22 July 2012

Oh, Bonaire!

I'm doing this post a little different than other trip recaps. I decided to throw in some useless trivia, the question answers are at the bottom. Hope you find it amusing.

About Bonaire
Bonaire is part of the Caribbean ABC Islands (ABC = Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) and located about 50 miles north of the Venezuelan coast. These islands are also known as the Netherlands Antillies, but Bonaire is the only island still affiliated with The Netherlands.  

1. What currency is used in Bonaire?
A. The Euro
B. The US Dollar
C. The Antillean Guilder

Bonaire is about 24 miles long by 3-7 miles wide. Altogether it's 112 square miles - slightly smaller than the city of Portland, OR.  The coastline has been protected since 1979 and it really shows - the reefs are the healthiest I've seen in the Caribbean. Tourism is the main industry with salt being a close second. Yes, salt.  Before scuba diving, there wasn't much on Bonaire besides salt company employees, cactus, goats and donkeys.

2. What is the salt from Bonaire primarily used for?
A. Water softeners
B. Ice-y US roads
C. Table salt


Unlike other dive spots I've been to recently: it's okay to drink the water in Bonaire. The convenience of this cannot be understated. After a long day, it's so nice to simply brush your teeth in the sink (as opposed to striking out in pajamas to round up a bottle of water).

3. What song did I hear enough times to start hating, maybe like a little bit, then fully hate again?
A. Call me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
B. Where Have You Been - Rihanna
C. Wouldn't it be Nice - The Beach Boys

We made about ten boat dives and also several shore dives. I didn't see a single shark, but I did see an above-average number of trunkfish (a favorite - because they're so funny looking), some free-swimming eels (during the day no less) and several drum fish (both adult and juvenile). 

For better or worse a lot of the reefs look the same - all very healthy with abundant fish and coral life. So that's a good thing. We did a few dives for variety: the salt pier, wreck of the Hilma Hooker and also a staghorn coral nursery off Buddy Dive's house reef (part of a worldwide Coral Restoration program). You can see highlights from these dives in my video below.

Now I would like to make a plug for my new favorite sunscreen: Badger 30+ Sunscreen Stick. Between scuba diving and cycling for hours in the California sun, I need ballsy sunscreen. I also want something that won't make me breakout, or be so full of chemicals that I avoid skin cancer and die of liver failure instead. You can read about my quest to find a decent sunscreen on the PADI blog.

The Badger stick, if you can believe it, was still on my face after a 60 min dive. I couldn't believe it. This is a great product, not to mention easy to travel with because it's a stick and not a liquid and can go in a carry-on. Below is a picture of me after putting on my morning war paint. It actually rubs in clear.



So, besides being my first visit to Bonaire, this trip had another first - my rookie attempt at underwater video. I received a GoPro Hero2 for Christmas and this was my first chance to try it out underwater. I'd like to give a shout out to Pacific Wilderness for helping me out with some housing equipment just before I left. The video is embedded below, it's about 6min 45 sec. Email subscribers may need to click through to view it.







If you like the tunes used in the video, please consider supporting the artists buy purchasing their music.  Here are the songs in order:

Into the Wild - GOSSIP
Reef - SABZI
Unbroken, Unshaven - THE BUDOS BAND
Breathing Underwater - METRIC

Want to waste more time watching videos?
View my other trip videos on Vimeo
(Alaska, Palau, Solomon Islands, Amsterdam/Berlin)

Answers to the questions earlier in the post:
1) B - the US Dollar, 2) A - water softeners, 3) all of those effing songs!