Shrimp Manicure Anyone?

The Pederson cleaner shrimp is most often spotted living in a Caribbean Anemone.  They are found in the Western part of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean oceans. They have a clear translucent body with beautiful purple and blue markings. Their front claws are very large and are also adorned with the same purple and blue patterns.

These shrimp also act as cleaner shrimp. They lure fish into their surroundings using their large antennae. Many fish will allow them to clean the inside of their mouths referred to by divers as a “cleaning station”.  If they are not busy, you can gently move your hand near their antennae and receive a complimentary manicure.

Reproduction:

After the male cleaner shrimp fertilizes her eggs the female then carries them in her pleopod. She then releases the young into the water column, which produces a pelagic larval form. After the young planktonic shrimp develops it immediately finds its host anemone.  If you look closely, you can see the fertilized eggs in the first two images.

Photos by Shelly Craig, Bonaire Netherlands Caribbean

 

Life’s Too Short to Fly Coach.

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Flamingo International Airport, Bonaire Caribbean Netherlands

How to Travel First Class in Coach.  Almost.

Unfortunatly, economy-seat flying is the cramped reality for most travelers. But you can make adjustments to feel like a first-class flier no matter your seat number.

SEAT SELECTION TIPS.

It can be worth the extra $25. for priority boarding so there is room for your carry on.

Couples should choose a window and isle seat with empty seat in the middle.  (It may not fill up or else, anyone will trade with you.)

The row behind the EXIT row is good if you don’t want anyone reclining in front of you.

1. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD.

Plan your meals and go heavy on the snacks.  Bring a salad or sandwich from home or pick one up on the way or at the airport.  No burgers or fries.  Please.

2.  BUY A DRINK OR TWO FROM THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT.

Treat yourself to what is served in the front rows.  Tip: Delta provides a free drink coupon to Sky Priority travelers who check in online and print their own boarding passes.

3.  BRING BOSE NOISE-REDUCING HEADPHONES.

Drown out the noise of a chatty seat mate or the jet engines.

4. BRING YOUR OWN MOVIE

Load a Netflix movie on your device in advance.  Download the Airline’s APP for Free WIFI in flight entertainment if available.  GOGO in Flight.

5. PACK YOUR OWN MUSIC AND BOOKS.

Bring your iPod and Kindle loaded with new favorites.

6. BRING YOUR BATTERY BACK UP.

You can plug in up front, not in economy.  Don’t let your devices run dry.

7. BRING YOUR OWN COZY DUDS.

A neck pillow and large scarf for blanket.  Slipper socks for your feet and an eye mask for sleep.

8. BUILD YOUR OWN AMENITIES KIT.

Lip balm, germicide, wet wipes, aleve, lotion, face spritzer, etc.  Note:  TSA restricts liquids and gels in carry-ons to 3.4 ounces per item.

9.  BRING YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR.

Be friendly with the Flight Attendants.  They would rather be in First Class too.

Fitness on Vacation?

sport

Almost missing your connection shouldn’t be the only time you work up a sweat on vacation. We get it: your travel plans might make you tempted to forget about your workout routine.  Especially if it’s an “active” vacation like a scuba diving trip.

Scuba Diving may not burn enough calories to make up for the extra indulgences we treat ourselves to when vacationing.  “PADI has done quite a bit of research on this, and estimates that an average shore-dive in temperate water burns as much as 600 calories per hour — the same as jogging. However, a leisurely boat dive in warm, tropical waters burns about 300 calories an hour.”  (scuba diving magazine)

About the same calories as one Margarita!  So, if you want to maintain and not gain on your vacation, try these simple tips to keep in shape on the go:

Stretch post-flight

After a long trip, your muscles tend to be tighter than ever. When you get to your gate, ward off lower-back soreness with a forward fold: Bend at the hips and fall forward, and swing arms side to side. Stand up and stretch on the flight.  Once you arrive at your destination, help your body and mind reset with a couple of yoga stretches like: downward dog and the child’s pose. 

Scope out the fitness scene and try a new class.  You will have a more authentic stay by meeting some of the locals.

Wake up a half hour early and do a 30 minute jog along the sea or a few exercises to rev up your metabolism.  Jumping jacks, lunges and planking and you can be finished before the hotel gym opens.

You can also windsurf, ride a bike, swim, kayak, or SUPboard. Try something new on vacation, and burn a few calories while you’re at it.

Dining at your seaside condo.

Easy Chicken Tacos!

Chicken Tacos

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS

1 store bought rotisserie chicken

2 cups red or green salsa

8 corn tortillas

1 cup grated cheddar jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 avocado, sliced

1 lime, quartered

Optional:  cilantro, radishs, onions, black olives, lettuce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Remove meat from the chicken and slice
  2. Heat salsa in skillet add chicken until warmed through
  3. Serve with warmed tortillas, avocados, cheese, sour cream, lime wedges and optional toppings.

photo: bon appétit

Fun Facts about the Seahorse!

“I have a horsey face, a monkey’s tail and a kangaroo pouch”.

