It was a gathering of friends and food, a blending of humans and nature, simply a bloody good time. Four of us made a beach safari to remote Hidden Beach near the southern tip of the island. It was Friday night.
Patti and Jon are friends who come to Bonaire during those sweet months, December through March. Yes, those are the days when winter storms howl along the eastern seaboard of the US of A. These Philadelphia weather refugees smartly lime away their winter at Lighthouse Beach, a gathering of cozy apartment hamlets just south of Punt Vierkant.
But it was Jon who mentioned that he had a grill and we should do something with it that involved sand and surf. Why not Hidden Beach? This relatively unknown spot was my point of southern termination as a Beachkeeper for Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire. I used to pause there for a coffee from my thermos every Thursday morning at about 7am and then trekked two miles north looking for turtle nests, trails in the sand. But today, I was going to see it at sunset rather than sunrise. Why not? Polar opposites can be intriguing in the tropics.
At seaside, Patti and Jon offered delicious hors d’oeuvres of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and arugula. I countered with yellow fin sashimi with wasabi, orange ginger sauce and a mango hot pepper sauce. Hungry yet?
Jon started the grill and stuck yams wrapped in foil into the coals. I pull out two enormous fish fillets that my Swedish friends gave me last month. Ola and Caroline were cruising on their 35-foot sailboat, ReLax, from the lovely Grenadine island of Bequia to Bonaire. It was a three-day voyage across the Caribbean Sea. En route Ola hooked an enormous sailfish. Soon after, Neptune rewarded him with a yellow fin tuna. He generously gave us multiple filets of both. One of each sizzled on the hot grill at Hidden Beach.
Patti supplied an Asian noodle salad with peanuts and red pepper. Jon also grilled some zucchini over the coals. We sat in low rider beach chairs as the surf splashed at our toes as we dined. Patti lamented that fact the flock of flamingos, which usually fly overhead at sunset, did not appear this evening. While that would have been nice, there were no complaints from the Peanut Gallery. We were happy campers, beach bums with grins, cream puffs still in the cool of the frig. The four of us island pirates had dined better than any of the tourists this evening who had flocked to the Kralendijk eateries for sustenance. For us, we had it all—great food, good times, the sea and seafood, plus a spot of wine. Hidden Beach had revealed all of its charms.
The sky turned black. The waves continued their sonic mantra to our ears. We drove home without traffic along the dark coastal road just glad to be alive.