After breakfast we decide to drive up the Northern shore road. It’s a pretty drive and K loves to look at 1000 Steps, a snorkel site on the Northern side of the island. Unfortunately, there are no parking spots near 1000 Steps, so we move on. We make a quick stop at Karpata to look at the water, then take the long road past Gotomeer Lake, an inland salt water lagoon that is a flamingo sanctuary. We see a lot of flamingos, but they never get too close to the road to take any quality photos. We wind through the town of Rincon, the original settlement on Bonaire, and stop by the grocery store for the remaining provisions we’ll need for the rest of our trip. We come back to the Divi, have some lunch, and then head out for a home reef snorkel. We plan on doing what we always do on our two-week trips, which is go to the beach near the airport, Windsock, and watch the weekly Delta flight leave without us on it! K has been having some issues with her new snorkel, as the mouthpiece is a little large for her. The Divi dive shop’s snorkel mouthpieces are all the same size. I have her try mine for size, it’s smaller than hers, and she likes it better, so we drive past the airport to the dive shop where we bought my snorkel. They have snorkels with smaller mouthpieces like mine. We happily drive back to Windsock to wave to the plane as it takes off.
Then we snorkel Windsock. The visibility is lousy here today, but once you are close to anything you can see fairly well. We snorkel south along the shallows, then back north along the deeper water. There’s nothing too unusual on the trip, though I do see a nice Goldentail Moray, and remove two plastic bags, and two plastic cups from the ocean. We head back to the grocery store, as the smoked chicken guy was sold out when we went there before. He’s back and stocked up, so we get another chicken for dinner. A house snorkel, a little reading, relaxing, and a quick pool dip and we head in for dinner. I watch the Red Sox lose to Houston in Game 1 of the ALCS, then go to sleep. During the night we are awakened by some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard, and even with the blackout curtains in the room, you can see the bright flashes of lightning. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.
The rain is still coming down in the morning when we get up. We have some coffee, but don’t have any breakfast as we’re itching to try a new food truck that’s been getting rave reviews for breakfast. The Dash food truck is open for breakfast from 9-12 on Saturdays and Sundays only, and they have a limited menu of breakfast biscuit sandwiches, doughnuts, and cinnamon rolls. We each get egg, cheese, and chicken sausage biscuits, and split an ethereally light and greaseless coconut lime raised doughnut, and a cinnamon roll. The food is fantastic, and we’ll be back to try some of their other food items when we return, especially their spicy fried chicken biscuit.
After breakfast in the car, we head off towards the north again to see if we can stop and snorkel 1000 Steps. The roads are bereft of cars due to the rain, and when we arrive, we’re the only car in the lot. There are less than 100 steps to the beach at 1000 Steps, but I’m sure when carrying heavy dive gear, it seems like more than 1000! It’s easier on snorkelers, like us, as our gear is relatively light. K really likes this spot, but I was unimpressed the previous time we’ve snorkeled it. The other time we came it must have been high tide, as I remember everything being at least 30 feet deep, but today at low tide there are plenty of coral heads in the 5-to-10-foot-deep range, as well as beautiful swaths of elkhorn coral in the deeper water.
We see three turtles while we are there, as well as a large Rainbow parrotfish. The elkhorn coral is impressive, with at least three sections that are 100-150 feet in length, by 30-40 feet in width. We get out of the water, and head back to town through Rincon. We had read in the Bonaire Reporter newspaper that there was a new Adventure mini golf course on the island, and we decide to go look for it. The ad said it was on the road to Sorobon, and there are two roads there. We take the first one, and it’s not there, so we double back towards town and find it on the other road. They are closed, and the proprietors are siphoning off the rainwater from the course as we drive by. It looks like fun, and we decide that if we have time, we’ll return later in the week to play.
K asks if we can return to the Salt Pier to look at the Queen Angels, and we drive there. We get into the water, and yup, the turtles are there again, feeding in the shallows. We watch them for a few minutes, then swim out toward the pier to see if the Queen Angels are also still there. There are five of them swimming about 15-20 feet down. I free dive down when one goes into a sponge on the pier column, hoping it won’t be spooked by me, so I can get some video and pictures. It starts to rain again, and K is getting cold, so we head in. Just as we get to the shallow water, the rain stops, and K wishes to head back to the pier. We swim all the way out there, and just as we arrive, the skies reopen, and it starts to pour. We decide to call it quits on the Salt Pier for today, and swim in. We head back to the Divi, and the rain is still coming down, so we head in for a light lunch, and then decide to walk into town.
