Category Archives: Potpourri

Bonaire Videos from the 1950s and 1960s

Have you ever wondered what Bonaire was like before you first visited?

Many visitors to Bonaire return year after year.  In fact, these days, it is not unusual to hear of some repeat guests celebrating 30 years of visits, or even 40 years!  These visitors have truly witnessed lots of changes on Bonaire, as it has transitioned from a sparsely populated island, to a less-sparsely populated island.

Bonaire from the 1950s and 1960s.But even those visitors who first came in the 1980s, when dive tourism to Bonaire was taking off, still can’t imagine what Bonaire was like in earlier decades.  The Bonaire Insider has located some videos online that were taken on Bonaire in the 1950s and the 1960s, and we thought you would enjoy seeing them as much as we did.

Bonaire Video from the 1950s.

Sometime in the early 1950s, Polygoon-Profilti, a Dutch production company, produced a short documentary about Bonaire, entitled “Eiland van rust” (Island of Rest). The film shows fascinating scenes of life on Bonaire from over half a century ago, documenting salt harvesting, charcoal creation, aloe farming, boat building, and traditional fishing from locally crafted sail boats. One can see the roots of today’s festivals of Simadan and Maskarada. The video is an amazing look at a Bonaire we no longer see. Narration is in Dutch.

Bonaire:  Island of Rest.

Bonaire Video from the 1960s.

Just a short decade later, Bonaire’s personality was already changing.  It’s distinctive green license plates were already in place, as were the hills of conch shells, locally known as karko, at Lac Cai.  Today these hills of conch shells still can be seen, but they no longer grow larger, as conch is now a protected species.  And, of course, we no longer traipse through the nesting areas of Bonaire’s iconic bird, the flamingo, as we now know that such activities disturb the birds’ natural behaviors.

In this twenty-minute film, we follow a Dutch family who spent two vacations on Bonaire in 1964 and 1966.  At a time when tourism to Bonaire was only beginning, it is a special treat to be able to travel back to this period and see the island as it was, including a glimpse of Bonaire’s first Flamingo Airport!


Bonaire:  Island of the Flamingos.

Learn more about Bonaire’s history!


(Source: Youtube Videos)

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. 

Trans World Radio Underwater Mural is Beautiful Once Again

Trans World Radio renovates its famous underwater mural on Bonaire.

Trans World Radio (TWR) has recently completed the renovation of their famous underwater mural, first painted twenty years ago in 1998.  After many years of Bonaire’s strong sunlight, the mural had become faded and lackluster.  Today, it is back to its former glory, and even more appropriate with sea life that is found here on Bonaire.


The first underwater mural, from 1998.

The original plan, way back in 1997, was to have world-famous mural artist, Robert Wyland, paint one of his “whaling walls” on the premises of Bonaire’s Trans World Radio. Although discussions looked initially positive, Robert Wyland was already booked for so many murals, that it would be years before he could do one on Bonaire.  So, TWR looked for another option.

Trans World Radio's first underwater mural on Bonaire, from 1998.Instead, Paul and Joellen Gallo created an underwater mural as a gift to Trans World Radio and the people of Bonaire.  The scene included sea life from around the world, and, in hindsight, seemed to be weirdly prophetic, as it appeared to foretell the arrival of the invasive Pacific Lionfish, since it was included on the original mural (lower left).

Staff from Trans World Radio also got in on the action, helping mural creators Paul and Joellen. Some even had to overcome their fear of heights in order to paint their assigned area.

Once completed, the mural needed something more, and so, to connect the beauty of the underwater world with Trans World Radio’s purpose for being on Bonaire, an appropriate Bible verse was added.

Are the fishes coming back? Transitioning to a new mural in 2017.

About six weeks ago, suddenly scaffolding appeared, and the wall was whitewashed, hiding the now-faded original mural.  A little boy was walking by with his teacher and asked, “Are the fishes coming back?”

In answer to that question, it is a resounding, “Yes, and, oh, so much more!” Over the past two months, and similar to what happened back in 1998 when the first mural was painted, cars were slowing down to observe what was happening at the wall of the TWR studio. The mural of reef fish accompanied by a Bible verse had been a landmark on Bonaire for so long, and many stopped to watch the wall come back to vivid color and life.

The second underwater mural, 2017.

