The mangrove in Bonaire is part of the protected area and it is formally restricted to enter it without a guide. The ecosystem here is so fragile that any disturbance can be fatal and without proper explanation and guidance, you can cause a lot of destruction by ignorance.
Today I got to visit the mangrove in a canoe. I was quite interested to find out how trees can grow in salted water. The Bonaire mangrove has three different types of tree, but the one that we see in the bay are the red mangrove tree.
The mangrove has three main roles:
- It’s a giant nursery where all sort of species come to lay eggs and have their progeny to grow in a more protected environment.
- It filters the water coming from the land and stops the dirt to get into the sea.
- It protects the coast from the waves and possible tsunamis.
The channels are mostly natural and are there to allow the water to circulate with the twice daily tides. It’s really noticeable when you swim in one of them and you can feel that you have to make quite an effort and you can just drift your way back.
There are not only fishes but also all sorts of birds, the most visible one being the flamingos, but two types of heron nest here as well.