build the project, Bunita Boneiru, the foundation administering the project, will involve many sectors of the community. Bunita Boneiru believes that it is important to create something of which the entire community of Bonaire can be proud.

  • The collection of waste metal will be a part of an island-wide clean up. Selibon (the waste management institution of Bonaire) will also help by storing old car wrecks and other metal.
  • Welders and students from FORMA (an adult education and vocational school) and the Technical School who are interested in learning the trade will assist Mark. This way they can improve their skills and have better chances on a good job.
  • There will be a garden surrounding the public art installation that is specifically designed and created with “donkey and goat proof” plants in the colors of the Bonairean flag.

The initiating and main sponsors of the project are Sand Dollar Condominium Resort, Den Laman Condominiums and Dive Friends Bonaire in cooperation with Maduro & Curiel’s Bank (Bonaire) N.V. and IVA/Boneiru Nos Orguyo.

Be sure to look for this fantastic new addition when you are next driving around on Bonaire!  This area in Hato is also home to the new Trans World Radio underwater mural, and, with both of these works of art, visitors can enjoy a preview of what they will see when diving or snorkeling on Bonaire.

(Source:  Fundashon Bunita Boneiru)


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 

Flamingo Tower Opens a New Chapter in Bonaire Aviation

On September 15, 2017, the new Flamingo Tower was officially launched, opening a new chapter in Bonaire’s aviation history.

The day began with the first-ever Bonaire Aviation Conference, bringing together over 100 people from the Caribbean region, the European Netherlands, and from around the world, all having a common interest in seeing Bonaire’s aviation industry grow and prosper. The conference culminated in the inauguration of the new Flamingo Tower.

The first Bonaire Aviation Conference.

The day was filled with presentations on diverse topics such as how airports can stimulate regional and national economies, the airport experiences in Aruba and Curacao, how Bonaire has the potential to become a regional cargo hub or have its own Jet Center for private planes, the amazing current-day technological aspects of airports and what the latest innovations are, air traffic control, and how Bonaire International Airport affects Bonaire’s tourism product.

The future of aviation on Bonaire.

At the end of the conference, Flamingo Airport’s own CEO, Mr. Michael Nicolaas, spoke about his vision for the future, with Bonaire’s airport offering safe, secure, and sustainable air transportation through cooperation with all stakeholders.

The new Flamingo Tower is launched!

At the end of the day, everyone was transported to the new Flamingo Tower for the official launching ceremony.

Bonaire's newly inaugurated Flamingo Tower at Bonaire International Airport.

Receiving the keys to the tower.

Bonarie International Airport's CEO, receives the keys to the tower.After the blessing of the new Flamingo Tower, the “keys” were officially handed over to Bonaire International Airport’s CEO, Mr. Michael Nicolaas, from Mr. Rob Huyser, Director of Civil Aviation of The Netherlands.

Mr. Nicolaas then, in turn, handed the keys to Ms. Micilia Albertus-Berboom, CEO of The Dutch Caribbean Air Navigation Service Provider (DC-ANSP), the entity which will be operating the tower on behalf of Flamingo Airport.

Cutting the ribbon and opening the tower.

Bonaire Lt. Governor, the Honorable Edison Rijna, cuts the ribbon, opening the tower.Then, in a flurry of photographic moments, Bonaire’s Lt. Governor, the Honorable Edison Rijna, cut the ribbon, officially opening the island’s new Flamingo Tower. He then took an elevator ride to the top, and enjoyed a private tour of the facility.

The assembled persons cheered as KLM took off down the runway, the first flight to depart with the newly christened air traffic control tower.

About the new Flamingo Tower.

Flamingo Tower’s inauguration caps off the completion of phase 2a of the 15 year Master Plan for the expansion of the airport. The tower will be operational from 6:00 AM until 11:00 PM local time (11:00 – 03:00 UTC / Greenwich Mean Time) and/or until the the last flight arrives or departs.

The new Flamingo Tower is fully compliant with the International Safety Standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). An initial staff of seven people will be employed to handle the current traffic at the airport, with DC-ANSP able to respond to any increase in air traffic demand that would require additional staff.

