Klein Bonaire

Klein Bonaire ("Little Bonaire") is located 800 meters to the west of Bonaire. The island is approximately six quare kilometers. Klein Bonaire is uninhabited, but the beach is very important nesting place for sea turtles. In the past a few people lived on this small island. The remains of a small house and a beacon in the northwest are still visible. A stone wall that goes from the shore to the interior leads to the house. Parts of the wall have collaped as the roof. The remains of the so-called lean-to roof are all lying on the ground. The house was probably divided into two rooms, a bedroom and a living room with a kitchen that was constructed later. There is a cooking fireplace and an oven behind the house.

Beside and behind the house are stone walls, forming a compound or corral for goats. This was the house of the government doctor who lived here. From 1849 to 1854 Klein Bonaire was a quarantaine station. Ships with vegetables and fruit had to stop at Klein Bonaire for the control of cholera. In 1856 a fruit barque from Venezuela refused to sail to Klein Bonaire and went to Lac. One man died at Lac and they headed to Slagbaai. The whole island of Bonaire became contaminated by cholera. Within three months more than 100 peple died, 4 % of the whole population of Bonaire.

The government decided in 1868 to sell 600 hectares sized lots. Klein Bonaire was "ideal for keeping goats". The first private owner was Anjel C. Jesurun who paid 8000 Guilders. From 1890 Klein Bonaire had different owners and was finally sold in 1970 to the Klein Bonaire Development Corporation for further development. In 1995 they had a plan to build an all inclusive resort with pier, shops, condos, even a bridge to the main island. This was literally a bridge too far. Many people like Bart Snelder, Bruce Bowker, Kitty Handschuh, Dee Scarr, The Bonaire Reporter (formerly Port Call), newspapers, magazines and other organizations came into action. In 1996 the Foundation to Preserve Klein Bonaire (FPKB) was formed. The foundation was able to buy Klein Bonaire for 9 million Guilders. On December 30, 1999, the Foundation returned Klein Bonaire to the people of Bonaire forever.

In 2001 Klein Bonaire received the status of protected area and became part of the Bonaire Marine park.

In 2012 Rijkswaterstaat Noordzee (DNZ) renovated all five lighthouses on Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. The lighthouse on Klein Bonaire was the last of the working lights for renovation. On Saturday, September 15, a old mast was replaced by a new mast. The mast is completely solar powered with a few batteries during the night. The local government is responsible for the buildings and masts. Radio Holland Curacao is responsible for the lights, panels and batteries.

There is a daily water taxi to Klein Bonaire for the beach, scuba diving and snorkeling. There are no facilities on this island.


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