Bonaire
Washington-Slagbaai National Park
Part 2

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   4. Subi Brandaris is a by-road that ends at a parking lot where you can begin the 1.5-hour climb (Difficulty Level 3) to the top of Brandaris, which at almost 800 feet high is Bonaire's highest point. The hike starts with a footpath that soon gives way to a ridge; the ridge route is marked with yellow circles painted on the boulders. From the top you'll have an excellent view of the entire island, perhaps to as far south as the salt pans. Mountains in Venezuela or Mount Christoffel, Curacao's highest peak, may also be visible.

   5. Playa Funchi is home to a subspecies of lizard found only on Bonaire, the harmless Cnemidophorus murinus ruthveni. They are quite tame at this spot, well acquainted with bread crumbs and will even eat out of your hand if you're still enough. Females and juveniles are brown, while the brightly colored male has a blue head and greenish-blue hind feet and tail-root. You may also see a flock of flamingoes in the salina here. Playa Funchi was the harbor for Washington plantation, as the pier remnants show. Today it is a very popular place for snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing. There is no current inside the bay, making this a safe place to swim.

     6. Boca Slagbaai is one of the finest snorkeling and swimming beaches on the island. Dive boats come all the way here from the Kralendijk area, as much as a forty-five minute run away. Historically always an important harbor, it gains its name from the Dutch word "Slagten," meaning slaughter. This is where the cattle on the northern part of the island were processed and turned into steaks before export. Salt was also exported from here for a time. Besides being one of the finest swimming spots, this is another excellent birdwatching site: snowy egrets and flamingoes are almost always in the salina here.

     7. Flamingo Island, a peninsula in salina Slagbaai which allows you to see flamingoes at the closest point yet. The square island in the middle of the salina always contains a few birds, some of which breed there. Slagbaai is an important feeding area for the flamingoes, which skim the water for brine shrimp or graze (dive) to a depth of about three feet for their forage.

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