The new location of the control tower has an improved line of sight, providing the air traffic controllers a better view of the entire maneuvering area of the airport used for the take-off, landing and taxiing of aircraft. The state-of-the-art quality technical equipment and communication system facilitates the communication between the Control Tower and the air traffic (pilots) and ensures a safe guidance and management of air traffic operations.

Flamingo Airport offers refuge to regional carriers during Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Since the inauguration, Flamingo Tower has been exceptionally busy, coordinating the arrivals of approximately 20 aircraft from regional carriers who were, firstly, seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma, and then, a week later, from Hurricane Maria. Flamingo Airport was able to offer shelter to these Caribbean carriers, safely parking the aircraft on the airport’s apron.

Bonaire International Airport receives clean “bill of health” from United State’s airport security agency, TSA.

In even more recent news, Bonaire’s airport facility has just received a clean bill-of-health after a security inspection by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, TSA was performed in a three-day audit conducted between September 22nd-24th, 2017. The audit’s results found Bonaire International Airport to be in full compliance with all international standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

As CEO, I’m very grateful and proud of this EXCELLENT result that is primarily due to the professional leadership of BIA’s airport security department under the dynamic supervision and direction of Mr. Tico Wanga, his eight supervisors and assistant team leaders and the overall staff of the Airport Security Department.

— Mr. Michael Nicolaas
Bonaire’s airport facilities are very important to the island, as many travelers arrive via airplane to enjoy the island’s ambiance, diving, windsurfing, kiting, and dining. Hats off to all the staff at Flamingo Airport, pabien (congratulations) and thank you for the excellent job you do for Bonaire!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 







Tune into the Bonaire Insider with Radio Talk Show Host, Raeford Brown!

Tomorrow morning, September 14th, 2017, the Bonaire Insider will be joining Radio Talk Show Host, Raeford Brown, transmitting live from Bonaire!


Raeford Brown, transmitting live from Bonaire, on Thunder Country 96.3 FMRaeford Brown hosts the morning talk show, Raeford and The Thunder Country Morning Show, out of Jacksonville, North Carolina, U.S.A. He is also an avid diver, and travels each year to Bonaire with a number of friends to do some heavy-duty diving. While here, Raeford continues to transmit live from Bonaire, and The Bonaire Insider is delighted to be joining him tomorrow morning.

“Raeford knows the news business forward & backward and conducts on-air interviews with various newsmakers adroitly.”

— Linked In Commentary

Topics for tomorrow’s talk show.

Tune in to the Bonaire Insider joining radio talk show host, Raeford Brown.We’ll be discussing a variety of topics, including current events on Bonaire and in the region, nature preservation, and, should time permit, we’ll take a glimpse at Bonaire through the past few decades.

Those in the Carolinas from the North Carolina Outer Banks to Wilmington may tune in to Thunder Country 96.3 FM. The show airs from 6:30 to to 9:00 AM Atlantic Standard Time. Thunder Country also streams the show live on their website.

Please tune in tomorrow morning as Raeford and I discuss all things Bonaire!

For live streaming from anywhere in the world:

Click here:

Then click on “Listen Live” in the upper right hand corner.

Join us!

Listen to the archive.

The segment with The Bonaire Insider starts at roughly 25 minutes and goes through 45 minutes.  Enjoy!


(Source:  Thunder Country 96.3 FM)

Subscribe to the free Bonaire Insider newsletter:

Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 




STINAPA Will Have a New Director at the Helm

Arjen de Wolff to begin as Director of STINAPA on September 1st, 2017.

The Board  of STINAPA Bonaire has appointed a new executive director, Arjen de Wolff. After an open and thorough procedure to fill the vacancy, Mr. de Wolff will be taking up his new tasks as of September 1, 2017.

Arjen de Wolff will begin September 1st as Director of Bonaire's STINAPAShort biography of Mr. Arjen de Wolff.

