Each day new creatures appear to surprise and delight. Two five-foot tarpons swam through on patrol. An octopus tumbling his way across the sand. The manta ray sweeping plankton. A big green moray eel and tiny baby spotted drum live together in an engine block covered with coral.
In the deeper water, a coral wall descends from around 30 steeply to the sandy bottom around 100’ down. Here, the landscape is golden-green brain coral and various colorful sponges, and the fishes run riot. Schools of grunts and snappers shelter in the coral hollows, while pairs of butterfly fish and iridescent queen angelfish swirl through swaying gorgonians.
We rented dive gear and Randy gave Di a refresher course- her first SCUBA dive in 30 years. Our early 1970's dive certification cards were antiques, and the young dive shop staff gathered around to point and giggle at them! We just dove off the dinghy here at our mooring, and Wow! Di is hooked! We went again to Klein Bonaire, it was even better! When can we go again?!?!?
Photographs by Randy, using a Canon Powershot D10, waterproof to 33 feet (!)
In the early 1960’s a thirty-something sailor-diver known here affectionately as Captain Don arrived in Bonaire on his sailboat and recognized the beauty, vitality and uniqueness of Bonaire’s reef system. He settled here, and convinced the Bonairean people that diving could be the future for their country. Inspired by his leadership and stewardship, the local people have conserved the reef by prohibiting anchoring and providing inexpensive mooring balls, designating significant tracts of land as national parks (the whole northwestern end of the island, and the nearby island of Klein Bonaire), and providing a welcoming atmosphere and amenities for divers and cruisers alike. Captain Don’s picture appears on a colorful public mural by Dutch artist Henk Roozendaal, and his “Sea Hunt” era dive regulator and mask are exhibited in the national park museum. Though now in a wheelchair and advanced in age, he is still an active member of the business community, operating a hotel-restaurant and dive tour business. A salute to Captain Don, the father of diving in Bonaire!