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Trip Reports: Trip Report Niki & Bob July 29-Aug 12.
Bonaire Talk: Trip Reports: Archives: Archives 2000 to 2005: Archives - 2000-07-13 to 2001-05-18: Trip Report Niki & Bob July 29-Aug 12.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Niki Harris on Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - 4:43 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

Trip Report Niki & Bob July 29-Aug 12.

AIR TRAVEL: First, United Airlines made us miss our Miami ALM flight to Bonaire. Then ALM did a heroic job of getting us there stand-by (24 hours late) despite being sold out for at least 3 more days. (Imagine being told that!)

But, the pendulum swung: ALM (during the week of “major disruption”) first “lost” our reservations, then left everyone sitting inside Flamingo Airport 6am-noon, then in Curacao (where there was practically a riot) until after 5pm, and made us miss connections out of Miami. Then United put a brand new 777 up and got us back to the Pacific Northwest (24 hours late). The airlines paid for meals and both airport-hotels voluntarily.

There are other sordid details, but as I discovered during these marathon vigils in the airports, stories about airline delays are a dime a dozen -- no, a penny a thousand -- and barely interesting even when they’re your own.

On the way down, teaming up with a couple out of the blue made this trauma tolerable, (thank you Chuck and Bev), and we later met for lunch at Zee Zicht. By the way, we experienced no crime this time, but these friends did. Some dive gear was stolen from the porch, and the gas line was cut on the rental truck.

Because of the day’s delay, I brought the big Sunday New York Times to Michael instead of the Saturday paper. Not bad.

SOROBON BEACH RESORT: Third time. Two weeks. Love it a lot. I described it in last year’s report, which can be found earlier in the Everything Else: Trip Reports thread.

Again enjoyed the other guests -- this time, met many returning, loyal people from all over the place. About 10 of us, still strangers, went for a day-trip on the Sea Cow water-taxi to Klein Bonaire for snorkeling, and looking back now, it reminds me a little of Freshman Week in college, an excursion designed to break the ice with dorm mates. We soon consulted in each other’s businesses, taught each other new sports (windsurfing), exchanged email addresses, and made the restaurant push all the tables together in a long banquet to bid farewell to some and celebrate a wedding anniversary.

Two weeks ahead of the trip, I contacted CaptJoe on the newsgroup. Coincidentally, he turned up in the other half of our duplex chalet. He kindly greeted us with cold beer when we straggled in bedraggled, late at night, 24 hours late. He and his wife were diving day-in-day-out, so we demonstrated the relaxed style of vacation: idle lounging punctuated by fun dives. They demonstrated the quick sandwich at Julio’s between tank fills and showed us Angel City, the beautiful dive at the double reef where the space between closes down. It was a fun connection.

WEB CAM: CaptJoe returned to the States first, so we arranged to be captured at the Front Door. His internet server was acting up, so we were lucky to get this one stiff pose, and it was too hot to loiter there long.

I should have parked the single-cab rental truck in view to memorialize it, with the dumpster-salvaged Xerox copier carton we used to keep dive gear contained. The downpours of rain a few nights made a sorry (soggy) sight out of that cardboard box, but we used it ‘til the bitter end. Coral Reef rented us the truck, with delivery and pick up at the airport, and it went without a hitch, although the tires were bald and not balanced. Might have gone to Washington-Slagbaai, but for those tires... Next time.

DINING OUT: KonTiki, still excellent. Went the night I didn’t have anything to cook and set out for Cultimara to find, Ooops, it closed at 19:00, not 20:00, according to a taped-on piece of paper. I just love watching the sunsets and the evening moonlight outdoors too much to bother to cook before dark. (And I think Bob loves my cooking too much...)

DIVING: All shore dives, (for me, numbers 38-49 of my short career). Bob (dive numbers uncountable) tried out underwater video (Sony hi-8 in an Amphibico housing). The heavy battery for the lights was a buoyancy and balance challenge, but there were some excellent pictures, including closeups of barracuda, scorpionfish, and dancing garden eels.

On tape, you can hear the parrotfish crunching coral, in between loud scuba breaths and bubbles. I learned that people breathe completely differently on scuba. And that not everyone coughs and gags periodically like I do, although I take it in stride. Weird.

Sometimes he left the video at the chalet simply to enjoy diving. Saw my first shark, a black-tip reef shark off Bachelor’s Beach, on a camera-less dive.

I searched diligently for seahorses without the aid of a local guide, to no avail. But because of focusing so closely I noticed various flamingo tongues, and a scale worm, new to me. Also saw a purplish Pederson cleaner shrimp at work.

Dove the Hilma Hooker wreck for the first time and really liked the fish nibbling on the hull. At places the current was quite noticeable. Dove some sites we missed previous years because of waves, such as Margate Bay area.

On a night dive, I got my first good looks at reddish sponge brittle stars, spotted spiny lobsters, and a big, beautiful sleeping scrawled filefish.

We adopted a lone diver and made 7 threesome dives, which was fun. She’s from Vienna, Austria, and came back to scuba 9 years after getting married and having kids. (Maybe she’ll post her report when she gets home...) She and I saw a free-swimming green moray eel, the size of which blew her mind. Her husband became an enthusiastic snorkeler in Lac Bay, and saw spotted eagle rays in shallow water close up. When we left, he was considering taking a resort course to try out scuba.

Even though I expected it, the shallow reef destruction shocked and saddened me. Also, loss of Pink Beach. We will not give up on Bonaire because, 30 ft. and below, the reef views are normal and the fish are plentiful. The redistribution of sand affected visibility in places, by comparison to the past, but this will eventually clear up. The water temps were great (82F), warmer than spring last year.

OVERALL, a great vacation. THE vacation we waited for all year.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Lorraine Meadows on Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - 6:06 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for sharing your adventure with us Niki!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By captjoe on Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - 11:15 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

Nice report,That about sums it up for us,it was "The vaction we waited for all year."
It was nice hooking up with people we met on this group and worked out great.Thanks for takeing the edge off our frantic pace,Diveing in the gulf of mexico can be fustrating due to inconsistent vis,weather.Diveing for us in Bonaire is like kids in a candy store with holes in their pockets.
So much to see only a week to see it.Pictures to come.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Alan & Joan Zale on Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - 3:55 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Great Report. I know the feeling to be on dive and not have the camera when you see something special. It's even worse when you put a 24 exposure roll in the camera when you should have put in a 36 exposure roll. Those 12 extra frames make a difference


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By michael gaynor on Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - 5:41 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

And I am almost finished with the Sunday Times!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Deal on Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - 5:42 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the report. You really give a good taste of being there for us junkies going through long-term withdrawal...It does seem that no matter where else one goes during the year, Bonaire indeed is the most anticipated vacation for many of us.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Niki Harris on Friday, September 22, 2000 - 3:56 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

I'm re-doing my log-in etc. because I seem to have disappeared from the server during the change, and I see that the Front Gate photo is no longer above in my trip report. And I'm actually trying to put it in my User Profile, but that seems to keep coming up empty when I save it. So there I am being brave and ready to post a profile and the computer wont let me... Ha!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Linda Richter - NetTech on Friday, September 22, 2000 - 4:11 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you Niki.
I tried it in my profile with the same results as you. Jake just fixed it. He said it had something to do with moving the site. Thanks again.



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