Location: Bonaire

We started our morning bright and early with a dawn dive! Led by Drew and Allie, Kirby, Cosmo, Gabby, Owen, and I braved the surprisingly chilly waters of our local dive site, fittingly named Something Special. Afterward, the crew was treated to an early breakfast consisting of crepes and bacon courtesy of Tom and Morana. After devouring said breakfast, we quickly grabbed our dive gear and headed out in taxis to the Southwest coast of the island.
We arrived at a dive shop run by an organization called Reef Renewal Bonaire that saves, grows, and outplants coral in order to replenish the deteriorating reefs around Bonaire. Coral reefs serve many purposes, such as hurricane protection, various uses in modern medicine, and of course, a home for thousands of marine creatures and plants. We dove in two groups and helped with various tasks such as scrubbing algae and fire coral off of the branches of the coral trees, which are the structures used to grow coral. In a few months, that very coral will be outplanted into small square patches when it is ready to survive and thrive on its own, creating a new, healthy reef. After completing our work in the coral gardens, we returned our dive gear to Vela and made our way to various parts of town for an open lunch. When we returned, we began an EFR first response class, where we practiced our CPR, shock, and spinal injury first response skills. For dinner, we had beef stew cooked by Tom (thank you, Tom). Our squeeze question was one I have been very excited to ask: “How many third graders do you think you could take in a fight?” The responses were hilarious, concerning, enthusiastic, and everything in between, with numbers ranging from 0 to 60 or 70. Our captain seemed pretty confident in his fighting abilities, especially against 3rd graders, as he blew everyone else’s answers out of the water with that one. Tonight, Elise, Cosmo, William, Lexi, Saskia, Nella, and Ula are night diving, led by none other than Smash. The rest of the Vela crew are finishing up homework, getting ice cream, and even jamming at a local restaurant with our free time tonight. Tomorrow evening, we set sail for San Blas. It has been a great last full day on Bonaire!