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

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