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 Post subject: Bonaire
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:19 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 4:38 pm
Posts: 1142
Location: 44.9286, -93.60828
If you like high speed, flat water sailing Bonaire is the place for you. Screaming jibes in 2' to 5' of crystal blue water. The sailing in Lac Bay is beautiful. If you want to perfect your jibe or freestlye this is the place. Or watch the local champs do a complete loop in 15 knts on flat water.There is lots of bump & jump available farther off shore. I had a blast here. The island is a desert island. It is very hot,dry, & windy. Bring lots of suntan lotion, hat, & rash guard. There is one place to stay right at Lac Bay but Lac Bay is dead at night & is about a 20 minute drive from Kralendijk which is the main town & capital. Most accomadations are resorts which cater to divers. We stayed at Captain Dons Habitat which was very nice. If you scuba dive and windsurf you probably couldn't do any better than Bonaire. Compared to some Caribbean islands (like Grand Cayman, Virgin Islands, Antigua) it would probably be cheaper, but compared to somewhere like Cabarete it is expensive. The exchange rate between the Dutch Guilder & the dollar will also have a large effect on your bang for the buck. Bonaire is very sparcely populated Dutch Island, which probably would be destitute if it were not for the scuba diving which is some of the best in the world.

There are 2 places to rent from. Jibe City or Bonaire Windsurf Place (run by Elvis who is famous for putting the local windsurfers on the worlds windsurfing scene). Jibe City run by Earnst definitly has more action, people, & food. The equipment is a little lower quality than Bonaire Windsurf Place but not by much. Overall Jibe City seems to have the most to offer, they are right next door to each other & you can check out both. My wife rented from the Bonaire Windsurf Place because they have better beginner equipment (Start & Go boards). Lac Bay is also a great palce for kids & spouses to learn because the conditions are so accommodating. Much of the bay is very shallow & protected from waves so beginners can stand up every time they take a spill. Overall Bonaire is a uniquely beautiful desert island, with beautiful, friendly people. Quite different from the Northern Caribbean islands.

Lac Bay was great for kiting, and I had some of my first rides there, but it has now been banned in Lac Bay (Elvis hates kiting and is rumored to have pushed for the ban) and moved elsewhere. I have no experince with the new location but the following from Kiteforum.com has some good info.

Quoted from kiteforum.com

"Now that Lac is banned, all kite activity is centred around Atlantis, on the SW side of the island. Locals have migrated there from Pink Beach in the past few months, since Atlantis has more sand for rigging/launching.

Low-down: wind is still good, not too gusty, very acceptable by my picky standards - but yes, offshore wind. Flat water, and somewhat tricky tip-toeing over the rocks for getting in/out of the water with kite flying overhead at zenith (the only way to cross the rocks, thankully the wind in Bonaire does not offer surprises like sudden 10 knot gusts).

Basically, you cannot kite here alone, if you have a problem, you need someone to help you either swim or kiteboard your kite in - not to mention the board that floats away from shore. I had one swim-in, some guy swam out to help me bring the lot back to shore, and at the same time another kiter brought my board back to the beach. Really, this set-up is not a major inconvenience, yet at the same time not ideal.

So you need to kite in Bonaire with other kiters, no way around it.

The good news: over the course of 2 weeks, there were 4 kite-tourists, that includes myself, the rest of the kiters were locals (maybe 7 in total). Locals normally kite on week-ends, or after 14:30 when they get off from work.

Would I go back? Probably yes. The only limiting factor is wanting to visit other places, which has nothing to do with the kiting on Bonaire.

Lac Bay: the crown jewel, needs to be taken back! That place is one of the best I've seen in the world, and, now that the kiters are gone, the whole left side of the bay is dead empty (where the kiting used to take place). The windsurfers now stick to windsurfing in front of the schools, well upwind of the pre-kitearea. There's even less tourists (spectators) at Lac Bay now, because of the lack of kite-action! "




Links:

http://www.geographia.com/bonaire/
http://www.sailboardvacations.com/bonaire.htm
http://www.bonairepros.com/
http://www.bonaire-travelguide.com/index.shtml
http://www.infobonaire.com/
http://www.bonairetalk.com/
http://www.bonairewebcams.com/TheWorks.php
http://www.bonairewindsurfplace.com/index.html
http://www.jibecity.com/
http://www.kontikibonaire.com/?/index.html
http://www.kiteboardingbonaire.com/


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