Friday, September 11, 2015

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My wife Michele and I were able to spend an extended time on Bonaire with friends and family. We made new friends, discovered a great deal about ourselves and really had a refocus on what is important in life. 

This experience has given us a renewed interest in reef conservation and protection. We have been motivated to look at the bigger picture in life - and help others see it as well.

I started this blog to stay connected to friends and family back home- however I have been told that others are using it as a reference site for tourism, extended stay information, and long term re-location planning. 

I would encourage everyone who visits Bonaire to do so not just with a visitor mentality of passing through, but rather spend a little of your time working with your dive shop or the conservation groups to see how you can make the island at least a little better. 

As divers it is up to us as an army of trained volunteers to protect what we love seeing and doing. Dive responsibly, reach out to volunteer in some small way: 
  • Reef Cleanup: report debris if you are not comfortable in removing it safely. Location, direction and depth will help others go into the water and clear it out. 
  • Complete Surveys: This helps with actual reporting of reef conditions and marine life health for corals and fish populations
  • Fishing Line Cleanup: Fishing line kills turtles. Period. The hooks get stuck in their mouth and stomach as the line looks like jellyfish (one of their food sources). The line gets tangled inside the turtle and eventually causes them to starve to death as it never processes through. Hooks get snagged in sponges - another food source for turtles. Learn how to safely remove fishing line through your dive shop, or at the very least report it's location for later removal. 
  • Any of the organizations listed below can help you with training and education, and they are all eager to do so.


Enjoy your stay- together we all truly help keep Bonaire a Divers Paradise

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I don't update this main page very often but today seemed appropriate. Amanda (22yr old daughter) showed up to the island last night bringing some things from home that we wished we had. It is kind of nice to have a personal supply run happen and great for her to be here. Now there are 4 of us.

One of the things she brought was a pair of loaner fins from our friends at Y-Kiki Divers in St. Louis. Michele is trying out different types of fins to see what is best for buoyancy control. The ones from Y-Kiki are positive in the water (so they float).

Those combined with moving the cam-band on the tank holder might get Michele even tighter control (which pushes us all to be just a little better)...

First dive for Amanda is in, lounging has happened- preparing to go right back to the water.... as it should be.

Monday, June 29, 2015

We made it to the island.... finally.

For those not following us on Facebook here is the saga: Bonaire is a divers paradise if you can get there. Planes leave from the United States to Bonaire on Saturdays. Yep you read that correctly.

We were scheduled to fly from St. Louis to Houston to make a connection on Saturday June 27th.

The pilot ended up calling in for a repair on the plane that was to get us to Houston ... First delay ... not even out of our home city yet :) Long and short --- we were going to miss our connection. This meant that we were not getting to Bonaire today - and if we did't find a way around it- we were staring down a full week delay. And potentially our two month stay was in jeopardy.

The nice ticket lady at United worked with us to find a plane that could get us to Miami and then to Curacao on Sunday the 28th. If we could then get ourselves to Bonaire we were in business and just a little delayed.

Image result for divers alert network
Logo stolen from DAN EUROPE site
Let me start by saying here publicly that my wife Michele is brilliant and better than I deserve. Before we even booked out trip she decided that we should pick up insurance and travel insurance from the Divers Alert Network (DAN). As she sat in the airport talking to them, she ended up getting an agent on the phone who started walking through the process of getting everything in place for the flight from Curacao to Bonaire. They truly were our heroes right there on the spot.

Sunday morning comes around and we make it to the airport to find that it is packed. Again with her brilliance, for anyone who travels a lot and is not on the TSA Trusted Traveler program - it is worth it. Even with literally hundreds of people in line, we simply took the express lane directly to the security checkpoint and walked right through.... shoes on, computers still in bags not those little grey trays.

Scoot off to Miami- eat a Cuban Sandwich there in the airport and jump our plane to Curacao where we are greeted by warm climates and palm trees.

Curacao is a lovely island - we have vacationed here before. The diving is beautiful. But is is not where we are headed --- our elusive isle of Bonaire is a mere 50miles away but alas --- too far for me to swim and we came in late enough that the other plane had alreayd left. Michele being brilliant as noted above had already booked us into a hotel - so we did an overnight in Curacao with plan for Bonaire in the morning.

Below are a couple of Curacao shots as we decided to make the most of our time here and headed to the beach. 

Of course I could not resist getting right to the water and risking a little splash even though my underwater housing was not yet unpacked.

As we walked the beach just trying to unwind from a crazy last couple of days we kept our eye open for anything interesting to take pictures of other than the grandure of the ocean (I have about a million shots of waves and horizon).

We found some small snail and a crab head perched on top of a piece of broken coral. Odd as it may be, seeing the crab head there elegantly perched on the coral as if it were a dining table made me smile. Nature is awesome and fun and interesting. Airport hassles and travel delays just washed away.

We finished our walk had an early diner and early bedtime, knowing that we had and early flight to Bonaire in the morning.

Looking out to boat docks from the dive center in Bonaire

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hi All,
As many of you know, my wife Michele and I will be living on the island of Bonaire during the months of July and August 2015. We are both ridiculously excited for this opportunity and will be making regular posts here about our adventures. One of the things I will be doing specifically is posting pictures and highlights as we go.

For those who know us, Michele will continue writing code while we are on the island, and I will be focusing more on the reef survey documentation, and underwater photo-journalism aspect of things.

For those who do not know us and perhaps have not seen some of the previous images, here is a small sample of previous pictures taken - certainly hoping it all only gets better :)

 Common Reef Octopus- This one has a head the size of a basketball and was out in the open middle of the day.

Reef Squid away from it's shoal

This shot was taken from about 6-7 feet away.
Batwing crab eating.
This is the same crab, but if you look at the back you can see the Batman symbol that gives the crab it's name.

Fairy Basslett

Sea Turtle

Tunicate (Salp Chain) - these organisms are fascinating. Each orange dot shown in the picture helps delineate an individual organism that connected to another like it to form a chain. Here is some more information:

Keep an eye out for more to come as regular updates........