Mr. de Wolff (born in The Netherlands in 1969) has had a long and diverse career working in the governmental and public sector in various countries and regions, including the Middle-East, the Caucasus, the US, and the Dutch Antilles, with a focus on development and professionalizing governmental structures and procedures and NGO management.

Director Herman Sieben will return to the National Forests Authority in Holland.

Current Executive Director, Herman Sieben, will assist with introducing Mr. de Wolff to STINAPA, stakeholders and Bonaire during a transition period. Mr. Sieben will return to the National Forests Authority in the European Netherlands later this year.

About STINAPA Bonaire.

STINAPA Bonaire is tasked with the protection and management of the Bonaire National Marine Park and Washington Slagbaai National Park. STINAPA Bonaire works to protect and manage Bonaire’s natural beauty for the people and economy of Bonaire, the conservation of endangered nature as part of the wider Caribbean ecosystem, and to provide a great experience to Bonaire’s people and visitors.

(Source:  STINAPA)


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 

Bonbons Bonaire Offers the Fine Art of Chocolate-Making

Bonbons Bonaire provides exquisite chocolates.

A chocolate "lolly" from Bonbons Bonaire.

A chocolate “lolly” from Bonbons Bonaire.

One of the advantages of Bonaire’s burgeoning population is the fact that the island is attracting young entrepreneurs who bring new skills and arts to the island. Both tourists and residents can enjoy the fruits of their labors, and one of these that is especially enjoyable to sample is the chocolates of Bonbons Bonaire, by Pastry Chef Janos Aan Vermaat.

The process of making bonbons is fascinating.

The Bonaire Insider visited with Janos on Valentine’s Day, arguably the busiest day of the year for a maker of fine chocolates, but he was accommodating and told us all about his special atelier du chocolate, located in Kralendijk. We learned exactly how labor-intensive the making of chocolates is, and it is obvious that Janos puts a lot of love into his craft.

Special Valentine's Day BonBons, handmade by pastry chef Janos Aan Vermaat

Special Valentine’s Day BonBons, handmade by pastry chef Janos Aan Vermaat

Learning his craft.

Prior to coming to Bonaire in 2015, Janos learned his pastry craft at the three-Michelin-starred De Librije, considered by many to be the best restaurant in Holland. Working days were long and intense, starting at 8:00 AM and done at 1:00 AM. But with the knowledge he learned and the experience he garnered during this internship, Janos relocated to the Caribbean and started Bonbons Bonaire.

Chocolates require a climate-controlled area, as moisture has to be filtered from the air. The work-space where Janos creates his chocolates has a special air-conditioning unit specifically to keep the air dry and moisture-free.

Currently Janos works with two different applications for his bonbons. The first is the classic “lolly” or lollipop and for this he creates a base, inserts the stick, and then dips each one in chocolate, so it becomes similar to a chocolate truffle. Other bonbons we sampled were filled with white chocolate, Bonaire’s Cadushy, and sea salt, incorporating local ingredients which make for a unique taste. Yet another was filled with blood orange and pure chocolate.

The chocolate truffle lollipop.

The chocolate truffle lollipop.

Premium bonbons require premium ingredients.

The base is very important. Janos only uses premium ingredients in his products. The chocolate is by Valrhona, the exclusive chocolate from France. Their cocoa beans are grown in the Dominican Republic, sent to France where they are made into chocolate, and then Janos imports them back to the Caribbean for use in his bonbons. The dark chocolate is pure, the white chocolate is a mix of different world cocoa beans, so that the product has consistency, and the milk chocolate which Janos utilizes is his own personal favorite (from South Africa).

Chocolate seahorses and shells are in development.

Chocolate seahorses and shells are in development.

The special Bonaire collection of chocolates.

Janos is working on a special collection which Bonaire’s diving and snorkeling fans will enjoy–chocolate seahorses and shells. The making of these chocolates can take 24 to 48 hours to create one batch, depending upon how many layers are incorporated. For example, the initial layer (which is the top) is put into the mold, and then needs to set at least 12-24 hours prior to the next layer being added, and so on. Each layer adds time and attention to the process.

