Thursday, January 17, 2013
Caribbean Cruise - Bonaire - Day 5 - 12/22/2012
We docked in Kralendijk, Bonaire this morning. Bonaire is one of the ABC islands. The other two are Aruba and Curacao. All three islands are just off the coast of Venezuela. The original inhabitants of this island were the Arawak Indians who sailed from Venezuela to this island and many of the other Caribbean islands as well. The Spanish enslaved the Indians when they came and moved them to Hispaniola leaving the island uninhabited. The island changed hands a number of times until the Treaty of Paris when the Dutch took over. They built a small fort to protect their interests in the salt production on the island. Salt production continues to be a major revenue source for the island along with tourism. Cargill (U. S. company) now operates the salt production facilities on the island. Bonaire is know more for snorkeling and diving adventures than having nice beaches.
As always, we took the "Cultural Adventure" excursion and discovered that there really isn't much. As you can tell from above, the history is kind of gloomy and the island really isn't very pretty. I hear the underwater coral reefs are spectacular though.
It rained hard the entire time we were on the island which probably didn't help the gloomy feeling.
The town had colorful buildings which helped brighten a dreary day....hey, you can't expect sunny weather everyday on a long trip.
We ran from the bus to the Museum as fast as we could. The photo doesn't show how hard it was raining.
The locals put on a music and dance show for us.
This island is actually pretty dry most of the time. There are loads of cactus plants all over the hills.
A couple of the island's parrots.
Like the other islands, there are wild donkeys roaming freely.
There are also wild pigs on the loose.
A monument atop the highest hill on the island.
On a good day, this would be a nice view.
Aloe Vera plants.
The islands is known for it's Pink Flamingos. They are pink because of the food they eat. I think it was little pink shrimp that cause the color. In zoos where the natural foods aren't available, they add coloring to the food to keep the Flamingos pink.
These are slave huts. The slaves provided the labor for the salt recovery operations in the 1800's.
Our guide said that from four to eight slaves slept in each hut. The town was a days walk from the salt ponds so the slaves were pretty much stuck here except on certain weekends when they had time to get to town to see their families. What a rotten life.
The beaches are not pretty in most places. The extreme coral content of the beach gives you a clue to the extent of what is underwater.
These salt stock piles looked like the Egyption Pyramids or at least the Denver airport.
Tomorrow, it is Curacao.