Fun Facts about the Seahorse.
Photo by Shelly

Fun Facts about the Seahorse:

  • A seahorse is a fish
  • A real “Mr. Mom” – The male gives birth!  The female places her eggs in his pouch.
  • Then about two or three weeks later, he has babies.
  • Once a male seahorse gives birth, he often gets pregnant again right away.
  • Seahorses prefer to swim in pairs and “hold tails”.
  • They have skin instead of scales
  • Seahorses swim vertically and propel themselves by using a small fin on their back.
  • “Slow Poke” They are the slowest of all fish.
  • Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach and eat constantly.
  • They are carnivores and eat baby fish or tiny shrimp by sucking them up their snout.
  • A Seahorse’s life span is about 3 years.
  • They have excellent eye-sight.  Each eye can move separately.
  • So a seahorse can look for food with one eye while watching out for predators with the other.
  • A real oddball of the fish family.

Sources:  National Geographic,  National Wildlife Federation, 

Visit the Donkey Sanctuary

Donkeys were imported to Bonaire in the 16th century to work in the island’s salt trade, but as technology improved, their use diminished and the donkeys were set free.

In 1993 Dutch Nationals, Marina Melis and her husband Ed Koopman, established a donkey sanctuary on Bonaire for sick, wounded and orphaned donkeys: Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire.

The primary objective of Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is to offer a sheltered, protected life to all the donkeys of Bonaire. Their information about the lives and experiences of donkeys is also raising awareness amongst the local community, schools and tourists.

When a report arrives about a live wild donkey in distress, volunteers are sent to the rescue. Sick and wounded animals are nursed and, where necessary, a vet is called upon to give medical attention. Orphaned foals are raised with a baby bottle. All stallions that arrive at the sanctuary are castrated to avoid expansion of the numbers of donkeys in care. Once the animals are recovered, they are lucky enough to spend the rest of their lives lovingly cared for at Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire.

You are very welcome to visit Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. They are happy to welcome you in their little shop and tell you about the work that they do. Here you can also buy nice souvenirs of which all profits of course benefit the donkeys.

Next you can make a tour with your own car amongst the hundreds of donkeys in the big park. The animals will gladly come over to meet you and to put their snouts through the car windows, hoping you brought them something nice to eat. If like you can buy carrots from the shop to feed to the donkeys. If you do so, you will definitely make many new friends in a minute!

The special care meadow is only accessible by foot. Here you find the donkeys that need extra care, for example because of an injury or illness. Also moms with their foals and little orphaned foals that they raise by bottle feeding them are in this meadow.

Besides they have a garden where you can admire iguanas and tortoises. At last you can order a drink or snack and relax on the attractive terrace, in the shade of a palapa roof made of dried palm leaves. From there you enjoy a wonderful view on the salt lake, in which almost always flamingos can be seen.

Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is open for visitors daily from 10 AM until 5PM. Entrance is possible until 4PM. Your tour can be done by car, scooter of bike. Of course you can also make a walk through the park. Quads are not allowed.

All in all, an enjoyable and informative attraction for all ages!

Sources: International Donkey Sanctuary/Bonaire Donkey Sanctuary

website:  http://www.donkeysanctuary.org/en

Visit the Slave Huts

Red Slave IL

Bonaire is an island located off the north coast of South America near the western part of Venezuela, and like many Caribbean islands, Bonaire’s history bears the stain of slavery.

Europeans first came to Bonaire in 1499, and upon seeing that the island was worthless for large scale agriculture decided not to settle and develop a colony. Instead, they forced the native population off the island and into slavery, shipping them to work on the large plantations on the island of Hispaniola (“San Domingo” and “Haiti”).

In fifteen years, Bonaire had been mostly depopulated. It wasn’t until a Spanish commander brought some cattle and started to raise them on the island, that the Spaniards thought that Bonaire could be used as a cattle plantation worked by natives. Laborers were brought back and in a few years, the island became a center for raising animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, horses and donkeys.

In 1633, the Dutch took possession of Bonaire and the nearby islands of Curacao and Aruba. The largest island, Curacao, emerged as a center of a large slave trade, while Bonaire became a plantation island of the Dutch West Indies Company.

African slaves were forced to work on the fields, cultivating maize or cutting dye wood and harvesting salt from the expansive salt flats.

The only slaves that worked the salt pans were men. They worked 10 hour days. Each week the men walked down from Rincon along the coast, which took about 6 hours. They then walked back to their families for the weekends.

The current huts are only replicas. Tiny living quarters for the slaves were constructed out of stone, rising no higher than a man’s waist with a small entrance to crawl into. Some of these tiny dwellings, in which a man can not stand upright, provided sleeping quarters for up to six people. These slave huts still stand in the area around Rincon and along the salt pans as reminders of Bonaire’s difficult past.

Some years ago, the huts were restored but the original thatched roofs have been replaced with more durable marine plywood to avoid continuous maintenance.

Sources: Bonaire Travel Guide / Geographia /Uncommon Caribbean/Amusing Planet

Unwind at the end of the day, Island style.

Unwind Island Style
Unwind Island Style

UNPLUG

Turn off the devices.

CHANGE

Put on some comfortable clothing so it’s easy to relax.

TAKE A WALK

Stretch out and let your body feel the end of the day.  Take Hub and the dog.

BREATHE

Take slow deep breaths to calm your mind and body.

REFLECT

As the saying goes, “Where thoughts go, energy flows.”  Be grateful.

HAVE A RELAXING GLASS OF WINE

Focus on the wonderful things going on in your life.

ENJOY THE SUNSET

Watch closely, it slips away fast.