Location: Bonaire

This morning was already off to a successful start at breakfast. Chefs Seby, Ivan, and Sophie prepared and delivered a delicious breakfast on time! This marked the first time we have had an all-student chef team this semester. After breakfast, the group was divided in two for the first of a two-day rotation between some exciting activities. Group one, which included the Davids, Alex, Seby, London, Kai, Eliza, Bianca, Sophie, Amy, Steph, Meg, and Bryant, headed across the island to Jibe City to partake in some windsurfing! The setting could not have been better. Lac Baii is a beautiful sheltered bay, nowhere more than a few feet deep, and exposed to the tradewinds for epic windsurfing. Everyone had an hour’s lesson from a professional before being turned loose for the next hour. There was a lot of success and movement during that second hour, but also a fair amount of splashes as those of us that proved less adept fell in. After the surfing, we had a fantastic lunch onshore. By the time the chocolate smoothies came out, I was no longer certain if we were more excited for the food or the surfing. Post lunch, Amy led us all on a snorkel to the reef, where we saw some incredibly healthy staghorn coral in addition to tons of fish. Bonaire is amazing!

Meanwhile, group two, Sam, Alexa, Jenna, Drake, Brittany, Peter, Jack, Ivan, Tim, Amanda, and Ian, got prepped for diving. They first headed over to a local dive shop, Dive Friends, where they were briefed about Bonaire’s marine park and safe dive practices. They were then evaluated for proper underwater buoyancy before being turned loose on the house reef. The dive instructor warned them that this particular stretch of the reef wasn’t the best on the island, but they would never have known. Moray eels, coral, and tarpon bigger than Drake abounded. When they surfaced, they were doubly excited to take Doctor, one of Argo’s two tenders, out to a site that did count as one of the best on the island. This dive did prove even better with abundant fish and vibrant coral. After the dives, the group had some free time to walk a short distance to town, get ice cream, snacks, and do some laundry.

We were reunited this evening with another delicious meal. Clean up is hastily underwater in preparation for group two’s night dive. Having swapped stories of our respective adventures, we cannot wait for tomorrow!

Update: The night dive was incredible! The divers had a particularly friendly and LARGE tarpon that followed them around, hoping the lights would scare up a bite to eat. Add to that eels hunting, crustaceans out and about, and lots of sparkly bioluminescence. It was a night dive to remember!

Pictured: London, Bianca, Eliza, and Sophie preparing for their windsurfing lesson; Bianca on the board; Sophie splashing around; Eliza getting the hang of it; Eliza and Sophie comparing techniques; Amy looking like a pro; Sophie enjoying the ride; the crew getting ready to go snorkeling; beautiful staghorn coral; wild yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot near the beach; the night dive crew.