Tag Archives: It Rains Fishes

Closing Out the Season; News from above the Sea — Mar 4-May 2, 2018

This post will be a quick overview of some of our above-water activities during the last half of our season in Bonaire.

Barb and I fell into the habit of having Sunday breakfasts at La Crêperie early in the season, and continued that practice throughout our time in Bonaire. When Mike and Roberta, co-owners of our pickup, arrived “late” in Bonaire, having been delayed by the birth of their first grandchild back in Portland, OR, they joined us in crepe worship. The four of us also partook of the best arepas in Bonaire at the gazebo on Coco Beach run by Yhanni. And we continued our practice of attending the Burger Nights at Zazu.  We also went to Tuna Night at Hill Side; on one occasion transporting a gaggle of folks that overflowed into the back of our pickup. We also took the pickup to one of the monthly wine tasting events held at Antillean Wine. One afternoon we made sushi at Pat’s, whom we met a couple of years ago through Mike and Roberta. We went on a dive/snorkel trip to Klein Bonaire with Pat and Mike & Roberta and Rod & Jill and Rod’s cousin Chuck, afterwards stopping at the beach on the north side for a picnic lunch. Well before the arrival of Mike & Roberta, at the initiative of Lawrence (Phatt Cat), we began playing Mexican Train every Sunday night at the Divers’ Diner. It turned out to be a very popular event, attracting two tables totaling 12 to 16 players. Jill & Rod’s son Roddie visited for a while, during which a bunch of us celebrated Jill’s birthday at Zazu, including Kim and Doug (Gabriel). Speaking of whom, the couple again presented a series of four sessions on fish identification, this time hosted by Dive Friends at their Yellow Submarine location.  The lessons are designed to provide certification with REEF to enable citizen-based fish surveys.

On April 13, I completed my 1000th scuba dive. Diving with me to mark the occasion were Barb and Mike & Roberta.  Later, Barb threw a party for me on Tusen Takk II, attended by Roberta & Mike, Kim & Doug, Jill & Rod & Roddie, and Sherry & Lawrence. Barb was enormously supportive as I pushed to reach the milestone before we had to leave Bonaire.  We were first certified in 1991. Over 600 of my dives were at Bonaire, including about 400 of the most recent during the last four seasons. (Watch for a subsequent post featuring some of my underwater pictures.)

On April 17 we joined Roberta & Mike at Pasta e Basta, a special occasion at the restaurant It Rains Fishes: an evening of dinner and music provided by singing waiters from an Amsterdam restaurant of the same name: Pasta e Basta. For a review of the Bonaire version, click here.

We received word that my 99 year-old mother was experiencing health problems, so we pushed up our departure date from Bonaire and took Tusen Takk II to Curacao on April 23.  We worked frantically at Curacao to put the boat to bed, including putting down four coats of varnish on the cap rails to help them resist the Caribbean sun during our six-month summer absence, but on April 28, on the eve of our departure, joined Al & Maggy (Sweet Dreams) for dinner at scenic Fort Nassau.

Back to Bonaire — December 14, 2015 – January 10, 2016

A few days after arriving back to Bonaire I discovered while recommissioning my underwater photography equipment that disaster had struck:  there were several cracks in the underwater camera housing.  I had noticed no leaks on my last dive six months earlier, but now I dared not use the housing.  I knew that Ikelite had discontinued that particular housing because all of their enclosures are specifically built for specific brands and models of cameras, and my DSLR (Nikon D200) had just gotten too old and out-of-date.  It still took perfectly fine photos, of course, but Nikon had moved on to other models and Ikelite had followed.  So I was crushed.

Expecting the worst, I sent off a note to Ikelite, and to my overjoyed surprise learned that they will rebuild a cracked housing for a very reasonable price, at a fraction of the original cost.  So I made plans to send the old one in via returning guests (more about them below) who had not even arrived yet.  But that plan would leave me without a housing for months and months of our Bonaire stay, since the second set of guests coming in from the USA would not be until mid March.  Whimper.  And then a neighboring cruiser said that he had to return to the USA for a very brief time.  And so I sent off for a new Ikelite housing for my newer Nikon (D300s), a camera that has also been superseded, but sufficiently recently that a few new housings for that model are still available.  The cruiser returned with my new housing, and I have been taking pictures under water ever since.

