We begin with an uneventful flight to Atlanta to start our journey back to Bonaire. After arriving, we decide to check out the Atlanta aquarium again, mainly because the huge tank is so impressive. There is something special, yet sad about seeing huge whale sharks and manta rays in an aquarium. The only reason I’m fine with it is that the Whale Sharks were going to be sold for food, the aquarium offered the fishermen a better price. A quick dinner in the hotel, and an early bedtime so we’ll be fresh and ready for the flight to Bonaire in the morning.
We arrive at the airport after a filling but uninspiring room service breakfast. No issues on our flight, and K has booked us into the extra room seats for all of our flights on this trip. We land at the Flamingo airport, and are processed by customs rather quickly. Our bags come out quite fast, which is also unusual, and before you know it, we’re in a taxi heading for the Divi Flamingo Resort, our usual haunt on Bonaire. We arrive around 2 pm, but our room is not ready, so K hangs out in the lobby while I go to the Hertz counter at the hotel to get our car. A very nice porter takes pity on us at 3:40 and goes to check on our room, which is ready. Who knows how long it would have taken the new guy at the front desk to find that out. The porter gets a really nice tip, as we might still be waiting if not for him.
After taking the stuff to our room, we whisk off to the Van de Tweel grocery store to get some breakfast and lunch stuff, as well as the Dutch goodies we love to get on Bonaire, wine gums, Knoppers, and Dutch peppermints. Weirdly, the store does not have any Amstel Brights. There is a guy who sells smoked chicken in the parking lot, and we get one for dinner tonight so we don’t have to go out later. We head back to the Divi, unpack our groceries, and head for the water for the first snorkel of the trip. K is having issues with her snorkel, it’s letting in water, much like mine did a few years ago, so she gets out and sits on the pier. I snorkel around a bit on my own. Just the usual suspects, but following a small white spotted moray leads me to an arrow crab. My camera keeps giving me an SD card error, however, and though I’m able to clear it by turning the camera on and off, it still is happening. I decide that tonight after the snorkel, I’ll switch out to the other 64 GB card that I have, since this one is obviously acting up. That card never worked, and nothing that I thought I took was on it, so I’ve included some pictures from Sunday here, so no one has to read this long-winded diatribe without seeing some pretty fish pictures! Incidentally, this year, I am putting the pictures as close to the order I took them as possible. Trying something new, tell me what you think.
We have our complimentary rum punch, and a few Amstel Brights at the bar and watch the sunset. We go to the room, and reheat the smoked chicken and have some sliced cucumbers with it. The room is missing the knife block, so the only knives we have are butter knives. I’ll have to rectify that tomorrow. The chicken is excellent. The cable TV is out, so we read for a bit then hit the hay, ready for a full day of snorkeling tomorrow.
Since I can’t chop veggies for our usual breakfast, we settle for scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, English muffins, and coffee. After breakfast we stop at the front desk, to talk about the cable, and the lack of knives. We find out that cable is out on the whole island. They apologize about the knives and promise they’ll have some brought to our room today. We go to the little grocery store across the street, and they have Amstel Brights, so we buy a case there, and bring it back to the room. We stop at the dive shop to get K a new snorkel, and do our second of many trips around the house reef (officially known as Calabas reef). Again, nothing too unusual, except for the Yellowline Arrow crab which is in the same place as yesterday. We do see a nice Golden Chain moray, but I didn’t get any usable pictures of him.
We take a quick dip in the pool, and then head back to the room for lunch. We’ve decided to have the reminder of the smoked chicken in sandwiches for lunch. Still no knives, but the chicken is so tender; you don’t need a sharp knife. After lunch we head back to the water. Again, nothing too unusual, but we do see a nice large White Spotted Moray who keeps looking at the camera. I hope that footage comes out! We also see a small tarpon in the depths, about 4 feet long. We head out of the water, take a quick pool dip, and I go back to the room to make rum drinks from our duty-free stash to take down to the pool to watch the sunset.
