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Diving Bonaire – Netherlands Antilles

Diving Bonaire – Netherlands Antilles

Description

Bonaire has a land area of 288 km² (111 sq. miles), while Klein Bonaire is a further 6 km² (2.3 sq. miles). Bonaire’s Afdeling Bevolking (census) office reported that the population was 14,006 inhabitants as of December, 2006,[17] which gives Bonaire island proper a population density of 49 inhabitants per km².

Bonaire lies outside the hurricane belt, and is served by Flamingo International Airport.

The island is ringed by a coral reef which is easily accessible from the shore along the Western and Southern sides. Furthermore, the entire coastline of the island has been declared a marine sanctuary, preserving local fish life.

The coral reef around uninhabited Klein Bonaire is particularly well preserved, and it draws divers, snorkelers, and boaters.

Bonaire also has several coral reefs where seahorses can be found.

Bonaire is also famed for its flamingo populations and its donkey sanctuary. Flamingos are drawn to the brackish water, which harbours the shrimp they feed on. Starting in the 16th century, the Dutch raised sheep, goats, pigs, horses and donkeys on Bonaire, and the descendants of the goats and donkeys roam the island today, with a small population of pigs roaming as well.

Washington Slagbaai National Park, located at the north side of the island, is an ecological preserve. The highest point of Bonaire, the mountainous Brandaris, 787 feet (240 m) high, located within this preserve, has a complete view of the island.

Elsewhere, environmental issues are a cause for concern, particularly with unregulated and illegal dumping of raw sewage and chemical pollutants which leach through the permeable limestone of the island and threaten the quality of groundwater. This is particularly of concern at the landfill site, which environmentalists state has no impermeable membrane present to prevent possible groundwater contamination by toxic waste. Destruction of wildlife habitat for commercial development thus threatening endangered species is also highlighted as a problem.

Lac Bay, (also known as Lac Cai or Lac Cay) on the eastern side of the island, is a windsurfer’s paradise. Locals Taty and Tonky Frans in 2004 were ranked in the top five of the world’s freestyle windsurfing professionals.

Atlantis Beach, on the western part of the island, is the local kitesurfing spot.

Aside from the tourist sites, Bonaire has become home to Saint James School of Medicine, which was founded by Physicians practicing and teaching basic/clinical medicine in the United States. Their goals encompass motivating students in the art of medicine utilizing a curriculum which parallels that of any U.S. based medical school.

origin: Wikipedia

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