Janos shows how to use his special air-brush gun for decorating his bonbons.

Janos shows how to use his special air-brush gun for decorating his bonbons.

Making the bonbons his own with different ways of customization.

Janos adds individuality in different ways: He might dust the chocolate mold with some special “pixie dust” before adding the initial layer, he might add a color to the mold and then artfully hand draw a design with a toothpick, as in the “heart” chocolates pictured above, or he might even get out his special air-brush gun!

Janos mixes all his colors by hand. He melts down the beurre de cacao, or cocoa butter from the beans, and then mixes in the colors himself so he can get it as light or as dark as he wishes.

When asked which of his bonbons is the favorite, Janos informed me that his white chocolate “snickers” is always popular.  It’s made with a white chocolate exterior and milk chocolate filling. Truly the best of both chocolate worlds!

BonBons Bonaire's special Valentine's Day creation.

Bonbons Bonaire’s special Valentine’s Day creation.

At the end of this instructional visit, Janos shared one of his special Valentine’s Day creations with me, a heart-shaped chocolate tray filled with a variety of bonbons. I can attest that it didn’t last too long, and being able to eat the tray after the bonbons were long-gone just added to the pleasure!

Enjoying the special treats of Bonbons Bonaire.

So how does one enjoy these special treats? At the time of writing, Janos’ very special bonbons can be found at Sebastian’s Restaurant, where you will also find Janos in the kitchen at night assisting with creating savory entrées, Between 2 Buns, and Spice.

Bonbons Bonaire also provides wedding cakes or other special occasion cakes and decadent ice cream cones made with his own hand-made ice creams (such as black pepper ice cream or basil ice cream), with personally created cones.

Be sure to try out one of his special treats on your next Bonaire vacation!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)


Video and Photo Gallery of Bonaire’s Grand Carnival Parade 2017

Bonaire’s Grand Carnival Parade 2017.

This past weekend took its toll on a lot of folks here on Bonaire–at least those who were dancing down the long Carnival parade route from about 2:00 PM until past 6:00 PM. Meanwhile, those who where on the sidelines sat back and enjoyed the show!

Costumes glittered and gleamed.

Costumes were indeed extravagant, colorful, with lots of feathers, sequins, and other glittering items. Headdresses were so voluminous that one wonders how the wearers manage to keep their heads up straight!

Each Carnival group has a theme.

A variety of Carnival (Karnaval in Papiamentu) groups offered a fun display of themes: There were creatures from under the sea, celestial bodies and the signs of the zodiac, and even a bunch of construction workers who were spreading “asphalt” to fill all the holes in Bonaire’s roads (something truly needed on Bonaire these days!).

Two more Carnival events before the season closes.

There’s only two more events before the Carnival season ends:  Tonight will be a replay of the Children’s Carnival from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, and tomorrow a replay of the Grand Carnival, starting at 7:00 PM, and ending at midnight with the burning of King Momo.

Video of Sunday’s parade.

If you couldn’t see it live, sit back and enjoy this video and the photo gallery following.


Photo Gallery of Sunday’s parade.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)














Bonaire Maritime Film Festival Salutes Bonaire’s Sailors

The Bonaire Maritime Film Festival is January 14, 2017.

There’s no doubt there is an amazing allure and mystery about those hearty sailors who ventured out onto the world’s oceans and sailed the seven seas for their livings.  Bonaire’s seamen have been part of this sailing tradition, and the Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation will honor them at the upcoming Bonaire Maritime Film Festival.

Stormvogel, the last sailing vessel of the ABC Islands.Stormvogel Rising.

The festival will tell the saga about the rebirth of the Bonaire-built Stormvogel, the last of the sailing ships of the ABC Islands. This national treasure is currently being refitted to once again sail the region’s seas.





A Salute to the Sailors.

The film festival will also feature the original crew of Stormvogel, most of whom are now in the 80s.  They will be honored at this special festival evening by the Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation. Some of these sailors are even well known to Bonaire visitors, and include Ismael Soliano, captain; Jan Felida, boat building crew; Luis Coffi, cook, and deckhands Lucio Soliano and Boechi Frans.




maritime_film_festivalVanishing Sail.

