Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 3 Bonaire 10-25-10

Monday we wanted to sitesee to the south for a bit. The island has so much "wild"life to see.

Herds of wild Donkeys and Goats. Goats everywhere. Like chickens on Kauai almost. Then there's the flamingos and parrots and pelicans and frigate birds. And we already discussed the reptiles- iguanas, whiptail lizards and the geckos that only hang out by the outside lights at night.

Let's start with the Salt Pan. Bonaire once was a leader in salt production and distribution. Since the trade has slowed down a bit, it leaves piles and piles of salt in stark white mounds waiting to be loaded and shipped. There is no fresh water supply on the island, so they have a huge desalination plant that takes the salt water in, strips out the salt by crystalization and then pipes the now fresh water into homes and businesses throughout Bonaire. It is completely safe and very good drinking water, but very expensive as you can imagine.

So then we see further south, slave huts. These huts housed 2 slaves who worked the salt mines 5 days a week and were allowed to walk home to their families in Rincon on the weekends (a 7 hour walk!!). Slavery was abolished in 1863, but the huts still stand next to their past plantation owners villas on the west coast. There was the "white" and "red" slave hut differentiations. 

The surf got rougher and rougher the further south we went, but we did see donkeys and goats and flamingos and pelicans and even some osprey and frigate birds. But I'll do a post separately about them.

On our way back to the condo we stopped to take each other's pictures with the salt mounds. We pulled into the Salt Pier and shortly after us a very small van with an even smaller boat towed behind also stopped. A very nice native of the island offered to take our picture together with a salt mound. Striking up conversation, Jerry asked the man what exactly they fished for in a boat so small. The man gave out a big laugh and repeated in Dutch to his partner what Jerry had asked. His partner chuckled also, but motioned to us to come watch what they were there to do. The 1st guy explained that they were going deep sea fishing off the edge of the reef for snapper. But first they needed bait fish. His partner had this net that he tossed out like a frisbee from the shore rocks. The weights on the edge of the net sank and then it was yanked shut and brought to shore. What we didn't see was that he threw the net over a school of anchovies. When they brought the net to shore, they opened it over a bucket and shook them out. It was neat to watch and very generous of their time to show and tell.

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