It’s Carnival Time! Or, As It’s Said On Bonaire, Karnaval!

Bonaire’s Karnaval 2017 (Carnival) is in full swing.

February is always the time of Karnaval, and there are myriad events to enjoy for those visitors on Bonaire in the coming days.

Bonaire's Karnaval (Carnival) Parades are bright with festive costumes!

Here is a schedule of upcoming events.

Balloon Parade SHIEF

February 17th, 5:00 to 7:00 PM; San Bernardo School – Kaya Libertador – Kaya
Grandi – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – San Bernardo School.

Jump-In Radio Live 99

February 17th; Chippie Bonaire Super Store

Karnaval Kids Parade Rincon

February 18th, 2:00 to 6:00 PM, Soccer field entrance of Rincon – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya Commerce – Kaya E.B. Sint Jago – Kaya Leucadio Marino Pourier – Kaya Hubentut – Kaya Luis Pourier – Rincon Stadium.

Karnaval Kids Parade Kralendijk

February 19th, 2:00 to 6:00 PM, Van Den Tweel Supermarket – Kaya Zuid Nikiboko – Church Traffic circle – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar – Kaya Julio Abrraham Boulevard – Kaya Gilberto F. Croes – Stadium Kralendijk.

School Parade

February 24th, 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon; Stadium Kralendijk – Kaya Gilberto F. Croes Kaya Julio Abraham Boulevard – Kaya Grandi – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – Kaya General C. M. P. Piar – Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar – Kaya Julio Abraham – Kaya Gilberto F. Croes – Stadium Kralendijk.

The Grand Karnaval (Carnival) Parades are performed in both Rincon and Kralendijk.

Elderly Parade

February 24th, 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Kaya Soeur Bartola – Kaya General C. M. Piar – Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar – Kaya Grandi – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – Kaya Soeur Bartola.

Teener Parade

February 24th, 8:00 to 11:00 AM, Van Den Tweel Supermarket – Kaya Zuid Nikiboko – Traffic Circle Church – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar – Kaya Julio Abraham Boulevard – Kaya Gilberto F. Croes Stadium Kralendijk.

Grand Parade Rincon

February 25th, 1:00 to 6:00 PM, Soccer field entrance of Rincon – Kaya Miguel Pourier –Kaya Commerce – Kaya E.B. Sint Jago – Kaya Leucadio Marino Pourier – Kaya C.D. Cristian – Kaya Commerce (again)  – Kaya Minguel Pourier (again) – Kaya Hubentut – Kaya Luis Pourier – Rincon Stadium.

Everyone has fun at Bonaire's Grand Karnaval (Carnival) ParadeGrand Parade Kralendijk

February 26th, 1:00 to 6:00 PM, Van Den Tweel Supermarket – Kaya Zuid Nikiboko – Church Traffic Circle – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar – Kaya Julio Abrraham Boulevard – Kaya Gilberto F. Croes – Kaya Zuid Nikiboko- Van Den Tweel Supermarket.

Final Kids Parade

February 27th, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, Stadium Kralendijk – Traffic Circle Sabana – Kaya Zuid Nikiboko – Traffic Circle Church – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar – Kaya Julio Abraham Boulevard – Kaya Gilberto F. Croes – Stadium Kralendijk.

Maskarade Party

February 27th, time to be determined, Kura Cocari, Rincon.

Final Adults Parade with the Burning of King Momo

February 28th, 7:00 PM to Midnight, Van Den Tweel Supermarket – Kaya Zuid Nikiboko – Traffic circle Church – Kaya L.D. Gerharts – Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar – Kaya Julio Abraham Boulevard – Kaya Gilberto F. Croes – Stadium Kralendijk.

Be sure to enjoy these fun Bonaire Karnaval events!

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

(Source:  TCB)

 

Bonaire Insider Dining Review: Bon Aroma, a Fusion of French, Italian, & Caribbean

Restaurant Bon Aroma offers an intimate setting, with a fusion of tastes from France, Italy, and, of course, the Caribbean.

There have been quite some changes in the Bonaire dining scene over the past six months, and the Bonaire Insider is highlighting one of the new eateries which has been discovered as a hidden gem.

Bon Aroma offers a romantic, intimate setting with only six tables.

Restaurant Bon Aroma on Bonaire

Bon Aroma opened up several months ago in the pool-side setting of the YachtClub Apartments. A long-time dream of owner Karen van Dijk, the small restaurant offers only six tables, insuring an intimate dining experience.  This reporter found out that not only is the setting special, but the food is exquisite as well.

