This is my favourite spot of Bonaire: Gotomeer. On the last day, when I can’t dive anymore (flying home the next day), I drive around the island. This is one stop I never miss. This year (2015) there were a lot of flamingo’s at the lake. This donkey looks lost. Most of them are now at the donkey sanctuary. The donkeys and goats imported by the early immigrants eat a lot of local plants. Sometimes drivers see them too late and hit them. The donkey sanctuary helps and protects them. They are part of Bonaire’s culture.
Going to the Park is an adventure. It is a beautiful place, but the roads are terrible. You need a strong car (4×4 if possible or a truck). The first part is okay. Then it it is unpaved. The terrain is uneven, hilly. The rain makes grooves in the road. You have to navigate real carefully. But it can be done. Lots of people go there. So go! But take your time and food and drinks. At Boka Slagbaai there is now a restaurant, but it takes a while to get there. After that, the road is paved again. There’s not much to see anymore, no place to stop anyway. When you leave that place around 16:00 you have enough time to reach the exit.
Diving in the park
Diving in the park is great. In 1983 I dove with a group at playa Funchi. There was a huge school of small fish. I was surrounded by them. Everywhere fish, fish, fish. I never saw such an big school again. When the storms hit Bonaire, they did a lot of damage to the corals. At some places it was wiped out. In 2003 I wanted to dive again in the park. The main problem was getting into the water. The beaches were filled with rubble from the corals. Walking over them with heavy tanks on your back…. At playa Benge it looked better. I’ve made a fantastic dive there! So many fish, incredible. At Wayaka I found out why: this was a desert under water. Swimming out the bay there was only sand and lettuce slugs. I thought at the reef it would be better. But no, everything was gone. Just a few islands with some sponges and 1 or 2 fishes. All the way down to 30 mts, nothing! And that was my last dive on that vacation. Such a downer. In 2009 I went back to the park, but no diving this time! Just enjoying the scenery. They’ve rebuilt the house at Slagbaai (which was destroyed). Look at these old pictures to see the difference.