After the sunset, we return to the room to shower and straighten up for dinner. We walk to Mezza, a Middle Eastern restaurant run by a wonderful Syrian man. We discovered this place on our last trip in 2016, and it doesn’t disappoint. We share some awesome meaty hummus, excellent hummus with a scoop of spicy ground beef in the center. The owner tells us that this is a common way they serve hummus in Syria. We also get tuna sashimi, beef and lamb kafte, and a Greek salad. Afterwards, it’s off to Gio’s for some gelato. It’s not the best gelato I’ve ever had, but the best I’ve had isn’t in the Caribbean, and it makes a nice night cap after dinner. We eat it sitting by the water, listening to the waves. A short walk back to the hotel, and it’s off to the land of Nod. We find out that there’s a regatta in town from Wednesday through Saturday, and we’re not sure how it will affect us.
Still no knives. Have some English Muffins with peanut butter and Clementines for breakfast, K asks me to call the Woodwind to see if we can get out with them this week as we don’t know how the regatta will affect them either. They say it’s fine, and they are actually leaving on a trip in 40 minutes, and there is room for us on it. Since they leave from the Divi Flamingo where we stay, we agree, dress, and walk down to the Woodwind dock on the southern end of the property.
There is a new Woodwind boat, a catamaran that is larger than the old boat, and we climb aboard with 19 other intrepid snorkelers to the magic that is Klein Bonaire, a small island off the western coast of the main island where there is still beautiful coral and sponges. The boat is owned and run by Dee, an amazing woman who is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. There’s a bigger crew now with the bigger boat, but Ziggy the captain is still a part of the crew, as is Alejandro, the professional photographer.
As we are sailing out to Klein Bonaire, we hear Ziggy say “Dee, do not scream…there are dolphins in front of the boat.” In all our many trips on the Woodwind, we’ve never seen dolphins before. It’s a small pod of 6-8 individuals, and Alejandro jumps into the water to capture some shots as they swim around us. He also spies a shark sucker that has attached itself to the bottom of the Woodwind. We soon arrive at the first snorkel spot, a new spot for us, further south than we usually go, available to us only because the seas are very calm today. Normally it’s too rough to snorkel this area. This area is especially beautiful, and it is plain why Dee has brought us here. We see an octopus almost immediately upon entering the water. I dive down to try to capture some pictures and video of him, but won’t know what I have until we get home. We are treated to a pair of curious, dinner plate sized French Angelfish who approach everyone quite closely. These are beautiful fish, and it’s nice to get such closeups for the pictures. The rest of the snorkel is beautiful, but uneventful, and we finish, get back to the boat, and enjoy a snack of some fig filled crackers and mango juice.
The second stop is one we’ve been to before, and since I didn’t completely charge my camera before we left, I’m conserving power for the third stop where we normally see turtles. I spot a Queen Angel for K, but it’s too deep to take pictures of. Dee had entered the water early, as she says there has been a seahorse hanging out near some elk horn coral, and she hopes to find it for us. She does, and we are treated to a rare sight. They are very hard to see (K really never gets a good look at it), plus it’s in about 12 feet of water. I dive down to grab some pictures and video. In any case, I know Alejandro will get some shots of it. We head back to the boat for more snacks and drinks before our third snorkel stop.
We arrive at the third snorkel spot, and it’s one that we love, both because we usually see turtles here, and because it’s a gently sloping reef, where on one side it’s only 5-6 feet deep, but it quickly descends to 30 feet deep or more. I hang close to Dee, as she usually will be the one to spy something first. I’m right next to her, when she announces that there is a turtle nearby. It’s right below us, and I am very close to it, without any other snorkelers around to disturb it. The turtle rises to the surface right near me to get some air, and then dives down again before the rest of the group can get too close. K sees it from afar, but I assure her that there will be some nice video and pictures of it. K has been hanging near the back of the group, as she has spied three Queen Angels in the deep that she is observing. They are too deep for pictures, but are beautiful nevertheless.
