Published: July 2nd 2009June 14th 2009
After almost 24 hours of traveling, Nick and Mary finally arrived in Bonaire!
We picked up our rental truck. To our surprise it was a manual, which meant Nick was incharge of driving and Mary the navigator. The speedometers are in kilometers, and so are the speed limits. Mary's favorite street sign:
We followed Kaya Grande through downtown Kralendijk
and finally arrived at our hotel, Golden Reef Inn. The "room" they put us in was actually more of a house, maybe about three blocks from the actual hotel. We felt pretty isolated, and eventually got it changed on the second or third night. We dropped off our luggage and got out the dive gear--we were very anxious to finally get in the water!
More importantly (especially for Mary and her low-blood-sugar-induced crabbiness...and for Nick, who has to deal with said crabbiness) was breakfast! We found a place down the road at Sanddollar on the way to the dive shop. There was a group there who was also on the plane with us and equally hungry/over-tired. A very nice woman made us omlets, two at a time, but there was a line so you had to wait your turn. As we were enjoying our omlets and home-made banana bread, one of the men from the other group got angry that another man got an omlet before him. The woman was making his omlet, he just had to wait a few moments before it would be ready. But no, he threw a hissy-fit and stormed off to this room. When his omlet was ready, a member of the group grabbed it for him. The cry-baby came back 10 minutes later, and someone announced that his omlet was probably cold. So he went back up and asked for another one. The very nice lady was confused, and asked "You want another one?" This angered the cry-baby, who very rudely said "No, I guess it's fine." Hey guy, it's not this lady's fault you wanna act like a two year old. Not to mention Bonaire is an island, so almost everything is imported (and expensive), and many of the residents of Bonaire do not live lives where they can afford to just throw away food because it is cold. I was disgusted by his behavior.
So with food in our bellies, we headed over to Wannadive
That's when Mary developed her Bonaire crush #1. Now I can't for the life of me remember his name, but he was Dutch and blonde and had this goofy looking smile and I took one look and...oh yeah, Nick...my boyfriend...So my first Bonaire crush gave us the STINAPA required talk (STINAPA=Stichting Nationale Parken Nederlandse Antillean=reef protection). Then we did our first checkout dive right there at Eden Beach
This is Nick next to the Bonkanal, a yacht sunk in 1999 in about 60 fsw. We are so used to the poor visibility and cold water of the midwest that unless we looked at our dive watches, we had no clue how deep we were. You could look up from 100+ feet and still see the surface! Plus the water temperature was 80+ degrees, much different from the 42 degree dives we had done a few weeks before.
After our first dive we grabbed some tanks and headed north towards Karpata. This is where the infamous "Sea Demon" arose. I think the picture explains all:
After our dive we spotted an iguana
We decided to hit up a grocery store to get some items for breakfast and lunch. The grocery stores are pretty bare compared to those in the US because everything has to be imported to the island. I was also shocked at the prices--$7 for cookies?!? We eventually realized this price is in the Netherlands Antilles currency, the guilder (US $1=NA $1.75). So we grabbed some milk, cereal, bread, peanut butter, jelly, cookies, chips, apples, and a bunch of other items.
Then we headed back to the hotel. Our plan was to take a nap and then head out for some more diving. We were running on fumes, and I passed out. We woke up when it was dark...there goes our plan to do some more diving. Then we headed out to get some food, we ate at the Lion's Den at Budddy Dive. Then we headed back to bed. I slept horribly because I had heard some stories about people breaking in and robbing tourists while they slept, only to wake up to missing wallets and passports. I was wimpering in my sleep, so loud that I actually
woke up Nick. Two nights of poor sleep is not ideal. But at least there was some sleep, and I was going to need it for day 3.