History of Bonaire’s Hilma Hooker Shipwreck

Bonaire's famous shipwreck and dive site, The Hilma Hooker.

The Hilma Hooker became part of Bonaire’s diving history over 30 years ago.

We enjoyed this recent retelling of the history of Bonaire’s Hilma Hooker dive site, by Scuba Diving Magazine.  We hope you like it as much as we did!

The origins of this popular dive site are the stuff of diving folklore — you’ll never hear the whole tale the same way twice. Read on to find out how this drug-smuggling vessel caught up in red-tape and legal limbo found its way to the ocean floor and the hearts of Bonaire’s divers.

History of Bonaire\'s Hilma Hooker Shipwreck

 

The Hilma Hooker is a 236-foot Dutch freighter built in Krimpen aan den IJssel, the Netherlands. It was originally christened the Midsland on May 20, 1951.  This ship would change hands — and names — multiple times over the next two decades.

One of the most in-depth accounts of the Hooker’s troubled months prior to sinking comes from Bruce Bowker, of Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn. According to Bowker, local dive operators were quick to recognize the gift that the tide had left on their doorstep and appealed to the government to use the ship to create a new dive site. Despite an outpouring of public support, nothing could be done. The Hilma Hooker was evidence in an active case for the Attorney General’s office of the Netherland Antilles. And if the owners were found not guilty, the ship would need to be returned in the same condition as when the authorities confiscated it — something that would be hard to do if the ship was sitting on the sea floor.

On September 12, 1984, the ship began taking on water. Its pumps had failed, and the Hilma Hooker began to sink. At 9:08 a.m. she rolled over onto her starboard side and slipped beneath the surface two minutes later.

(Source:  Scuba Diving Magazine)

 


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. 


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The First Salentein Premium Wine & Dine Event is August 1st at Sebastian’s Restaurant

The event will feature Salentien luxury wines and premium beef, by Bodegas Salentein in Argentina.

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 will mark the first Wine & Dine event at Sebastian’s Restaurant, the popular waterfront fine dining restaurant here on Bonaire.

First Salentein Premium Wine & Dine Event at Sebastian's Restaurant, BonaireBegin with wine and sunset.

The evening will begin at 6:15 with a l’amuse and a glass of Salentein Brut Curveé to enjoy the sunset as the gold orb sinks into the Caribbean Sea.

Five-course dinner with wine pairings follows.

At 7:00 PM, the five-course dinner will begin. The dinner includes wine pairing, Acqua Panna and S. Pellegrino waters, coffee, or tea. Relaxing lounge vibes will be by DJ Liv.

Be sure to make a reservation.

Reservations for this special evening are required and space is limited. Price per person is $75.00.  Call 717-1697 or email info@sebastiansrestaurantbonaire.com to make a reservation.

(Source:  Sebastian’s Restaurant)

 


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. 


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Divi Divi Air Expands Fleet with Two Additional Twin Otters

Divi Divi Air adds two Twin Otters to its fleet.

Divi Divi Air is a popular airline for making connections from Curacao to Bonaire.  The small airline is known for their good customer service, and many times is sold out weeks in advance.

To help allay the issue of seating capacity, Divi Divi Air has recently purchased two additional de Haviland DHC 6-300 aircraft, commonly called Twin Otters, from Air Labrador and Air Inuit.

Those visitors who have been coming to Bonaire for many years might recall that Twin Otters were previously used between the ABC islands by ALM’s commuter service, as well as Dutch Caribbean Airlines.

Divi Divi Air's Islander planes provide service between Curacao and Bonaire.

Divi Divi Air’s Islander planes.

Additional seating and STOL capabilities.

These planes have more seating than the Islander aircraft that Divi Divi Air is currently utilizing.  The new Twin Otter planes have 19 seats, while the Islander aircraft, although having 9 seats, is normally flown with a maximum of eight passengers, so there is ample space and weight for luggage and freight.

The Twin Otter aircraft are Canadian STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) utility aircraft, developed by de Haviland Canada and currently produced by Viking Air.  The aircraft’s fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL capabilities, twin turboprop engines, and high rate of climb have made it a successful commuter passenger airliner as well as a cargo or medical evacuation aircraft.

It should be noted that currently Divi Divi Air utilizes Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and therefore flies only during daylight hours.  Those who wish to take advantage of their flights should take this into consideration when making flight plans.  There is the possibility, with the aquisition of the new planes, that flights to Aruba could be implemented in the future.

(Source: Skyquest International)

 


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. 


