Lagun – Sept. 7, 2012

Friday morning started as usual, with Joanna and me having coffee and breakfast on the porch, and reviewing our emails.

 Photos here

Once again, I am dictating in the back yard. Carter, the second oldest dog, gave me the biggest welcome, and has remained at my feet throughout this dictation.

We heard back from the IT Department in Cary.  They said the website is ready to launch “as is.” I would prefer to have some of my proposed changes made, but the proposal was not accepted.  Please pray for me as I work through this disappointment.  However, we can still roll the site out while I’m here, so all is not lost.

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This morning, we decided to head out to explore Lagun, which is roughly east of Kralendijk on the eastern coast of Bonaire.

First, we dropped by what Joanna thinks is the former home of Tim and Diane Eaton (Canadians). Diane taught Joanna piano, and Tim taught Daniel trumpet when we lived on the island. The house looks to be abandoned now.

On the road out to Lagun, we drove past the landfill site, which I don’t recall having seen before. It wasn’t long until we arrived at Lagun, this remote inlet on the rough side of Bonaire.

As the road does not go past the beginning of the inlet, we decided to hike along the north side of the inlet. We had to clamber over rocks, and ended up about 20 feet above the water on the solid limestone landscape. As you approach the sea, you get to the area that is splashed by the waves, and it is really like walking on the moonscape! You need tough shoes to be able to handle the jagged limestone ridges everywhere you step. You hear the crunch of the sharp edges under your feet as you near the shore. We took several minutes to shoot photos of the waves. I am often fascinated by the raw power that is displayed in crashing waves on a rock seashore.

I believe it was Dad who, decades ago, used to talk about harnessing the power of the ocean. Now with the price of electricity so high, this makes even more sense. There is much more power in wave action than wind action, or, for that matter, solar energy. If someone could work out the science, this could solve all the energy problems for most of the world.

About two miles up the coast, we could see a lighthouse. Apparently there is an abandoned plantation house there called Spelonk. Perhaps we will visit that a bit later on. I  found a bleeding tooth shell, and took a picture just for Mom. Mom used to collect these and extract the operculum, its little trap door, and make wreath-shaped brooches out of them for our supporters.  Udo Lusse showed her how to do this.

We also found a small indent in the coast where the water was circulating, and we noticed it had collected all kinds of plastic bottles. It was a good advertisement why people should not pollute!

On the way back, we walked up to the top of the hill where we saw a stone wall. There was a cement marker, but not much else. We had to be mindful of the loose barrel cacti prickers, which can be two inches long, that were scattered around the landscape from dead barrel cacti. I recall the time one of these prickers punctured the leather sole of Daniel’s shoe and pinned his toe inside.

There was a little house right at the point, with what looked like a failed restaurant attached to it.

We headed back to town, and were able to get some photographs of flamingos in the tide-pool areas at the furthest reaches of the Lagun. Joanna and I have both noticed the abundance of flamingos everywhere on Bonaire. It used to be that you would only see them in the salt pans at the south end, but we have seen them in any body of water around the island.

We were able to get a close-up photo of the orange and black troepial (oriole). In general, our impression is that wildlife as well as fishlife is absolutely thriving on Bonaire. Not only does one see an over abundance of donkeys, but the birds are plentiful, and even the iguanas seem to be around every corner. While the live coral seems to have declined, everything else is thriving.

We came across what looked like a castle. Apparently some home owner decided to go all out in designing his house.

On the way back to the guest house, we noticed the container ship taking off again for Curaçao.

Joanna prepared us a light lunch of sandwiches with ham and guava. I appreciate her culinary skills.

After lunch, we loaded up our scuba gear and went down to Jay’s home to pick up the Sea Monitor recording device. He was very glad to finally meet Joanna, and they talked for a little while. They seemed to get along very well.

We went up to the Hamlet Dive Shop to pick up the free tanks of air. The Sea Monitor agreement states that a diver is allowed to take a buddy along for free as well. Then it was time to drive to Eden Beach, gear up, and enter the water. Just as I stepped into the water, I noticed something was wrong with my mask. It appears the frame holding the glass had broken. Joanna had a look, and agreed that it was broken. Wannadive was only about 300 yards down the coast, so I told Joanna just to go snorkelling while I put my tank on the sand, walked down, and rented a new mask.

