Tuesday, 7 October 2014

27/2014 Beautiful Bonaire

Hi from Clare,                                       Monday 6th October, 2014

So the weeks slip by in beautiful Bonaire and we are very happy and content. We have everything we need here, good friends, good shopping and wonderful warm clear water with great diving.
Honeycomb Cow fish

Grey Angel fish
When Aussie friends Patrick and Cheryl were here we averaged two dives a day. However since their departure we are now averaging one dive a day with English friends Jeremy and Susie on 'Joy of Shamrock'. Both Jeremy and Susie are fairly new to diving, Susie having just qualified a few weeks ago in Bonaire. They are both very relaxed in the water and we are having fun sharing the dives together.
Blue Chromis

Spotted Moray Eel
When Patrick came he brought some requested items from Australia for the boat. Andrew has been busy assembling and installing an ultrasonic Anti-fouling device which emits ultrasonic sound and hopefully prevents barnacles growing on the bottom of the boat. He spent one night soldering the components and two nights installing the device including gluing the transducer to the inside of the hull. When we are in the water under the boat we can hear it beeping. We will find out how effective the device is when we are in Cartagena, Columbia as the harbor has a reputation for healthy barnacle growth.
Spider Crabs
Andrew has also installed a switch to the AIS transmitter so we can turn it off and therefore not be seen if we so wish. He has also installed a switch for the radar so we can turn it off and save power, but still have use of the plotter. Patrick gave us some 12 volt USB chargers which Andrew has also installed. It is much easier now to plug in and charge phones, Ipads, kindles etc; no more crawling under the Nav station to turn on the inverter - fantastic. Patrick also gave us some big pegs to secure towels/clothes to the steering wheel or arch for drying. All these little improvements make life on the boat easier, but don't spoil us too much Patrick or we may never get off.
Juvenile Spotted Drum fish
So while Andrew has been busy installing I have been critically appraising the food stocks with the Pacific crossing in mind. Items considered 'nice to have' but no essential have been put to one side for eating before January. I have also been on the internet researching dehydrated foods and vacuum packing. The goal for the Pacific is to have the right foods without weighting the boat down. As we will be there for many months and food supply is variable, there is much to consider.

We will probably be in Bonaire for another week or so. We have had a wonderful holiday here and we will be sad to leave.

Love Candy xx

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

26/2014 Patrick & Cheryl in Bonaire

Hi from Clare,                    Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Pirate Patrick

Cheryl (pirates wife)
So we have been busy for the last two weeks with our Aussie visitors Patrick and Cheryl and what fun we had together. During their visit we did 24 dives and, as I mentioned, Patrick couldn't talk underwater but silly me I forgot about hand signals.
Patrick & Cheryl photographing fish

Andrew hiding behind Elephant Ear Coral

It was a treat for them to dive in tropical waters with twenty metre plus visibility. The colorful fish and pretty coral were well photographed and videoed by them. Each day we would set out in search of the more elusive varieties with limited success, but hey no one complained. When Patrick and Cheryl return home they are doing a presentation on Diving Bonaire for their local dive club in Jervis Bay.
Trunk fish

Balloon Fish

We did two night dives at Patrick's request. I have only done one night dive when training to be a diver. Andrew has done two or three extra night dives. So our first night dive in Bonaire was going well with plenty of light from our touches until we were surrounded by moon jelly fish the size of lamp shades (Google them). Apparently they come out when it is a full moon and were attracted by our touch light. I was freaking out afraid of being stung as I had bare arms and legs. Cheryl was hit in the face with one as we zigzagged our way back to the boat. Much to our relief we discovered later that they are totally harmless and really quite beautiful; Patrick shot some great footage. .
Vase Coral
Our second night dive was thwarted by a huge tarpon fish (also harmless) about the size of a shark who kept swimming between us and nudging us out of the way so he could gobble up any small fish within our torch beam. The only good thing about that dive was Patrick and Cheryl got to see the frog fish which are a little more active at night. Anyhow so now Andrew and I have done a few more night dives but we can't see ourselves reaching double figures.

Pretty soft corals
Apart from all the beautiful fish and coral no dive holiday in Bonaire would be complete without diving on the wreck of the Hilma Hooker. It was a Dutch cargo vessel measuring 72 metres long and 11 metres wide. In 1984 it had rudder problems off the coast and when towed into Bonaire harbour, customs officials discovered 11,000 kg of marijuana on board. However (surprise, surprise) no one knew who owned the vessel and nobody came forward. Eventually the Hooker was towed out to a dive site and I sank providing a nice dive feature. The Hilma Hooker is a very popular dive and when we were there the commercial dive boats were dropping numerous divers into the water continuously.

With four of us diving Eye Candy became our dive boat. Each day we would take her out to a dive site and tie up to the dive buoy. Quite often Andrew would tie his own rope from Eye Candy to the metal ring at the base of the buoy for extra security. When it was windy or choppy Andrew and I would dive first and then Patrick and Cheryl next and in so doing we always had someone on the boat. We didn't relish the thought of coming up after a dive to find Eye Candy had drifted out to sea.

So apart from all the wonderful diving Patrick and Cheryl hired scooters and had a day discovering the island. We also had happy hours at Karel's bar, shopping for souvenirs and dinners and lunch out at the local restaurants. Our good Dutch friends Martin and Ellen were leaving to return to the Netherlands for a month so we had farewell drinks on Eye Candy. We will miss Martin and Ellen, they are terrific company and always with happy smiles. There is a good chance that we won't see them again until they venture out into the Pacific in a few years. Andrew has enjoyed numerous conversations about boat stuff with Martin and Ellen has been a wonderful help to me in the supermarkets with advice on local products and reading the Dutch labels for me.
Clare, Patrick & Cheryl

Andrew, Ellen, Martin and Clare at drinks on Eye Candy

Yesterday Patrick and Cheryl flew out of Bonaire with many happy memories and we are left here to readjust to the silence. We thoroughly enjoyed their company and a good dose of 'Aussie' was greatly appreciated. Next time we spend any length of time together will probably be on their boat in Jervis Bay - what a great arrangement.

We will stay in Bonaire for a few more weeks enjoying the diving. We ultimately want to head for Columbia and the Panama. But we will wait for the weather to improve as Columbia is currently experiencing tropical rain and humidity.

Love Candy xx

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com