Third snorkel over, we head back to the boat for the sail back to the main island, and Dee’s famous Chinese food lunch. It’s a chicken/veggie/noodle dish that is quite good, and we wash it down with a few beers on the sail home. When we get off the boat, we head up to pay, and book another trip for Wednesday. The three-stop snorkel is still an incredible bargain in my book, as it costs only $65 per person which includes the three stops, a nice long sail, lunch, snacks, and an open bar! She also has masks, fins, and snorkels for those who do not, as well as prescription masks, boogie boards, noodles, and other flotation devices.
After paying, we head to the pool for a quick dip, and then back to the Calabas reef for one more house snorkel. The Arrowhead Crab is in the same spot again, and we see lots of other stuff including a nice two-foot-long white spotted moray eel. Since there are no dive boats near the Divi dive dock, we decide to snorkel around it, as there are often some cool things under it. As we come around the back side, I look down and see a juvenile Queen Triggerfish. We have never seen any Queen Triggerfish on Bonaire before, so this is a rare and welcome sight. A beautiful fish, I spend some time free diving down to get some video and pictures of it. Another quick dip in the pool, then I go up to drop off the gear, and get some rum drinks. We sip our rum drinks, and watch the glorious sunset.
After the sun goes down, it’s back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner. We head into town to go to a favorite of ours, Mona Lisa. The only problem with this restaurant, is that it’s always stifling hot inside, and tonight is no exception. The overhead fans provide scant relief, but I am here for the “special” which has been a “special” on every trip we’ve had here, a smoked wahoo carpaccio with wasabi mayonnaise. It really is one of my five favorite things to eat on Earth. K has the tuna sashimi for an app, and the beef carpaccio for her entrée. After my wahoo, I have an excellent NY strip steak with a green peppercorn sauce. We share one of their ethereally light chocolate mousse desserts, and walk back to the Divi.
After a trip to look at the tarpons looking for food in the lights of the dive dock, we head back to the room, so that I can watch Game 3 of the LDS, where my Boston Red Sox beat the hated New York Yankees, 16-1! K’s favorite player Brock “The Brockstar” Holt hits for the cycle, the first player to do so in the postseason in baseball history. Happy my team is victorious, I shut off the TV, and drift off to sleep.
We’re up early for breakfast. Still no knives, so I use a butter knife to chop some peppers, onions, ham, and tomatoes to add to our scrambled eggs I hope I can convince someone, ANYONE, to give us some knives today. It’s a cruise ship day, so we head into town to do some shopping as there is a really nice craft show that fills the city square on cruise ship days. There are cruisers everywhere, as usual, and because of the regatta, the small city square where the craft show is usually set up is filled with portable amusement rides. We can’t escape amusements, even here in Bonaire! K is looking for a new rash guard, but she can’t find one in any of the shops we look in.
I see a nice shirt in the window of a shop as we head back to the Divi, but it’s only available in women’s styles/sizes, so K gets one instead of me. We stop at the Carib Inn dive shop to pick up our Bonaire calendars for 2019. A local woman puts out these amazing calendars each year which show off her incredible underwater photography. We walk back to the Divi, and get in the water. We snorkel all the way to the Plaza resort, about a third of a mile away. We see a nice big barracuda there, maybe 5 feet long. They are scary looking, but they still don’t want anything to do with you, and swim away any time we get close. We swim back, take a dip in the pool, and then head in for lunch. Unbelievably, we finally have a knife block in the room.
We have a lazy afternoon of reading and drinking rum drinks. We discuss the possibility of a night snorkel this evening, but neither of us is feeling it, so we just relax, and bum around until dinner time. I make some burgers in the room, and we eat while watching Game 4 of the ALDS. The Sox grab an early 4-1 lead, and all looks great, until they bring in closer Craig Kimbrel for the 9th. Last year he was untouchable, but this year has been difficult, with most post season saves a struggle. He gives up a few runs, and almost blows the lead, but the Sox hold on 4-3 and defeat the Yankees in 4 games. It’s on to the ALCS versus the Houston Astros next. We drift off to sleep, dreaming of all the nice fish we’ll see on our second Woodwind trip tomorrow.
