This week’s letter is ‘L‘ for Lac Bay
It would not really surprise me to hear you say ‘huh, Luck what?’ Lac Bay is a part of the sunny Caribbean island of Bonaire. Where David and I were fortunate enough to spend three months at the beginning of 2010, before moving to the US from Germany. A long and very (!) nice vacation, kind of a sabbatical.
Lac is the French word for ‘lake’ and while Lac Bay is not really a lake, you are certain to find lots of water. Obviously Bonaire is surrounded by the ocean, but at its south-eastern tip a reef formed, which separates the open ocean from a secluded bay – Lac Bay. Part of this bay is, depending on the moon and tides, only knee to waist deep. Perfectly flat and warm waters for swimming, snorkeling (great at the coral reef) chilling and… learning to windsurf at one of the local schools JibeCity or TheBonaireWindsurfPlace.
While Bonaire, part of the ABC islands, is best known in the US as a diving destination, it also is a Mekka for windsurfing. At least four of the top freestyle windsurfers currently come from Bonaire. So, when you go there for a windsurf holiday you will surely meet at least one of them, depending on their worldcup schedule. They are all completely down-to-earth guys and girls, some of them working at the local windsurf shops right at the beach. They will help you with surf equipment or questions about the bay and they are always anxious to go surfing and practice their freestyle tricks.
A real feast for me as a photographer!
But back to Lac Bay – at its northern end there is Lac Cai, formerly a fishing village. Conches used to be the main food source until they got placed under protection. Now it is a nice place to go swimming or chilling and watch the sun go down over the island and Lac Bay, with a party on weekends. You should know that it is quite a rough, but very picturesque road to get there.
The north-western part of Lac Bay is a protected mangrove area. You can rent kayaks and go on guided tours, paddling through the mangroves and watch the wildlife. Also from land you will usually see flamingos, and donkeys. Donkeys were formerly used for labor and when cars took over released into the wild. Nowadays they are still roaming the island and you have to always watch out for them, especially at night, when you are driving. There is also a donkey sanctuary you can visit.
Towards the south-western part there is a little jetty with fishing boats. While the main income these days is tourism, islanders still go fishing, but usually not in the bay. There is an opening in the reef close to Lac Cai, where the fishing boats sail into the open ocean. This area of Lac Bay, where the waters are deep and flat, is mostly frequented by the world-class freestyle windsurfers and their younger siblings and friends. Practicing to jump and slide along with their peers. The future of freestyle windsurfing.
Just a little further south you will reach Sorobon, where you will find the two windsurf schools on Bonaire: JibeCity and TheBonaireWindsurfPlace and between them the Hang Out Beach Bar. A fun place to grab a sandwich or salad for lunch in between windsurf sessions or just to chill with a drink on one of the lounges while you are watching the action on the water right in front of you. Here you will also find the only two hotels in the vicinity. The Sorobon Beach Resort, right on the beach and next to the windsurf shops, which makes it a little more expensive than the KonTiki Beach Club, which is just a 5 minute bicycle ride further away. There are a lot of other hotels, villas and apartments ranging from really small to pretty big, but they are mostly located around Kralendijk, the main town of Bonaire, meaning you would need to rent a car if you wanted to go windsurfing.
While we stayed on Bonaire for three months we rented a small townhouse and a car to get to JibeCity, where we rented our windsurf gear. And to drive around and explore e.g. the Washington Slagbaai National Park in the north, which is well worth going off-road for.
This year we went again to Bonaire for a two-week windsurf/beach/sun holiday in February and stayed at The Sorobon Beach Resort, because we were lazy and did not want to rent a car. We had a great time again, with lots of surfing, fun, good food and meeting friends from last year.
Bonaire, a fun, relaxed holiday experience that we are looking forward to having again at the beginning of 2013.