Having delayed our departure as long as possible it is
with some reluctance that we will leave Bonaire for a second time on Monday to
return to Curacao, where Curious will stay while we return to the UK and France
to see friends and family.
We have really taken to this little island with its mix
of Dutch, Caribbean and South American influences. The people are really
friendly, there are a number of nice restaurants and bars, the moorings on the
east coast are sheltered by Klein Bonaire, and there is a pretty constant wind
that keeps you cool on board.
Having taken my Open Water Diving certificate when we
were here a month ago I took the opportunity once Chris and Bethan had returned
home to take my Advanced Open Water diving course. This builds on the basic
skills and includes what are termed "adventure" dives with about a
dozen to choose from although the "deep dive" and "underwater
navigation" are pre-requisites. I took the "Peak Performance Buoyancy"
module to improve my control underwater, the "search and Recovery"
module because it may come in handy when I drop something overboard and finally
the "Wreck Diver" module having made my first dive 20 years ago on
the wreck of the RMS Rhone in the BVI's and had always wanted to dive on a
The whole course was fantastic and the Deep Dive was
great fun and the dive on the wreck of the Hilma Hooker was just amazing.
Swimming through the small passageway between the two large holds of this old
cargo ship and into the crew compartments was pretty amazing particularly as the
large Tarpon shelter there during the day. It was so good that I signed up
immediately to dive on the wreck for a second time but this time at night. With
a backdrop of a huge lightening storm we swam out to the wreck after dark and repeated
the 32m deep dive but this time only by the light of our torches. The tarpon
use this light to attack their prey and swim inches away from you as they use
your body and the light to avoid being seen. As they approach the prey they
turn on their side and circle around the fish before pouncing on the hapless
fish. You can hear them attack as their jaws close on the fish!!!!
Incredible...as long as you are not the fish.
The light attracts lots of other fish and also picks out
creatures that cannot be seen by day, the reef also shows up in its natural
colours, daylight muting the bright reds, yellows, greens and blues. As we swam
back across the reef we were surrounded by what I can only describe as a
"blizzard" of tiny fish, packed so densely that they could not avoid
contact with you, it felt like millions of tiny pinpricks.......JUST
So having bought all the kit and having got the
qualifications and a little bit of experience with over 20 assorted dives
logged, I decided to put it all to good use and clean the hull before we move
to the murkier waters of Willemstad harbour.