Most of the shops are closed on Sundays, but we stop at the older supermarket downtown to see if they have any of the Royal Club Cassis soda that we like, and that is unavailable in the states. They do, so we grab a six pack, and walk along the water. We stop at Karel’s bar, a bar/restaurant right on the water in downtown Kralendijk. It’s a dive bar, but not in a good way, like Diver’s Diner. We have a couple drinks before walking back to the Divi. We rest for a while, as we’ve decided to do our night snorkel tonight, on the home reef.
Night snorkeling is a special experience, as you see lots of fish and other creatures which hide during the day, and the daytime fish can usually be seen sleeping among the rocks on the stone jetty. You also see Spiny Lobsters, though all the ones we see this year are much smaller than those we’ve seen in the past. We also see a nice tarpon cruising for food, and a Sharptail Eel, swimming free looking for food as well. We are both getting cold, so we get out of the water, jump into the much warmer pool, then head back to the room for dinner. Dinner tonight is smoked chicken sandwiches using the remainder of the chicken from last night’s dinner. I switch back and forth between the Red Sox game, and the New England Patriots game, both of which work out great for my home town teams, and then drift off to sleep.
It’s going to be a lazy day. K is still tired from the all of yesterday’s snorkeling. Generally, we are go-go-go when on vacation, so it will be nice to have a relaxation day. We have breakfast, and head down to the small dock near the dive dock to rest and read a bit. K isn’t up for any snorkeling yet, so I hop into the water alone to do a house snorkel. I swim around, hoping that I’ll just see the normal stuff, so that K won’t miss anything too spectacular. I go around the dive dock, back under where K is sitting, around the stone jetty, then out to the Woodwind dock near the southern end of the Divi property. As I’m returning towards the stone jetty, I spy familiar movement to my right along the shore, and I spy a small Green turtle in the shallows swimming towards me, near the Chibi Chibi restaurant. This is very unusual, as this is only the second turtle that I’ve seen in front of the Divi property in all our trips here. I follow him with the camera, but he’s skittish, and swims away from me, though he does make a nice right turn directly in front of me. I swim back to where K is sitting to deliver the bad news. Oh well, at least it’s been a turtle filled trip so far, and it wasn’t a squid squadron, or a Spotted Eagle Ray. We sit for awhile until it’s lunch time. Not wanting to lose our prime spot on the dock, I head down to the beach bar to order some lunch and a bucket of Brights. It’s my opportunity to get some bitterballen, which K hates. This Dutch snack is basically meat with a thick gravy, formed into a ball and deep fried, served with a mustard based dipping sauce. We also get some coconut shrimp, chicken wings and fries. The lunch of champions!
After lunch, K decides she’s up for a snorkel, so we head into the water. Since there is a boat at the Divi dive dock, we head towards the stone jetty, and proceed southward until we reach the dock at Sebastian’s restaurant. We see a few nice eels, as well as the usual suspects. We do see two huge Cubera Snappers in the deep water, nearly three feet long each. On the way back, K is in deeper water than me, when I discover a single small squid. It’s unusual to see just one squid, since they almost always travel in packs of two or more. I stay with him filming, hoping K will see me and come over. I look behind me and start to motion to K to come closer. I finally get her attention, and she starts to swim towards me. The squid is curious and is staying quite close to me and the camera. I’m glad K has come by, as I would have been bummed had she missed a turtle and a squid in the same day. We stay with him a while, then finally head back to the dock. We take a quick dip in the pool, then head into town for happy hour.
We’re planning on going back to Mezze tonight, but they don’t have a bar, so it’s off to the Diver’s Diner and our friend Luis the bartender. We’re there for a while when B, an American from Ohio comes over. He’s a regular, and along with the German couple has been at the bar each of the times we’ve been there. “Hey Boston, how are you guys tonight?” he asks, and we reply we’re well. After a few drinks, and some off-color jokes, he asks me if I’d like to smoke a joint with him. I’m happy to oblige, but when we go around the corner to smoke, he realizes that he doesn’t have one on him, and says he’ll need to go back to his boat to roll one. K is very leery of this situation and decides not to join us on the trip to his boat, despite our cajoling. We take his small dinghy that’s moored at Karel’s bar, out to his and his parents 45-foot catamaran. I meet his mom, who doesn’t look anywhere near her 80 years, and he rolls a joint. Soon we’re back in the dinghy and on our way back to shore, sharing it as we motor back in.
