Bonaire kiting spots/tips?

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Bonaire kiting spots/tips?

Postby xwindsurf » Tue May 13, 2014 1:11 pm

I'm going in early June for 8 days, now that flights from Chicago became so much cheaper and more convenient than before.
I would appreciate all and any insight re. spots/ local kiting scene, places to avoid, etc.
Thanks
Tom
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xwindsurf
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Re: Bonaire kiting spots/tips?

Postby kingston22 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:57 pm

I'm also headed to Bonaire for a week later this summer (september actually). How did your trip go?
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Re: Bonaire kiting spots/tips?

Postby xwindsurf » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:16 pm

I just came back last night, very impressed. Full report coming in a few days
Tom
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Re: Bonaire kiting spots/tips?

Postby xwindsurf » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:46 pm

I came back already thinking about another trip. I liked it better than Cabarette, Aruba, Curacao, and St. Thomas, to give you some frame of reference,
GETTING THERE
United flies from Chicago, though Houston, and Newark. At this time of the year, the inbound flights are on Friday and Saturday, and returns, I believe, on Saturday and Sunday. There might be more in the winter. We paid $570 pp, pretty reasonable compared to many other places. And the hours are convenient.
ACCOMMODATION
Plenty of condos and houses to choose from. We used vrbo.com, and got about 10 reasonable offers within a day. Hotels and resorts are there too, I did not explore them because it was a family trip, with my wife, and my 11 y.o. daughter so 2 bdrms and cooking facilities were super convenient. For something like $180/night we had a place with a ladder from the balcony going directly into a reef.
For single travelers, there is a really inexpensive, and nice place by the windsurf windsufing resort in Lac Bay. It can be as little as $52/night, sweet if the $ is tight.
KITING
I only used my 9 m all there time I was there, and it was all good, for a 134 cm Naish twin tip, and a 150 cm Mako hybrid for the waves. I am pretty heavy so if you are less then 200 pounds, you may dearly need your 6-7 m kites if you are just as lucky with the wind. When I was there, it was 23-26 miles pretty much daily, day and night, picking up just a bit in the afternoon.
Lac Bay, the flat, turquoise wet dream is closed to kiters, after one too many landing on someone's head. Which is a shame - but hopefully, within years, it will change. As things are, there are 3 other spots.
1. Atlantis Beach - that's there all teaching, and most of the riding is done. Small chop, side-off to almost completely off-shore wind. But the terrain behind is very flat so the wind is reasonably steady. For $20 a chase boat comes and picks you up. They seem to be pretty vigilant too.
An easy to find place, with flags, buses, and kites in te air. Follow EEG Boulevard toward salt plants, and a little further down. They even rent reasonably good gear.
2. Lac Cai - This is outside the forbidden Lac Bay, on the choppy/big seas side. To get there, you follow the road to Mangrove Center, and then continue for another 1/2 mile of so. There is a sandy, flat launch spot by the shore, pretty obvious. The road continues a little further, and ends with mangrove access, and a nice swimming beach (a nice family spot, although no services). The entrance itself is much less friendly - a reef, with some shallow spots for about 50 feet from the shore. With low tide, when you body drag from the shore, you may hit something so lycra, preferably full-body, is recommended. The swells were 8-10 ft, some nice breaks, which I did not explore fully, being afraid of shallow reef. There was nobody there, I kited by myself, with my wife launching and landing me
3. Klein Bonaire - No Name Beach - this is a true treasure. A small island, completely undeveloped. You can take a boat (water taxi) there, $15 rt. Kayaks are available for rent too but with 25 mile winds in your face on the way back, it might be much of a workout. The boats go out at 10, 12, 2, and 4, returning from Klein Bonaire 1/2 h later - but you can choose any hour for your return trip. No reservations necessary, just show up at the shore by the "It Rain Fishes" restaurant with cash, and you'll get in. Another one, same hrs and price, leaves a bit further down the one-way street.
The beach is sandy and safe, the wind is side-on, and it is reasonably flat, with small, shapely ramps. This is also the best snorkeling spot on Bonaire, and about 25 shore dive sites...
One day, I took of from Lac Cai, crossed the bay on the outside, and continues to Atlantis. From big swell, to super smooth, long waves, to flat water round the corner. Then I landed, gulped a 1.5 L of water, and continued downwind, and then across the channel, to Klein Bonaire. The whole thing took 3.5 hrs, I very highly recommend it, although I have to admit that doing it on your own, as I did, relies on quite a bit of luck - there are some stretches of the shore where landing is not an option, with shore break shooting 60 ft into the air through gaps in nasty reef. So focus, and stay away from the shore!
PRACTICALITIES
> Good modern supermarkets. Prices are high but local fish, super-delicious, is quite reasonable. Overall, selection is pretty good.
> You can a SIM card for your unlocked smartphone for very little, like $14-18 for a week of data, and some calls. Digicel on the main street in Kralendijk is the place. Closed on Sundays, just like most supermarkets.
> We rented a standard SUV, and realized "standard" is a very flexible term - it was a Daihatsu that would probably fit in the back of a standard US pickup. But it was enough room for the gear, and the 3 of us. Many condos rent "dive pickups", pickup trucks popular with scuba divers who, with shore diving galore, and very rough access, need substantial vehicles. $50-60/day is typical for them. Don't rent a small passenger car, unless fixing tires under tropical sun is your idea of fun - dirt roads are full of sharp coral piece.
> Everything is close, with airport right in the middle. Super convenient
> It is pretty empty in the summer. Cruise ships, we we told, come only in the winter, and 4,000 people coming onshore can change it into something less pleasant. When we were there, it felt empty, in a good way.
Enjoy. If you want specifics I did not provide, PM or email me.
Tom
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xwindsurf
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Re: Bonaire kiting spots/tips?

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:28 pm

Hey Thomas, would you happen to have any Guilders from Bonaire or from any of the other Dutch antilles islands? Let me know! Thanks!
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Re: Bonaire kiting spots/tips?

Postby xwindsurf » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:46 pm

In Bonaire, they switched to ol' good US dollars a few years back.
I might have some change from Aruba and Curacao, if you're looking for sentimental value ;)
Tom
--------------
773-725-2535
xwindsurf
Master of Kite
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:33 pm
Location: Chicago


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