Wrapping Up – Sept. 11, 2012

This morning I decided to go into work early in order to have devotions with the staff one more time. I find our time around the coffee table, at about 8:15 every morning, a very precious time as we share our prayer and praise reports. As usual, it was led by Brad Swanson. The devotions are very international, with Lionel reading from the Papiamentu Bible, and then each of us praying in our own language: Dutch, Papiamentu, and English.

Photos here

After devotions, I had a brief discussion with Dave Pedersen about encouraging his son’s interest in website development.

Then I went up to my office and did some personal computer work. First, I got the blogs out from the previous two days, and then retrieved a Gospel MP3 message from my computer back home. I used Team Viewer to remotely control my desktop back in Canada. Hopefully tomorrow I will meet with Jon Hilgers, and we will exchange some audio presentations about our respective faiths. The series I will share is called “The Uniqueness of Christianity” by J.B. Nicholson.

I then had a look at my work schedule next week in Kitchener, Ontario, and plugged that into Google Calendar.

The informal meetings with Brad and Brandon were quite pleasant, and my last day in the office ended on a positive note.

While there, I was able to designate any remaining money in my equipment fund toward the support/equipment fund of Kevin and Lynn Baker. They are a Canadian couple who are planning to come to Bonaire sometime in the next couple/few months. They are from the Calgary area, and plan to serve on the maintenance staff. I had made the decision not to leave anything in my equipment fund against the possibility of returning here next year. At this point, I am uncertain about the Lord’s will for next year, and so decided to wrap up the financial issue with this donation.

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I went over to Wannadive to pick up some new scuba tanks. On the way down the coastal road, I stopped into the Yellow Submarine and booked a dive on the wild side, as they call it. This is an east coast dive run out of Lac Bay. I have it scheduled for 7:45 in the morning on Thursday. It will be a two-tank dive out on the rough side of Bonaire. During the very few times I have done this in the past, I was able to see some very large fish life out there, so, hopefully, that will be the case this time. Joanna will be windsurfing in the same area that morning.

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Dive: Windsock (at end of airport runway)

This afternoon, we went for a dive at Windsock. This was actually one of the most memorable dives to date. The fish life seemed to be almost tame, as this site is extremely popular with divers.

A fairly large saucer-eyed porgy fish followed us for about half an hour. It almost seemed like it was a pet, although it never came quite close enough to touch. Another interesting thing was that we passed by a dive boat, with several divers out on the reef around us. It is amazing how many divers you meet under water here.

Then a very astonishing thing happened! We were stampeded by a huge school of eight-inch long fish moving very rapidly past–above, beside and below us! I couldn’t see any predator chasing them, but they streamed by like a flood! We tried to take a picture, but it was blurred due to the speed of the fish. I have never been enveloped so completely in such a large cloud of fish. I watched them as they approached, heading straight for me, and at the last second, they would veer off to the side and miss me. Then a hundred more were charging directly for me, and would also swerve around me. Next thing you know, the huge cloud of fish passed me, and vanished into the distance toward the north. It was truly a breathtaking experience.

We saw a large cres fish, which looks a bit like a tuna. It swam so close to Joanna that she couldn’t fit all of it into her view finder. She also spotted a tarpon up in shallower water.

On the way back, I was able to recognize some of the underwater landmarks, and surfaced at the correct spot on shore. Underwater navigation is extremely difficult, as much of the coral looks the same wherever you go. From sixty feet down, it is difficult to remember where your exit point is. When we did get to shore, I still had about 50 bar left, and so I said to Joanna, Why not breathe it off here in the shallow end? So we spent about another 15 minutes looking at some of the shallow reef life, while I breathed my tank down to 30 bar.

Joanna discovered a scorpion fish, which I completely missed due to its camouflage. We also saw a dead sand dollar just beneath the surface of the sand.

The abundance of fish life on this dive made it one of the best dives to date.

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Then it was off home to shower, and get ready for Jay to pick us up at 5:30. He arrived with his girlfriend, Sherna. They took us out to the Sorobon area to a beautiful restaurant called Kontiki. The service was excellent, and the food delicious. Both Joanna and I had a very delightful evening, discussing what brought them to the island in the first place. Apparently Sherna had spent 17 years with her former husband, cruising the Caribbean on his yacht. After visiting virtually every island in the Caribbean, she chose Bonaire to live on when they broke up. She met Jay over the Internet, and convinced him to move down here to Bonaire to be with her.

Bonaire’s main attraction for Sherna was the cosmopolitan population here, as well as the relative peace and security that exists on the island. While there are a fair amount of break-ins, it is basically fairly petty crime, with no violent crime or significant drug trade to worry about. While this may not last forever, at present, it is still better than the vast majority of the other islands in the Caribbean.

Jay, who is a former doctor, had lots to discuss with my sister.

We left the restaurant around eight o’clock, and they drove us home. I sincerely thanked Jay for having made my stay on Bonaire very rewarding. Other than my friendship with the Pedersens, Jay is probably the person I have been involved with the most down here. Hopefully, we will be able to stay in touch.

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As I’m sitting here on the beach, listening to the waves and looking at the stars, I know I’m going to miss the seaside terribly. But at the same time, after seven weeks here, I now feel that I’m ready to go home. While I could easily stay here, I’ll have to wait another ten years until retirement. But, until then, I’ll put the memories of the sea, and all that it brings with it, into my memory bank . . . until the next time I’m in the south!

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