Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Annie and Blue explore Bonair

Get your atlas out and find Bonaire. It is a small island off the coast of Venezuela. It belongs to the Netherlands. The people speak Dutch, English and Papiamento (the language of the original people of the island).  They say Bon Bini which is “Welcome” in Papiamento.   

Bonaire is a popular place for people who love to dive and snorkel.  The island is ringed by coral reefs that are teaming with fish.  We love to snorkel. We try to float quietly in the water so the fish in the reef are not afraid and come out of hiding.  We try not to touch any fish or the coral. One of the fish we saw
was a lion fish. It is the one fish that guides are allowed capture. The fish was not originally from the Caribbean Sea.  It is called an invasive species.  It doesn’t have any natural enemies in the Caribbean.  Scientists think someone in Florida dumped the lionfish from the tropical fish tank in the ocean; they spread and multiplied. Today there are too many and they are killing off native plants and animals. 

Did you ever think about where your salt comes from? It may have come from Bonaire.  We were amazed by the huge pyramids of salt on the island. Roland, our guide, explained how the salt was produced.  All salt comes from the ocean at one time.  Some of it is mined from underground.  There was a huge salt mine in Syracuse. That is why Syracuse is called, “The Salt City” and there is a street called “Salina” which comes from the word “salt.” We visited the Salt Museum in Liverpool and learned out they used to mine salt in Syracuse. 

In Bonaire they get the salt directly from the sea.  They say the salt
is made by the “sea, sun, and wind.” There are wind mills that control gates that allow the sea water to flow into what they call “salt pans” but are really shallow lakes of salt water.  As the water evaporates the salt water in the pans turns light green and then a beautiful rose color.  It is a pretty sight.  After many months the sun and wind
cause the water to evaporate leaving just the salt. The salt is scraped up and piled high – very high – in pyramid shaped mountains where it stays until a ship comes along to be loaded and shipped all over the world.  Roland showed us small slave huts. During the slavery time the slaves were used to work in the production of salt. The huts we saw were a big improvement from the ones they had before that.  The slave’s  homes and families were in Rincon at the other end of the island. When the slaves had time off they had to walk six hours or more to visit their families 

Salt has been important for 1000s of years.  It is used for many
things. We use it to make our food taste better and to melt the ice on the roads but it is used in 14,000 different ways including making plastic, paper, glass, soaps, and many other things. 

The word “salary” comes from the Latin word for salt because some people think that the Roman army was paid in salt but it is possible that they only guarded the salt road. Jesus told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth,” Which meant that they were extremely important. Until the 1900s people in the African country of Ethiopia were paid in salt. We didn’t realize how important salt is.