But I have gotten far ahead of myself.  During the times covered in this post, I had no housings and so took no underwater pictures.

So what did we do?  Well, our good friends Bill & Colleen (Doce Vita) were already here, and so we socialized with them and we all joined a local gym.  We settled into a pattern of morning exercise often followed by a long walk through the neighborhoods and occasional afternoon dives.  We celebrated my birthday on Dec. 19 at a nice waterfront restaurant (It Rains Fishes).

On our former stay in Bonaire, we were often frustrated by the lack of attention paid to maintaining the moorings used by cruisers here at Kralendijk.  (Anchoring is forbidden, and we all pay $10/day for one of the 43-or-so moorings here.)   Harbour Village Marina had the contract, but maintenance was erratic and slow.  And so we were pleased to see that the maintenance has been taken over by the Park Service, which has been attentive and proactive.  (The waters out to a depth of 200′ encircling the entire island is a Marine Park.)

We celebrated Christmas Eve out for dinner with Bill & Colleen, and then had them over to the boat the next day for a late-afternoon full-fledged turkey dinner.   But before that, Kerstin & Staffan (Balance) had us over to their boat for a delightful sampling of many Swedish holiday dishes.  What a nice experience.

On New Years Eve day we went out for an extended walk through the village, and learned that the local businesses have a tradition of hosting a barbecue  for their employees, followed by a fireworks display.  We happened upon one such display hosted by the local phone company, and it was, um, memorable.

On New Years Eve evening we went out for dinner at Cuba Compagnie with Bill & Colleen.  Later we picked up Nancy & Ron (Americans who live on the island some months of the year) and the six of us retired to the upper deck of TT2 to watch the spectacular fireworks:  180 degrees of sustained explosions and brilliant bursts that lasted for HOURS.

January 3-10 Jon & Cathie Ringen joined us aboard TT2, and brought along bunches of things we had ordered from the States.  Jon took at Yellow Submarine a refresher course for diving while they were here; he and I did some dives together.  We did a car tour of  the south part of the island and also got as far north as Rincon.  The visit was relaxing and marked by long talks into the night while Jon and I solved most of the pressing problems facing civilization as we know it.  By the time they left, my new housing had arrived (via the cruiser) and so the shipping box was used to pack up the damaged one so they could get it to the States for mailing to Ikelite.  It was a good visit; we look forward to our next time together.

Audrey visits — Bonaire, April 11-25, 2015

Barb’s sister Audrey arrived for a two-week visit on April 11.  Next night, a bunch of cruisers went to Buddy Dive to have dinner and watch the weekly multimedia show given by their photographer.   We always enjoy the underwater pictures, even if some of the commentary is a bit off.  Example:  while showing pictures of goat fish, he made the claim that yellow goatfish turn into spotted goatfish when they come off the bottom.  Groan. And that if one ever sees an iguana that has fallen into the sea, it should be rescued immediately before it dies.   But see this.

On April 13th Tusen Takk II and Celilo and Dolce Vita and Bodacious rented two double-cab pickups and drove up to and through Washington Slagbaai National Park.  Most of the roads within the park are unpaved and bumpy, but we always enjoy the visit.  The harsh and dry scenery is beautiful in an austere way, and I enjoy the nature photography.

Next day some of our friends (Dolce Vita, More Mischief & Flash) left Bonaire, some to store their boats in Curacao and some to cruise all the way back to the States.  We haven’t had our fill yet, and don’t need to be back until early July, by which time we will have also put our boat (temporarily) on the hard in Curacao.

On April 14th Audrey completed in the warm and inviting waters of Bonaire the capstone dives required by the scuba certification process she had begun in the COLD waters of Nevada’s Lake Mead.  She dove well with us for the remainder of her visit, including diving from Bodacious when Jack and Jo hosted another scuba expedition to more remote dive sites (on the NW corner of Bonaire and on the NW corner of Klein Bonaire.)  

Barb has been taking pictures with her new GoPro and has put together a short video of Audrey’s visit.  The video can be seen here.  

We continued our tradition of dining out with lots of visits to local restaurants.  On Audrey’s penultimate day we three rented scooters and toured the southern portion of Bonaire, visiting the landmark locations that faithful readers will by now recognize.  The scooters were fun; they provided an enjoyable means of showing Audrey some of the sights.