Rita Carswell and Jeannie Villacorte are the masterminds behind the newest mural. They are professional mural painters and worked tirelessly in Bonaire’s summer sun on TWR’s new mural.

Preliminary work began back home in the United States.

The preparation took Rita and Jeannie more than two weeks of work, even before the actual painting started. First, they took images of Bonaire’s coral reef and oceanic life. They looked at photos and picked some beautiful and colorful fish that can be viewed when diving or snorkeling on Bonaire.

Next, they put the pictures in a computer program, enlarged them, and composed them into a pleasing montage.  The montage was then overlaid with a grid pattern and each grid square was assigned a number, fifty in total.

Each square, with a piece of the image, was then printed on a special film in black and white. All those films were put into an overhead projector and projected on a wall in 4×4′ sections, while the images were traced onto paper, a process which took Rita and Jeannie two days.

Up close and personal with one of the mural painters, 2017 edition of the Trans World Radio underwater mural.Finally, the preliminary work was done, and the papers were put in order, rolled up, and accompanied the ladies to Bonaire. Once here, they unrolled the images and traced over all the black lines with charcoal. Each sheet of paper was taped on the wall, section by section, and traced over it with pencils. Then on the wall, they used permanent markers to make the charcoal impressions indelible, and, finally, painting could commence.

Painting can finally begin.

Paintings and drawings evolve. Slowly the painting develops and comes to life. First, Rita and Jeannie stuck to their preliminary drawings, but as the painting developed, they could add in their own creativity, using shadows and highlights to bring the sea animals to life.

Mural painters Rita and Jeannie say:

“When TWR asked us to do this, we did not think about snorkeling because painting the mural is already a blessing. However, when we went snorkeling and actually saw the fish we are painting, it was extraordinary! Working at the roundabout is also fun. People from Bonaire are very much involved. They wave and honk. So, now, we feel we are also contributing to the whole community!”

Trans World Radio's second underwater mural on Bonaire, under construction in 2017.

The fishes are back!

After weeks of hard work, the fishes are back, along with myriad other examples of sea life found on Bonaire. Current Trans World Radio director, Bernard Oosterhoff, had this to add about the new mural:

“The new mural will mark a new phase for TWR; after four years of hard work we are increasing the power of the radio masts located at the salt pans and this will double the reach of the transmitter. With the upgraded transmitter, we will be able to reach hundred million people living in Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, and North and Central Brazil. This is such a milestone that we want to celebrate. The new mural is already a beautiful visual marker of this new era.”

— Bernard Oosterhoff

Take time to stop and view the mural.

The mural is now completed and quite beautiful. When next you visit Bonaire, you’ll pass it by the traffic rotary in Hato. Be sure to pull off the side of the road to spend a few moments enjoying this wonderful Bonaire landmark. There can be no argument that truly one can “See the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep.”

Trans World Radio has renovated their underwater mural on Bonaire.

(Source:  Trans World Radio)

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. 

Free WiFi Hot-spot in Wilhelmina Park in Kralendijk

Visitors can pick up free WiFi via a hot-spot in Kralendijk’s Wilhelmina Park.

Last week, officials from Island Government, Tourism Corporation Bonaire, and Digicel launched a new service for Bonaire’s visitors and residents who are frequently in Wilhelmina Park, in downtown Kralendijk.  Effective immediately, a free WiFi hot-spot has been created.

Free wifi hotspot in Wilhelmina Park, BonaireInstructions to access the hot-spot.

To access the hot-spot, you will need a Facebook login to verify your identity. To find the connection on your wireless device, simply search for the signal “Welcome to Bonaire” and follow the login instructions.  You will receive 30 minutes of WiFi free, and, should additional time be needed, you will be prompted to purchase more minutes to continue on the high-speed Internet.

This service is provided thanks to a coordination of efforts between Bonaire’s tourism office, Digicel (one of the island’s mobile providers), and the Protestant Church, for assisting with installation locations.

(Source:  TCB)


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 on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.

Caribe Car Rental Expands Fleet with New Vehicles

Caribe Car Rental adds new vehicles to its fleet, especially suited for the leisure traveler to Bonaire.


Suzuki Swift and Hyundai Creta added to fleet.

Caribe Car Rental takes delivery of their new vehicles.

Caribe Car Rental takes delivery of their new vehicles.

Recently, Caribe Car Rental took delivery of some new vehicles, which will add to the modern fleet they already operate.  The rental car company has added a Suzuki Swift and a Hyundai Creta SUV.

