By Nathaniel Hanna Holloway
If you have visited Bonaire and driven around the island you will see a number of yellow rocks along the side of the road. Some have things like “Angel City”, “Karpata”, and “Oil Slick” written on them; these mark the many wonderful dive sites around the island. Others have notices like “No Drenta” (“No Entry” in Papiamentu, the language spoken here on Bonaire) and “Niet Duiken” (“No Diving” in Dutch, the official language of Bonaire) written on them. In fact, the messages “Do Not Enter” and “No Diving” are written in six different languages (Papiamentu, English, Dutch, Spanish, German and Portuguese) on yellow rocks placed at different conservation areas across the island.
On April 16th a group of CIEE students and staff, STINAPA Jr Rangers, volunteers and the Bonaire National Marine Park Manager completed a month long process by placing these yellow rocks at the Rei Willem-Alexander Marine Reserve. The process of creating these rocks, which are used as a conservation tool to reach a wide audience, began with collecting the rocks at Washington Slagbaai National Park. Over the following few weeks groups f CIEE students, staff and STINAPA Jr Rangers painted the rocks yellow with two vibrant coats of yellow paint and then painted the messages in the six different languages. The process culminated in placing the rocks at the Rei Willem-Alexander Marine Reserve under the direction of Sabine Engel, the Bonaire National Marine Park Manager. The Rei Wllem-Alexander Marine Reserve is a conservation area on the northwest coast of the island where diving, swimming and boats (without prior permission) are prohibited
The event was a huge success and now the area is well marked and the message is clear to visitors from all over the world. It is the simple, yet effective, conservation efforts like these that will help to preserve Bonaire’s beautiful natural areas for future generations.