No matter how much you love a place, if you return to it, it will be different. Last year we spent almost four months in Bonaire and had a wonderful time. The friends we made there, the diving, snorkeling and swimming, the land trips, the cultural events. All wonderful.
Returning this year was different, not better or worse, just different.
1) Last year we came with a buddy boat - Windancer IV and they already knew people in the mooring field, so we arrived with a pre-established social circle.
This year we arrived on our own and didn't know any boats in the mooring field, so we were starting from scratch in the friends department.
2) Last year we got a mooring ball right away, and there was usually a ball or two open for others to get ( with some exceptions around the holidays)
This year we had to wait a full week to get a mooring ball, and even then the mooring ball was uncomfortably shallow for Rhapsody. It took us another week before we finally got a mooring that was deep enough for our comfort.
3) Guests. Last year we had no guests, this year we had two sets of guests for a total of three weeks. As it is on land, having guests aboard changes the way we do things on a daily basis. Cruising life can be very isolating, or very social, depending on where you are. Last year Bonaire was a very social place for us. Diving with friends, potlucks ashore, (veggie) Burger night, gatherings on friends' boats with laughter and music and good food.
This year we spent much more time by ourselves and our guests, sharing our favorite dive sites, touring the land and just hanging out and enjoying their company.
We did make some new friends this year, primarily after our guests left, we did enjoy the swimming and snorkeling and diving.
4) Last year diving in this area was new to us. At the beginning we saw something new every dive, less so at the end of our stay.
This year we were surprised at the differences underwater from last year. We saw fewer turtles and far fewer rays. Last year we saw a ray almost every day, this year we hardly saw any, leaving us wondering about the reasons for this. Was it an anomaly? If so, which year was the odd one, this year or last year? Was it due to Climate change? Or perhaps it was merely chance? Who knows?
This year was just different.
So, here is a conglomeration of some of the things we enjoyed on Bonaire this year.
Critters, both on land and underwater.
Bonaire is known for its flamingos, although we did not often see them in flight.
Iguanas can move surprisingly quickly when they want to, but if they don't feel that you are a threat they will just sit and watch you.
The donkeys were imported hundreds of years ago for use in the salt trades. When they were no longer needed, due to mechanization, they were just turned loose. Eventually they became a great problem, getting hit by cars, eating anything they could find and generally causing havoc. Fortunately someone stepped up and began the Donkey Sanctuary of Bonaire. They take in donkeys, care for them, and run neutering programs for those donkeys that are still running free.
Another flamingo picture. This is made up of debris picked up from the shore. Who knew there was so much pink flotsam?
Underwater the critters were even more incredible.
So many different types of parrotfish, and so difficult the capture all their brilliant colors in a picture.
Butterfly fish (usually found in pairs) and Barracuda
Other wild critters found under the sea! (Our son Rivers and our daughter-in-law Laura)
The colors of the buildings in Bonaire are bright and varied. The story goes that a governor complained that the white houses were too bright and gave him a headache. All houses were painted any color but white!
With flamingo decorations on many businesses.
I am going to stop here because the internet is barely crawling along and each picture is taking almost half an hour to load! Ah the joys of cruising!
We enjoyed our stay in Bonaire, both times. Now we are moving on to other places to explore.
Life is good!