We awaken, have breakfast, and ready ourselves for our second trip on the Woodwind. The sky is overcast, and K says the forecast is for drizzles with overcast skies all day. We arrive at the Woodwind dock, and it’s a larger group than on Monday, 26 people. K wishes to sit in the front of the boat today, in the open, as she found the back where we sat on Monday a bit claustrophobic. We start off towards Klein Bonaire, and the drizzle begins. Within ten minutes, it’s a full-fledged deluge. Most of the people up front move into the covered back area of the boat, but as we’ll be wet in the ocean soon, we just deal with it, as the back is even more crowded and claustrophobic than it was before. K and I and a few other hardy souls tough it out in the weather. The rain really isn’t the issue, it’s that it makes you so cold. I tuck my arms into my rash guard and pull it up to my eyes, trying to keep as much of my skin covered as possible. The rain lets up just a few minutes before we get into the water for the first snorkel.
Getting into the water feels wonderful, as the 78-80-degree water is so much warmer than we feel from all the rain. The first stop is awesome as we see three turtles, including one that is too far in the shallows for the others to get near, giving K and I a private show. We also see a Queen Angel, and I free dive down to see if I’m able to capture any clear video of it. We get back on the boat and are treated to some snacks (cookies and crackers), and drinks. This is a hardy drinking group of mostly Dutch tourists, and before we got to the first snorkel spot, most of them had been drinking gin and tonics. K and I always wait until we are done snorkeling on the Woodwind before we start drinking, but this group has another round of G&T’s before we get to the second stop, and before we get there, they’ve drunk the boat out of gin! They switch to beer, and K and I are worried that we might not get one of those with lunch!
The second stop is the same one where we saw the seahorse on Monday, and he’s still there today. This time, he’s a bit further up in the coral, making him a bit easier to see. I make a few free dive passes at him to try to capture some images. We also see two small turtles including a Hawksbill. Most of the turtles we see in Bonaire are Green Turtles. We also see another Queen Angel, and unfortunately, a Lionfish. The third stop is always nice, and we are fortified by cinnamon bread and watermelon before hitting the water. The coral is truly spectacular here, and is the best in all of Bonaire. We get back on the boat for lunch and the sail back. K likes the lunch Dee serves, but she doesn’t like eating the same things too often, so she decides to pass on lunch. I’m not nearly as picky, as I enjoy it, and I’m hungry after swimming around for the past few hours.
I ask for a rum punch, but Dee’s new helper forgets it. Oh well, no worries, I’ll just have some water. Of course, there’s always dessert, and some light cream and fruit filled cake is passed around. We pull into the dock near the Divi, and it’s a little challenging, as there are boats on both sides already. We jump off, and we start to head up to pay. All of a sudden Dee is grabbing K. “My darling, what can I get you that you’ll eat for lunch in the future?” K explains that she just wasn’t very hungry, not to worry, and that just being in Dee’s presence is enough for K. They hug again, and we go pay.
We take a dip in the pool, as usual and decide to take one more snorkel around the Divi. We don’t see anything too crazy, just the usual stuff. One quick pass there, and one more dip in the pool, and it’s time for rum drinks and sunsets. After another spectacular sunset, we head back to the room to get ready for dinner. Tonight, we decide on At Sea, another close restaurant with excellent, interesting food. We opt for the four-course tasting menu with the only caveats being no octopus for either of us, no squid for K, and no banana for guess who.
First is an amuse of excellent gazpacho, and some nice crackers and dip. The first course is tuna tartare with assorted gels and sauces with an awesome crumbly black onion powder. Second is shrimp bisque with assorted veggies. Excellent, though I could do without the big edge bowls that tip too easily. Third is a duo of pork with slow roasted pork cheek, pork belly, and various permutations of cauliflower. Each course is paired with an excellent choice of wine. Finally, dessert is a playful take on all thing’s watermelon, with gels, mousses, and yogurt ice cream. A fantastic meal, and served by our waiter, who to me looked like the younger brother of Rob Gronkowski!