Pleasantly stoned, we return to a pissed off K, who isn’t upset that I left, but rather that it took so long, and that I neglected to look at the text messages she has sent me while we’ve been away. B apologizes to K for keeping me so long and sits with us for the rest of the time we are there, getting peppered with questions from K, regarding his business and his boat. We’re getting hungry, and don’t want to eat at Diver’s Diner tonight so we bid B and Luis farewell, and head over to Mezze for dinner. Once again, the food is tremendous, and afterwards we walk back to the Divi, and collapse into bed, falling asleep almost immediately. It’s just after 9 PM.
We’re having a light breakfast today as we have a 9 AM trip on the Woodwind planned, our last of the trip. We make it down to the Woodwind dock and are greeted by Dee with big hugs. An older Dutch gentleman says “Oh, I thought we were all going to get hugs.”, and of course Dee hugs him as well. We’re the only Americans on the boat today, as all the other passengers are Dutch, except for one couple from South America. We sail out toward Klein Bonaire, with flying fish jumping out of the water in front of us as we go. We reach the first snorkel spot, and it’s apparent that only a few of the Dutch folks have been paying attention. On the trip out to Klein Bonaire Dee gives everyone a run down of all the rules, as well as making sure that everyone has what they’ll need for the trip, fins, masks, snorkels, rash guards, full body wetsuits, etc. The first group is getting ready to get in the water and suddenly, it’s “Oh, I need a snorkel”, and “My mask isn’t very good, do you have another I could use?”, and “You know, I think I would like a UV shirt.” C’mon people, this is the reason why she asked you all this before, so we wouldn’t be wasting time while we’re trying to get in the water. The first group finally gets in the water. The second group is a Dutch family of five, all of whom refuse to wear fins. This is something a lot of the Dutch tourists do, and it confounds me. Without fins, snorkeling is much harder, and it tires you out much faster. Our group is last with Dee as our guide.
We head out onto the reef for more views of the stunning coral on Klein Bonaire. It’s honestly so beautiful that it would be worth seeing even if there was no other sea life to observe. In addition to the stuff we normally see, we also spy a couple of squid, and another large Rainbow Parrotfish. Back to the boat for snacks and drinks. We head out towards the second snorkel spot.
Dee drops into the water first to find the seahorse that we’ve seen on our previous two trips. As our group is sitting on the back of the boat, Ziggy instructs the rest of the Dutch patrons what to do, in Dutch, of course. He then looks at Me and K and says, “You guys know the drill.” The Dutch woman next to me looks at me and says “Drill?”
I explain that we don’t speak Dutch, but since this is our third trip in two weeks, and one of many we’ve taken on the Woodwind over the years, we know what we are supposed to do. She looks at me nodding and says “Ah, that explains the hugs. You are old friends!” We see the seahorse again, as well as a turtle, and some Queen Angels. We’re getting out of the water, and Dee has removed my fins for me. K is behind me, and suddenly I hear Dee yell “Eagle Ray!”. I look down below the ladder that I’m on getting back into the boat to see a beautiful Spotted Eagle Ray right bellow me on the bottom. Unfortunately, I have already placed my camera on the boat, and Dee still has my fins, so I must be content to watch it for a few seconds before it swims away. K tells me later that in her excitement, Dee dropped one of my fins, but K managed to snag it before it sank to the bottom. Dee certainly could have free dived down to get it, but K’s quick thinking made that unnecessary. After I climb the ladder onto the boat, I am walking along the narrow passage towards the front, and I slip on the wet surface, and fall flat on my ass, grabbing onto the wire barrier between me and the water. The only things that’s hurt is my ego, as everyone is looking at me, and I assure Ziggy, who saw it best, that I am fine.
More snacks and drinks before we reach the third and final snorkeling spot. Almost every Dutch patron who opted to not use fins decides to skip this final spot as they are all very tired, gee, if only there was a way to have prevented that! Dee separates the remaining snorkelers into two groups, and has us go with Marie, the other guide. She’s quite nice but as I’m slowly approaching a turtle, she grabs me and says “Turtle!” and starts dragging me closer to it, causing it to swim away. I know it was a turtle, Marie, and I was hoping to get closer to it before you scared it off! Anyway, we see a few more turtles and the red submarine that brings folks out to see what’s in the water without ever getting wet. We get back on the boat, and as I slowly and carefully make my way to the front of the boat again, Ziggy locks eyes with me and gives me that two fingers towards his eyes and then me sign. “I’m watching you, don’t do that again.” I assure him that it wasn’t in my plans now, nor earlier.