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Seabirds and Juvenile Green Sea Turtle are Successfully Rehabilitated on Bonaire

Bonaire takes care of its nature; a sea turtle and seabirds are successfully rehabilitated.

 

Update on seabirds rescued from oil spill.

As was reported a few weeks ago, Elly Albers of the The Mangrove Center was tasked with the care, cleaning, and rehabilitation of several seabirds, which were covered in oil, after an oil spill occurred up-current in Trinidad.

Brown Boobies and Red-footed Boobies are happy and healthy.

Today, Elly is happy to report that four Brown Boobies and two Red-footed Boobies have survived, are alive and well, and nearing the completion of their rescue/rehabilitation.

Their last washing was on June 12th, 2017, and now Elly is waiting until their natural waterproofing returns to normal.  Once that occurs, these six seabirds will be set free to return to their natural habitat.

Their release into the wild will occur once the feathers are sufficiently waterproofed.

These seabirds’ feathers are not naturally waterproof, but the bird can increase water resistance by applying waxes from their preen glands, found at the base of the tail.

Seabirds also have “powderdowns” which are special feathers which are constantly disintegrating into a waterproof powder.  This powder also adds to the water-resistance of the birds’ feathers.

Boobies, like other seabirds that dive underwater, are blessed with particularly dense feathers, which also helps to keep the water from penetrating to the bird’s body.  These birds must constantly preen their feathers to keep them in good shape, and continually distribute the waterproofing oils and powders.

The birds collectively eat about 2 kilos (4.5 pounds) of fish each day. The fish is purchased from Bonaire’s local fishermen.

 

“Rosita”, a Juvenile Green Sea Turtle, is successfully rehabilitated.

Over the past six weeks, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) has successfully rehabilitated a juvenile green turtle (Chelonia mydas), named “Rosita,” which was found at Lagun, floating and unable to feed herself.

Rosita was found in trouble on a beach on Bonaire’s eastern coastline.

Rosita was found on May 21st, 2017 by dog walkers who reported the turtle in trouble to the STCB Hotline (+599 780-0433). After a first assessment by STCB’s Project Coordinator, it became clear that the turtle was positively buoyant, and therefore unable to dive for food and so likely to die without help and intervention.

Rosita is a juvenile green sea turtle rehabilitated on Bonaire.A six-week recovery.

Over the course of six weeks, Rosita was re-hydrated, treated for any possible infection, aided in her digestion, fed well, and supported in the process of achieving neutral buoyancy once more by progressively weighting her carapace. Alternative therapies given included a complimentary course of biomagnetism/energy healing treatments from Rosita Paiman, after whom the turtle has been named.

Due to expert team work from STCB staff and volunteers, veterinarian Fulco de Vries, therapist Rosita Paiman, and the team at Harbour Village Bonaire, Rosita has made a full recovery and she was released back to the wild on Sunday, July 2nd, 2017.

If a turtle is found in distress, call the STCB Hotline.

Dr. Sue Willis of STCB encourages all those on Bonaire–visitors or residents–to report a turtle in trouble:

“Bonaire is home to three of the world’s six endangered or critically endangered species of marine turtles. Being able to respond to and assess any sea turtle in trouble on Bonaire is therefore very important. We can’t always save their lives, but at the least we can prevent unnecessary suffering.’’

If you see a turtle in trouble, distress, or danger, please call the STCB Hotline at +599 780-0433.

 


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. 


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Snapshot of 2017 Non-Stop Flights from USA to Bonaire

Here are several options for non-stop flights from major USA gateways.

Getting to BonaireHow to get to Bonaire is always a hot topic, so here is a snapshot of non-stop flights offered by either Delta or United Airlines and operating now through the year-end holidays.

USA BONAIRE NON-STOP FLIGHT SCHEDULE

July 1, 2017 – January 31, 2018

Delta

Currently through August 27, 2017

ATL BON Saturday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Saturday 1548-1907 DL672
ATL BON Sunday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Sunday 1548-1907 DL672

September 2, 2017 – November 18, 2017

ATL BON Saturday 0945-1449 DL380
BON ATL Saturday 1550-1857 DL672

November 19, 2017 – December 20, 2017

ATL BON Saturday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Saturday 1548-1907 DL672
ATL BON Sunday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Sunday 1548-1907 DL672

December 21, 2017 – January 4, 2018

ATL BON Tuesday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Tuesday 1548-1907 DL672
ATL BON Thursday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Thursday 1548-1907 DL672
ATL BON Saturday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Saturday 1548-1907 DL672
ATL BON Sunday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Sunday 1548-1907 DL672

January 5, 2018 – January 31, 2018

ATL BON Saturday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Saturday 1548-1907 DL672
ATL BON Sunday 0945-1445 DL380
BON ATL Sunday 1548-1907 DL672

United Airlines

Currently through December 31, 2017

IAH BON Saturday 1300-1850 UA1402
BON IAH Sunday 0820-1225 UA1401

Currently through August 12, 2017*

EWR BON Saturday 0900-1340 UA1422
BON EWR Saturday 1445-1940 UA1420

*August 19, 2017 – October 7, 2017, the Newark flight will go on seasonal hiatus.

