The Clean Up Operation in Kralendijk Mooring Area

As instructed, we were at the rendezvous spot right at 1000, in full dive gear and ready to jump into the water. The rendezvous spot was another boat in the mooring area. We tied up to it. Another couple wearing snorkeling gear came along and joined us, and we all waited for instruction.

Apparently, after Hurricane Omar, a bunch of tires appeared in the mooring area and on the reef behind it. No one is sure where they came from, but the theory is that the tires were used as fenders on the various docks up and down the coast that had been destroyed in the storm. One of the cruisers who spends a lot of time in Bonaire every year contacted the park service and offered to coordinate a clean up effort. Last week was the big day. Many cruisers had volunteered to pick tires up off the ocean floor and put them in the park service boat so the park service could dispose of them. The effort was incredibly successful and they filled up an entire trash dumpster with tires. The only problem was that there were still lots and lots of tires left. So, today’s effort was to try to get the last of the tires.

A few minutes later, someone came over and explained what was happening. Eric and Christi were responsible for Continue reading The Clean Up Operation in Kralendijk Mooring Area

Diving Cliff and Snorkeling Near the Venezuelan Embassy

This morning we returned the car and ran some errands. One was the boat store, where we had the shock of a life time. They had one and only one Shurflo 5.7 pump in stock. We couldn’t believe it! The store doesn’t normally carry them, it was special ordered for someone who never picked it up. We bought it and are happy to have a proper spare again. A second errand was for Eric’s SCUBA equipment. The hose that attaches the gauges to the tank is leaking, so he bought a new hose. And, Christi got a much needed haircut.

Once errands were done, we went back to the boat. Eric changed his hose, which turned out to be a harder task than he had anticipated. Then we loaded all our dive gear in the dinghy and headed up the coast to a dive spot called Cliff, near where the fancy neighborhood starts. We tied to the mooring and worked on getting in. Hard dingies are not really good for diving as they tip easily. Getting into your gear on board and jumping off with your tank strapped on you isn’t a good plan. So, Christi got in the water, then Eric handed her the tank and BCD. She put everything on, then Eric handed her his rig. Then Eric got in and put everything on. We were ready to roll and hadn’t even flipped the dinghy. High 5!

Being as we hadn’t gone up the coast very far, the dive site was similar to the one behind our boat. There are a lot more soft corals here, both more species and more of each species. The only ones we can identify are the giant sea rods, which are a good 5 6 feet tall, and the sea plums, but there are many more varieties. We also saw a few basket starfish, which look like a plant, not like a fish. A basket star is the creature that latched onto Christi’s hand and wouldn’t let go in Guadeloupe, reminiscent of a space alien latching on to a host human in a science fiction movie.

However, this site has less fish and less variety of fish. The most exciting fish that we spotted is a midnight parrotfish. It is gigantic, as in comparable in size to a Napoleon. It looked all black with iridescent blue markings on its face, but when we looked in the fish book, we realized it was dark blue, not black. We have never seen anything like it before. It was really exciting. This must be the spot for abnormally large fish, because we also saw an unusually large trumpet fish. We saw a couple different species of file fish that had very odd designs on them. One of them was also quite large. And, finally, we saw a fish in the distance that Eric thinks was a very large fish and Christi thinks is a small shark.

Getting out was the exact opposite of getting in. Eric took his rig off. At the same moment he pulled himself up on the port side of the boat, Christi yanked with all her might on the starboard side to keep the dinghy from flipping. He got in with no problem. We put in both sets of rigs, then Christi hopped on, with Eric carefully counterbalancing her weight. Another high 5!

After diving, we unloaded our rigs aboard Kosmos, then went snorkeling in front of the Venezuelan embassy, which is just a couple boats over from us. We were told there is a lot to see there. When we pulled up in the dinghy, six pelicans immediately landed in the water right next to us. They watched us intently. We watched them back intently, amused that they were so interested in us. Apparently, the fishermen will clean fish here and throw them the scraps, so they were waiting expectantly. We eventually got tired of the staring contest and got in the water.

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The area is rocky, there is little coral growth, and there weren’t many fish. But, there was a good variety of fish to look at, and we got some decent photos. We heard a turtle is frequently sighted here, but we never saw it. The first is a juvenile longfin damselfish. It will turn brown when it matures.

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This picture is neat because you can see how easy it is to confuse fish species. The fish in the background is a blue tang. We’re not sure what the fish in the foreground is, but with similar color and shape, it is easy to mistake it for a blue tang.

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Here is a sergeant fish. The silver variety is the Continue reading Diving Cliff and Snorkeling Near the Venezuelan Embassy

SCUBA and Chores in Kralendijk

Since the wall behind the boat is so large and expansive, we wanted to explore it some more. Yesterday was another gray day, with frequent showers that brought very heavy rain, which disappointed Eric. He likes to dive when it is sunny and everything in the water is all lit up. But we dove anyway. We did two more dives along the wall, the first dive exploring more to the south, the second dive exploring more to the north. On the first dive we stayed at 60 feet, and on the second dive we went to 70 feet to check out the life a little lower on the wall. On the second dive we experienced just a little bit of current, but none on the first dive. We could seriously dive this spot a thousand times because there is so much to see!

On the first dive we pretty much saw all the same things we mentioned yesterday. In addition, we saw Continue reading SCUBA and Chores in Kralendijk

SCUBA Diving in Kralendijk

Today we intended to spend the whole day SCUBA diving. The plan had been to hop in the dinghy and head to one of the moorings nearby. But, yesterday we had forgotten to do the most important thing on our errand list: buy dive tags. Since we were going ashore anyway, we decided to get breakfast. We were excited to find that several places offer hearty breakfast menus. We picked a place where the food was good, but the service was painfully slow. Then we went to a dive shop near the restaurant to buy the tags.

It has rained a lot the whole time we have been in the Caribbean, which is odd since it is supposed to be the dry season. In Guadeloupe and Antigua, it was usually an odd squall or two each day, though we had a few days with more rain. In Dominica, we had several days where the squalls consistently came through every couple of hours. In our short time in Bonaire, we have experienced squalls every couple of hours, just like Dominica. Usually, they are fairly hard rains that last only a few minutes. Anyway, while in the dive shop, another one rolled through. This one was probably the biggest Continue reading SCUBA Diving in Kralendijk

Snorkeling the Fan Garden and the Market

Yesterday Barb and Chuck took us snorkeling at one of their favorite spots, “The Fan Garden”. It is located at the southern end of the bay, near the shore. Fortunately for us, they picked us up in their fast dinghy. It would have taken us forever to get there in Kosmopolitan.

We hopped in the water with our snazzy new camera that is waterproof to 30 feet and it immediately went dead. It had filled with water. Sigh. This camera is touted as being totally indestructible and we were sure it would survive us. We must have some kind of bad camera killing karma from a past life haunting us. We swam from south to north, and each took turns pulling the dinghy along with us as we swam.

We are so sad about losing the camera right then, because the site was lovely and Continue reading Snorkeling the Fan Garden and the Market