Two friends and I decided to try out the new restaurant. We did make an advance reservation, which is strongly recommended, as the small restaurant can book up quickly. Bon Aroma is in a convenient location, just on the north side of Kralendijk, an easy walk for many visitors staying in the northern hotel row or a quick drive from those staying south of Kralendijk.

The menu offers entrées from the sea or land, direct to the restaurant’s grill.

Not quite knowing what to expect, we inspected the menu. For such a small eatery, we were impressed with the scope of the menu, which offered a selection of starters with two soups, a salad, or three seafood appetizers, including the traditional French scallop dish, Coquilles St. Jacques.

Main courses included seafood, beef tenderloin, rack of lamb, or duck breast. One could choose their favorite sauce:  mango basil, white wine, or the sauce du jour for seafood entrees, or shitake, Cointreau honey, or rosemary port sauce for meat or poultry.

House specialties are indeed special.

In addition to the menu items mentioned above, the restaurant also has three house specialties: Confit of Duck Leg Gratinee, a Caribbean Court Bouillon (a steamed catch with local seasonings and hints of hot peppers), and there is always a vegetarian special of the day.

This reporter was undecided as to what to order, vacillating between the duck confit, the vegetarian dish du jour, or the fisherman’s catch of the day, which, on the evening we visited, was a duo of Bonaire lionfish and grilled blue marlin. Karlijn, our very attentive server, suggested that I go with the catch of the day, since I could return another time for the vegetarian house special or duck confit, as they are always on the menu. She did not steer me wrong!

Wines are available by the bottle or glass.

All three of us indulged in some wine (an excellent Pinot Grigio), and then we unanimously decided upon the Fisherman’s Catch of the Day, served with mango basil sauce. I opted for a side of roasted rosemary new potatoes, while my dining companions choose a side of Italian-herbed rice.

Fisherman's Catch of the Day at Bon AromaWhen our dinners arrived, we were delighted to see that the presentation was just as lovingly prepared as the l’amuse we were served while waiting. The plate was a tantalizing mix of tastes and textures, from the mild-tasting lionfish to the more firm blue marlin. A collection of vegetables, including prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and walnut/balsamic green salad, were served in addition to our elected sides. Each bite was an explosion of flavor!

Dessert plate at Bon Aroma on BonaireThe portions proved to be just right, by the time our plates were empty, we were happily full. But we could still use a sweet finish to the meal, so we opted to all share a dessert plate of home-made Dutch apple tort, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a warm compote of currants and berries, also served à la mode.

Chef Christiaan Thole prepared wonderful meals.

My dining companions and I decided we had to give five stars to our meals prepared by the new chef, Christiaan Thole.  By all means, add Restaurant Bon Aroma to your list of “must-do” eateries on your next Bonaire visit.

Where to find Bonaire’s Bon Aroma.

Restaurant Bon Aroma is located at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot 54. Parking is on the interior side of the apartment complex.  Reservations can be made by telephone at 795-9009; the restaurant is open from 6:30 PM through 10:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday. Bon Apetit!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 

 

 

 

 

Please Help Nolly, a Stranded Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

Sea turtle strandings on Bonaire are rare.

 

An Olive Ridley Sea Turtle was found stranded at Bonaire’s southern point.

Please help save Nolly, a stranded sea turtleOn the morning of February 8, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) staff received a call on the hotline. Nolly, a local divemaster, had found a stranded Olive Ridley turtle on the east coast of Bonaire, close to the Willemstoren Lighthouse.

After a first assessment, it became clear that the turtle, which was immediately named after its rescuer by STCB volunteers, is missing her front left flipper and has a deep wound on her left side – possibly caused by the stranding.

Rehabilitation facilities for stranded sea turtles are limited.

As Bonaire is a small island and fortunately strandings are rare, there are no permanent rehabilitation facilities. Therefore, STCB needs to raise money to help with the costs of setting up an assessment tank for “Nolly,” and for all the associated costs, such as x-rays, medication and nutrition.

Sadly, in quite a large percentage of the time, a stranded sea turtle cannot be saved, even with much more specialized services than STCB can offer.

Donations are needed to help defray costs.

Your donation will be used for:

  • Setting up an assessment tank with pump,
  • X-rays,
  • Veterinary costs,
  • Medication,
  • Nutrition.

