In our archive, we have the very first deed of Bonaire dated March 20, 1852. Parchment was used at that time and the deeds were written in a graceful handwriting. Our notarial archive contains a wealth of information about the Bonairean history, for example, a deed from 1912 that describes the public sale of the stranded ship “Mairi Bhan.” At the end of 1912, the “Mairi Bhan” stranded on the rocks at the entrance of the Gotomeer, as her anchor did not hold during a storm. It took two weeks before she actually sank and in those two weeks, the ship was sold to the highest bidder. The deed contains a detailed list of matters that were present on the ship. The “Mairi Bhan”–these days known as “the Windjammer”–lies at a depth of 60 meters from the BOPEC site and is now a popular dive site for technically skilled divers.
Until 1979 all notarial deeds were signed by so-called acting notaries. On April 9, 1979, Mr. Alfred Paul Knuf became the first formal notary of Bonaire, and he remained in this position until August 1, 1999. After this time, the practice was continued by his successor, Mr. Maarten Maartense, and after his death, Mrs. Aniek H. Schouten was sworn in as a notary on June 12, 2012. She is still working in that position.