Sept 8-13, 2017
We decided to check out the Venezuelan fresh market to see what kind of produce we could find. However, by the time we arrived, only hay, house plants, and a few picked over squash were left. We will have to try to get there earlier next time.
Angie also wanted to get a henna tattoo at the cruise ship farmers market. She has been toying with the idea of a real one once we cross the equator and officially become “shellbacks.” The turtle has always had a special place in Angie’s heart. She even had a turbo turtle decal on her Viper when racing. Everyone knows the Tortoise and the Hare fable, and it’s meaning holds true. One may be seen as slow, but with persistence, one will win in the end. Turtles are one of Angie’s favorite things to watch in their natural environment. They are beautiful. Again, they seem to be slow and unencumbered, but once focused on something, they speed away like lightening. (Or, once Mark decides to do a cannonball off the back of the boat, hoping to get a closer look at the turtle surfacing behind it. Surprisingly, it shot off like a rocket at his impact. (Happened just last week). One day, she would like to work for a turtle sanctuary and is looking at volunteering at the one here on Bonaire. The hatching season is coming up and she would like to help, if possible. Of course, the henna tattoo ended up quite large, with some added frill to “girl” it up, and entailed 3 turtles instead of one. It’s only henna, so why not? Who knows what will really happen. Maybe when she turns 50, Angie will finally do it. She is having fun with henna in the interim. (Mark doesn’t share the turtle/hare mentality. Full throttle, hanging on by a thread, second place is the 1st loser, always worked for him.)
We have thoroughly been enjoying our time in the water snorkeling around the boat. We seem to have a few residents that we see frequently, including three 4 ft tarpons (that startle Angie every time she sees them because they look like a small shark at first), turtles (have seen 4 so far!), golden spotted eels, 4 generations of French Angelfish, schools of blue creole wrasse (initial phase), brown chromis, blue chromis, parrotfish, trumpetfish, sergeant majors, queen angelfish, flounder, spanish hogfish, blue tangs, ocean surgeonfish, houndfish, small yellow snappers, goatfish, bar jacks, puddingwife (initial phase), honeycomb cowfish, blueheads, yellowheads, and, many more not listed that we tend to see common to the upper Caribbean islands. Even walking along the seawall at shore, there are wonderful sightings. We have seen turtles, bonefish, Princess parrotfish, Stoplight parrotfish, tangs, Common Snooks, spotted moray eels, needlefish, and so far, the rarest, a baby Spotted Eagle Ray.
We have finally been able to check out our new dive gear! After Mark’s BC inflater blew apart while diving in San Salvador last year, we decided to purchase new equipment. We also had two Uwatec computers that needed to be sent back to the factory. One came back unrepairable and the other one got a new battery. It is very frustrating having to send equipment back to the manufacturer just to have a lifetime warrantied battery changed. It is truly unbelievable that the turn around time took months back in Florida. Unfortunately, the computer with the fresh battery, would not turn on after 8 months. (Looks like we need another battery.) The new Suunto computer worked great, and Mark used his old school ScubaPro Trac brick of a computer, but at least it works. We also purchased two new analog gauge sets because we have been having so much trouble with the high tech computers. It would be a shame to not be able to dive because the computers were not working.
Although we had purchased new primary regulators, Mark’s secondary blew to bits before he entered the water. We had spares. It was wonderful being able to finally jump off the back of the boat and start the dive! We saw purple and yellow Pederson cleaning shrimp on an anemone, eels, spotted drum (both juvenile and adult), and red hinds, besides the plethora of typical reef fish!
Mark was also able to use our air compressor for the first time this year to refill the tanks and top off the ones he has been using to scrape the bottom of the boat. We were glad that piece of equipment still works!
We have been surprised by the changes we have seen on Bonaire, and so far, they seem to be all good. We have a Budget Marine (like a small West Marine), a Kooyman (Like a small Lowes), a hospital, multiple grocery stores (instead of just one), multiple dive shops (instead of just a few), and the downtown shopping district is now more than just the front walk along the harbor. It feels safe walking around the back streets in town. With the cruise ships now here, the marketing for things to do is pretty great with actual maps of the remote regions, and daily excursions to Klein Bonaire for diving and snorkeling, where before, it was accessed only by dive boats. It is nice to have the local artists show up for the farmers market for the cruise ships. Unlike Aruba, every vendor here is selling their wares made here on Bonaire. It is not booth after booth after booth of the same touristy crap made in Pakistan or China with “Bonaire” painted on it. Before we arrived, we thought we would not like the changes that cruise ships seem to bring, but now that we are here, we cannot complain that the improvements have “ruined” our little piece of paradise.