We walk back to the Divi, and walk to the dive dock to see if there’s any interesting fish to see. Just as we arrive at the end of the dock, three tarpon start cruising about. The large silvery fish can be seen in the moonlight, and dock lights, and their large eyes glow as they pass by. Every once in a while, a large school of smaller fish jump out of the water in various directions, escaping from the large silver predators. After watching for a while, we head back to the room for a good night’s sleep, bummed that it’s all moving so fast as it always does, but heartened by the fact that we are here for two weeks, instead of one.
After breakfast, we decide to go to some of the southern snorkel sites, since the regatta is in full swing, and there is a cruise ship in town, which raises the population of the island by nearly a third. We head down to Tori’s reef, a popular spot where we’ve seen some cool stuff in the past. The entry and exit can be a bit tricky which always makes K a bit nervous. I get my gear on sitting on a rock, and tell her that I’ll help her once we’re in the water. I scoot forward and here a tearing sound. I feel the bottom of my suit, and I’ve tore one of those perfect right angle tears. It’s going to have to be fine for the day, and it’s pretty far down my leg.
Oh well. I get in the water, help K with her fins, and we swim off towards the north, where there is some of the nicest shallow coral on the west side of the main island. We always see tons of fish here, including some very large schools of grunts and other fish, as well as some rarer fish to see in the daytime, such as a small school of Glassy Sweepers, a fish we only see at night at the Divi. We also spy an adult Spotted Drum, and a yellow moray, which are apparently a color variation of Goldentail moray eels. We swim back over the deeper water, as there’s a big expanse of sand here, just the type of topography preferred by Spotted Eagle Rays, another of K’s favorites, but to no avail. Out of the water and back to the car for a short drive back towards the north to the Salt Pier.
The Salt Pier is exactly that, a working pier for huge boats to load up on the salt that is created from the sea by Cargill industry, the largest export the island has. You can’t dive or snorkel here if there is a boat at the pier, but they must not come too frequently, as I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a boat at that pier. We get in the water, and see a small turtle almost immediately in the shallows, maybe five feet of water. He’s feeding on some sea grass, that looks more like sea moss on the bottom. Unlike all the other turtles we’ve come in contact with in Bonaire, this one seems rather nonplussed by our presence, and surfaces right near me to get some air, before swimming back down to continue eating. I’m getting such great footage, including some nice footage of the turtle swimming right next to K, much like what happened in Hawaii last year. He finally tires of us, and swims off. We head towards the pier.
The end of the pier is in 40-50 feet of water, and is supported by huge pillars, each two feet across, that crisscross each other. There is abundant sea life that is swimming around the pillars and the sponges and corals growing upon them. The only problem is that I can see great stuff far below me, but I really can’t take any video or pictures of them, so the huge Ocean Triggerfish exists only in our memories. We come around the back side of one pillar and see three beautiful Queen Angels. We have seen many of these on this trip, and like the others we’ve seen, these are too deep for quality pictures. They are spectacular, however, and I make a few free dive passes, in the hope that I may be lucky enough to capture anything footage I can use to get a quality still frame.
I decide to try one more pass, when the camera beeps at me. I look down and it’s reading that the SD card is full. This is weird as I usually use one 64GB card per week, and have extra room on it when I switch. We’re content to observe the Queen Angels, and decide we’ll come back to see if they are still here later this trip. On the way out of the water we find the turtle eating once again, and I love how he uses his front flippers to sweep the sea grass before eating. Is he fluffing it up to make it easier to eat? Is he sweeping the extra sand off the top? Only the turtle knows for sure.
