War on the Pests! – Aug. 23, 2012

Tonight I’m sitting once more on the waterfront, but this time I’m between the two public piers.  There is a nice cobblestone public walkway that goes most of the distance between the two. 

  Photos here

(My dive buddy Jay Silverstein’s photo gallery is here)

In front of me are two low-lying container barges, with the superstructure at only one end of the vessel.  They would be maybe 300 feet long at the most.  The one closest to me holds three containers lengthwise, by four wide, for a total of twelve containers.

To my right it looks something like a garbage barge, but I’m not sure what it is.  It is intermittently banging on the dock as the waves come in and out.

Further to my right, also on the public dock, is the Dutch warship that arrived three days ago.  It looks like an ultra-modern surveillance-type of vessel with scopes and antennas and ball-like radar stations on the superstructure.  It has only one offensive weapon that I can see, which is a canon on the front bow.  I’m guessing it is no more than five or ten years old.

Overhead, we are getting a bit of a light show, with sheet lightning flashing across the southern sky.  The wind has changed direction, and is now coming from the west or northwest, which is most unusual.  Hurricane Isaac is stirring in the northern Caribbean.

The boats at anchor have floated closer to shore on their moorings due to the change of the wind direction, which again is most remarkable.  I noticed a lot of smaller vessels heading to harbour this afternoon while we were diving.

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This morning I got up bright and early. It had donned on me overnight that I needed to retrieve the SIM card in my submerged cell phone.  The SIM card is basically a computer chip that is virtually indestructible, and contains the identity of my phone, and therefore the minutes I had purchased, and the phone number.

(As I am speaking, one of the container ships has revved up, and is pulling away from the dock. My guess is that it is heading toward Curaçao.  It is belching out a great deal of diesel smoke as it pulls away.  Its structure reminds me of a flatbed truck.)

While I was getting prepared, I noticed that one flea had survived yesterday’s onslaught with the flea powder.  These critters are amazingly hardy.

I arrived at Captain Don’s about quarter after seven, and went down to the dock where I had dropped the cell phone from.  There was no ladder there, so I went to the dock next to it where I could climb up the ladder to exit the water afterward.  In a short swim around the dock, looking at the bottom, sure enough, about ten feet down, was my cell phone, exactly where I had dropped it.  After I had retrieved it, I swam back to the swimming dock where some divers were just entering the water.  I held my soggy cell phone to my ear and said, “Hello!  Hello!” and then complained loudly that these stupid cell phones never seem to work!

After a shower, I stopped by Captain Don’s buffet restaurant for a quick breakfast, and then hurried off to work.

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Today most of the staff was off on different duties, and so there were only four of us at devotions.

I was able to talk with Brad later on, and he said that he would not be over to spray the back yard as it was threatening rain.  He did agree with my plan to go buy a whole lot of Baygon spray bottles and fumigate the house again.  We also agreed that I should replace my phone as soon as possible, so I left work and headed for the cell phone store.

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I was able to pick up an older model of a Samsung Smart Phone for a fairly reasonable price.  At the store next door, I  purchased a phone holder that you strap onto your belt  as well as a small Micro SD card.  I topped up the card with another $20 out of my own pocket (this is a TWR phone).  It costs 26 cents per minute to use a cell phone here. The SIM card worked just fine.

Next I went to the old supermarket where we used to shop when I lived here.  It is now called Top Supermarket, but doesn’t seem to be as modern as the new Dutch store I have been used to frequenting since arriving.  They only had two cans of Baygon, but a whole shelf full of some other type of insect killer.  I purchased five cans, 600 ml each, and went home.

I stripped off the bed linen and hid it in the closet, closed all the windows, and donned my scuba gear once more.  This time, I hit them with both barrels, and filled the entire house with a thick layer of toxic fog!  I emptied all five bottles in the house, and then quickly exited, and shut the door.  By that time, I was sweating so much inside my mask that sweat was beginning to collect around my nose.

Since I needed a shower by that point, I went across the road and dove into the ocean to get cleaned off.  When I looked at my feet, lo and behold, I was wearing flippers!  So, I decided to make the most of it, and did a bit of snorkelling.  I was able to get down to about seven or eight metres.  I used to be able to dive to 20 metres when I was a teenager.

After drying off, I changed in their washroom, and had lunch there.

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Back at work once more, I continued to work on website issues, and handled a few website requests from Brandon. I was able to implement some of them right away, but the others took some additional work.

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After my pest-shortened workday, I headed out immediately at five o’clock to meet Albert at the Yellow Submarine Dive Shop where he works part-time.  He had a young Dutch fellow with him whose mother is stationed here as a KLM stewardess.  As usual, he was geared up for lion-fish hunting.  We drove about three blocks further down the street, and parked in the Venezuelan Embassy parking lot, right by the ocean.

We snorkelled out to the drop off, and then dropped straight to 30 metres, which is where Albert likes to hunt for lion fish.  Instead of 200 bar, I started with 178 bar, as I had used some air this morning in the war with the bugs.

Albert and his young helper were each armed with lion-hunting spears, and were fairly successful, catching about six of them.  It does seem, though, that the lion fish are becoming more wary of their vulnerability with humans.  I am optimistic that the vigour with which the diving population is attacking these invaders may actually be able to save Bonaire’s reef.  I also used my newly acquired diving scissors to cut away some fishing line.  Since this was a deep dive, we only stayed down for about half an hour before we headed back to the surface.

On the swim through the shallow end, we spotted a green moray eel in about six feet of water.  Our Dutch friend almost ran into him.  I vigorously shook my noise maker to alert him.  I was able to get a half decent video.

I then picked up two new tanks from Wannadive for my dives on Saturday.  This dive shop also has a key-lock system, which is extremely convenient.

Then I headed home, opened up all the windows, turned on all the fans, and fed the dogs.  The smell of the Baygon was still strong in the house, so I left to eat out.
I found a very nice restaurant just across from the secondary pier.  They had barracuda on the menu, which I had never had before, so I gave it a try. It tastes like a typical white fish, and was very well prepared.  I must admit, I’m getting a little spoiled here.

Hopefully tomorrow, there won’t be any distractions, and I’ll be able to get a full work day in.

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