We made for the eastern coastline of Bonaire. After passing the low, sandy spit to the south, hills of white salt piled up at the end of a pier. In Barbados, we dived a concrete pier. Here, the pier’s for salt. Bonaire was, and still is, an important producer of salt. Somehow, it all seemed very Dutch. There were no windmills or tulip fields. It was just very different to everywhere else.
Further north, the coastline became very developed. There are no beaches along the coast like most other Caribbean islands we’ve seen. It seemed now akin to the Red Sea dive resorts, where land ends abruptly into reef. Boat pontoons and structures are built directly over shallow, turquoise water.
We could see a line of boats on mooring buoys, very close to shore. We’re hoping to take one of these mooring buoys after our stint in the marina. Ahh. The marina. Harbour Village. We found the entrance right in the middle of these buildings and in the middle of the moorings. We pointed Quest forwards.
The dockmaster helped us tie to our finger pontoon. A finger pontoon! Proper luxury. This makes it easy to get off the side of Quest, without having to jump off the stern. Stern-to marinas means the marina can get more boats in – which is fine, but they are sometimes tricky to get on and off. I was glad to see our finger pontoon. Glad to see all of it really.
I don’t know how you spell the name of the dockmaster who helped us, but I’m pretty sure you pronounce it, ‘EG’. Like e.g. So I’ll use Eg for now. Eg seemed a bit embarrassed about giving us the run-down of quarantine rules. He has the Bonaire hippy look himself.
Main rule: we can’t leave the pontoon finger for two weeks. We can walk down to the bottom where it joins to the main pontoon, but that’s it. We can’t cross the invisible line.
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t strange. Especially since the boat next to us had come from another Dutch island, St. Maarten, further up the chain from Martinique. Because both islands are Dutch dependencies, they could go straight onto land. And St. Maarten is suddenly exploding with coronavirus cases compared to either Martinique or Barbados. But hey, I don’t want to be ungrateful. We are on the dock. We have unlimited water and electricity. We can wait for two weeks and walk up and down our finger pontoon as many times as we like.
It was just strange – going from the freedom of sailing, of moving for hundreds of miles without a single boat on the horizon, to this sudden, literal non-movement. Kind of a shock to the body. As Eg requested, we raised the yellow Q flag.