Birthdays and Boats on Bonaire


Branching Vase Sponges

Every morning when I wake up I set a new personal record for most consecutive days alive.

This last week I celebrated a birthday. Cindy and I have been cruising full-time now for about four years and it has taken us this long to get away from Hallmark. Like most people living on land, we purchased cards for special occasions as a sign of kindness and caring and gave them to people whom we were fond of over the years. Living on a boat has made it harder to send a card. Yes, there are e-cards but I guess we are a little old fashioned. We like the paper ones.

We can still buy cards on the islands we visit but the pickings are often slim. I got lucky once in Grenada and manage to find Cindy a great card for her birthday. But for the most part, unless we purchase way ahead, buying a card is not easy.

We make cards now and print them ourselves. For relatives and friends, Cindy will email a card she made as a pdf. This past July we celebrated our anniversary and it was the first time in a gazillion years we didn’t buy greeting cards for each other. We made them. And, I have to say, it meant more this way. With the availability of clip art and pics on the internet, creating a card can be a lot of fun and much more personal than any Hallmark card.


Making bubbles in Bonaire

One on the best choices we made was to include an all-in-one printer scanner copier as part of our electronic equipment. Most cruisers we meet do not have a way of printing or scanning aboard their vessels. Sadly, our HP printer recently bit the dust after a few open heart surgeries. Of course, printers have a habit of timing their demise just after we purchased and stocked up on print cartridges. Cartridges we discovered are not always available world-wide, hence stocking up. We replaced our HP printer with one of the new Epson Ecotank model printers because the ink is available in bottles eliminating the need for the expensive cartridges. The Epson ink last forever and is much cheaper. A bottle of black ink is less than $20 compared to a black HP replacement cartridge of over $55. The cost comparison: 71 cents per ml of ink for HP versus 15.7 cents of Epson ink.  Epson is about 5 times less for the refill ink. No brainer, huh!


A large Needle Fish lurking just below the surface

School of Blue Tang fish

School of Blue Tang fish


We never tire of seeing turtles

So what do you get a person for their birthday who lives on a boat, has limited storage space and has just about everything he ever wanted? Cindy is a great gift giver. She often notices a need for something or takes note of a comment I make and later surprises me with the perfect gift.

When we’re med-moored (stern to a dock) or in marina, having the dinghy on our stern davits under the arch and solar panels is a real pain. It is in the way when we board the boat from the back. If we have room, we will lift the dinghy and hang it off the side of the boat. We lift the dinghy for two reasons: First, to prevent theft. Second, to prevent sea-life growth on the bottom. It’s amazing how quickly the dinghy will get a seaweed mustache. Once the dinghy is secured before we lift it, I have to scale up the side of the boat and climb over the rail. I’m not a young as I used to be and it is just a matter of time before I miss the deck and fall into the water. Having another birthday is a reminder of this fact.

Cindy found the perfect solution and birthday gift. It is a small collapsible ladder I can use. It easily gets me to the deck level and all I have to do is step over the railing. It is also small enough so we can stow it out of the way when not in use. A perfect solution for the old skipper’s joints not being as agile as they once were.

Climbing aboard using my new ladder

Climbing aboard using my new ladder

Dinghy lifted

The dinghy lifted

We had dinner with some friends the night before my birthday and they told us about an area where seahorses were spotted. I have never seen a seahorse except in the zoo or aquarium. They told us to come by and they would point us in the right direction. We hunted for about an hour. I was just about to give up thinking perhaps the seahorses had moved on. And then, eureka! What a great birthday treat! We found a couple of seahorses and watch them for about half an hour. Awesome!

Sea Horses Bonaire

Spotting our very first seahorse. Not the best picture but I don’t care. We saw seahorses!

After being in the water for a while, I don’t know what causes this but, I always really fancy a big greasy salty cheeseburger. Perhaps it’s the salt taste of the ocean sending my body into some sort of recoil time-warp and it’s suddenly craving salty fast-food like it had in the days of yore. Whatever it is, sometimes the craving is too much to ignore. On Bonaire, we found the perfect resolution. We found a food truck on with rave 5-star reviews selling burgers and hot-dogs.  The taste buds started to water reading the reviews.

I need to explain something here. Finding a good hamburger in the Caribbean islands is about as rare a spotting seahorses. Yes, there are burger joints and yes we do find the occasional McDonalds but these places lack the extraordinary delicious burgers I crave; the ones with the need for extra napkins. I’m talking about the kind of burger a person buys at their favorite burger joint. The type of burger when taking the first bite eyes are closed as the body trembles and the mouth’s taste buds titillate then jump for joy. Yeah! That kind of burger.

It seems on Bonaire quality beef is in short supply. We haven’t found tender steaks or good red meat in the local stores.  Sometimes we can find a local butcher but haven’t managed to do so on Bonaire. The last time we were able to stock Cream Puff’s freezers with Grade A beef was when we were in Puerto Rico when we were able to do a Costco run. So basically because of the lack of good meat, I don’t really have very high expectations when trying a new burger joint on an island. Most times the meat has filler and doesn’t really taste like beef at all. But this time proved to be different.

After diving around the salt piers, we drove to Bachelor’s Beach where the King Kong Burger food truck parks. I love how we can get out of the water, keep our bathing suits on and sit at a picnic table with an awesome view of the beach and ocean while eating burgers and fries. The weather is warm so we just sort of air dry without the slightest hint of a chill. So how was the burger? It was really good. It wasn’t the best burgers we’ve ever had (that would be Joey D’s Oak Room in Atlanta). But, they were delicious.

King Kong Burger - Bonaire

King Kong Burger – Bonaire

King Kong Burger - Bonaire

My bacon cheeseburger – yum!


Categories: Bonaire, Caribbean, Sailing Blog

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