These vehicles are perfectly suited for the leisure traveler to Bonaire, providing either sub-compact economy or SUV-style comfort for those tootling about the island on vacation.

Pickup Trucks are available for rent as dive and snorkel vehicles.

Although these new vehicles are not intended for diving, those who plan to dive and snorkel on Bonaire will welcome the fleet’s variety of pick-ups, offering easy gear storage in the back bed and a more rugged vehicle to handle Bonaire’s shore diving and snorkeling locations.

Caribe Car Rental offers exceptional service.

Caribe Car Rental is a small rental company, with customer service as a top priority.  The fleet is made up of mostly new vehicles, the majority only being one or two years old.  A representative from Caribe Car Rental will pick you up from any location on Bonaire to bring you to the office for your rental.  Upon your return back, they will drive you onward to the airport, or back to your resort or hotel.

Caribe is located just off the traffic rotary at the intersection of Kaya Industria and Kaya International.  They are within an easy walk of many of the popular small resorts in this area.

For additional information, to check prices for your next Bonaire vacation, or to make a reservation, visit the Caribe Car Rental website.

(Source:  Caribe Car Rental)


Washington-Slagbaai National Park Re-Opens After Heavy Rains

Washington Slagbaai National Park re-opens after Bonaire’s recent rains.

Washington Park is once again open to all traffic as of today, January 19th.  The park was recently forced to close after frequent rains, which affected the roads throughout the park.

Additionally, STINAPA has announced that the park will be closed on Sunday, January 22nd, 2017, for repair to the roads which suffered damage from the heavy rains.

If you have plans to visit the park in the coming days, give the park a call at 788-9015 to be sure they are open, especially if the rains continue, as the situation can be amended at any time due to the weather conditions.

(Source:  STINAPA)





There’s a New Green Initiative on Bonaire, Except It’s Blue!

Bonaire strives to be at the forefront of green technology, as it is well known on the island that our nature is a precious natural resource.  For many years, the plastic refuse from bottled water has been a detriment, filling up the landfill with trash which will take centuries to bio-degrade.  Many recycle plastic waste, but that is costly on a small island.  Now there is a new initiative that will remove the plastic waste of bottled water from Bonaire’s waste management and recycling efforts.  The Blue Bottle Project is beginning.

bluebottle1Last week saw the introduction of this new, “green” project as a number of waterpoints are being opened around the island as part of a larger project. These waterpoints will be located at bars, resorts, dive shops, and restaurants, and they give the user the possibility to fill up–for free–their Blue Bottles with drinking water with the best water quality. 

This is the kick-off for a bigger, more inspiring, project to create awareness by visitors and residents to use more tap water and dramatically decrease the use of plastic bottles. Referencing the collaboration of several local organizations and companies acting together as stakeholders so that all benefit from the goals, project manager Rob van Holstein calls the project a PRE-cycling-project and stated:

“We don’t want to act after the crime is done, but we want to take action before the plastic bottle drops on the beach.”

bluebottle2So how will it work?  The Blue Bottle is specially designed for use in the Caribbean, utilizing a vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle (20 fluid ounce/0.6 litre) which has a soft coated, non-drip cool body and will keep drinks cool for at least 12 hours. Even fully filled, it will float when accidentally dropped in the ocean, so recovery is easy.  At night you can use it on the porch or balcony as a cup and it will keep drinks frosty cool the whole night. The bottle cap is made of a “green” BPA-free plastic and the bottle is 100% recyclable. 

Upon arrival on Bonaire, visitors can purchase the Blue Bottle at the airport or cruise terminal for just $10.00.  It will also be available at waterpoints and other locations for $15.00, so there is a savings to jump on board when you first arrive. Waterpoints will be identified by easy-to-see posters.  At restaurants and bars, table markers will inform patrons of the free drinking water project.  All the information will be in English, Dutch and Spanish.

So be sure to be on the lookout and purchase your Blue Bottle when next arriving by plane or via cruise ship.

(Source:  The Blue Bottle Project)



Long-Time, Repeat Guests are Honored at Carib Inn

In the last two weeks, there has been a lot to celebrate at Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn, as many of their long-time, repeat Bonaire visitors hit milestones in their visits.

