Friday, January 24th, 2014
Bonaire was such a gorgeous island to visit, and the real beauty lies beneath the surface of the ocean. You would never know at first glance just how many fish, coral reefs, and various creatures live under there – and close to the surface of the water, so we can view them in their natural habitat! When you snorkel or scuba in Bonaire, you can experience the true magic of the island. We snorkeled at Klein Bonaire, a small uninhabited island just off the coast of Bonaire. It is protected by the Bonaire National Marine Park and is home to turtle nesting grounds.
Our cruise ship, the Emerald Princess, arrived later in the day to Bonaire so we had the chance to sleep in. Justin took this chance but unfortunately, I woke up because one of our neighbors had a really bad cough that kept me awake at night and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I took this opportunity to walk around the ship and snap a few photographs of various areas on board the Emerald Princess (stay tuned for a future blog post for a photo tour of the ship!) I walked around deck 7 on the Promenade deck, which wraps around the entire perimeter of the ship. Then, I walked around the Piazza to get a coffee and had a quick chat with the lady who joined us on our Grenada tour the day before. From there, I grabbed a small bite to eat from the buffet and walked outside to the back of the ship. I laid down on a lounger and read my book for a short while until I knew that Justin might be waking up.
After breakfast (or, second breakfast for me!), we both went to deck 16 to watch over the railing as the ship got closer and closer to Bonaire. We had a very good view of Klein Bonaire and those spectacular turquoise waters, ranging from light to deep blue.
This far side of Klein Bonaire is where we snorkeled
Lots of cacti on Klein Bonaire!
At noon, we exited the ship and met with our tour organizers, Woodwind Cruises. We booked this tour company outside of the cruise ship by recommendation of those on the Cruise Critic forums. We were given our tickets and told to take about a 10 minute walk to where the catamaran would be picking us up. We walked down the street, through a resort, and we reached our destination. Thankfully, there were plenty of signs to help us on our way!
View of Bonaire after we exited the ship
View from the Woodwind Cruises dock
Woodwind Cruises sailboat
It was a hot, sunny day outside with a bit of a breeze that was absolutely perfect for snorkeling and walking around the port! Our group boarded the catamaran and we enjoyed a sail from Bonaire towards Klein Bonaire. We chatted with a couple from upstate New York who love to snorkel, as well as another couple from St. Louis, Missouri. We all got fitted with snorkel gear and soon enough, we were down into the water.
Oh my goodness, it was unbelievably amazing. When I stuck my face into the water, it was a whole other world down there. It was brimming with sea life, like a huge tropical fish tank that goes on and on as far as you could see. There were huge corals everywhere in any shape imaginable, and so many different kinds of fish in all sizes and colors swimming all around. I couldn’t get enough of it and would never grow tired of that sight!
The highlight of the snorkel trip was swimming with the sea turtles. Justin called me over (I got a little bit behind the group due to taking so many photos and not paying attention) because one of the tour guides had spotted a turtle! By the time I got there, it had swam deep into the ocean. Thankfully, another one swam right over next to me! I was swimming alongside this magnificent, huge turtle with the most soulful eyes and relaxed expression on its face. He swam so close to me that he nearly brushed up against my arm! It was so amazing.
After drifting to three separate snorkel sites (although I couldn’t tell when one ended and the next began as it was an endless display of coral and fish!), we got back on the boat for a ride back. I highly recommend Woodwind for any snorkeling trip in Bonaire! They only take a maximum of 25 people out on the tour and break you down into three separate groups, each with a guide. The guide points out fish, coral, and other creatures as you swim along, and they were really knowledgeable.
Once we were back on the boat, we sailed towards the shore. They stopped the boat near the shore and brought us all out some lunch! That was totally unexpected and such a lovely surprise. They even made us a vegetarian version of the dish – noodles with soy sauce and fresh tomato, cucumber, and green onion, topped with fried plantains! It was so delicious. We also had mango juice and rum punch. Woodwind was an unbelievably awesome tour operator and I wouldn’t hesitate to take another tour with them!
Check out the rest of our day in Bonaire – Exploring the city of Kralendijk!