Speaking of eating, we’re hungry and thirsty, so we head out towards Donkey Beach near the airport to go to the Cactus Blue food truck for lionfish burgers. The lionfish, an invasive species, has no natural predators in the Atlantic or Caribbean. They eat everything around them that’s smaller than their mouths, and have decimated some places, like off the Florida coast, where you can watch YouTube videos of reefs where all you see are lionfish. Bonaire has been very aggressively spearing them, and even with that amount of effort, you still see them on the reefs, though in far lower numbers than in other places. It’s a mild flavored white fish, and the Cactus Blue truck makes an excellent lionfish burger as well as an excellent, and very hot, spicy cheeseburger. Sated, we return to the Divi. K heads down to the pool, but I want to go to the room and check out this SD card issue. After getting to the room, the problem is apparent. I haven’t deleted the Hawaii pictures from this card yet. Since I have tons of videos and pictures I don’t want to delete, I carefully start to delete the Hawaii pictures to make room for newer stuff. I’m frustrated, and moving too quickly, when I realize that I’ve accidentally deleted some of today’s files, including the turtle encounter at Salt Pier. Time to bring K and myself a beer and sit near the pool, being far more careful while delete the files. I see what I had done wrong before and now am easily deleting only the old files. It’s tedious, as it will only let me delete them individually, with any attempt of selecting multiples to delete, fails. I get enough space on the card and we go out for a house snorkel.
The dive boat is away, and we snorkel towards the dive dock to see if the juvenile Queen Triggerfish is there again, and it is. As I’m free diving making camera runs at it, I notice a juvenile spotted drum under a rock formation. These are cool fish. Their top and bottom fins are nearly their entire length they will be in life from when they hatch. The center of the fish fills in between the fins, the older the fish gets. Seeing the juveniles, with a whisper of flesh between those fins is a rare sight. Out of the water again, we sit by the pool, have another beer, and watch the sunset, again a poor one due to the heavy cloud cover. Back to the rooms to ready for dinner.
We walk around the craziness of the regatta crowd, enjoying the terrific smells of the local foods, and the smiles and laughter on the locals faces. We see a school marching band tuning up in an alley, and a small parade of revelers is marching down the street. We’re early for our reservation at Donna and Giorgio’s, a great Italian restaurant. We stop at an outside bar we’ve wanted to stop at before but never had, the Diver’s Diner, which K calls the Diver’s Paradise, for reasons unknown. It’s Happy Hour and the drinks are cheap and strong. The folks working there are nice, and the clientele is a nice mix of locals and tourists. The food also looks pretty good. We decide we’ll be back again on this trip, next time to eat as well.
We head over to Donna and Giorgio’s for another wonderful dinner. It’s very small, and you need reservations if you want a table for dinner, one of the few places here with that problem, a good one to have, probably. K has spaghetti and meatballs, and I have a tagliatelle with creamy garlic sauce and chicken, we also split a large caprese salad. A few glasses of wine, and we leave, stopping at Gio’s on the way back for dessert. We eat it while walking through town, enjoying watching all the Regatta festivities. After spending some time listening to a few bands, some good, some not, we head back to the Divi for some well-deserved sleep.
We have a hearty breakfast this morning as the plan is to drive south and snorkel Lac Bay. Lac Bay is a very shallow bay of water that has some nice coral as well as schools of juvenile and adult fish of all types, and it’s where we usually see some Rainbow parrotfish, and one of K’s favorites, Squid. The drive down the Southern edge of the island is a pretty one, there is a shorter inland route, but we prefer driving on the coast for the views. We pull off the road and gear up to walk into the bay. It’s a long walk of about 300 yards in uneven sand to get to water that’s deep enough to swim in. Then it’s another 150-200 yards to where the reefs are. Once in the deeper water, you start to see loads of marine life. Almost immediately after reaching water over six feet deep, I see a Southern Sting-Ray swim very quickly away from me. Too fast to do anything but admire it. K was a bit behind me and missed it. We both see some conch shells around a hole nearby, which is the usual sign of an octopus den. Yup, he’s home, squeezed into the small space with only an eye and a bit of tentacle showing.
