When I bought my next door neighbor’s Yamaha Virago 750 motorbike, I never thought it would become my #1 favorite transport on Bonaire. I knew the weather on Bonaire is ideal for biking. Temperatures around 30˚C/86 F, scattered clouds and constant trade winds make riding a motorbike a most pleasurable experience. Hence there are a lot of people on this island who own a motorbike. The Harley density is the highest in the world. But most of them only use their bike for touring. Not me!
Although I do have a car, I use the motorbike whenever it’s possible. For visiting friends, for small errands, for going to the pub, anything. Of course I know there are fewer assured ways of decimating your life expectancy than riding a motorbike, especially when you do it without a helmet. But there still is no law against living dangerously on Bonaire, and nothing beats the feeling of the wind around your uncovered head. And I found there is scientific proof of the beneficial health effects of riding a motorbike. By the way, there is scientific proof of the beneficial effects of most unhealthy things we do. If you need a good excuse for the unwise things you like to do, I can highly recommend this article in the Guardian.
Of course I love touring too. Nothing beats the unlimited panoramic view you have on a motorbike. But somehow I still need a special reason to do it. I found one when my girlfriend Ineke from Holland came over to spend the Xmas holidays. We meet a couple of times a year, but we never got to do a motorbike tour. Always too busy with plane rides and jeep safaris. You know, the ordinary stuff. This time we decided to tour the tourist road on the Northwest side of Bonaire by bike. In my opinion it is the most scenic tour on Bonaire. You drive a well paved, narrow coastal road with a limestone cliff on the right hand side, the crystal clear blue water on your left. Wherever you stop and look over the edge you see stony corals and big male parrotfish grazing the algae off of it in the shallows. A dangerous habit: Osprey are waiting in the trees above and the daring parrotfish are an easy prey for them.
One of the famous places to stop along the road is the 1000 steps going down a cliff. The name was given by divers going up with their heavy dive gear. The 76 steps surely feel like a thousand when you are going up, a good reason to only dive the site by boat. But without the heavy load it is absolutely worth your while to go down and enjoy the scenery, go snorkeling, or just laze on the beach in the shade of the bushes. This time we just stopped and stared at the view, one of my favorite pastimes as you may have read in an earlier blog of mine.
A bit north of the 1000 steps I wanted to explore a path I never walked before. It turned out to be a wonderful surprise. A walkway along the cliff, on the seaside of the road, giving surprising vistas on the 1000 steps site and more. A bit overgrown at places because apparently nobody uses it, but still very accessible. It made me wonder why I never tried this path before. It has everything I love. Beautiful limestone with crevices and caves, panoramic views, and the feel of purity. We spent quite some time there and took hundreds of pictures. But I knew there were other beautiful spots to come along the road.
To be continued.