The picture, above, is of our 20-year-old son Elias, who loves Bonaire and is currently in college studying to be an environmental scientist. The photo was taken in March of this year at Oil Slick Leap -- one of Bonaire's iconic dive sites -- by our youngest child Fiona with her GoPro. Eldest child and college senior Abby decided to try a spring break in Cancun; she now sees the error of her ways.
Oil Slick is one of the closest dive sites to Villa Salentein and we have a suggestion for a Salentein DIY excursion for your next visit. When we visited Bonaire for two weeks in March, Ben and I had the aforementioned Elias drop us off at Oil Slick. We donned our wetsuits (full-length 3 mm for me -- the woman who is always cold, shorty 3 mm for Ben), our BCDs and tanks and giant strided into the drink fins first for a drift back to the villa. A gentle southerly current and 80 degree temps made the drift back easy and, en route, we got to enjoy all the typical scenes that make a Bonaire dive so relaxing and enlightening. There were morays of many different colors and sizes, friendly French angels, schools of tangs moving in concert among the corals, green sea turtles, tube sponges in arresting colors, grunts, groupers, parrots, sea whips, sea fans...the list goes on and on. It was 45 minutes of bliss, ending with plenty of air to spare. Just another dive in Bonaire.
We want to share this Salentinean Bonaire with others, especially those people who have been long-time Salentein devotees. And we also want to thank Annemieke van der Mast (one of Salentein's former owners) and Marloes van den Berg at Pure Villas in Amsterdam for being such good stewards of the property during these past six or seven years. Pure has done a wonderful job of making all Salentein guests over the years feel pampered, comfortable and confident they are getting what they pay for. We intend to make you feel the same, with one caveat: Salentein has been in active use during these years, primarily for renters. Now we have decided to change course a little in the way the villa is managed.
As owners who also intend to live at the villa during certain times of the year and who intend to actively manage and market the property, we have a long-term plan for Salentein that does not involve 25 weeks of rentals each year. Salentein will become less of a hotel and more of a family home -- one that we open to others for 10 to 15 weeks of the year and one that co-opts fewer resources from the Bonaire environment. En route to executing this plan, we will be spending next winter (November through March) at Salentein with our youngest daughter, who will be scoring a trimester abroad for the cause. During this time we will be fixing, updating, rehabbing, planting, renewing and...Ben would like me to add..."removing" a lot of money from our bank account in the process.
Helping us to coordinate all this work is a wonderful woman whom many of you know and who knows Salentein -- its beauty and its quirks -- more intimately than anyone: Femke Schut. Femke lives on Bonaire with her family and we have been so impressed with her work ethic, her honesty and her knowledge of both the villa and Bonaire. She will be greeting our visitors and will be the go-to person on the island for all our visitors' needs. She is starting a company of her own, QVillas and we will be working in concert to book/manage Villa Salentein.
Stay tuned to the blog for all the Salentein news that will be coming your way during the next year, as we work to implement villa improvements for our family and for you all -- our esteemed and valued guests!