We continue and encounter three small Rainbow Parrotfish. These are small ones, only about 18 inches long. These can grow to 5 ½ feet in length and are the largest Parrotfish we see. Only the 3-foot-long Midnight Blue Parrotfish are anywhere near as large, and we’ve only rarely seen those here. At any size they are skittish, and difficult to approach, mostly seem swimming away from you. We also encounter two squid, but these are also wary, and do dot demonstrate the common squid curiosity. Generally, they will approach warily, but these keep their distance. We spend some quality time looking at all the staghorn coral and the baby fish. There are tiny parrotfish as well as Sergeant Majors the size of K’s pinky nail. These fish can grow up to 7 inches in length! After a while we swim back out, going a little further in than we did going in as the tide has been on the rise, but still having to walk the final 150 yards or so.
There is a resort here called Sorobon, and they have a nice beach bar, so we stop for drinks and some lunch. K has a prosciutto, sun dried tomato pesto and olive tapenade sandwich, and I have a spicy chicken and cheese panini, and we split some fries. A few Brights each, and it’s a wonderful lunch. Over lunch we discuss our next stop plans, and K feels that we should go back to the Salt Pier, to see if both the turtles and the Queen Angels are still there. We head back north to the Salt Pier and notice a lot of dive trucks in the parking lot. We park, reapply sunscreen, and head into the water.
In almost the same spot where we saw the turtle yesterday, we see three feeding on the same patches of sea grass. I’m very happy that I’ll be able to replace some of the footage I lost when I deleted the previous day’s files. They both rise to the surface near us to breathe, again not giving us any mind at all, to return to the bottom to feed. We watch for a bit before heading towards the Salt Pier itself. We see several smaller 2-3-foot Barracudas, and a few Porcupine fish, or commonly, puffers. We swim along the deep edge of the pier, and I think I see a fast movement deep below me that looked sort of shark like. You rarely see sharks on this side of the island. K grabs my flipper to tell me she’s just seen a Blacktip Reef Shark. It’s disappeared into the deep, but I guess I sort of saw it, anyway. It’s a smaller species of shark, six feet or less, and it wouldn’t have bothered with us even if we weren’t 50 feet above it.
We continue around the pier and head in, but instead of heading straight back, we head over to an area just north of where we entered, where there are several snorkelers milling about. We swim towards them and see why, it’s a Turtlepalooza! We crisscross over the sands, and there are at least 8, maybe 10 turtles all out feeding. These are smaller turtles with 1-2-foot-long shells, and I get loads of footage and pictures of them feeding and coming up for air. We head out of the water and tell some divers and snorkelers entering to make sure they see the turtles in the shallows. We drive back to the Divi for our usual pool dip, shower, and prep for dinner. There is an ominous looking sky, so we decide to go into town early for dinner and happy hour drinks at Diver’s Diner. This place is awesome. K is drinking Bombay Sapphire gin and tonics that are 2/3 gin for $3.50 each, and I’m drinking $1.75 a bottle El Presidente beer from the Dominican Republic. With K’s $16 BBQ Ribs plate, and my $20 mix BBQ plate special (amazing pork chop, chicken leg, ribs, and sides), the total check was only $58! Crazy tipper K wants to give them $100 total. I love the place, but I nixed a nearly 80% tip and gave them a nice 20% tip of $12. I do love watching the Europeans tip, though. A German couple has $26 of food and three $2.50 beers each, and left a $5 tip, which at least was more reasonable than the one American couple leaving $10 tip on a $120 bill. Come on cheapskates, the minimum wage on this island is less than $4 an hour, help these people out!
We stop at the cigar bar next door afterwards and buy a nice Cuban cigar which we share as we walk back to the to the Divi. The end of the pier is rife with Tarpon trying to eat the Needlefish that swim along the surface. We watch for a while, before returning to the room to sleep. Tomorrow is Saturday, but it’s not the Saturday we have to leave, so we’re content as we drift off to dreamland.
This concludes part one of The Travel Lion Back to Bonaire Again 2018. Part two will arrive soon.