Dee serves the Chinese food again, and Marie brings K a plate “Dee made this special for you.” It’s a salad with chicken, feta, and some potato salad. K is happy to have some food, and not have to insult Dee by not wanting the Chinese food lunch. We sail back to the Divi, near the moored boats, and I point out to K B’s boat where I was on Monday evening. After departing the Woodwind and getting our final hugs from Dee, we drop into the pool to cool down, then do a quick house snorkel before heading in. Typically, we plan what we are going to do, as K gets upset with me if I wander off from her or get too far ahead. The plan is to swim around the dive dock to see if the Queen Triggerfish is still there, then swim towards the stone jetty. I’m about halfway to the stone jetty when I turn to look for K. She’s nowhere to be seen. I frantically start scanning the water surface looking for her. I finally spy her near the dive dock. I give her a hard time for making me worry, especially after she’s made it clear that I stick to the plan. She says she wanted to say goodbye to the Queen Triggerfish, and she wants me to look at these goofy divers who she says are sitting in the water taking pictures of nothing.
We swim over and there are three divers looking at some small pieces of dead broken coral in an area that is mostly sand and small pieces of broken coral. I figure there must be a reason they are spending so much time here, so we hover above them and wait. As one of the divers fires his camera, the flash goes off, and instantly I see what they’re looking at. I poke my head above the water and tell Karen that they are looking at a black seahorse that has attached itself to a small piece of broken dead coral! I point it out to K, and finally she can see a seahorse, as she never felt she could adequately see the one on Klein Bonaire. We wait for them to finish taking pictures, and after they move on, K waits on the surface as I make a few free dive runs at the seahorse trying to capture some video and pictures. K is immediately forgiven for her plan digression, for had she not done then we would never have seen this seahorse.
We make our way out of the water and stop at the pool for our traditional post snorkel dip. I leave to take the gear up to the room, and get some rum drinks, when I see a huge land crab scuttling across the sidewalk that leads to our room. He’s probably 6-8 inches across, and I put down the gear and grab the camera to get some pictures. I call K over, so she can see it as well. It’s a called a Great Land Crab, and it’s the first one we’ve ever seen in Bonaire. K returns to the pool, and I bring the gear up to the room, and get some rum drinks to drink as we watch the sunset.
We decide to return to At Sea for dinner. K has a lionfish appetizer and steak for dinner. I reverse her and have beef carpaccio for my app, and lionfish for my entrée. The place is mobbed tonight, and the two waitresses, and Rob Gronkowski’s brother are crazy busy. Dinner took a little longer than the first night here because of it, but we don’t mind, because hell, we’re on vacation! Afterwards, we head over to Gio’s for some gelato dessert, and eat it near the water before returning to the Divi. As we walk towards the dive dock, to watch the tarpon, we see and hear a great splash in the water, as something very large has jumped out and back in. There is a British couple standing on the dock, and I ask if that was a tarpon we saw, but no he says it was a five-foot-long barracuda! We watch as it swims under the dock and back again, avoiding the divers who are doing a night dive. We head back to the room, and I check the Red Sox score. A tight game has turned into an 8-2 Red Sox win as Jackie Bradley, Jr hits a grand slam in the 8th inning. Happy the Sox are now up 2-1 in the series, we drift off to sleep.
Happy Birthday K! It’s K’s day to decide what she’d like to do. After breakfast we discuss, and she decides she would like to go back to Windsock, then to Eden Beach. Eden Beach and Yellow Submarine are the last two snorkeling spots we’d like to visit but haven’t yet. We stop at the beach just north of Windsock, Palu di Mangel Beach. We start there, and snorkel down to Windsock, and back. Nothing too unusual today, though the visibility is far superior today than it was on Saturday. We get out of the water and the Kite City food truck is setting up. We’d like a cold drink, so we walk around the rocks until they open. We see a few green iguanas and a desiccated puffer fish on the rocks. This makes K sad, as she loves puffers. The truck is open now, so we get some nice house made lemonade, and decide to get some tuna sashimi as a snack. Both are excellent, and afterwards, we hop into the car and head off to Eden Beach.
