Bonaire Adventures!

Bonaire at Sunset

Bonaire is a sleepy little island in the Caribbean that is really great for shore scuba diving and snorkeling. It’s the ‘B’ part of the ABC islands near Venezuela. We went way back in 2016 before Mr. ItchyFeet got all broken. This was a great scuba diving trip for him that we did with another couple. I don’t scuba dive. I just follow along to snorkel on top of the water and watch their bubbles! This trip was a real adventure!

Iguana on deck
Our hotel iguana on the deck overlooking the Caribbean Sea. You can scuba right there!

The hotel we stayed at was really lovely and had this giant iguana that wandered freely about. I love iguanas! I love all lizards, but iguanas are so cool because they look like small dinosaurs. This one was really large and very friendly. We asked the owner about it one day because he was feeding it. The owner said that they are territorial around food sources so all he has to do is feed this one iguana, and he chases off all the other iguanas. That’s a lot less iguana poop to clean up! Brilliant.

Remoteness both a blessing and a curse

There aren’t a lot of flights onto and off of the island so, when there was a personal tragedy back in Seattle for the couple traveling with us, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how, or even if, they could make it back without spending a ridiculous amount of money. In the end, we determined they could get back a single day early, for thousands of dollars extra and nearly double the flight time and three transfers. It was very stressful and I felt really bad for them, but there was not much we could do. It is definitely a risk when traveling to any remote island and it was eye opening to see those limitations compared to all the places you could instantly travel if we were still in the States.

Sunset over Caribbean Sea
Sunset from our hotel deck.

Those flies really were awful

We rented a truck to haul all the scuba gear and tanks to and from the various dive sites. Everyone tells you not to leave anything in the rental vehicle while scuba diving because it probably won’t be there when you get out of the water. With that in mind, we left all our cell phones at the hotel. What could go wrong!?! We also totally forgot to bring water. Water! When on a hot desert Caribbean island, don’t forget water!

We were driving along on a very remote area of the island when we got a flat tire. Like, totally flat, we could go no further. No worries. We had a spare tire. We just needed to get out in the hot sun and change that sucker. Well, the spare was completely rusted onto the underside of the truck. We were also slowly being eaten alive by painful biting flies! A huge swarm of them. We couldn’t stay in the truck to avoid the flies because it was scorchingly hot.

Flat tire
Look at the lack of tread on our flat tire!

So now we are on this rarely used road in the middle of nowhere with no cell phones and no water and no one knows where we are. We started to get a bit worried. Then all of a sudden, these two people drive up in a golf cart. We are saved! Unfortunately they didn’t have any cell service but their presence did make us feel better. With that, we were able to break the rusted spare tire loose and change the flat tire. We drove the rest of the way to the dive site (just around the corner!) and had a really great dive/snorkel. It’s an adventure!

Sharks! Or something…

The last crazy thing that happened to my husband and I in Bonaire was during a solo night dive. I stayed at the hotel and Mr. ItchyFeet walked down the beach with his scuba gear to see what critters came out at night. I could see his scuba light as he entered the water. It was very cool seeing this light gliding through the water from the relaxing comfort of the hotel deck. It was warm and lovely. All of a sudden the light darts dramatically to the right. Da hell!?!

Okay, it settled again and was again slowly moving forward. Crap, it darted to the left this time! What was going on!?! It darted right and left a few more times. Then it just went out. I just about died! Something just ate my husband. Something big like from the horror movies I like to watch! Like Sharktopus or something.

My heart was beating so fast. Who should I call to rescue him!?! What kind of life insurance policy do I have on him!?! So much was racing through my head. Then the light came back on. Okay, whatever had him, spat him out. All was well. Breathe.

Tarpon at night
Tarpon at night. They really look like sharks!

After that the light headed back to shore and I waited at the hotel to hear the crazy story. This is it. Mr. ItchyFeet: I had just settled into the water, got my buoyancy dialed in, and started heading off into the ocean at night. I have a pretty bright torch, nicknamed El Fuego!, and could see quite far in the crystal clear water, so I was pretty comfortable. I was looking at some night critters when suddenly a massive silver fish darted uncomfortably close to me and I swing my light toward it. I legitimately thought it was a, very active, small shark at first. After the initial contact, I realize it’s not a shark, but a large silvery fish. I continued my dive, always keeping the fish in my view so I knew where it was.

Then, out of nowhere, another large fish nearly bumps into me! It is obvious that my light is drawing out smaller critters and these large fish are taking advantage of the localized increase in food as well as increased visibility to hunt with my torch. I know these fish aren’t sharks. But they’re really big, and I’m definitely in “their” space while they are hunting in a very close perimeter around me. Fish can still leave some nasty bites. I decided to extinguish my torch to see if they would leave me alone, and if there was enough light from the moon to dive by.

Lights out

The fish, which I later found out are known as tarpon and can reach over two meters in length, did drift away after my torch was out for a while, but there wasn’t quite enough light to really see anything and enjoy the dive. Finally, I decided to turn it back on and just deal with the tarpon for the remainder of the dive. Within five minutes, the original two tarpon were back and joined with two of their friends. Nope! I was out of there.

I hightailed it back to shore and used the walk back to the hotel to calm down and take inventory. On a few subsequent dives I ran into tarpon again, but they were never quite as aggressive as that first encounter. Every time was a little unsettling though. I think I’m more wary around them then I have ever been around sharks.

Me on the hotel deck
Mrs. ItchyFeet on the hotel deck. This is were I watched Mr. ItchyFeet almost get consumed by some ocean critter!

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