Don’t Touch! – Aug. 26, 2012

The beach I am dictating this blog from is called Bachelor’s Beach, although I think that may be a bit of a misnomer.  I figured it would be appropriate for me to come here, being a bachelor, but I’m still looking for the beach!  I’m sitting on a rock cliff about ten feet above the water, and the coastline is slightly undercut, with the waves thudding in beneath me.  While there is a bit of sand when the waves wash out, it is basically all under water.

To my right, I can see all the lights of Kralendijk, as my location is around the corner of the island.  Tonight it is hazy and overcast, with a half moon, so the stars are not that remarkable.

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This morning I woke up just after six, despite not having turned the alarm on.  I decided to try to get up to one of the dive shops to book an afternoon boat dive, so headed out in good time.  First, I wanted to grab some breakfast at my new favourite breakfast spot, but by the time that was finished, I had to postpone my trip to the dive shop.

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Today’s Sunday service was led by Brandon Neal, my boss, who is actually an ordained minister.  He led the singing, and Pastor Toto gave the sermon.  I told everyone that my sister was coming this Saturday, and they all seemed very excited for me.  I must admit, the closer Joanna’s visit gets, the more I’m looking forward to it.

After the service, we had time for cookies and drinks, and then the adult Sunday School began.  Brad Swanson was going to launch a DVD series on apologetics by the Ravi Zacharias group.  Unfortunately, the DVD player decided to die, so Brad ran home to get his own DVD player.  Then we couldn’t get the DVD out of the old player, so we actually had to get a screwdriver and take it out manually.  Unfortunately, this resulted in a scratch on the DVD, and the presentation ended five minutes before it was supposed to.

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After the service, I drove up to Buddy Dive, which is just before Captain Don’s Habitat.  My impression was that it is a large American-run outfit with a fast-paced, expensive dive operation.  They were asking $55 for a boat dive compared to Bruce Bowker’s $35.  I said Thanks anyway, and drove off to Bruce’s.  Luckily, he still had room on his 1:30 boat ride, and so I signed up.  I went home for a quick lunch, grabbed my gear, and headed out.  However, it appears I have misplaced my mask, so I had to rent one from Bruce.

Dive spot:  Knife (Klein Bonaire)

Our dive master was an American lady by the name of Linda, who seemed to be a lot of fun, and rather outspoken.  The problem was that she doesn’t seem to have read Dee Scar’s book Touch the Sea.  I have been reading a chapter every lunch hour, and have begun to experiment with some of her ideas.  I saw a colourful nudibranch worm on one of the corals, and picked it up, as Jay had showed me to do.  Before I knew it, Linda tapped me on the shoulder, and wagged her finger at me.  Of course I couldn’t explain that I was being very gentle and not harming it, but she didn’t seem to get the point underwater.  I carefully put it back where I had found it, and waited for it to grab onto the rock.

By the time we had surfaced, I forgot to suggest to her that “Do not touch” is a quick way for divers to get burned out, and stop appreciating the reef.

Dee Scar’s idea is to, with great care and patience, engage the sea creatures and interact with them.  She will pick up a sea urchin and place it on her hand where its tiny suction feet will hold on, and she can actually turn it upside down.  She has learned to pet eagle rays, and stroke moray eels.  These last two are beyond what I’m prepared to do.  But a little inch-long nudibranch worm, I can handle, but apparently not while diving with Linda.

I greatly enjoyed the boat ride, and even though it was far more expensive than shore diving, it gave me an opportunity to see Klein Bonaire.  The place we dove was called KNIFE, but I didn’t find any of the sea horses that I have been looking for since I arrived.  What we did find was a frog fish that was completely disguised, sitting in the middle of a yellow tube sponge.  It was exactly the same yellow colour as the tube sponge, and I would have swum right by it, if she didn’t point it out.  It was only about five inches long, and didn’t move a muscle, even though there were six divers hovering around it.

This was my 40th dive since re-certification last year, and my 27th since I arrived on Bonaire.  I seem to be averaging about one dive a day, which is just the way I like it!

On the way back, we had to avoid some kite surfers.  Apparently, a few of these kite surfers have the habit of surfing right into the shore, almost up to the sand, before they turn around and head back to sea at high speed.  The problem is that a surfacing diver could get his head taken off by these surf boards, as there is no warning without there being a motor.  Nonetheless, their spectacular moves and agility still impress me.

There were also a number of Sunfish Sailing Boats out on the water, as well as the water taxi which takes people over to Klein Bonaire.

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After the dive, I took time to relax at the beach front, and then headed down to where I thought I might have dropped my mask yesterday.  It was nowhere to be found, so I will have to look elsewhere.  Then it was over to Wannadive to grab a new tank, and head home for a shower

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Tonight I decided to try one of the oldest restaurants on the island called Zee Zicht.  They actually had conch on the menu.  Even though it was way too expensive, I decided to try it.  It wasn’t bad, although I found it a bit rubbery.

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I had originally thought about sitting at the downtown waterfront to do my blog, but it seems the seaside road has become a cruising strip for all the guys and their boom-box type cars.  I’m glad I moved to a more secluded spot where I can collect my thoughts a little more easily.

Time to head back to my hot spot at home and get this uploaded.

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