If STCB raises more than what’s needed to help “Nolly,” the extra donations will also go towards saving Bonaire’s endangered sea turtles.

How you can help.

Visit STCB’s crowdfunding page.  On this site, you can donate whatever amount you are able. No amount is too small.  “Nolly” thanks you, along with everyone at STCB and those of us here on Bonaire.

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire is a non-governmental research and conservation organization that has been protecting Bonaire’s sea turtles since 1991.

(Source:  Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire)

 

Note Update February 14, 2017:

Sadly, STCB reports that Nolly, the Olive Ridley sea turtle that stranded on Bonaire last Wednesday, died suddenly on Monday. Thanks to your amazing support, STCB staff and volunteers were able to do everything possible to give her a chance of survival; but Nolly didn’t make it back to the sea.

Due to the generousity of many of Bonaire’s visitors, an incredible $1,605 was donated for Nolly.  Approximately fifty-five percent of the money raised was used to care for Nolly: donations were spent on veterinary costs, medication, the assessment tank, nutrition, and manpower.

With the remaining donations, STCB will design an exhibit at their office so that visitors can learn more about sea turtle strandings on Bonaire, and Nolly’s situation can help educate about stranded sea turtles.

 

 

 

Upcoming Bonaire Birding Events in February, 2017

Bonaire Birding Events for February.

This month there are a number of great birding events on Bonaire.  If you’ve never considered birdwatching while visiting Bonaire, this month’s events might just convince you to try it out.

The Great Backyard Bird Count February 17-20.

Birding locations from around the world from the Great Backyard Bird Count 2016.

Birding locations from around the world from the Great Backyard Bird Count 2016. Image copyright GBBC, used with permission.

Each year in February, birders, along with those who want to give it a try, join in together from locations around the world to spend some time in their backyards, a resort’s garden, or really anywhere, to see just how many birds they can count and identify.  This year’s census will run from February 17th through 20th and will create a real-time snapshot of where birds are.

Visitors to Bonaire, and residents alike, are all invited to join in, as Bonaire enjoys an enviable amount of bird species, especially during the winter, when migratory species can be found as well.

Tallying your birds is easy with eBird.

Tallying your birds is very easy with eBird, an application by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology.  Here’s all you have to do:

1. Register for the count or use your existing login name and password. If you have never participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count or any other Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you’ll need to create a new account. If you already created an account for last year’s GBBC, or if you’re already registered with eBird or another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login information.

2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.

3. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device. If you already participate in the eBird citizen-science project, please use eBird to submit your sightings during the GBBC. Your checklists will count toward the GBBC.

There’s even a photo contest for the photographers visiting Bonaire.  Lots of tools and additional information for identifying birds can be found at the GBBC website.

Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird, commonly seen on Bonaire.

Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird, commonly seen in backyards on Bonaire.

Get a starter course with STINAPA biologist, Caren Eckrich.

To make it even easier to participate, join STINAPA biologist, Caren Eckrich, for a short presentation on how to participate in the count.  This lecture will also help you improve your backyard birding skills.  Caren is an engaging speaker, and you won’t even realize how much you are learning, just because you will be having so much fun! Join Caren at CIEE headquarters at Kaya Gobernator N. Debrot #26 on February 14th, 2017 at 7:00 PM.

Count on your own, or count with STINAPA.

If you are not too sure of your birding skills, but would still like to participate, join STINAPA on February 17th in a Backyard Bird Count event at The Cadushi Distillery in Rincon. Everyone is welcome to participate in this try-out garden bird count from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Participants will help count the birds, can ask questions about Bonaire’s birds, and even photograph them (remember the photo contest!).  Yellow orioles, a variety of doves, vireo, and bananaquits are commonly seen at this location in Rincon. Everyone is welcome and it’s free of charge.

Birdwatching Event with STINAPA on February 18.

Groove-billed Ani, seen at LVV.

Groove-billed Ani, seen at LVV.

If you find yourself smitten with Bonaire’s feathered friends, there will be a second event sponsored by STINAPA on Saturday, February 18th, at LVV to learn more about Bonaire’s birds. LVV has a fresh water pond that is great for bird watching. This is the best site for watching a variety of birds, both resident and migratory. Some very rare species have been seen on these birding trips, and the rare Greater Ani, the Smooth-billed Ani from South America, and the Grooved-billed Ani have been recently seen and are breeding in this location.

