August 1-31, 2003 -- Bonaire Daze, Dreaming of Aruba Nights

We were talking with Ray, Gale and Ashley from Precocious Gale when they mentioned that they would be heading to Aruba to meet Gale's parents at the end of the month. We were looking for a change, so we suggested that they ride with us to Aruba for her parents visit, and then they could either ride back with us on the boat or fly back to Bonaire. After thinking about it they thought it sounded like a great idea, so we started working out plans for our trip to Aruba. This became a frequent discussion topic throughout the month.

On Wednesday August 6, we headed down to Immigration to apply for the extension to our tourist visa. Or, at least that is what we thought we were doing. I went in, and handed my stuff over to immigration, and then after about 30 minutes was called back to the immigration officer's office. He informed me that I was not applying for the extension to my tourist visa, I was in fact requesting an extension. After explaining that we had, indeed, checked out and gone to Venezuela and returned, I was told that I had violated the spirit of the law since I left Bonaire with the intention of returning! So, in order for us to stay, I would have to provide proof of insurance. I told him that I would have proof of insurance after we received our mail package, and that would take approximately 2 weeks. He told me to come back on August 22.

So, we received our mail package and I headed back on August 22. We were quickly approved for an extension, that allowed us to stay in Bonaire until September 22. I suspect that had we stayed in Bonaire, we would have been allowed to renew for the full three months, we just would have had to go back every month!

We still faired better than another boat that did something similar. They were told that they had 24 hours to leave. So, they went to Curacao where the immigration people are much friendlier and checked in there.

Finally, the big day arrived. Actually, the night before the big day, Ray, Gail and Ashley brought their stuff over, and moved aboard Nightwinds. We left at 7:00 am on August 31 for Aruba, and our first stop along the way of Boca Santa Cruz in Curacao.

We had a wonderful trip there. Unfortunately, on our way there, our wind indicator broke, so if we believed our wind indicator, the wind was always on the nose! It would have made sense, and been believable if we hadn't been heading west!

We dropped anchor in Boca Santa Cruz around 3:00 PM. Ashley, Gail and I snorkeled on the anchor and then looked around a little bit in the water. We settled in for the evening and had Enchiladas, refried beans (made from scratch, Thanks Gail) and Spanish rice for dinner. It was a really fun day.