10 things I learned about Bonaire

BONAIRE — Youngster Hannah French gives her top ten observations on her first trip to Bonaire.

Sea view from 1000 steps: Hannah French admiring the blue sea and sky.


1. What blue looks like, really. English doesn’t have enough words to describe the many shades of blue that exist in Bonaire. We’re limited to cerulean, cobalt, azure, indigo, turquoise, and navy. But there should be so many more than that to describe Bonaire.

I enjoyed the Bonaire sea waters – also known as diver’s paradise.

2. How turtles hatch. Seemingly an endless number; tiny and confused as they push up through the sand and pull themselves across the beach, instinctively heading to sea.

A nest on the move! Natural instinct takes over – sea turtle hatchlings ready to make it for the sea.

3. That some fish have teeth — and they look like massive teeth. I had an unfortunate encounter with a rather large fish that may have wanted my nose as its next meal.

An example of a large predatory reef fish with big teeth.

4. Magnificent Frigatebirds can remain in the air for a very long time. Months, in fact. When they land, they tend to do so at sea. I only saw one frigatebird as a result, and was very lucky to get a picture of it.

The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is a seabird than can remain aloft for a long time, scanning the surroundings for any fishing bird to snatch its catch.

5. Eels are really, really cool. I saw several eels washed by the waves into tidepools. Surprisingly, they don’t all scream: “I want to electrocute you!”

They come in many cool varieties.

Moray Eel lurking at the sea bottom standing at bay within the rocks.

6. Corals are animals. They get food from photosynthetic algae that cling to them for shelter. The algae also give the coral its color.

Snorkelling on the reef is a great experience – you can see different kinds of corals.

7. Bonaire protects its environment. Even in Lac Bay, the world capitol of wind surfing, everyone was extra careful to avoid stepping on the seagrass beds, which were carefully marked for everyone to see. We all contribute to helping preserve the environment.

Seagrass beds serves as a habitat for marine organisms such as Queen Conchs and must not be disturbed.

8. Bonaire hasn’t quite caught up on recycling. We took batteries home to help out, but had to leave a lot of plastic behind and paper that normally we would recycle at home.

Recycling is an option to reduce trash. Though there are clean-up campaigns, the trash is simply a waste. Investment is much needed on recycling programmes.

9. Bonaire’s environment contributes to medical research to create sedatives and medicines. Things like pufferfish toxin, which can cause paralysis in large amounts, are used to help create painkillers.

I also learned that the reef’s ecosystem can be a treasure of natural biochemicals that can renovate medicine to a more organic-based pharmaceuticals.

10. DCNA people are the best! I had opportunities to snorkel and sail, to visit Washington Slagbaai National Park with the Junior Rangers, and to connect with the Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire to guard baby turtles as they made their way to the sea

I had the chance to join the Junior Rangers from Bonaire (on my left) and the Netherlands (Laura Peters on my right). We had a chance to explore the island’s national terrestrial. protected area.

Thanks, everyone, for making Bonaire such a wonderful place to be.

By Hannah French


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