Only part of Bonaire is residential area, most of it is what we call Mondi (unused land) or Kunuku (small farm lands). The roads in the mondi are dirt roads, only accessible with a sturdy truck or jeep. When you drive the dirt roads you are completely away from civilization. It is like being on a safari trip, where you never know what you will encounter. With a bit of fantasy you will see herds of zebras (I always feel like painting white stripes on the wild donkeys to make that one more real) and wildebeest (you need a bit more fantasy for this one, the wild goats are pretty small) in the plains of Bonaire. OK our wildlife is more delicate than in Africa, but I still enjoy bumping around on the dirt roads of the mondi. Especially in the rainy season, when you need a 4-wheel drive on the muddy tracks.
In January my girlfriend was over from Holland and I thought it was a good idea to go to the caves of Spelonk. Her first time on a jeep safari and my first time to Spelonk. I tried before, seven years ago in an ordinary passenger car, but somewhere I too a wrong turn and ended up in the middle of nowhere with an overheated engine. Never made it to Spelonk. But now I would do better. A couple of years ago, I got a pilots license and I made some reconnaissance trips. From the air it was easy to see the tracks I should take. And I got me a 4-wheel drive jeep. Never mind it had been the wettest rainy season ever on Bonaire. When we went it had been dry for 3 days, and I thought we would be good!
So off we went, and I found the right tracks. It sure was a bit muddy, but I chose the track via the Spelonk lighthouse. Locals had told me that, although a bit longer, it was the better one. I had my doubts when I saw the pools we had to plow through, but we finally did get to the old lighthouse.
The lighthouse keepers house is one of the historical sights of Bonaire, heavily in decay. The windows were longtime gone. The inside walls were covered with a brownish-green slimy substance. The wooden floors mostly gone. Bonaire is a bit sloppy with its heritage. But for those who can appreciate the beauty of decaying old buildings, Bonaire is the place to be.
We continued our trip to the caves and enjoyed the fascinating beauty of waves breaking on the rocky shore line. More land inward we found the big cave and walked in. Water was dripping everywhere, bats were flying around our heads. The stalagmites and stalactites had joined to form columns that seemed to support the ceiling. As we went in further, it got darker and darker. But we came prepared, and with my flashlight we came to the point where the ceiling lowered to crawling level. Here my preparations failed: I did not take coveralls. We could go no further. I turned off the light. It was pitch dark. The sound of water dripping gave an eerie note to the darkness.
With the light on we went back. Most of the way we could see the light of the entrance of the cave. Our eyes, used to the dark now, could see a thousand colors on the wet rocks.
I decided to take the short track back. It did not work out very well: we got stuck in the mud. It took me half an hour to get out of it. My girlfriend was worried all the time, but you should have seen the smile on my face when I was wrestling the small Suzuki Samurai Jeep out of its ordeal. The knee deep tracks we left behind were thoroughly satisfying! Covered with mud we backtracked to the coastal road and then it was easy. I love the adventure of going on a jeep safari on Bonaire.