We were fortunate enough to travel to our favourite location–Bonaire! After a long red-eye flight from Seattle to Miami, our day started off with a big sleep-in since we hadn’t slept the night. The hotel Intercontinental was beautiful and right downtown with an amazing window that overlooked the ocean. After a bit of a drive around the Southbeach, we headed off to the Safari Park, which was supposed to have some of the best alligator activities.
The experience started off with an airboat ride in the Everglades. Chris was a bit uncertain about riding in this kind of boat, but once we saw that it was a wide-body one that was more like a boat than the chairs on platforms that you see on TV, he was ok with it.
The guide steered us through lots of glades where we even saw a baby alligator (apparently quite rare) and lots of larger full-sized ones in their natural habitat. After the boat ride, we headed back for an educational show with one of the conservationists and a photo opp with baby “Snappy”! On the drive back home we stopped at a roadside outdoor restaurant that served “gator bites” and frog legs. Yes, that is Bas in the photo quite enjoying the frog legs. Naturally, we told him it was chicken!
We came back to the hotel for a play at the park across from the hotel before heading out to find the food-trucks! We had seen something on Anthony Bourdain where the trucks all converge at one location and when we looked it up, fortunately it was on for Saturday night! We found it and spent the next 2 hours eating some amazing street food from a total of 7 trucks. The feast included duck sandwich, spicy pork-tots, pork belly Asian hotdog, a host of tacos, lobster pizza—made in a real stone oven in the food cart—and ice cream for the kids at the end. It was a fabulous experience with lots of great new flavours!
The following day, we checked out and headed to the airport for another day of travel, first to Curacao where we would transfer to Bonaire. We were a bit concerned because we realized that we were overweight due to differing allowances between Continental and Insel Air. Fortunately, we had a super nice guy who checked us in and allowed us to go through with the bags and the fishing rod and didn’t charge us extra. The kids were great on the flight and although it was a long day, they were fantastic! We arrived in Bonaire around 9pm and were greeted by Oom Rob who took us and all our stuff back to their place where we would stay.
The next morning, Chris picked up the rental truck and we headed to Sorobon beach, where we stayed last time. The beach is absolutely perfect for the kids as the water is shallow and great for swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling. Tante Renee had arranged for a cabin to use during the day so that we would have a bathroom, kitchen and place for the kids to nap and get cleaned up at the end of the day.
Our agenda was pretty much the same for the next 5 days. We woke up, at breakfast, loaded everyone up and headed to the beach for the day where the kids spent endless hours playing in the sand and in the water. We then cleaned everybody up and headed back to Kralendijk for dinner in town.
One of the highlights was that Bas and Ineke really got the hang of snorkeling. Once they realized that they could see fish underwater and breathe without coming up for air, they spent hours going on underwater adventures. Ineke especially, had completely forgotten her fear of putting her face in the water. At one point, Bas and I were headed towards to a small cluster of rocks where tons of tropical fish were swimming. All of a sudden, Bas started to panic and swim as fast as he could away while screaming in his snorkel. He claims that he saw a sea urchin and he was scared because they had been warned to watch out for dark spots so as not to inadvertently step on one. I figured that he had seen some coral or plant life on the rocks and told him not to worry. Nevertheless, I swam back to take a look. Lo and behold, a massive sea urchin with 10cm long spikes was right beside the rocks. I can see why he was startled, but I think that he believed that the urchin was going to chase us.
On Wednesday, Oma and Opa arrived! Everyone was very excited when they met us on the beach. Thursday morning started off with a trip to “Pirate Island” in the boat with Opa and Oom Rob. The kids arrived on shore with swords and shields, ready to fight the pirates. Fortunately, the pirates had fled by the time we got there, but not without first burying their treasure. Thanks to the keen eyes of pirates Ineke, Bas and Wimwim, they found the X in the sand and dug up a whole box of gold coins—chocolate of course! Chris even managed to do some fishing although much to our disappointment, he didn’t catch anything!
The last of our time on the beautiful Caribbean island was spent visiting with family and playing on the beach and in the water. The kids even really started to swim without their water wings! We enjoyed some great meals at both “It Rains Fishes” and “At Sea” and of course, almost every evening concluded with an ice cream treat from Gio’s!
After two flights back to Seattle, we opted to stay overnight there before driving home. Everyone fell into bed and due to the jet lag we were all up pretty early and headed back to Vancouver.
It was a fabulous vacation filled with great memories and lots of highlights. Our only complaint was that 5 days was far too short. And upon our return, we were greeting with typical November Pacific Northwest weather….rain, cold and darkness! Ineke cried the whole way to school that she hates living here!
Ah yes, back to reality is very, very difficult!