Bring your binoculars and good shoes. If you don’t have binoculars, STINAPA has some that you may use. The event will take place from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM.  This activity is free of charge, but donations are always appreciated. Space is limited so please reserve your spot by telephoning STINAPA at 717-8444. LVV is located on Kaminda Lagun next to the wastewater treatment facility.

(Source:  STINAPA, eBird, GBBC Website, CIEE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Dining–Sweet Cravings for Your Sweetheart!

Special Menus and Events for Valentine Dining on Bonaire.

Next Tuesday, February 14th, 2017, is Valentine’s Day, and if you’re on Bonaire, you are in for special treats. Here are some ideas for spending the evening with your special dushi (sweetheart, in Papiamentu).

Enjoy these offerings from Sebastian’s Restaurant, Rum Runners, and It Rains Fishes.

Valentine's Day Dining at Sebastian's on Bonaire's oceanfront.Sebastian’s Restaurant:

Sebastian’s Restaurant will offer two seatings on Valentines Day, from 5:30 to 7:45 PM, or from 8:00 PM to closing with their regular menu. And, the first 35 ladies to arrive for dinner on this day will each receive a surprise gift, direct from Cupid!

For more information or to make a reservation, telephone 717-1697, or email info@sebastiansrestaurantbonaire.com.

Rum Runners:

Enjoy a Sea of Love on the oceanfront at Rum Runners with a special Valentine’s Day menu. Their menu is filled with seafood–appetizers with clams, shrimp, and crab; main courses with lobster, 1855 CAB hanger steak and rouget.  Dessert is sinfully rich, and meant to be shared, but is just too good for sharing, even on Valentine’s Day!

The three-course menu is only $45.00 per person. For those who really want to indulge, add an optional fourth course of Canadian French Kiss Oysters for $9.50 per person.

To make a reservation, call +599 717-8290, extension 100, or send an email to info@rumrunnersbonaire.com.

It Rains Fishes:

Valentine's Day Dining

It Rains Fishes has put together a tasty four-course menu with some scrumptious special ingredients, all for only $42.50 per person.

For more information or to make a reservation, telephone 717-8780, or email info@itrainsfishesbonaire.com.

 

Enjoy the evening with your special dushi!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 

 

Bonaire Insider Dining Review–Sebastian’s Italian Family Sunday Dinner

Dining review of Sebastian’s first Italian Family Sunday Dinner.

Last week, the Bonaire Insider shared the announcement of Sebastian’s Restaurant new Sunday open hours and special Italian menu, featuring pasta and pizza.  This reporter immediately made a reservation to try out the new fare, and it was certainly a good thing, because the restaurant was packed!

The new Italian Family Sunday Dinner is a bit of a detour from the restaurant’s normal fine dining menu available Monday through Saturday. The restaurant was a bit more boisterous, as everyone at tables and at the bar were munching on their chosen Italian meal and just having a great time.

The special menu features pizzas and pastas.

The menu features a variety of pastas or pizzas, any one only $16.00. There are add-ons for appetizers and desserts, as well as special pricing on Italian wines.

My dining companion and I started with two appetizers, which we each shared to get a taste. The Caprese salad was traditional Italian with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil.  The octopus carpaccio is always a favorite, and it’s served with just a tad of heat.

We had ordered two pizzas, as we thought they would be the smaller, personal sized pizzas. We were wrong!  When the pizzas arrived, they dominated our table and we looked at each other with wide-open eyes!  There was no way we could eat them both!  But we sure had fun trying!

Great flavors are presented with garlic/shrimp and blue cheese/salmon.

Starting with the garlic shrimp pizza, we devoured it. The dough is hand-made by Sebastian and Janos, and is thin, crispy, and light. The shrimp pizza made for a delightful meal (my favorite) and it was soon gone. We turned our attention to the salmon-gorgonzola pizza.

Heart-shaped, this pizza was a bit heavier because of the gorgonzola blue cheese. Cheese lovers will revel in all that cheese, and my dining companion stated it was definitely his favorite of the two!

As much as we tried, we just couldn’t consume both pizzas, so we went home with a carry-out box for our left-over salmon-gorgonzola pizza. My dining companion had plenty for lunch the next day!

Traditional Italian desserts.

We specifically left room to try out some of the desserts. Sebastian’s tiramisu is legendary, and always a favorite, but we wanted to try out the new desserts on the Italian menu–profiteroles and semifreddo lime.