October 7, 2017 – December 31, 2017

EWR BON Saturday 0900-1340 UA1422
BON EWR Saturday 1445-1940 UA1420

Please also note:  Sunday, November 5, 2017, Daylight Savings ends at 2:00AM; March 11, 2018, Daylight Savings begins at 2:00AM. This schedule does not account for both time differences.

Aircraft type, configuration, timing of arrival/departure, frequency of service and continued operation of air service is at the discretion of the airlines.

(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 for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


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Status of Shark and Ray Communities in the Dutch Caribbean

Even as there is greater awareness about the ecological niche that sharks fill in the world’s oceans, their populations are declining.

Research by Imares has shown that a decrease in sharks as apex predators leads to a disturbed natural balance in the sea. This could have consequences for the total fishery stock.

In September, 2015, the Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs opened the Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary, creating the eleventh shark sanctuary in the world. Since that time, additional work has been done to enact further protection for sharks in the waters of the Dutch Caribbean.

Shark research continues on Bonaire in September, 2017Last September, shark research on Bonaire began with a joint study commissioned by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), STINAPA, and Imares.  This coming September, a research study group will be back on Bonaire to continue this research on the sharks which live in Bonaire’s waters.

There are openings for researchers; those wishing to apply need:

  • Dutch citizenship
  • Good analytical skills
  • Good scientific writing skills.

 

The aim of the project is to develop a robust method for long-term shark and fish community surveys in the Dutch Caribbean. As many of the reefs in the Dutch Caribbean extend below safe limits for diving surveys, baited remote underwater stereo-video (stereo BRUV) will be used to study fish diversity, relative abundance and population structure.

 


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. 


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Top Things to Do in Bonaire If You Don’t Dive

A visitor’s guide to seeing Bonaire, even if you don’t dive!

Written by one of Bonaire’s visitors, this article is a great read!

The suggested itinerary proves there is more than enough to do on Bonaire to keep anyone busy for a week’s vacation.

Bonaire is known as a diver’s destination. But there lots of fun things to do in Bonaire even if you don’t dive. This 5-day alternative itinerary will give you the best spots for sightseeing and snorkeling in Bonaire.Top Things to Do in Bonaire If You Don’t Dive

 


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. 


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Taste of Bonaire Talent Edition is Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Save the date for the fourth edition in the 2017 Taste of Bonaire events, coming on July 1st, 2017.

 

Each edition of this popular event has a special theme, and the July event is all about Bonaire’s talented youth. Be sure to come out and support them and enjoy their efforts!

Music, Food, Arts & Crafts.

 

July 2017 edition of Taste of Bonaire features the island's local youth talents.As always, the evening will be filled with a full schedule of music and displays of local talent. There are food stalls offering a variety of tastes from Bonaire’s many eateries, as well as many arts and crafts stalls through which to wander and find just the right gift for souvenir.

The stage will feature the musical group Formashon Musikal Krioyo, and an added attraction will be the group BYOF (Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation), which will present different performances in a variety of forms including dance, song, drama, and more.

When and where will Taste of Bonaire take place?

This edition will once again be held in Wilhelmina Park in Kralendijk from 6:00 PM through 11:00 PM on Saturday July 1st. What a great way to kick off the new month!

 

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

 

(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 for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


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STINAPA Connecting People with Nature Events for June, 2017

STINAPA’s June events include hiking to the top of Bonaire and enjoying Bonaire’s summer birds.

 

See sunrise from Brandaris, the highest point of Bonaire during the next hosted hike in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

Guided hikes in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

The only way to view sunrise from Brandaris is to join STINAPA on one of their sunrise hikes of Bonaire’s highest point.  The next event will be on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18th, 2017, so grab the father in your life and get climbing.

The experience of sunrise (or sunset) on Brandaris is a singular experience, and one which most visitors never get to enjoy.  The hike will begin before sunrise, so participants must be at the entrance to the park before 5:00 AM.

Hiking Brandaris, the highest point of Bonaire.Space is limited and registration is necessary.

