Bas and Michiel of Epic Tours Bonaire may consider themselves somewhat new to the sailing tour business, but they both represent the best of Bonaire on their Chill & Grill Tour. Forthright, genuine, and hospitable, they brought us onto their sail boat and immediately made us feel right at home.
We were soon joined by a number of other guests, including a local couple, their parents, and other adventurous tourists. The sun was beaming, and the drinks (beer, soda, or whatever we preferred) were plentiful. Before we knew it, we were motoring out of port and heading north along the coast, learning about the local spots within view while discussing our choice of destinations for the day.
As Lesley and Athena sunned themselves under the main sail, I found myself enjoying a passionate conversation about beer with Yan and Miriam, the parents of the Dutch couple on board. Local brews in Bonaire include the extremely popular Amstel Bright, along with many other very drinkable beers like Polar and Zulia, but we shared our thoughts on everything from Guinness to the California “Craft” explosion to Chimay.
I excused myself so I could join Lesley and Athena where they were relaxing under the sails. We were all very excited about our chosen destination of “Thousand Steps,” a secluded beach known for its playful turtle population as well as its stone stairway that exhausted divers swear contains a thousand steps after carrying their tank and gear back up to the parking lot above.
We were saved from such hyperbole as we jumped straight from the boat into the gorgeous blue waters, sporting excellent snorkel masks and fins as well as a life vest and aquatic “noodle” for Athena.
With awesome equipment and perfect weather, Lesley and I took turns holding Athena’s hand as we snorkeled along the coastline, taking in the beautiful residents of the deep ocean waters.
Once back on the boat, Michiel and Bas had already fired up the grill and prepped an assortment of appetizing snacks. We were treated to incredibly fresh tuna sashimi with wasabi and soy, french bread with herb & garlic butter, bacon-wrapped pork, beef tenderloin, two custom hamburgers (especially prepared for Athena), and a seared ahi that practically dropped me to my knees.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was the best food we enjoyed on the island, as enhanced by the setting sun and the company of our new friends.
Even after sunset in Bonaire, the world remains lit for some time. Sailing back towards port, we enjoyed beautiful skies and the perfect temperature. Our doting hosts, Bas and Michiel, ensured no one was ever for want with regards to drinks, and each made time to sit with us and chat about Bonaire, starting Epic Tours, and our collective lives (both Bas and Michiel are new daddies), as well as current global events.
Returning to port, we thanked Bas and Michiel of Epic Tours Bonaire for an amazing day, and bid them goodbye, genuinely hoping that we’d see them again someday. Our local friends from the boat were quick to offer us a ride back to our hotel, a kind gesture that capped off a day of feeling like family among kind people and incredible hosts.