Zeezwaluw Post, number 10

The salt-pans of Bonaire

01_Boniare_saltpansBonaire, just a tiny island, has major salt-pans. Sea-Salt production is thriving already for more than 400 hundred years, discovered the crew as they searched for more info about this phenomena.

A quote of the official page of Bonaire Tourism:
“Salt production slowed with slavery abolition in 1863. It continued to be harvested fluctuating with market demand, tariffs and weather. In the 1960’s, a US company designed new solar salt works, revitalizing the industry. Today, Cargill Corporation is responsible for salt production and Bonaire’s thriving salt industry. Huge mounds of crystals can be seen on Bonaire’s south end”.

To visit these salt-pans at the south side of the island the crew needed wheels. Luck was with them when they met Jerry & Azenitha of “SV Fujimo”. Like we, they wanted to go to that area to have a look around and snorkel. Around the pillars of the loading dock where the salt ships moor to be loaded, its good snorkelling, Jerry told the Zeezwaluw crew. It is only allowed when there are no ships moored

So off they went together in their rent-a-car for a fun day. Jerry drove around the southern part of the island to have a look at the salt-pans and all the machinery. From far away you see at one side the mountains of salt, one next to the other.
The pipes for transport are running through the air to the loading dock at the sea-side. It’s huge!


The salt-pans with sea water in it are like a mirror and reflecting the heaps of salt and machinery while the ripples of wind disturb the water in the draining channel. It is a beauty!

Even the colour of the salt-pans change during the day; due to the sunlight and in what state the drying is.

All 4 went snorkelling in the sea around the pillars of the dock. Indeed it was a beautiful area. Cristal clear water and there was a lot of colourful fish around. There are no pictures of the event this time, for the cameras were not watertight. They saw the salt-pans turning pink in the afternoon, it was amazing!

Driving a bit farther to the south are the little (yellow and white) slave houses from the early days of the salt-pans. In two spots they are preserved. The slaves lived in Rincon, in the north, but to go home they had to walk 7km, one way. Therefor the little houses (that had no doors or windows just 4 walls and a roof) accommodated 2 adult slaves during the week. Only in the weekend they walked home to Rincon.

Nestled within Salt Company land is the Flamingo Reserve. Flamingos, protected by law, can be seen from the road but the entrance to the Reserve is prohibited to ensure their protection. So, the flock of 4 humans kept their distance. Nonetheless they were lucky enough to see many Flamingos. Some were sleeping, a big bird on one thin leg only while others were feeding off the shrimps, as you see in the pictures.

The car tour around the island had many more interesting parts, but it’s too much for this Post. Therefor wait till the next one or the Travel letter about Bonaire.

The area of the Bonaire salt-pans is worthwhile to visit and the snorkelling there is an extra bonus! The 4 crew members had a joyful day together; it was over far too soon.


We have just updated our Marina and Anchoring information about Windward Islands, Grenada & Martinique. New Pdf file for Martinique.

Newest Travel letter; “Grenada, spice island, hurricane hole and much more”

More Zeezwaluw Posts from 2017