spacer.gif (79 bytes)
spacer.gif (79 bytes)
spacer.gif (79 bytes)
spacer.gif (79 bytes)
spacer.gif (79 bytes)
spacer.gif (79 bytes)

The Two Captains


September 27, 2000 Kranlendijk, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles 12d09.411 N; 68d16.829W

We are poised to depart Bonaire for Curacao tomorrow following a great three-week visit with Tiffany. The Update front was quiet not for lack of activity, but because so much of what we did was "on going". The daily routine accommodating four distinct biorythmical patterns (and I say four, because in this regard Tyson the 6-lb Yorkie definitely counts as an individual) grew quite complex. Between coffee, the morning walk, radio net time, breakfast, two hours at the gym, scuba certification studies, sunbathing time, unavoidable boat projects, etc., it was all we could to be ready for "noodle hour" at 4pm! "Noodle hour" became very important to all, including Tyson, who was the social hit floating around on his own sun mat.

The big accomplishment was getting Tiffany certified in her own right after years of her tagging along as a resort diver. For "graduation" we made a night dive on the reef right behind the boat, and it was a humdinger: a half dozen morays, several puffers, all the usual sleeping fish, a big spider crab, delicate sand anemones, and the star of the evening a 4' tarpon who played tag with us the whole dive. We have a new halogen deck light on the arch, which we left on, which turned the water below into a virtual aquarium. We spent the last ten minutes of the dive just hanging out with our own lights off indulging in the very surreal effect!

We made several long dinghy trips to some of Bonaire's varied reef dives, but the best from the two captains' viewpoint was the half-day sail south in the big boat down the coast to "Angel City". This dive is near the huge salt-processing facility with its towering pyramids of salt awaiting export. This brought back lots of memories for me, as the liveaboard dive ship I worked on, Aquanaut Explorer, spent much time on the ship mooring there when we worked this area in 1989.

Finally, on the day prior to departure (no diving permitted before flying) we rented a car and did the requisite island tour. The drive up the west coast towards the hilly Park area (the south half of Bonaire is FLAT!) is the best part. Many new fancy houses are being built. This gives way to a stairstep geology of "solution notches" created when the land was beneath the sea, which you can see forming yet again when you dive. Many people dive Bonaire from rental cars, and all the sites are clearly identified from the road. At the end of the coast road is Goto Flamingo Preserve which offered up several dozen flamingoes in bright pink proximity, especially in the binoculars. On my previous tours (in 1983 with Pan Aqua Diving of NYC and in 1989 from the Explorer) we had made do with pink dots well over a mile away!

The Park circuit is mostly through landscape reminiscent of Arizona - arid and cactusy, with innumerable sampering lizards The coast, though has elaborate limestone formations of a swiss cheese consistency created by boring sea organisms. All this was interesting but none-too exciting, although we did enjoy another seven or eight healthy flocks of flamingos, all quite close-to, plus several hawks and several goats!

As the weather was gorgeous, we cut the tour short after lunch and returned our tourist to the boat in time for a dose of sunbathing on the swim mat. Sounded like a good idea, so I stretched out on the deck box. Some while later, Don hailed me from shore to pick him up, but as we dinghied back to the boat we realized there was no sign of Tiffany! Way, way, ....way off on the horizon, we saw a speck of white. As we bore down to her rescue, Tiff looked up and around for the first time, wondering who was about to run her down. TII was verrrry small! Do we know how to to relax 'em! Did I mention we girls had Margaritas for lunch?

Tiff flew out quite early the next morning. As usual nobody slept well worrying about missing the 5am alarm. We did have a small hitch when the brand new rental car came up with a flat tire, but Don is a whiz with a jack (after all those years in St. Thomas) and had it changed out in 5 minutes. While waiting to see the plane lift off in to the sunrise, the two captains finished the tour loop around the southern half of the island, checking out the salt evaporation ponds (extensive), the working windmills (how Dutch!), the Lac (a big windsurfing destination) and yet more flock of flamingoes, one group of which took to the air over the car. What an unlikely flying machine, a puff ball of pink with 3' feet of neck and bill at one end and 3' of leg at the other!

The boat is quiet. Don keeps worrying about the dog that isn't here! We have put things away, done laundry, listened to all our radio nets (which we'd just about given up!) and bit by bit resumed our identities as cruisers. Sigh. Off to a new place tomorrow!

home | waypoints | logbook | reference shelf
chartering | engine room | galley | contact


Published at Burlington, VT