We get to Eden Beach and park the car. The water surrounding Bonaire is all a National Marine Park, and no resort can stop you from crossing their property to enter the water. They can, however, restrict you from using their chairs, piers, docks, etc. We go down to the far end of their property where there is a floating plastic pier. We’re not supposed to use it, but it will be much easier going in here than from the shore where there is little sand and mostly rough rock and broken coral. K is initially hesitant to come onto the pier, as it rocks back and forth when you step on it. I assure her that it’s fine, and she finally comes out.
I put on my gear and hop into the water. I wait for her as she gears up and comes in. I start to swim away when I hear her call my name. I look back and she says, “Is your dry bag closed?”. I wear a dry bag around my waist to put the stuff that I don’t want to leave in the car, like the car key, credit card, room key, and cash safe and dry. I look down and realize that in my haste I forgot to close it when I dropped the car key into it, and it’s now empty. I panic a bit but realize everything should be close to where we are. I look down and see the car key on top of a rock about 10 feet down, but a small Damselfish is pecking at it, moving it. I quickly free dive down and grab it. While down there I also grab $2 from on top of the rock next to that. I circle around to see if I can see the credit card, room key, and the other $20 bill that I had in the pack. I can see the room key, and as I dive down to get it, I see the credit card slightly under a rock. I grab both, throwing them into the no longer dry bag, with the wet key and cash. We swim around for a bit looking for the $20 bill, but it’s nowhere to be seen. Oh well, if all this cost me was $20, I’m very happy, as it could have been much, much worse. After I calm down, we continue our snorkel.
Eden Beach is a cool shallow snorkel, and there used to be some Yellow Headed Jawfish that lived here. We look for them, but they are not around. When Hurricane Sandy went to the north of the island in 2015, it caused some rough seas, and a lot of the shallows at Eden Beach were covered in small broken coral pieces. We had hoped that they would be re-established by now, but we don’t see them. I do see a Webb Burr Fish underneath us, however, also very rare, and very difficult to see as they blend in well with their surroundings. I only see him as he’s moving along the bottom. I free dive down to get some shots. Eden Beach has tried many ways over the years to establish new coral communities. They have a line of rock piles that have provided some needed shelter for fish and other invertebrates, but very little coral has grown on them. They are now using metal “trees” to hang small pieces of living coral on, hoping that it will grow, and be able to be transplanted to a reef in the future.
We pass the new coral farm on our way to the line of rock piles. Along the bottom of the first pile, I see an octopus hiding along the bottom. We continue along the rocks, but the visibility continues to worsen. I swim along the rocks to the area near the restaurant, as iguanas usually hang out here, and you can get closer to them from the water than they allow you to on land. I get some video of them, as well as of two octopuses each occupying a different concrete structure. I turn back to look for K, and she’s near the beginning of the rocks. She didn’t wish to follow me due to the poor visibility. As we swim back the current is at our backs, and we are pushed along without any effort on our part.
Things are very different when we reach the second stone jetty, as the current on the other side is now into our faces, and it’s very difficult to swim against. We swim against the current for a little while but rapidly realize that we’ll just tire quickly without getting anywhere, so we exit the water, and walk through the Eden Beach property back to our car. We stash our gear, and we walk over to the Coco Beach resort which is just north of the Eden Beach parking lot we are in. They have a nice bar/restaurant on the water, and we’ve decided to have lunch there. We order some beef nachos and chicken wings, and another order of bitterballen for me. The waitress looks at us a bit funny when we ask for a bucket of six Brights. Remember, these are only 8 oz beers, unlike the usual 12 oz beer is at home. The food is quite good, and sated, we head back to the car.
We drive back to the Divi, and head to the pool. After some pool time, we do a house reef snorkel. K asks me to teach her to free dive. She does it very well in the pool, but she has difficulty doing it in the ocean. She seems to think she’d be better at it without fins. We’ll need to test that hypothesis later. We decide to head back to Diver’s Diner tonight for Happy Hour drinks. You can’t go wrong when K is drinking Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonics that are mostly gin, and I’m drinking mostly Captain Morgan with pineapple juice, for $3.50 each! We chat up Luis, and he tells me that B, my boat buddy, was so drunk last night that he lost his credit card somewhere after paying Luis. He wants to give B a hard time, but he’s not shown up tonight. The nice German couple that has been here each night tells us they are heading home the next day. We bid them a fond farewell and wish them safe travels.
