Daniel Moore and Michelle Wade of Waterboro were recently named “ambassadors” to the Caribbean island of Bonaire by the island’s tourism corporation and are shown here receiving their certificates from tourism official Helen Thode. COURTESY PHOTO/Bonaire Tourism

WATERBORO — It isn’t often you visit a foreign country and are named an ambassador — but it does happen.

A local couple has been recently named “ambassadors” to Bonaire, a Carribean island off Venezuala that is part of the Netherlands.

Daniel Moore and Michelle Wade have been named as ambassadors by Tourism Corporation Bonaire.

The couple was bestowed the honor on Jan. 3, on the occasion of their 10th visit to the island.

So what is so appealing?

“What first attracted us to Bonaire was the world class windsurfing and scuba diving” said Moore in an email. “Lac Bay provides superb windsurfing, offering consistent onshore winds, warm water, full-service rental equipment and expert instruction.”

Moore said the water colors are beautiful shades of blue and green and the island is replete with tropical birds, fish, flowers, sea turtles and pink flamingos.

“The island has kept so much of its natural environment protected so that whether you are hiking, diving or windsurfing there is a lot to see,” he said.

The couple travels over the Christmas holidays — and finds it to be  a good spot to escape the cold of northern New England.

“Each day we say, ‘another beautiful day in paradise’ and ‘this is the perfect temperature,’” Moore said. “The temperature is warm and dry, in the low 80s during the day and mid-70s at night.”

The couple said they were honored to be recognized by the people of Bonaire.

According to the tourism corporation, 40 percent of visitors to Bonaire are those who have visited at least once in the past. Folks like Moore and Wade, who have visited  10 to 14 times, are made bronze ambassadors; while those visiting for 15-18 years earn silver ambassadorships. Visitors for 20 years are gold ambassadors, while those who have made the trip for 30 years become platinum category ambassadors.

The Bonaire Ambassador program was created with the purpose of recognizing Bonaire’s loyal visitors with an official certificate and ambassador medal.

The island lies 30 miles from Curacao, 50 miles north of Venezuela, 86 miles east of Aruba — and outside outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt, tourism officials say.

What keeps Moore and Wade coming back — besides the surf — is the people.

“Everyone we meet is very friendly, kind and respectful and they make us feel like family,” Moore said.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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