Brandon's shot of Kathy

Brandon took this picture of Kathy in Bonaire

Brandon and Kathy

"Explorations"

Kathy's shot of Brandon

Kathy took this picture of Brandon in Bonaire


The First Incident

The Island

Captain Don's - Our Hotel

Sightseeing and Eating Out

The Diving

The Second Incident

We Shall Return

Bonaire, July 2005

A good dive trip with two unfortunate "incidents"

Dive site marker

Bonaire license plate

In order to get back into diving, we wanted some easy dive sites - little current and relatively shallow. We also wanted the ability to do shore dives for a couple of days before starting the boat dives. Bonaire seemed to be the ideal place, since it is well known for shore diving. They have yellow markers along the road to identify the dive sites; they even have "Diver's Paradise" on their license plates.

My brother Scott had been to Bonaire several times and knew the dive sites well. So he agreed to organize the trip.

The First Incident

Inside Casablanca

Casablanca Restaurant

Kathy and I flew to Atlanta and spent the night at Scott's house in Columbus. The next morning we got up at 4:00 AM to get to the airport on time. When we finally got to the head of the line at Air Jamaica, we discovered a problem with a passport. Kathy and I went on to Bonaire and Scott stayed behind.

But good news, he was able to follow us down two days later, and by the next day he was showing us dive sites and restaurants. The first restaurant was Casablanca, an Argentinian steak house.

The Island

Cactus fence

Colorful pier

Bonaire is part of the Netherlands Antilles and is about 60 miles from Venezuala. It gets very little rain and is almost a desert island. They even use cactus for fences. The downtown is picturesque with a colorful pier where you can sip a drink and watch the dive boats go by.

Salt ponds

The southern end of the island contains evaporation ponds where salt is harvested. In the 1850's, slaves were used to work the salt ponds; but today modern machinery is used.

Captain Don's

Captain Don's entrance

Captain Don's from the water

Captain Donal Stewart sailed into Bonaire in May 1962. Within hours he was diving on the reefs using the tanks that he had brought with him. Within two years he had established a diving operation and tourism took off. By 1969 he had put in moorings so the dive boats no longer anchored on the reefs. He, along with others in the Bonaire diving community, established the first marine park where the reefs and fish would be preserved for generations to come.

We stayed at the resort that he built - Captain Don's Habitat. The grounds were well cared for and our cottage was perfect for us. The view from the living room was of lush, green tropical plants. And the porch had a line where we could dry our wet suits.

We enjoyed breakfasts and lunches in the open air restaurant overlooking the water. The dive boats were just a few steps below.

Open air restaurant Open air restaurant

Dive boats at the pier Dive boats at the pier

Outside our cottage Outside our cottage

View from the restaurant View from the restaurant

Porch on our cottage Porch on our cottage

View from the porch
View from the porch

We always had sea gulls as companions at breakfast and lunch. Sometimes we had an iguana. Scott took these pictures of our lunchtime companions.

Sea gull

Iguana

Kathy's foot Kathy's foot

Sightseeing and Eating Out

Donna and Giorgios

At D&G's

Scott showed us new restaurants, including "Donna and Giorgio's".

In addition, he acted as tour guide and showed us the southern half of the island. We saw the salt ponds, the huts where the slaves kept their belongings, the lighthouse at the southern end of the island, windsurfers (the eastern side of the island is a major spot for windsurfing), and of course more cactus.

Salt ponds Salt ponds

Slave huts Slave huts

Plaque Plaque describing slave huts

Lighthouse Lighthouse

Windsurfers Windsurfers

Cactus
Cactus

The Diving

Kathy

Scott

We did come here to dive after all. We did do three or four dives each day, but the first few days we didn't take our cameras as we were still getting used to diving again. But on the last few dives we did get a few pictures of the critters that we saw.

eel Golden spotted moray eel

trumpet
Trumpet fish

trunk Small trunk fish

squid
Pair of squid

Kathy and Scott Kathy and Scott

boat
A boat from 30 feet down

Playing with Pictures

I was too far away from the squid when I took the picture shown above. I was not happy with the results, so I tried several manipulations in Photoshop to see if I could come up with anything interesting. Here is what I got:

equalized

solarized

color swapped

threshold

The Second Incident

If you look closely at the picture of Kathy above (under "The Diving" heading) you will see that she has a housing but there is no camera in it. There is a reason for that. One day when Scott and I went to dive on a wreck, Kathy stayed behind. She decided to go diving there at Captain Don's and take some pictures. She did a giant stride off the end of the pier holding her camera (I had never told her that was a bad idea). The shock of hitting the water caused the housing to leak and the camera was ruined. The next day she took the empty housing down to verify that it didn't leak anymore. The housing was fine and we have bought her a new camera. So everything is OK now.

We Shall Return

Kathy relaxing

sunset

After diving, we took naps on the porch. In the evenings we watched the sunsets. All in all it was a relaxing, enjoyable week. I am sure that we will return to Bonaire or to some similar tropical island.

divider

C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at" cbjones.info
updated August 15, 2005