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House Hunting on Bonaire: Perched Above the Caribbean for $1.5 Million



This four-bedroom, Mediterranean-inspired villa sits just outside Kralendijk, the capital city of Bonaire, a Caribbean island in the Leeward Antilles known for its world-class scuba diving. The island, situated about 60 miles off the coast of Venezuela, is one of the ABC Islands (together with Aruba and Curacao) belonging to the Netherlands.

The 5,382-square-foot house is set on a hillside in the exclusive Sabadeco Terrace neighborhood, with views of Bonaire’s western coastline and the Caribbean Sea. Surrounded by palm, fruit, allspice and rubber trees, the property, on about two-thirds of an acre, includes a separate studio apartment, a greenhouse, a 270-square-foot swimming pool, and numerous patios and terraces.

Robert Cooper, a director with 7th Heaven Properties, which has the listing, called it “one of the finest homes for sale on Bonaire,” with warm Mediterranean-style design influences “on one of the most tranquil islands in the Caribbean.”

Built in 1997, the house has plastered concrete block walls painted white and terra cotta floor tiles. The front door opens to a spacious living area with high ceilings and a staircase leading up to the second floor. The kitchen is through an archway to the right. To the left, a wrought-iron gate opens to a hallway leading to the main bedroom and an office. French doors open to the large covered terrace and pool with curved wood deck overlooking the sea. Furniture is not included in the home’s asking price, but is negotiable.

The office is fully built out with mounted shelves and dual work stations. The main bedroom beyond has a walk-in closet and en suite bathroom with a tiled soaking tub, both with skylights. The staircase ascends to a bedroom that accesses a large roof terrace and has an en suite bath.

The kitchen has a skylight, marble countertops and a walk-in cooler with a Danish refrigeration unit useful for wine storage, said Robert Bartikoski, the broker-owner of Re/Max Paradise Homes Bonaire, a local partner of 7th Heaven Properties that also has the listing.

Beyond the kitchen are storage and laundry rooms, as well as a patio leading to the studio apartment. An addition to that wing of the house includes a two-car garage with a bedroom suite above. The villa has air-conditioning, security cameras and a water storage tank.

Sabadeco Terrace is about five miles north of Kralendijk, a small coastal city with a few thousand residents and a strip of shops, supermarkets, restaurants and other amenities, Mr. Bartikoski said. The 111-square-mile island of Bonaire is a magnet for scuba divers, but also attracts wind surfers to Lac Bay and kite surfers to Atlantis Beach. Pink Beach, on the island’s southwestern shore, and Washington-Slagbaai National Park, on its northern tip, are each less than 20 minutes away by car. Bonaire International Airport is a 15-minute drive.

The Dutch island of Bonaire, with about 21,000 residents, has long attracted outsiders with its arid climate, coral reefs and relatively low risk of hurricanes. In recent years, its largely tourism-based economy has generated a flourishing real estate market, and not unlike many other tropical locales, its allure seems to have grown during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The outbreak of the pandemic has only enhanced the island’s appeal,” Mr. Cooper said. “We’ve seen a steady rise in inquiries this year, including a huge surge the day after the U.S. election.”

According to Bonaire’s most recent official data, reported by Statistics Netherlands in 2018, the housing index showed prices for residential properties were on average 21.6 percent higher than they were the previous year. The number of housing transactions from 2017 to 2018 grew by 52.8 percent, from 214 to 327.

Official data for 2019 is not available, but real estate experts said the market has continued apace. “It’s been insane,” said Roderick Groenman, a notary with the office of Aniek H. Schouten. “For the past three or four years, things have been going really well.”

Mr. Groenman attributed the consistent growth to the island’s status as a special municipality of the Netherlands, which provides free, high-quality health care to residents. (Aruba and Curaçao, by contrast, are autonomous constituent countries of the Netherlands.) He also pointed to Bonaire’s stability on the U.S. dollar, which the island adopted as its currency in 2011. The economy has been expanding, with a 3.9 percent increase in the gross domestic product in 2018, and this year the Dutch government has provided subsidies to thwart an economic downturn.

“If you compare Bonaire to the islands around us, like Aruba or Curaçao, or even Trinidad and Tobago, we have a big plus on the surrounding islands because we’re part of Holland, and have a strong currency and room for economic growth,” Mr. Groenman said.

After closing to international travel in the spring, Bonaire resumed flights to and from Europe on July 1, followed by flights to and from Curacao on Oct. 26, according to the U.S. Consulate General in Curacao. (There has been no announcement about when direct flights to and from the U.S. will resume.) As of Nov. 6, Bonaire had reported 135 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The housing market “did slow down for a little while, but we continued to have Dutch visitors through the summer, and they were buying,” Mr. Bartikoski said. “And we have 3-D tours online, so we’ve had Americans buying over the internet. We really haven’t seen a dip in prices.”

While resale homes run about $111 to $139 a square foot, not including the land, new construction can run to $130 a square foot or more, he said. There are luxury villas on the island priced between $1 million and $10 million, he said, along with many more reasonably priced options.

“You can find a nice two-bedroom, two-bath oceanfront condo for between $400,000 and $550,000,” he said. “Non-oceanfront condos start around $250,000 and go up.”

According to Statistics Netherlands, about 60 percent of Bonaire’s residents were born on the former Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, and 80 percent are Dutch nationals.

Scuba divers, snorkelers and other watersport enthusiasts are drawn to Bonaire, which has a national marine park and dozens of easy-entry shore dive sites. Its free health care and stable economy tend to lure middle-aged home buyers heading into retirement, Mr. Bartikoski said.

“Our buyers on Bonaire are about 50 percent North American and 50 percent from Europe,” he said.

Mr. Groenman said that while buyers from the Netherlands, Canada and the U.S. predominate, the housing market is diverse and includes buyers from Germany, Russia, China and South America.

There are no restrictions on foreign home buyers in Bonaire, and no license or permit is required to purchase property, brokers said.

All transactions are handled by notaries, which basically serve as “an escrow company, a title insurance company and a lawyer combined,” Mr. Groenman said, adding that buyers pay a transfer tax of 5 percent on most homes, and 8 percent on new development.

There is an additional 2 to 3 percent for notary fees, land registry and other expenses, brokers said. For new development, those fees are often included in the home’s purchase price, Mr. Groenman said.

Mortgages are available to foreign home buyers with a typical minimum down payment of 40 percent, and interest rates that average between 5 to 6 percent currently, Mr. Bartikoski said.

  • Bonaire national parks:

  • Local Bonaire government:

  • Tourism Corporation Bonaire:

Dutch; U.S. dollar

The annual property taxes on this home are about $12,600 for nonresidents and $4,800 for Bonaire residents, Mr. Bartikoski said.

Robert Cooper, 7th Heaven Properties, 1-855-364-8776,

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By: Alison Gregor
Title: House Hunting on Bonaire: Perched Above the Caribbean for $1.5 Million
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Published Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2020 14:30:17 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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