If only the pictures were as good as the memories!
We booked a package deal with Wannadive/Eden Beach Resort that included the apartment, breakfast at Bongos, unlimited shore diving and a truck. As first timers on Bonaire, we wanted to eliminate any hassles, so the more we could take care of in one booking, the better. After arriving and heading over to the Total Car Rental booth, we were told our truck was not ready and to come back at 6:00 and we could have a van. Boo, hiss. We had to get a cab to Eden, but they were VERY nice about it, and actually Bob from Wannadive drove us back over himself. Total gave us the van and told us to check back Monday and we could have a truck. OK, so we're finally settled in and immediately jump in the water at Eden Beach to snorkel as we couldn't dive yet due to the flight. (Oh, we love Air Jamaica's champagne flights! Nothing like champagne at 8:00 in the morning ; )) So as soon as we (um, fell, it's slippery) into the water, the first thing I saw as I dipped my face u/w was a HUGE spotted eagle ray. Why oh why did we not take the cameras snorkeling? Amazing fish, amazing clear water, and as we snorkeled out to the drop off, we could see the wreck in the distance. Also spotted the frogfish in the rocks, as well as a snook and a tarpon and some as yet unidentified big yellowtailed fish! Dinner was delicious at Bongos's, and as I was watching my, um, carbs, I ate the seafood salad twice. Was great each time (as was all the food there). That first night we met with Ellen (a lady who lives on Bonaire) to give her something she'd asked for from the states. Very nice lady!
We awoke before dawn, so anxious were we for the day. The cams caught us in the early light, as we were greeted by a family of kittens. We made it a habit to feed the kittens in the mornings, and they decided to come and live with us. lol Mama cat would nurse the babies on our patio, so we were obligated to feed them well! (and we did) Breakfast at Bongos was spectacular: papaya, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, eggs, bacon, cheese, rolls, toast, ham, butter, jelly, and awesome coffee. Yum. Put on the 3mms we'd bought for the trip and headed out for our first dive to clean the cam and explore in front of Eden. Whoops! We were too light so I had to climb back out and get more weight. They don't call it a check out dive for nothing. Extra weight was due to the 3mm. But then we had a great dive, exploring far and wide, and came out very excited for the next dive.
Catastrophe struck as we readied the cameras for the next dive. Larry discovered the seals on the battery compartments of the strobes were loose. He had loosened them for the flight, like it says in the manual. Bad, bad mistake if you don't remember to tighten them once you land. Two flooded strobes. Sad moment. Instead of going straight out to our dive, we looked up the nearest camera shop. Capt Don's Habitat Photo Center was listed as a certified Sea&Sea repair shop. We left the strobes for repair.
We dove Andrea II that afternoon and it was beautiful. Saw a free-swimming moray, luckily, even without a strobe, the picture took, as did most. We spotted more eels on this trip than on any trip, ever. So many types, we lost count.
Went to pick up the strobes and brought them back to the apartment. Didn't really check them out much, just saw that we had "on" lights again (the red lights) and were happy. Barbara and Allison met with us that night, (very nice to meet them!) and we planned for a dive the next morning with us, Barbara, Wally and Eva and their son. Of course, we woke up again before dawn.
We met the group at the Jeff Davis Memorial dive site, and again, as soon as we went down, there again was a gigantic spotted eagle ray! I started towards it, but it was headed over the ledge to deep water...Wally caught up with it. (I am so jealous of his pictures of it, lol) Very nice dive, though the 3mm felt a bit much. After the dive, but Larry and I decided to try the next one without the 3mms. Forgot, our strobes did NOT work, so on the way back, we stopped at Capt Don's again, left the strobes again. Did the next dive at Alice in Wonderland with me in a skin, and Larry in a dive shirt and shorts. What a relief to dump the 3mm and the extra weight! We did not get cold EVER, even on the night dive. Barbara came with us to the Alice in Wonderland dive. As soon as we went down, I saw a HUGE fin lying on the bottom and motioned to Barbara to come look. It was a sailfish fin, we learned, as Larry came towards us with the head. YUCK. Kinda weirded us out! Anyway, was a beautiful, but strobe-less dive, lots of eels, again, and beautiful fish.