This award-winner 90-minute documentary tracks the building of a wooden boat on the Caribbean island of Carriacou and shares the wild tales of trade and smuggling as told by some of the last true West Indies seamen.




The festival’s date and time, entry fee, and location.

The film festival will take place on January 14, 2017 from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM at Plaza Beach Resort. Those interested in attending this fantastic cinematic view into the old sailing era of the Caribbean, as well as meet the island’s sailors, will need to make an advance reservation and purchase a ticket.  The cost is $20.00 per person and simply email to request your ticket.

This fine event is made possible with the support of Bonaire’s boating industry, who have donated the necessary funding.  The foundation wishes to thank ABC Marine, Boto Blanku, Budget Marine, Don Andres NV, Harbour Village Marina, and WannaDive.  Special thanks also go to Sign Studio for graphics and design support, as well as Plaza Resort Bonaire, who has graciously donated the use of a 150-seat conference room.

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

(Source:  Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation)





A Hero’s Farewell, Final Salute to Officer Ferry Bakx

Final Tribute to Officer Ferry Bakx

Officer Ferry BakxIn an overwhelming display of solidarity and support, the people of Bonaire gathered Friday afternoon to say their farewells, and give their thanks, to the island’s fallen hero, Officer Ferry Bakx.

At 4:00 PM, a cavalcade commenced from the police station in Kralendijk to Flamingo Airport.  Throngs of people awaited the cavalcade, to show their undeniable support to Officer Bakx’s wife, Anita, and his colleagues from the Korps Politie.


Onlookers were silent during the emotional ceremony, as the coffin was boarded onto the plane, for Officer Bakx’s final trip back to the European Netherlands, his birthplace.

farewell_to_Ferry_Bakx3His wife showed immense fortitude throughout the ceremony, and, when she ascended the stairs to board the plane to accompany her husband on the transatlantic crossing, the crowd applauded loudly to indicate their sympathies.

Officer Bakx was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, August 17th, 2016.










(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Bonaire Mourns the Loss of One of Its Finest

policeIt is with the utmost sadness that today we report the passing of Officer Ferry Bakx of the Korps Politie of the BES islands. Bonaire mourns the loss of one of its own, killed in the line of duty, and flags are flying at half mast in his memory.

Late last night, Officer Bakx responded to a call in regard to a home burglary in progress. Shots were fired, and Officer Bakx was hit.  He was pronounced dead at San Francisco Hospital.

Officials are asking the public for any leads or information to help in the apprehension of the perpetrators.

Our deepest condolences are extended to Officer Bakx’s wife and family, his friends, and colleagues.


Statement from OH Henry Hambeukers


Statement from KPCN Jose Rosales

(Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter)



An Evening with Johnny Craane–Tales of the Sea

There will be a very special evening at the new Terramar Museum on Friday, August 19th, 2016 from 6:00 to 9:30 PM, when Bonaire seafaring legend, Johnny Craane, presents Images of Our Maritime Past.

craaneHear tales of trade and trickery, sailing and smuggling as told by the master boat-builder himself.  The Craane family has crafted wooden ships on Bonaire for generations.  The island’s seafaring men form an important part of Bonaire’s history.

Joining Johnny will be Luzday Zambrano, great-granddaughter of the famous Bonaire boat-builder, “Pabubu” Marchena.  The hour-long presentation/tour includes a glimpse into the past, with fifteen stunning historic photographs of sailors and ships.

The presentation/tours in the new museum (located behind Mona Lisa Restaurant), will be conducted in three languages:  6:30 PM in English, 7:30 in Papiamentu, and 8:30 PM in Dutch.  Entrance is $10.00 per person, and all proceeds go to the restoration of Stormvogel, the last of the sailing cargo boats.

For those on Bonaire, this is a unique opportunity to get a glimpse into a Bonaire now mostly gone.

(Source:  Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation)

Bonaire's Calendar of Events


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