Here are some of the underwater photos taken so far in 2019.
Erik Robb and wife Cindy came to visit for a week in the middle of January. They had planned on doing a substantial amount of diving (Cindy having gotten certified on their last visit) but Cindy arrived with a cold that persisted for their entire stay. So the two of them had to mostly be content to snorkel, which they did a lot of. Coincidentally, I had a cold as well, so it was Barb who finally took a dive with Erik when it became evident that Cindy would never be able to make bubbles. Barb reports that Erik, despite his relative lack of underwater experience, did a fine job.
The couple make lovely guests. Relaxed, helpful , appreciative and adventurous. For example, near the end of their stay we all went to Jibe City where Cindy took windsurfing lessons. On another occasion, Erik and Cindy dove and jumped off the top deck of Tusen Takk II.
When a Disney Cruise Ship was in town, Megan and Murray Zook spent a few hours with us. Megan is the daughter of Barb’s cousin Tom, which makes her a cousin once removed, if we understand the labeling scheme. It was nice to meet for the first time another relative.
For the third consecutive year we participated in the annual Lora Parrot Count. This year we were assigned to the Fontein rookery which was near Rincon. My partner was Laura Koop, since Barb was suffering from an irritated Achilles tendon that prevented her from ascending to the dramatic observation point. Michael & Roberta (with whom we shared a ride aboard Wanda the faithful pickup) were assigned to an observation point nearby. Barb had to observe from the back of Wanda. We counted an amazing 250 parrots, the highest number in the survey. The total count for the island was a whooping 1,153 – the highest in the 24 years they have been counting Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrots.
We had scouted the location during daylight several days earlier, since on the day of the survey we were required to be on station BEFORE the sun came up.
Pat had a number of us over for the super bowl, during which we enjoyed an extended “Mexican” meal.
In Other News …
It has been an unusually busy time for us in Bonaire this year. On our trip over to Bonaire from Curacao we discovered that our auto pilot had stopped working after performing flawlessly for us since our purchase in 2005. Careful checking of connections revealed no explanations. Attempts to reinitialize the flux gate compass (by navigating in circles while in setup mode) were unproductive. We ordered another compass and had it sent to my nephew for a delayed delivery when he and his wife would come to visit in January.
I spent a number of days restoring the varnish on the cap rails after an unavoidable period of neglect over the six months while we were on our RV in the States over the summer.
My 99-year old mother developed serious health problems that required virtually 24/7 attention. My sister Zona, with whom Mom lives in Bismarck, North Dakota, was understandably feeling stressed-out and overwhelmed. So Barb caught a series of flights and spent 10 days lending a hand. She left only when some of Zona’s children were able to serially arrive from Minneapolis to help Zona celebrate Christmas, and perhaps more importantly, help with Mom. Barb had not purchased round-trip tickets due to the uncertainty of when she could return. When she attempted to get the tickets she found that there were no immediate flights available to Bonaire because of the volume of holiday travel. She was finally able to return on Christmas day to Curacao where she could catch a puddle jumper back to her lonely husband.
Mom’s condition has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride. Periods of improvement followed by setbacks that leave her too weak to get up by herself at night. So she is sometimes in her own room in her own bed at night, and other times sleeping in Zona’s room.
While Barb was gone I celebrated my birthday at lunch with friends Paulein & Gary and Jason & Laura at Donna & Giorgio’s, one of our favorite Bonaire restaurants. No German chocolate cake this year (but I did have two desserts).
Our Dutch vegetarian friend Paulein – keeper of our pickup Wanda when we are not on the island – had us over for a Christmas turkey, prepared by Canadian omnivore Gary. Roberta & Michael (Celilo) – co-owners of Wanda and Laura and Jason (Blue Blaze) – were also guests. Originally planned as a mid-day meal, our hosts graciously delayed the feast so that Barb could attend.
On December 30 daughter Nellie and her husband Michael flew in from Atlanta, joining us for a week aboard Tusen Takk II. They became enthusiastic snorkelers who pored over our fish ID books to learn the names of the creatures they had seen. Of course we also did a tour of the south end of the island, stopping at Salt Pier, the Slave Huts, Kite City, and Jibe City. And we watched New Year’s fireworks from the superb viewing station that is the upper deck of Tusen Takk II, enjoying 240 degrees of fantastic pyrotechnics for well over an hour.
In other news Barb and Roberta and Laura all participated in a Clean Coast Bonaire “beach cleanup”. Three beaches have been chosen, and once a month volunteers go to one of them and pick up all of the trash. The purpose is not so much to clean the beach (although that happens as a consequence) as it is to meticulously count and categorize the litter with the goal of monitoring trends of pollution.
We continue to use Wanda to go out to lunch or dinner and to attend the monthly wine tastings, and we often find ourselves at Gio’s gelateria.
TT2’s Xantrex Freedom 25 inverter/charger failed one day, continuing to invert but no longer charging. So we had a new Magnum Pure Sine Wave inverter/charger sent in. I installed that, and subsequently realized that I also wanted the remote control, and so had that sent in. And then realized I wanted the battery monitor to get full information and control, and had that sent in. We are now happily monitoring and controlling our inverting and charging. The new inverter seems to be much more efficient than the old, so we are quite pleased.