Published: March 4th 2011March 4th 2011
The island is much as I remember it. The buildings looked freshly painted and the streets are clean and almost graffiti free. I arrived at the meeting place at the end of the pier early and found I forgot my credit card. I fought my way against the tide up the gangway, rushed back to my room and returned to the meeting spot. It was great morning exercise.
But wait there’s more to come. The boat was moored at the Divi Flamingo Hotel so off we went by foot. The hotel is not far, about ¼ mile but we all had our gear so it was a trek.
Once on board we immediately headed to Klein Bonaire, a small islet offshore that is located in the middle of the Bonaire Marine Park. We began our first drift snorkel of the tour and I was second off the boat. The water teamed with life. Giant purple tube sponges, parrotfish and French angles, trumpet fist, needlefish, rainbow wrasses, cleaner wrasses, fan coral; I could go on and on. We drifted at the edge of the drop off. The water was 78 degrees with pockets of hot spots that were very welcome. We floated above divers who were photographing animals and corals. The drift lasted about an hour and for once I was ready to get out of the water and warm up.
We are lucky to have a Marine Biologist on board whose passion is coral and she will lead my group on our next drift.
Fish Fact: The trumpet fish is the greatest predator on the reef. When you see one head down, whether in the open of hidden in the corals, he is hunting.
We motored along the shoreline to the northern tip of the islet. After warming up and enjoying a refreshing guava juice it was time for our second and final drift. This area of the reef showed signs of bleaching in spots. We learned there had been a slight rise of water temperature recently and the corals, being very slow growing animals, do not have time to adapt to the chemical and atmospheric changes. That said, the reefs on Bonaire are still outstand, the water pristine with amazing visibility. Here the Christmas tree worms were abundant.
These little animals find their home on corals, in this case brain coral, they are shaped tiny Christmas trees, come in various colors and when threatened close up and pull back into the coral. Very cool! We saw all the usually suspects and Harry the barracuda along with his brother Smiley. We encountered Rock Beauties, elephant ear corals, and large schools of fish nicknamed Fisherman’s Choice since all a fisherman had to do is drop a net and scoop up the whole school. I saw a “Linc Fish”, my name for a small midnight blue fish with neon blue spots. It grows up into a yellow tail wrasse. My friend Linc said that when he saw this beautiful fish he knew he was home in Jamaica. Thus the name.
Our final drift was followed by a beer and canapés. The tour was great, the crew friendly and helpful, the price was a great value and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
After the trek back to the ship I dropped my gear and headed right to the pool. It was refreshing!!!! Met a couple of ladies who also enjoyed a quirky sense of humor and was invited to join them for dinner in a couple of days. Looking forward to it. Then it was time for Trivia and we actually won. Yippee. The prize you ask? We each got a set of genuine Holland America coasters. Probably be worth something on e-bay around the year2260. Actually they are quite nice. Each appears to be a replica of an advertising poster from the 20’s or 30’s.
Question for the day: What is a young dog called? The answer has five letters.