Location: Kralendijk, Bonaire
Our first full day in Bonaire yielded some memorable experiences. During a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs with veggies and bacon, our group split in two. One half went windsurfing while the other half went diving. Before we went Eric taught a great MTE class which included knot tying races, two students wearing huge Gumby survival suits and Carly kicking me into the water while I wore one of our West Marine type V life jackets which inflated as soon as I went under (never fear parents: this was part of a class demonstration — promise!).
The windsurfers went to Jibe City for the day, a beach at the end of the island. According to the windsurfers, it was initially difficult to stay on the boards, but after a while the group was cruising along as though they had done it many times before. The divers, on the other hand, geared up and walked a mere fifty yards from Argo to our dive site which included beautiful coral reefs and our second big wall of the trip. Highlights of the dive included a small Hawksbill turtle who was busy digging around for some algae to eat. Across from the turtle floated a massive tarpon, by far the largest animal we’ve seen on a dive so far. A few other animals included pufferfish, parrotfish, lionfish, barracuda and countless other beautiful creatures. After another afternoon dive, the divers were rejoined by the windsurfers for a delicious Thai stir fry dinner by Jason.
After dinner the windsurfers had some free time / study time while the divers went out for a night dive. As we followed our dive leader, Tina, it felt as though we were floating on Mars. Bioluminescence lit up all around us, creating a surreal effect of glowing divers. Fortunately we will be able to see more of the beautiful reefs here in Bonaire due to our collective decision to forego the trip to Aruba and spend extra time here. This decision was prompted by the incredible diving and snorkeling available all over the island as well as a general inclination to explore this country more instead of sailing to Aruba and essentially losing a day to customs and boat appreciation. We will arrive at our next destination, Jamaica, on the original planned date, making our passage a little bit longer. Luckily we are improving as mariners day by day, and hopefully we’ll have a safe and speedy sail to Port Antonio in a few days’ time.