Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail

Snorkeling, sailing & a Bonaire sunset with Compass Bonaire

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Captain Wim, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Captain Wim, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Captain Wim, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Osprey, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Osprey, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Greg, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Greg, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As our dining drew to a close, so did the sun for the day, as the sky filled with golds and oranges.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As we headed back to the marina, everyone on board was happy and peaceful after a wonderful day in paradise.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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.

Captain Wim, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Captain Wim, Compass Bonaire Sunset Sail, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

 

Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire

Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba in Bonaire

Cover: Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Driving over on our way for a horse ride and swim at Rancho Washikemba in Bonaire, we had no idea what a cool morning we would experience.

Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We expected a horseback ride along a trail, followed by a brief swim, then a ride back to the stables. Boy, were we surprised!

Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rancho Washikemba in Bonaire offers a chance to ride a horse while the horse swims in a lagoon and it is truly an amazing experience.

Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rancho Washikemba

Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Located on the rugged, eastern side of Bonaire in the Bara di Karta nature park, Rancho Washikemba is a horse ranch offering ride/swim tours, riding lessons, and children’s parties.

Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We arrived a little early to get a chance to meet the horses and the owners, Bregje and Marc. Originally from the Netherlands, they moved to Bonaire 12 years ago, built the ranch in 2010, and now operate the only official, fully licensed and certified horseback riding ranch on Bonaire.

Lady, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Lady, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Sophia First of July, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Sophia First of July, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Upon our arrival at the ranch, some of the horses were finishing their breakfast, amidst wandering chickens and the ranch dog, Vlek, while others were playing in the horse pen.

Vlek, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Vlek, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Blaze's Joseph, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Blaze’s Joseph, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The 10 horses at Rancho Washikemba live in cheerful bright yellow stables that were exceptionally clean and the horses are very well cared for by Bregje and Marc.

Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We’d never ridden a horse before and the only horses we’d been around were racehorses at the track so this would be a first experience.

Bregje and Marc had selected horses for us that fit our riding experience level, which obviously was none, and provided riding instructions, such as the distance to keep, how to tell them to turn, etc.

Kim on Blondy Studebaker, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Kim on Blondy Studebaker, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We then mounted up and headed out into the gorgeous Bonaire countryside.

Horseback riding with Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Horseback riding with Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Rancho Washikemba Lagoon Tour

We did the Lagoon Tour, which winds through the Bonaire backcountry to the eastern coastline and Lagoon Bay, then back to the ranch. Bregje led the way on Allreckdup, also known as Tango, an American Thoroughbred born in Maryland and now living in Caribbean paradise.

Bregje on Allwreckdup, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Bregje on Allwreckdup, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Along the way, Bregje would point out things along the trail and shared information about Bonaire and the Washikemba area.

Bregje on Allwreckdup, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Bregje on Allwreckdup, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

I rode Blondy Studebaker, who was born on Curacao and is a crossbred Paso Fino mare. Greg rode Poco Blonde Princess, an American Quarter Horse mare who was born in Florida.

Greg on Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Greg on Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We both took photos throughout the ride and both horses were very easy to ride and gentle, making a first time horseback riding adventure a breeze.

Greg on Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Greg on Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Along the way, we saw iguanas and a few goats, who generally kept a safe distance, but for the most part, it was a quiet ride through the peaceful, natural environment.

Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As we reached the top of a small hill, Lagoon Bay suddenly appeared – a very quiet, beautiful body of turquoise water rimmed with mangroves and rocky ledges.

Lagoon Bay, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Lagoon Bay, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We rode to a large rock formation next to the lagoon and dismounted.

Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Greg was staying on shore to capture shots of me riding in the water, so Bregje and I stripped down to our swimsuits. Marc, who had met us at the lagoon unsaddled Greg’s horse, Poco, who they told us loves the water and would be the horse I would ride into the lagoon.

Blondy Studebaker, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Blondy Studebaker, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bregje led us into the water and told me to hold onto the mane. When we got into the water, she told me I’d feel Poco push off when she started swimming.

Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It was truly spectacular! Poco loves it so much that when Bregje would try to lead her back out, she’d pull back and wanted to stay swimming.

Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After our swim, they saddled Poco back up, we got dressed, and continued our ride.

Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Greg on Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Greg on Poco Blonde Princess, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In the distance, the Spelonk, Lighthouse, which was built in 1910, stands regally above the rough waters and barren landscape.

Spelonk, Lighthouse, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Spelonk, Lighthouse, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After heading down the coastline, we turned inland, past the oldest tree on Bonaire, then by the rumored-to-be haunted, Plantation Washikemba, then continued on the trail back to the ranch.

Bara di Karta nature park, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Bara di Karta nature park, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Oldest tree on Bonaire, Bara di Karta nature park, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Oldest tree on Bonaire, Bara di Karta nature park, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Plantation Washikemba, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Plantation Washikemba, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Know before you go to Rancho Washikemba

Location: Rancho Washikemba is about 8 km /5 miles from Kralendijk on the eastern side of the island.

Booking a tour: Reservations are required and can be made by calling +599 788 8668 or +599 786 7321, via email at info@rancho-washikemba.com or by visiting the Rancho Washikemba website.

Horseback riding with Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Horseback riding with Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Attire: Wear a swimsuit under your clothes. The ride is more comfortable with long pants and closed-toe shoes, preferably with heavier soles to keep your feet from getting sore from the stirrups.

Sunscreen and a hat: The ride is fully exposed with no shade and the Bonaire sun is very hot, so sunscreen is a must and taking a hat and water are probably also a good idea.

Watch the video: Swimming with horses at Rancho Washikemba

Rancho Washikemba captured my ride/swim on video – see for yourself what a cool adventure swimming with horses is!

Disclosure & disclaimer: Special thanks to Rancho Washikemba 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.

Il Tigretto - Hank the Tank, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Il Tigretto – Hank the Tank, Rancho Washikemba, Bonaire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media