The semifreddo lime is a half-frozen dessert, with a consistency somewhere between a mousse and ice cream. With the lime flavoring it was extremely light, and really worked well to cleanse the palette–just in time to savor the profiteroles!

Four profiteroles were served, so we each could enjoy two. Covered with a chocolate ganache, they were the perfect sweet ending to another great meal.

Pick up a pizza and head to one of Bonaire’s beaches.

As we were leaving, we noticed that there was a very brisk take-out trade going on, Sebastian was working that pizza peel and quickly loading the pizzas in boxes stacked four-high, for those who were doing take-away. What a great idea for Sunday dinner–pick up a pizza, and take it to the beach for sunset.  I’m sure going to do that this Sunday! I think Sebastian’s Hawaiian pizza sounds just about right for a beach sunset!

Definitely do make a reservation if you wish to dine in the restaurant.  Pizzas are available for take-out by telephoning +599 717-1697.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 

 

 

 

 

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)

 

Update on Insel Air Operations

Update on InselAir Flight Operations.

InselAir landing on Bonaire.

InselAir landing on Bonaire.

InselAir is currently experiencing delays and interruptions in service due to the maintenance inspections on some of their planes.  On January 31st, 2017, InselAir posted the following information to provide passengers with the proper contact information, should their flights be affected.


The following information is quoted from InselAir:

Update on InselAir flights

“The inspections by the Department of Civil Aviation of Aruba (DCA) on 3 of our aircraft is directly impacting our operations (press release). We realize that this is a very unpleasant experience for our passengers and for our staff and we are doing our utmost to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. However, at this moment we do not have a specific date and/or time when we will be fully operational again. In cooperation with DCA we trust to have our aircraft back in the air again shortly.

Fokker 50 and 70 operational

The inspections do not concern our Fokker 50 and Fokker 70 aircraft; these flights are operational according to the regular schedule. Fights from Curacao to Sint Maarten (and v.v.) are, in absence of 3 of our MD type of aircraft, being operated by Dominican Wings (wet lease) and flights from Curacao to Miami (and v.v.) are being operated by Swiftair.

Information for our passengers

Passenger who are affected will be contacted by our Customer Care Agents via:
1. the email address or phone number provided upon reservation/booking
2. www.fly-inselair.com at the Flight Status section
3. our staff on the airport of your departure
4. the travel agent through which you purchased your ticket

In case you did not provide any contact details upon your reservation/booking, we advise you to contact InselAir via the contact details below.

How can I contact InselAir?

  • Contact Center Aruba: (Mon – Fri 7AM – 8PM/Sat – Sun 8AM – 8PM ) +297 582 1200
  • Contact Center Curaçao: (Mon – Fri 7AM – 8PM/Sat – Sun 8AM – 8PM ) +599 9 737 0444
  • Contact Center USA: (Mon – Fri 7AM – 8PM/Sat – Sun 8AM – 8PM ) +1 855 493 6004
  • Contact Center Venezuela: (Mon – Fri 7AM – 8PM/Sat – Sun 8AM – 8PM ) +58 212 720 4787


(Source:  InselAir)

 

 

Where Have All the Parrots Gone?

Fewer parrots counted in 2017 on Bonaire.

Last Saturday morning, over fifty nature-lovers left the comfort of their warm beds in the wee hours of the morning to spread out over the northern section of Bonaire and count the island’s loras (parrots) as they left their roosts.

Vounteers take a census of Bonaire's parrot population each year.

Volunteers take a census of Bonaire’s parrot population each year.

After a season of more and heavier rains following a multi-year drought, the loras seem to have dispersed around the island, making them more difficult to find and count. During the annual parrot roost count this year, nearly 700 parrots were counted. That is fewer than in previous years, but it is not because they are not here, but rather that they may now be sleeping in locations which are more difficult to access and observe. Therefore, it is the opinion of Echo Foundation, the organizer of the lora count, that not all loras have been counted. The count takes place on the last Saturday of January every year and gives an estimate of the minimum number of parrots on the island.

Parrots heard but not seen.

Once again this year, several teams reported hearing loras or seeing them flying nearby, but not within the area that they were surveying. Two sites near residential areas which last year had nearly 300 loras each, had much less this year. In the area of Sabadeco, for example, the total number dropped from 229 to just 11! Also in the Washington Slagbaai Park, the total count has declined for the second year in a row, with this year having just over 50 birds counted. However, the Park Manager, Paulo Bertuol, suspects there may be new roosts forming and these areas will be included in the surveys next year.