Next morning we again woke up before dawn, and decided to dive before breakfast. Went to Weber's Joy, or as I learned later, it's also called Witch's Hut. I rambled around in the shack before we dove, while Larry was answering the calls of a freaky goat that was standing on the top of the hill behind the house. I made him stop because it was eerie. Lol Larry is a capricorn, which is a sea goat, so I guess they were having a real conversation? I teased him about it. On the dive, I saw the biggest green/orange parrotfish I'd ever seen. We took pictures that don't do him justice. Found out it was a Rainbow Parrotfish. This thing was at least 4 ft. long. Wow!
Back to Capt Don's to pick up the strobes and back to the apartment. I asked Larry to attach them to the cameras this time, so we could test them before we did another dive to only find they were still not fixed. OMG! My strobe was put back together backwards! The flash faced me! What in the WORLD had this guy done! I was just damn depressed about it is all I can say, though it was "kind of" (weak laugh) funny. Larry went over to Wannadive (15 steps from our apartment, how handy), and their staff recommended Fish Eye Photo, just next door (but hidden) actually. Took the strobe there and the guy was so funny. He held the camera up as if to take a picture and said, "Smile!" "Argh!" reacting to the flash going off in his face. He said, "This is funniest thing I ever see!" Well, it was kind of funny and I felt better because HE was so funny and we trusted him. Wah So anyway, we RENTED a strobe from him for me, and he said he'd try to have mine fixed by next morning. At least now we both had working strobes!
Did I mention this was a second honeymoon? We drove all over the island in the afternoons, and had a great time, not to mention a great lovey-dovey honeymoon. Strobes aside, we were having the time of our life - a once in a blue moon time (it was a true blue moon our first night there!) And I did manage to get a tan, though I kept my top on (most didn't, lol). Loved the beach at Eden.
The rest of the dives went smoothly, and Barbara joined us again for a few. Allison finished her certification and they came to dive at Eden for the cam, but Larry and I had not been out of the water long enough to join them. Was a great time, including the Bongo's BBQ! Of course, we had kitties hiding under our table as usual. We were able to slip in a night dive (since we had working strobes w/my rental) and had a great time. Tried to do Windsock but a giant freighter was at the dock, so we moved further down to N. Belnam. (quite an adventure with the current strong that evening!)
The guy at Fish Eye Photo was unable to fix my strobe, but I used the rental until the last dive. He took pictures of the mess made inside my strobe made by the guy soldering metal and melting plastic. If the plastic had not been melted (if the parts had been taken out to be soldered instead of leaving them in), he could have fixed it, he said. He took pictures of the mess, and we're going to try to get Sea&Sea to replace my less than a year old strobe. However, I've decided to buy a new digital so I guess one of our children will get my Sea&Sea!
Anyway, it was a great vacation! I'm glad my mind's eye recorded all I saw since the pictures don't do what we saw justice. Forgot as well, that we searched and searched and searched and searched for a seahorse to no avail, every dive. Returning to the airport, a cloud in the shape of a seahorse seemed to be taunting me. Lol Oh, well, there will be a next time, most definitely! And next time we'll stay longer! One week was not enough!
Eden Rubble/Wreck of the yacht Bakanal/Cam
Jeff Davis Memorial
Alice in Wonderland
Weber's Joy/Witches Hut
Eden Rubble/Wreck of the yacht Bakanal/Cam
Hilma Hooker Wreck
North Belham (Dick's Place)
Eden Rubble/Wreck of the yacht Bakanal/Cam (2)
Eden Rubble/Wreck of the yacht Bakanal/Cam (3)
Pics are on the website, but I'm still working on the site to make it easier to use (adding a next and previous add on to the slide show).
Click on the Bonaire Link at bottom right.
Kathy & Larry