Cover: Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull
Generally, I’m not a fan of rules, but here’s a rule that I believe is a good one for everyone to follow – if you visit a Caribbean island you must take a sunset sail.
Gliding over the shimmering water as the sun sets is just a fabulous way to end an island day. Add to it, an afternoon snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, an open bar, and a delicious on-board BBQ dinner prepared by a former chef that welcomes you to his boat like an old friend, and you have one of the best snorkeling, dinner, sunset sails we’ve experienced.
Captain Wim and Compass Bonaire
I think to understand what makes Compass Bonaire a unique sailing experience takes a little understanding of the owner, Captain Wim.
Captain Wim told me this story while we were on board – and its a great one. Wim used to own a successful restaurant in the Netherlands and one day, he decided it was time for a change. So, he sold his restaurant and bought a boat in Bonaire. And, at that point, he didn’t sail.
Fast forward to now and Captain Wim expertly maneuvers his 44 foot Peterson sail boat across the waters of Bonaire, while entertaining his visitors, and it’s obvious that he delights in their enjoyment of the experience.
With guests sipping beverages and sharing laughs, Captain Wim looked over at them, smiled, and told me that’s what it’s all about – making sure they have a wonderful time on their vacation.
It would be hard not to. From the moment we boarded, a beverage was in our hand and faces were smiling by the time we pulled away from the dock.
Great food & drinks, beautiful sights, and an amazing array of creatures below and above the sea, including an osprey as we left the marina, were in store as we headed toward the open waters on our late afternoon adventure.
As we sailed along the western coast of Bonaire from south to north, we were treated to an afternoon view of the island, as well as snacks that began with a delicious brie appetizer. With a backdrop of casual conversations, Bonaire passed by us with its boats, beaches, colorful buildings and Dutch Caribbean charm.
Nearing the northern end of the island, we turned toward the west and headed to Klein Bonaire, an uninhabited island just off the coast of Bonaire known for fabulous diving and snorkeling. Captain Wim found a secluded spot for us to spend some time exploring Bonaire under the water.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really gotten snorkeling. Having been on numerous sailing cruises with snorkeling in the past, I’d do it on occasion and always ended up coming back to the boat to grab a beer. With some convincing to try it again, I thought, why not. Compass Bonaire provides all the gear, so I gave it a whirl.
This was a different kind of snorkeling. Bonaire under the water is so magical. Parrotfish, Trumpetfish, Barracuda, Balloonfish, Lionfish, even Squid – we saw so many. And the coral! It was spectacular! Being led on a great snorkeling exploration was so different, with Emma identifying different fish as we found them. I am now a convert and I completely get it. Bonaire is amazing.
As we climbed back onto the boat, we were met with the fragrance of grilling and a splendid assortment of other dishes that Wim had prepared while we were swimming.
Wim’s former chef days were readily apparent with the fabulous spread he presented to us – and the peanut sauce was amazing. After an hour in the water on our adventure, the entire boat devoured the spectacular dinner.
As our dining drew to a close, so did the sun for the day, as the sky filled with golds and oranges.
A lone freighter passed on the horizon and a calm filled the air, as everyone watched the beauty of the sun slipping below the horizon, leaving us in the afterglow of a day spent in one of the most beautiful spots on earth.
As we headed back to the marina, everyone on board was happy and peaceful after a wonderful day in paradise.
Creating truly a memorable experience, the Compass Bonaire team delivers the highest level of hospitality and the sailing, snorkeling, and dinner sail is a superb experience.
Know before you go
Reservations. Compass Bonaire offers several different sailing tours or will customize one for your group. Give them a call at 00599 – 786 7757 or book online on the Compass Bonaire website.
Location. Compass Bonaire leaves from the Plaza Resort Marina. If you are using GPS on your phone, it may not get you to the correct place (we wound up on the wrong side of the marina).
What to bring. Bonaire is located very close to the equator and the sun is very strong. A high SPF sunscreen is recommended and should be reapplied often. Wear comfortable clothing and a swimsuit if you plan to snorkel. Bring a towel and, of course, a camera for catching that amazing sunset.
Disclaimer: Special thanks to Compass Bonaire for hosting us as their guests. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.