The Poduska Family now has three generations visiting and diving on Bonaire over the last 30 years.  The Poduskas hail from Fort Collins, Colorado, in the U.S.A.  When they first visited so many years ago, now-grandpa Paul was the only certified diver.  Over the years, a son and daughter were certified to dive, with the daughter eventually continuing her dive education to become a divemaster.  Now, it’s the grandchildren’s turn, with one already certified, and ten-year-old twins taking a PADI Discover Scuba Diving course.

Burton Ogle and Tracy Zontek have been visiting Bonaire for 25 and 15 years respectively, and they cherish memories of the friendly Bonaireans, spectacular dives, and their dear friends at the Carib Inn. They both honed their diving skills from Bruce Bowker‘s buoyancy workshops.

Larry and Karyle Mumper have been staying at Carib Inn for 15 years.  Years ago, they saw an advertisement in Skin Diver Magazine showing a picture of Bruce Bowker with his two Dalmatians.  They thought to themselves, “Now Carib Inn must be a great place, if the owner puts his dogs in his advertisements!”  And so they visited, and have continued to visit.

Burt, Tracy, Larry, and Karyle were also honored by Bonaire’s tourism board as Bonaire Ambassadors for their devotion to the island.  Congratulations to all!  Come back soon.

Carib Inn does honor their loyal guests with an in-house program.  Visit their Friends Over the Years web page to see others who have attained milestones.  You may also subscribe to receive their newsletters.

(Source:  Carib Inn)

It’s Time to Taste-Test Three New Signature Bonaire Beers

20160128-BlondIt’s been nearly a year since Bonaire Blond, Bonaire’s own signature beer, was first introduced, and so there’s an anniversary celebration, and three new signature Bonaire beers are coming to the party!

Just arriving on Bonaire now, the newly created Bonaire Blond Tropical line includes three light and fruity beers, perfectly blended for Bonaire’s tropical days and nights.

The first of the Tropical Beers is already on island and available at select eateries, and this one highlights cantaloupe melon and lime, both great refreshing flavors.  Arriving soon from the brewery in Holland are the brand new Passionfruit & Coconut and Mango & Carambola, also exciting blends.  All the Tropical line of beers have an alcohol content of 2.5%, and include blends of ingredients commonly found on Bonaire, including aloe vera from Bonaire’s own Onima Aloe Plantation.


Even the labels are literally works of art as they showcase the paintings of resident artist, Fred van den Broek, and the color schemes were chosen to reflect the tropical ingredients included in each flavor.

Those who enjoy trying different beers will soon have four beers–the original Bonaire Blond, plus the three new Bonaire Blond Tropicals–to enjoy when on the island.  These are the quintessential beers for kicking back on the beach with your toes in the sand.

The new Bonaire Blond Tropical beers can be taste-tasted and enjoyed at these select restaurants and bars:

  • At Sea,
  • The Beach Hut,
  • Bistro de Paris,
  • Boudoir,
  • Buddy Dive Resort,
  • Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino,
  • Jibe City (The Hang Out Beach Bar),
  • Joe’s Grill House,
  • La Cantina,
  • Lac Baai,
  • Little Havana


Try them out and then comment below to let us know how you like them!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

What’s the Weather Forecast for Bonaire? Just Look East!

20151218-WeatherWhen visitors to Bonaire ask the locals what the weather is forecasted for the coming days, they are generally told to stick their head out the window and look eastward.  But starting January 1st, 2016, all that will change!

Starting the 1st of January 2016, KNMI (the Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut) will provide the meteorological and seismological services for the Caribbean Netherlands.

Besides the weather forecasts for the general public, KNMI will also take care of the weather forecasts and specific weather bulletins for air and ship traffic. For extreme circumstances, such as hurricanes, high waves, and flooding due to copious rain, warnings are issued and advice is given to the governors, the Kingdom Representative, local crisis coordinators and the National Crisis Centre (NCC) of the Ministry of Security and Justice. For this KNMI will use the system that is already in place in the Caribbean Netherlands.

The observational, satellite and radar data of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba reach the Netherlands in real time, so that the meteorologists at KNMI can follow the weather on the islands closely in spite of the large distance.

In order to serve the islands best, KNMI collaborates with other meteorological services, among them those of Aruba, Sint Maarten, Météo France, and the Meteorological Service of Curaçao (MDC).   Effective January 1st, 2016, weather for the Dutch Caribbean can be followed at their new web site at  Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland)

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