Dive: Eden Beach

We then proceeded with our dive, which began with taking the readings from the Sea Monitor sensors. This was the third week of doing it on my own, and I had no trouble at all finding the sensor line. We started at the 5-metre level where there are three two-litre Coke bottles, giving tension to the rope which is attached to the wreck below. I had asked Albert to give Joanna her own green Scotchguard scrub pad, and she was a great help in assisting me with doing the cleaning.

I went down to the first sensor, cleaned it off, and had Joanna take a few pictures of me inserting the sensor and cleaning the lines.

Then it was down to the 12-metre level. After I did the first two sensors, I decided to give Joanna the reader, and took a picture of her taking the last reading. It was good to finally be able to record this event. Then we did the three sensors at the 20-metre level.

After 16 minutes, we were done, and headed to the shoreline. We did most of the rest of the dive at around 15 metres.

The first thing we spotted was a blue cow fish. I motioned to Joanna that he was in a defensive posture, since he was blue, which would indicate the presence of a second male cow fish nearby. Sure enough, not 10 metres away, there he was, also blue.

Joanna does most of the photography under water now, and seems to greatly enjoy that. She was able to capture pictures of a trunk fish, a juvenile file fish, a yellow trumpet fish, and a large school of surgeon fish, feeding in a large group.

Joanna and I both commented that this was one of our most relaxed dives to date. We had added two pounds of weights to Joanna’s weight belt, and now seem to have her buoyancy figured out. We were also past worrying about the technical aspects, and able to simply relax and take in the beautiful underwater scenery.

I’ve also found that the photography focuses Joanna’s attention on identifying the various fish. She later takes the photos and labels them on my online photo gallery.

We spotted a moray eel, a yellow and black rock beauty, as well as some queen angel fish, and a peacock flounder. What was most remarkable about the peacock flounder was that it changed colour right in front of Joanna’s eyes as it moved to different spots on the sand! Joanna was able to get two photos of the exact same fish in the exact same location after it had changed colour!

The current took us back to the starting point a bit quicker than we expected, so we decided to stay in the shallows and breathe off the last of our air. As usual, Joanna had more air left than I did, but altogether the dive took 71 minutes, which I considered to be a great dive. We were able to spot a juvenile trunk fish, which was so small, we couldn’t even see its tail. We also saw a scorpion fish.

After exiting, we dropped off our tanks at Yellow Submarine, as that is the satellite dive shop, and it doesn’t matter where you leave your tanks. We took the time to rinse our gear in their rinse bins.

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After I showered and stowed my gear, I went to the Pedersens’ for the regular movie and pizza night. Joanna wanted some time to herself, so stayed at home. I was able to deliver two colouring books to the girls my mother created about Bonaire, and which Joanna had carried down. They seemed very excited about them! I will be getting some kind of iPad application for their son, so left the money with Dave.

They had a young boy about twelve years old visiting them from a yacht anchored for the week on Bonaire called Chaotic Harmony. The family is from Australia, and have been at sea for two years. The children are home schooled on the boat. He seemed to be a very pleasant boy. Saturday they are going to Klein Curaçao, which is a small island two-thirds of the way from Bonaire to Curaçao. It is uninhabited, although there may be a resort there. This is what fascinates me in that living onboard a yacht allows you to visit uninhabited islands at your leisure. I asked them if they had a compressor onboard, but apparently they did not, which seemed to me a terrible shame. I’m sure uninhibited islands would be spectacular dive sites.

When I got home, Joanna had already gone to sleep, so I posted the blog from the day before, and then hit the sack myself.

It seems we have solved the problem with the condensation in my camera by closing it up inside my air-conditioned bedroom as soon as I get up in the morning.

Tomorrow we hope to go Sunfish sailing. It is so great to have my fellow adventurer, in the person of my sister, with me once again!

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