In talking to Luis, he says that “My job is to get people drunk, but some people do a better job of it on their own.” He then informs us that Bonaire had just instituted the island’s first laws against DUI, earlier in 2018! This probably explains why our waitress at Coco Beach was concerned with us getting a bucket of Brights! We pay our bill. We stop next door for another Cuban cigar, and then head back to the Divi to get ready for K’s birthday dinner at Sebastian’s, a very nice restaurant, within walking distance of the Divi.
When I made the reservation, they asked if I wanted the “pier” table, which was available a little bit after my initial time request. This is a large table, which often has just two people seated there, out on a pier about 50 feet away from the restaurant proper. It’s always nice to eat out there, as there is only you and the water that surrounds you. We could watch a small tarpon cruise around the pier the whole time we were there. It’s also a bit cooler with the breeze over the water. They have fresh passion fruit juice tonight, and we drink passion fruit caipirinhas as we wait for our food. K orders a beet salad followed by the tuna trio, seared, sashimi, and tartare. I start with the beef carpaccio and have an excellent seared tuna as my entrée. We also ordered some awful polenta sticks which, though fried, were soggy and greasy. We had a house made Snickers bar for dessert, which replicated the iconic candy quite well, using higher end ingredients.
We pay the bill, and walk off the pier, through the restaurant and onto the street for the five-minute walk back to the Divi. I return to see the end of Game 4 of the ALCS, and once again nearly have a coronary watching Craig Kimbrel try to lock down a save. He nearly blows a three-run lead, but the Sox hang on and win 8-6 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. One more win, and we’ll be in the World Series again for the fourth time since 2004. I turn off the TV and turn over.
It’s the American cruise ship day, and since all signs of the regatta stuff have been erased, the little craft fair will be much better attended by sellers than on our previous trip last week. We have breakfast and decide to head into town to do some shopping. I get an African inspired shirt and a new swim suit, as two of mine are too big to wear (an awesome problem to have). K gets a few things, and we stop at the Cadushy distillery store in town and buy some rum as well as two nips of their whiskey to try.
We stop and get some awesome Hawaiian ice from a young American couple, who moved to Bonaire from Hawaii. She mentions to us a place called Hamlet’s Oasis where she says there is good snorkeling. We thank her, and head back to the Divi. There’s a t-shirt in the Divi dive shop K’s been eyeing, and she gets one of those. I find a nice long sleeve rash guard with a cool octopus design. We head back to stash our booty and go down to the water for a house snorkel.
It’s a normal house snorkel with all the fish we’ve come to know and love, when we head around the end of the stone jetty and see something we’ve never seen here before. A Rainbow Parrotfish! We have seen quite a few on this trip, but there are so many people in the water around the jetty, I just didn’t think they’d come close to it. We get out of the water happy, lounge around the pool for a while, before heading in for lunch.
The last place we want to snorkel is Yellow Submarine, which is the Northern end of town. It’s too crazy to do on a cruise day, so we decide to just chill and relax. It was nice to have two of these days on this trip, as we want to do so much while we’re on vacation, that we forget to leave some time for the relaxation as well. We take a nap, and when we awake, it’s close to dinner time.
We decide to head down to Pas Bon Pizza for dinner. We’d only been to the old restaurant, before it moved much closer into town, and when it was owned by an ex-pat New Yorker. He sold the business to a Bonairian couple, and while still good, it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered it being. Next time we’ll have to try the pizza at Diver’s Diner which B proclaimed, the “best on the island”. We head back to room, grab the two whiskey nips on ice, and our cigar, and sit by the pool. It’s our last full day tomorrow, so we know we’ll be busy. This is the last relaxing thing we’ll do, on a relaxing day.
Back to the room for K to sleep, and me to watch the rest of the Sox game. It’s looking good for the Red Sox, as it’s 4-1 leading into the bottom of the ninth, but manager Alex Cora brings in Craig Kimbrel, and my palms start to sweat. Tonight, is the first post-season appearance that he doesn’t give up any runs, and the Sox win the series 4-1. On to the World Series for the fourth time since 2004!
The last full day here, always bittersweet. We have breakfast and decide to try the Hamlet’s Oasis, the new spot that the Hawaiian shaved ice lady told us about. We drive out to the spot, and it looks promising, but the surf seems rough. There is an older couple there snorkeling, so we decide to give it a try. Getting in and out will prove to be challenging as the surf is high, and the 3-5-foot water depths are loaded with fire coral heads, which you do not want to brush up against. It’s not called cotton coral, after all.
