Monday, March 13, 2023

We were ready by 6:00 so we were going to go the Pinnacle Grill bar before our dinner reservation at 7:00. We should have looked at the ship map – there is no Pinnacle Grill bar on the Rotterdam. The Ocean Bar is directly across from the Pinnacle Grill, so we went there.

The Pinnacle Grill restaurant is available on all of the Holland America ships. I had the shrimp cocktail, surf and turf, and asparagus. Chuck had the crab cakes, beef tenderloin with lobster dumplings. We had to skip dessert as we were just too full. As always, the meal was fabulous.

We went to the BB King lounge to listen to the band and dance but there were no seats available. However, we did see Wasama – our favorite waitress from our South Pacific cruise on the Zuiderdam. She was the one who recognized us first. We were so surprised. She said she would be on the Rotterdam until the first of September.

We were able to dance one dance in the Rock and Roll lounge. We then went to another show of the Alans in Cahoots on the main stage. We both said that the magic routine was more entertaining than the mentalist part tonight. It was getting late, and we had a snorkeling excursion in Bonaire so we called it a night.

We had another room service breakfast. I got our gear ready for our day of snorkeling.

We took a HAL tour called the No-Name Beach Water-Taxi. The brochure description is “There is no better way to visit Klein Bonaire (Little Bonaire) than by water taxi.

Enjoy a relaxed and quiet boat ride to the famous shores of No-Name Beach on Klein Bonaire, just 30 minutes away.

The water taxi is equipped with an easy on/off ramp that lowers directly onto the sand making it ideal for all ages.

This uninhabited island is a protected area and one of the most important turtle nesting grounds in the Caribbean region. With its long sandy white beach it is ideal for swimming, sunning and beachcombing.

Snorkel in the world famous Bonaire Marine Park and take in the abundance of fish life and corals and, if you are lucky, you may spot a turtle.

Notes: If you wish to snorkel, bring your own equipment or you can rent it on board the water taxi. (Limited number of sets available for rent.) No snorkel or swim guide is provided. One soft drink per person will be served on Klein Bonaire. Wear your swimsuit under your clothing; bring a towel, sunscreen and a hat. Shade is limited; please dress accordingly. There are no restrooms on the island.

We have taken 2 catamaran snorkeling tours before in Bonaire. We always talked about taking a water taxi to the small island nearby to do a drift snorkel. You can find the water taxi place in town and go over there at your leisure. However, this tour picked us up right at the Rotterdam, so I thought that was a good compromise- go to the island but no hassle finding the water taxi in town.

Thought they would drop us off and come back at 2:00 to get us. Description said we would get a soft drink. I was a little concerned about leaving our stuff while we were snorkeling because the island is a national park open to anyone.

But 2 members of the water taxi company stayed on the beach at one of the two huts, and everyone left their stuff there. We were directed to walk along the shoreline to the point that you could get in to snorkel at the best reef point.

It was a difficult walk to get to the entry point. The path started out fine with hard packed sand. But eventually it became very rocky and slippery. The tide was coming in, so you had to brace yourself as the water rushed around your ankles. Then you could take a few steps before it came back. You did not want to step off the rocks and twist an ankle. You also did not want to cut your feet on the broken shells.

I had hoped to walk the path several times to do drift snorkels while we were there. But I was happy to make it the first time unscathed, so I didn’t press my luck with any more.

The snorkel drift was slow and easy not taking much swimming effort. I think I would have been better off if I had just worn my swim shoes and left my fins at the hut. The drift current was enough that I didn’t really have to use the fins to get me from Point A to Point B.

There were a lot of fish to see. However, I thought the reef looked rough. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bonaire doesn’t shut down the park to help the reef.

Instead of doing another drift, we just bobbed around in the water at the beach. The beach area was very nice, but it had a sharp drop-off into the water. Made it difficult climbing back up to the beach. There were several people that fell over in the waves and rolled around in the sand before they could crawl up on the beach (unfortunately, me included – it wasn’t pretty).

Before the fall. I managed to hang on to the hat and glasses.

We were served one glass of our choice of Rum punch or fruit juice. They also had plenty of water available. At 2:00, our water taxi was back, and I was anxious to get the salt and sand washed off with a nice cool shower.

By the time we got back to the ship and got the sand rinsed off of us, the Lido was closed so we went to the New York Deli and Pizza place for a sandwich.

I’m glad that we finally got to go over to Klein Bonaire, but I don’t think we will snorkel over there again if we ever come back. I’d rather do another catamaran snorkel.

Travel Trivia

Kralendijk, Bonaire

Kralendijk is an alteration of the Dutch word Koralendijk, which means “coral dike.”

Fort Oranje was built in 1639 to defend Bonaire’s main harbor.

On May 10, 1940, 461 Dutch and German citizens were transported to Bonaire and interned in a camp just south of the fort. After World War II, this camp was converted into a hotel, which is now the Divi Bonaire.

The town of Kralendijk is a result of a merger of five villages: Antriol (Entrejol), Nikiboko, Noord Saliña, Playa, and Tera Kora.

Windsock Beach lies at the western end of the landing strip of the Flamingo International Airport. 

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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