Bo·naire (bô-nâr’), n. an island of the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean Sea off the northern coast of Venezuela populated by friendly inhabitants, exotic marine life, crazy divers and drivers, where you can eat conch and lizard, and practically see forever underwater. Or in other words..the most awesome underwater world I’ve ever been in!
Bonaire is a diver’s paradise, both underwater and on land. We stayed at Captain Don’s Habitat, whose title of “diving freedom” fits perfectly beucase, unlike other dive resorts on the island, divers are allowed to be in the water 24 hours a day. My first day in Bonaire I dove on reefs overflowing with all different kinds of tropical fish, gigantic sponges, coral, snails, worms and other invertebrates. At dinner we would see at least a half dozen turquoise dive light spots dancing around in the water at night – like a personal light show.
Picking a favorite activity or dive wouldn’t do justice to the rest because I was exposed to so many new types of activities and environments. On one dive, we dove 97 feet to the wreck of the Hilma Hooker, a drug-packed vessel that was mysteriously sunk and deserted just before the arrival of the Coast Guard. When we went on a night dive, I found out how fast starfish can actually move as I watched the basket stars scurry away from the beam of the dive light. We swam with wild dolphins, saw a frogfish, GIANT green eel, a turtle, and followed around many trunkfish and cowfish (who swim awkwardly but now are my favorite!).
Above water we went cave snorkeling, explored dry caves that had fossilized coral on the ceiling, saw flamingoes, pink salt flats, and slave huts, tried all different kinds of food (including cabrito-donkey, lizzard, and conch), and ended the week at the Queen’s Day celebration. I got to ride on the back of Jack Chalk’s Harley across the island in an escort parade up to Rincon, Bonaire’s historic town and the site of the huge three-day celebration of Queen’s Day. It was certainly a busy week. In Bonaire I learned about more things than I could have possibly imagined, but most important of all…it was wicked fun!