There is space for twenty participants, and pre-registration is necessary by calling STINAPA at 717-8444; the entry fee is $10.00 per person.  Participants must arrange their own transportation to and within the park.

What to bring; fitness is important.

A good physical condition is important and children 10 years and up may participate only if accompanied by an adult. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring your own water and a snack and don’t forget to bring a flashlight, since the climb will begin in darkness.  Plans call for everyone to be back at the park entrance about 8:30 AM.

Toward the top of Brandaris, there is a part which can be a bit of a strain, but once you reach the summit, the views of Bonaire are unforgettable.

Birdwatching with STINAPA at LVV on June 24th from 4:30 to 6:00 PM.

Bonaire has an amazing diversity of birds, but many visitors do not realize it.  On June 24th, there is an excellent opportunity to go birding with STINAPA at Bonaire’s LVV facility on Kaminda Lagoen.

Rare species of birds can be spotted.

This area has a constant supply of fresh water which attracts an abundance of bird species. Very rare species of birds for the ABC islands have been spotted in this area, such as the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Southern Lapwing, and the Glossy Ibis. This event provides an excellent opportunity for bird photography as well.

What to bring, make a reservation.

Bring binoculars (if don’t have any, STINAPA can loan you some) and drinking water, and be sure to wear good walking shoes. Reservations are needed, so be sure to call STINAPA at 717-8444 to insure your place. There are no costs involved to participate, but donations are always welcome. Meet at the office building next to the wastewater tanks.

(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. 


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Bonaire Culinary Team Shines at 2017 Taste of the Caribbean Competition

Bonaire’s Awards Include Nine Medals, Leading With the Overall Winner of Caribbean Chocolate Competition

The Bonaire Culinary Team at Taste of the Caribbean 2017.

The Bonaire Culinary team was on fire at Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean Awards on June 6, as the team took home nine medals. Taste of the Caribbean is a culinary competition which takes place each June in Miami, Florida.

In recent years, Bonaire has earned the reputation as having some of the best chefs in the entire Caribbean, presenting diverse cuisine to offer both visitors and residents.

Sherundly Pernabela, Overall Winner of the Chocolate Taste of the Caribbean CompetitionThe Bonaire Culinary Team 2017 was formed with Senior Chef Miguel Saragoza, Chef Sherundly Bernabela, Junior Chef Dustin Libiee, Pastry Chef Maria Mastrangelo, Bartender Kelvin Ventura, Head Coach Floris van Loo and team.

The team brings home nine medals.

The Bonaire awards included:

  • Overall Winner: Caribbean Chocolate Competition: Sherundly “Shur” Bernabela, for his very creative “Tropical Bonaire Paradise” showcasing Bonaire’s salt mountains, its sea and land elements for which Bonaire is so famous; Shur also competed in the seafood competition and won a bronze medal with his dish preparing a colorful plate with red snapper and shrimp.
  • Gold: Caribbean Chef of the Year: Miguel Saragoza
  • Gold: Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year: Dustin Libiee with his “Dry-rubbed Tera Cora beef medallion & green herb and citrus snapper”
  • Silver: Caribbean Beef Competition: Miguel “Poppy” Saragoza, with a dish which included a superb Bonaire style ceviche. Miguel also won a silver medal for the individual beef competition in which he prepared this meat 4 different ways and combined with modern Bonairean twists in using vegetables and seasoning
  • Silver: Caribbean National Team of the Year: Bonaire
  • Bronze: Caribbean Bartender of the Year: Kelvin Ventura for his use of fresh and well balanced flavors accomplished in all his four different cocktails using local ingredients
  • Bronze: Caribbean Seafood Competition: Sherundly Bernabela
  • Honorary Mention: Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year: Maria Mastrangelo

Bonaire's Culinary Team at 2017 Taste of the Caribbean

The full team, led by manager Floris van Loo, delivered on their promise to showcase not only talent, but also excellent team work by winning a silver medal for the Team of the Year competition, a three-course lunch, which included the mouth-watering dessert prepared by pastry chef Maria Mastrangelo, using locally picked Shimaruku berries.

About Taste of the Caribbean.

Kelvin Ventura making his rum cocktail at the 2017 Taste of the CaribbeanTaste of the Caribbean is a yearly culinary competition for professional chefs and bartenders organized by CHTA. Since 1993, the best chefs and culinary teams unite to learn and demonstrate their professional skills. They provide the general public a scintillating exhibition of the most savory and delectable treats in the Caribbean.

(Source:  TCB, Bonhata)

 


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. 


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