BONAIRE, CURAÇAO JULY TO SEPTEMBER 2008
 

Sunset
   
Sunset, sailing downwind with the genoa poled out and the mainsail goosewinged on the opposite side of the boat. We see many beautiful sunsets but in the back of your mind are the twelve hours of darkness to come, my watch is usually 23.00 to 03.00 with Mike doing 07.00 to 23.00 and 03.00 to 07.00. Sunrise is always welcomed.
 

Dolphins
   
Dolphins! Sailing out of sight of land you can go for days not seeing anything, then the dolphins turn up - proof that there is other life after all. If you go to the bow some of them look at you as if asking you to come and play. As they approach the bow wave it's not unusual for them to be three abreast, with another three or four underneath them, both sides of the boat. Sometimes the formations cross at the bow and there might be over a dozen dolphins within inches of each other, yet we've never seen a collision (bear in mind that as the groups go to cross the bow thay can't see the group on the other side - incredible).
 

Dolphins
   
On the other hand some come by on their own. The water colour in the pictures is different because they were taken with different sun angles. However you can see why people call what we do 'blue water sailing'. The water is about one thousand two hundred feet deep. Here you can see the dorsal fin above water and if you see a dorsal fin approaching and wonder what it is, dolphins have horizontal tail fins and sharks vertical. So if you can see the tail fin as well...
 

French Angelfish
   
On our first dive in Bonaire two French Angelfish started swimming towards us. They are extremely pretty and inquisitive and you normally see them in pairs. They swam straight up to us and one in particular just hovered in front of us and was watching us for a minute or so. It was almost as though it wanted to say something.
 

Looking around
   
This picture was taken by Revid on the south east coast of Klein Bonaire, our dinghy is behind us. In the picture we have snorkels in our mouths, rather than our regulators (to save tank air while above water). We are about to snorkel about to find an underwater landmark that will allow us to find the dinghy when we come back. It is easy to get lost underwater.
 

Gorgonians
   
These are just a few of the Gorgonians we saw, with brain coral bottom left.
 

Queen Angelfish
   
Back diving on Bonaire we also saw a Queen Angelfish, unlike the French Angelfish they are usually solitary. Many people think this is the prettiest fish of all and it would be difficult to argue against that, although a number of other fish come very close. Note the 'crown' on its head, hence the name.
 

Parked in Bonaire
   
Parked in Bonaire with her new paintwork on an unsettled day.
 

Dutch Navy helicopter
   
We heard that a Dutch Navy Frigate was patrolling in the area between Bonaire and Cuaraçao and had sent out a RIB to board yachts. For us they sent their helicopter, seen here on the way in...
 

Dutch Navy helicopter
   
...and here they are hovering behind us, probably taking our name, you can see the spray being kicked up by their rotor wash. This was taken with a wide angle lens and the helicopter is much closer than it looks and very, very noisy. They may well have tried to call us on VHF Ch16 but we didn't have it switched on (tut tut).
 

Kralendijk
   
View of Bonaire's main town Kralendijk from the boat, the water colour is stunning. We can't pronounce the town name either, a Dutch friend here said that Dutch isn't a language it's a throat disease. Correct.
 

Kralendijk
   
Another view of Kralendijk around sunset with the moon coming up. Very pretty and the day to evening colour variations are amazing.
 

Fort Oranje
   
Fort Oranje in Kralendijk. Built around the end of the 1700's the fort never saw action. A stone lighthouse was built in it in 1932. It houses a number of English cannons which seem to be on their original trollies including the mechanism to raise/lower the elevation which we've never seen before. The tramp in the picture was begging.
 

Customs building
   
Believe it or not this is the Customs building that we clear into before going to Immigration. It was built in 1925 and restored in 1995.
 

Church
   
The main Christian Church was built in 1843 and the tower was added in 1868. Everywhere you go in this town there are pretty buildings. The place may be unpronounceable but it's a real joy to walk around.
 

Clouds
   
Clouds over Curaçao building to around three thousand feet. Because we can see most of the sky most of the time we could take any number of pictures like this but even now we look out for such sights, their beauty never diminishes.
 

Jane driving theDinghy crews
   
Here I am driving a Centaur dinghy in Spanish Water, Curaçao. We haven't sailed dinghies for a very long time and it's easy to forget just how manoevreable they are compared to a cruising boat - when you tack them they spin a a sixpence. It was really good fun.

While I was in England Mike sailed a Sunfish dinghy. He capsized three times, once of his own making when his foot slipped and he just fell in. Another time, he was the only one to get the boat surfing, did a spectaculr wipeout and ended up right under the inverted dinghy. I said "why did you do that". He said "I was trying to test the limits of the dinghy and myself". Does anybody think he'll ever grow up, please somebody say yes?
 

Dinghy crews
   
The seven dinghy crews at Sarafundy's after the sailing. Absolutely no alcohol was consumed....
 

Cave light
   
Sixty feet above our heads is a round hole in the roof of one of the Hato cave chambers. The original plug for the hole is on our left and it was absolutely enormous with the top of the plug hole sized about fifteen feet diameter and the bottom of the plug about three times that. Because of the light this was the only chamber we could take pictures in because there were no bats in it. Flash photography can blind small bats.
 

Mike
   
And because it was Mike's sixtieth birthday (tee hee) I've let him have his own picture this quarter.
 

Pirate
   
As we walked around the different chambers our guide pointed out calcium formations that resembled different objects e.g. a statue of the Virgin Mary and child, the head, shoulders and arm of a giant. Mike did ask him if he'd been smoking the Ganja to find these things. In this picture is a pirate's head with a hat on (centre of picture about one third down).
 

Mike and Jane
   
Here we are, on the boat, just before sundown, taken by the folks next to us.
 

Saffron Finch
   
This little sweetie is a Saffron Finch and they are fairly common in Curaçao, we've even had them on the boat. It doesn't show too clearly but they have a pretty orange cap.