August 16, 2011... Round-Bonaire Excursion

After being in Bonaire over a month it was time we rented a car to see the island.  Set out north in our pickup, taking the wild west coast road passing through residential areas and nature reserves.  One spot, thousand steps, is a noted dive site -- beautiful views of the sea from these cliffs above the water.

Continuing inland along Gotomeer, a large lake surrounded by hills with a flamingo sanctuary.  Saw only a few birds there and they were very far away.  Thankfully with our binoculars we could see them, but the camera didn’t capture any here.

Onward to Rincon, the oldest town on Bonaire.  Here we saw our first road-hog goats and some pretty churches.

Leaving Rincon, we headed south driving near the east coast, or windward side of the island.  Saw some large commercial wind towers -- glad Bonaire is trying to take advantage of its tradewinds.  We turned off the main road to visit Seru Largu, a high overlook in the middle of the island.  From there we could see both coasts, Kralendijk, the mooring field, and Klein Bonaire -- the small island to the west.  When you are at sea level all the time, even being 123 meters up is considered a spectacular view.

Continuing south, the island just opened up before us.  Completely flat.  The salt works cover about 2/3 of the south and they are really strange to see.  Some of the basins have a pink tinge, but the salt is very definitely white.

Along here are the slave huts built in the 19th century to house the salt workers.  Very tiny, very hot, but situated on the sea where cooling breezes come at night.  The obelisks were built to signal the salt cargo ships indicating where to go to load salt.  

Along the southern tip of the island, the lighthouse stands over an incredible amount of coral rubble thrown up on land by the sea.  Here we saw an osprey!  We still can’t get it out of our heads that ospreys live everywhere... we think of them as Chesapeake Bay birds coming south for a visit.  And of course we did see flamingoes in Pekelmeer, another flamingo sanctuary, but too far away for good photos.

We ended our exploration at  Lac Bay on the east coast.  Lunch at Jibe City and relaxing in the adirondack chairs in the water.  Two happy campers.

It wasn’t until we started back to Kralendijk that we saw flamingoes close enough to photograph.  Finally!

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