Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flamingos and Fairy Basslets

T minus three days until the launch of 52 rides in 52 weeks, and visiting the island of Bonaire, home of some of the best diving anywhere, and one of four places in the world where wild flamingos nest.

(Flamingo at Gotomeer Lake. Thank you to Mike at Hammocktree, and his windsurfing blog post  from Jan. 2010)

Bonaire, a special municipality of the Netherlands, is about 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela.  Citizens hold Dutch passports and natives speak Dutch as well as English, Spanish and the native Papiamentu.

Since this is part of the Netherlands ...,
(Cyclists in the Netherlands.  Image Source:  http://dc.streetsblog.org/2010/11/18/dutch-planners-school-u-s-cities-on-bikeability/)


... it probably goes without saying that there is decent cycling:
Bike Map.  Image Source:  http://www.infobonaire.com/cyclingmap.html

Visitors and locals are uber-relaxed, but I'm with three hard core bicyclists.  Forget the easy 6-mile rides in chilly weather that I'm used to at home.

We followed the red line route shown above, without the extensions at the north and south ends, about 22 miles.  Sunny, beautiful, hot.  Challenging.  I got off and walked up a steep hill, and it took me all day to recover from the ride.

Me, way back there, through the shimmering heat

It was worth it.  The rewards:  stunning views along the west coast, flamingos wading in Lake Gotomeer (see above), a cold drink at the mini-market in the village of Rincon ...

Rincon, pop. 1800, Image source:  Destination360

... and a dip in the ocean at the end of the day.
Fairy Basslet, Bonaire.  Thank you to photographer Dan Hershman


Biking info:  Mountain bike rental from Bonaire Dive & Adventure, $20 for 24 hours, includes helmet, water bottles, lock.  Hours 8:30-4:30.  




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