17 different locations were surveyed, in addition to Washington Park.

There were roost sites included this year which haven’t been counted in many years, but which are now showing activity, proving that the loras are regularly moving around the island and periodically changing their roost location. This unpredictable behavior of the loras makes it challenging for the participating volunteers to count them each year. The staff of STINAPA counted inside the Washington Slagbaai Park. Outside the park, over 50 volunteers visited 17 different sites.

How is the census taken and the parrots counted?

The Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot on Bonaire.

The Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot on Bonaire.

The loras are counted in a simultaneous count, which requires everyone to set off in the very early morning (pre-dawn) hours to locations all over the island. As the loras wake up and depart from the tree where they’ve been sleeping, they are counted. Each lora is only counted once. By adding the numbers which have been simultaneously counted across all the sites, the organizers are able to get a sense of the minimum number of loras on the island. This annual census is important for parrot conservation on Bonaire and for protecting the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot (Amazona barbadensis) globally.

This year’s count was the twenty-second count overall and the twelfth consecutive count. It was organized by Echo, STINAPA, and the Department of Environment and Nature of the island government. To learn more about the loras,  visit www.salbanoslora.info.

(Source:  Echo Foundation)

 

The Candy Striped Crab, a New Marine Species Discovered on Bonaire by Ellen Muller

The Candy Striped Crab, discovered and documented by Ellen Muller, has been officially listed as a new species.

Those who think they have seen it all while diving on Bonaire, they need to re-think that! Talented Bonaire photographer, Ellen Muller, has another new marine species under her weightbelt, with the official recognition of Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae, or otherwise now known as the Candy Striped Hermit.

Ellen’s first new species was a nudibranch.

In August 2007, the Bonaire Insider published an article about a new nudibranch species discovered in Bonaire by Ellen which was later officially added as a new species.  The nudibranch was named Trapania bonellenae, a combination of Bonaire and Ellen.

Ellen’s latest discovery, a new crustacean.

The Candy Striped Crab is a new species found on Bonaire by Ellen Muller.

The Candy Striped Crab is a new species found on Bonaire by Ellen Muller. Pictured here with a Flaming Reef Lobster.

And now, the Candy Striped Hermit has been officially confirmed.  Ellen tell us this about her latest discovery:

On a night dive, in December of 2015, I took some photographs of a Flaming Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus antillensis). Back home, when I looked at the photos on my computer, I noticed an unusual looking, extremely small hermit crab with coloring unlike any that I had seen before. I sent the photo to a crustacean expert, Arthur Anker, who suggested that I forward the photo to Rafael Lemaitre who specializes in hermit crabs. Neither had seen anything like it but the detail in the photo was too poor to make a positive identification. I was told to try and get some better close up photos.

 

Ellen thought to herself that this would be an impossible task, akin to finding a needle in a haystack.  However, she went back to the area where she photographed the lobster, and, lo and behold, she found three of the hermit crabs and got some decent photos and she sent them back to Rafael.

His response?

“This is amazing, shows how little we know of the Caribbean. I still can’t be sure, but even with your earlier photo I had the suspicion it might be a species of Pylopaguropsis, of which several species in the Pacific have similar striking color patterns. There are 16 described species worldwide, but only one is known from the western Atlantic (and it is not that one on just color differences). The species in this genus tend to have very massive right chelipeds, with a flattened chela, much like it appears to be in the photos you just sent. All subject to confirmation by examination of specimens.”

Ellen continued with the proper protocol for confirming her new species.  After obtaining the proper paperwork, a few specimens were sent to the Smithsonian Institution, and it was confirmed that these hermit crabs are indeed a new species. For those who enjoy learning the science behind this, the scientific article can be found here.

The crab is named for her granddaughter, Molly.

As the discoverer of the new hermit crab species, Ellen gets to name it.  She has dubbed this crab Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae after her granddaughter in the hope that Molly will continue the tradition of celebrating and protecting the amazing diversity of marine life in Bonaire’s waters.

Ellen would like to give special thanks to Rafael Lemaitre, who was so enthusiastic about describing this beautiful little crab. Thanks to VIP Diving, Frank van Slobbe, Paul Hoetjes and CIEE’s Rita Peachey and Amy Wilde for their help with this new species.

Congratulations, Ellen, keep it up!  Now, divers have a new marine species to find on their next Bonaire dive trip.

(Source:  Ellen Muller, images and video by Ellen Muller)

 

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