We snorkel out away from the fire coral and to deeper water, but the amount of sand here, coupled with the heavy surf is making the visibility terrible. We swim around the deeper water, but the only thing of interest we see is a big adult spotted drum swimming near a concrete mooring block. Not seeing very much with the poor visibility, and with the surf making the exit more difficult we call it quits, and carefully get out of the water.
Back into the car we drive just south to where the shore road into town begins. This area is known as Yellow Submarine, and it’s a stretch of water where there are dozens of small boats moored, and in the deeper waters, larger boats. There are always interesting fish here, and usually many eels and most impressively, tarpon, sometimes in groups. We walk over to the water and are greeted by a small green iguana that is in the grass near where we’ll step onto the beach area. We get into the water, and immediately I see a group of five, perhaps six tarpons, each 4-to-5 -feet long. They are a beautiful fish, all silver scales and big eyes, with an odd upturned mouth. They will be near us for most of the snorkel.
We go north first, and swim out to the rocks that mark the edge of the Harbor Resort. There we find a nice Goldentail eel. On the way back, we see several small eels, as well as two adult Spotted Drum Fish. We continue to snorkel for a while, and see some great stuff, including Bonefish and what I believe are Saddled Parrotfish.
We get back to the car, and I stop at Donna and Giorgio’s for a sandwich for K and I to share for lunch. It’s big, but expensive, and the lunch entrees were not much more. Good information for next trip. After lunch I return the rental car, and we sit around the pool digesting. We decide we’ll do one more house snorkel before calling it a day.
We swim towards the dive dock, but there’s no Queen Triggerfish today, though the baby Spotted Drum is home. K also wants to film me free diving. It’s not too deep here, maybe 15 feet, so it’s easy. I’ve gone down as far as 20-25 feet, but after 15 feet or so, the pressure in your ears gets painful, and you must figure out a way to equalize them. I do a few dives, trying to get K to copy me, but she’s still having issues trying to free dive in the ocean. She tries a few times and decides she’s had enough. Out of the water, back for a quick pool dip, and then back to the room to get ready for our last dinner on the island.
We have a reservation for dinner, but first we need to head over to Diver’s Diner for some Happy Hour cocktails, and when we leave, K asks for a hug from Luis. He gives her a huge hug, picking her up off the ground. We bid him a fond farewell with assurances he’d see us on our next trip, we headed back towards the Divi for dinner at Patagonia.
Patagonia is an Argentinian restaurant, and if the Argentinians know one thing, it’s beef. K has a shrimp cocktail and a rib eye with blue cheese sauce and a baked potato. I have the Mahi Mahi ceviche and a rib eye with peppercorn sauce and fries. We have an uninspiring brownie, more like dull cake, with ice cream for dessert. The only sour note to an otherwise excellent meal. Back to the Divi to pack up everything we don’t need tomorrow.
D-Day. The rains are here again this morning, as they’ve been most of this week. This is certainly the rainiest weather we’ve ever experienced on Bonaire. We have breakfast, and then suit up for our last house snorkel of the trip. We snorkel from the small dock to the Woodwind dock, and back. We see all the things we love, but just before we were ready to get out of the water K spies a small Balloonfish under a ledge. These shy pufferfish are much smaller than the more common Porcupinefish we see. They are brown rather than gray and have iridescent eyes. I start filming him as he stares out as us from under the ledge. Suddenly he swims out and starts to swim around for us to look at and photograph. We’re so happy the last snorkel ended on such a great note, and we head up to the room, change into our travel clothes, and check out. We have plenty of time, so we have lunch at the Chibi Chibi restaurant at the Divi before leaving for the airport. It’s a long trip home, as I originally wrote these words in the Bonaire airport at 2 PM, and we won’t land until almost 1 AM. After getting our luggage and a cab, we’ll be lucky to get home by 2 AM. When we do arrive home, we find our front door open. We find out later, it’s been open for at least a few days, who knows, maybe the whole two weeks. No problems, nothing missing. Big difference now that we live in the tony suburbs. And as you may already know, my beloved Boston Red Sox won the World Series 4-1 against the LA Dodgers for their fourth title since 2004. That’s it for this trip, hope to see you in the water again sometime soon!