When we landed in Bonaire, we stepped off the plane right onto the tarmac. After feeling that first wave of humid air, I had only one thought: I need to chop my hair off. I told my plan to my sister-in-law, Alana, when we arrived at her parents’ home right on the coast. “Be careful not to go too far with the cut,” she warned me. I found a hairdresser the next morning, and told her that I wanted my hair to just touch my shoulders. By the time she had finished, my hair hung halfway down my neck. “Oh wow” was my first thought when I looked in the mirror. I remembered Alana’s warning. “It’s a good thing my hair usually grows fast!” In the end, my slightly-shorter-than-desired haircut was perfect for my time in the Caribbean climate. I don’t think that I’ll keep it that short though, at least not in this phase of my life.
My week in Bonaire was extremely relaxing, compared to the frenetic pace of the European leg of my winter adventure. The highlight of each day was the sunset viewing party. We would all settle into lawn chairs and watch the sun dip below the clouds, just to the right of Klein Bonaire (the island opposite us). From our vantage point, we could see iguanas and sea turtles. We even spotted flying fish coming toward us one night. I had just put my phone camera down, of course.
After sunset and before bed, we played games and read stories. I was particularly pleased to see Banagrams in the collection of games, and we had a great couple of rounds one night.
My brother Tony and I walked into town, with my niece Hannah riding her pushbike alongside us. We had fun exploring the colourful city of Kralendijk. We made sure to stop by Gio’s, one of my favourite ice cream places in the world.
When I wasn’t playing with my niece and nephew, I spent most of my time reading. It was extremely hot during the day, so I didn’t have much motivation to do anything besides lounge around.
Bonaire is known for scuba diving, so I had to squeeze in at least one dive. Tony and I headed to Salt Pier with Tony’s father-in-law. Salt Pier is one of the best dive sites on the island. We had dived there during my visit in 2014, and I was thrilled to go back. My dive went reasonably well, until the end. As a result of my lack of experience (24 dives in total), I’m not very good at controlling my buoyancy. I guess my weight belt wasn’t heavy enough, because I had to fight to stay down in the last quarter of the dive. Lesson learned: more weight next time!
We took Hannah out to 1000 steps, another great site on the island. Hannah just giggled away and had a terrific time, even as the waves tossed us around. She seemed remarkably at home in the water, which bodes well for her future in a family of enthusiastic scuba divers.
We also took Hannah to the pool at the housing complex, where her mother taught her how to swim using the snorkel mask. She was hesitant at first, but once she had learned to put her masked face in the water, there was no going back. She went out snorkelling every day in the reef in front of the house. On her first venture into the sea, the very first thing she spotted was an eel! So cool.
Every evening, I and other family members would swim out in the reef. I would usually only bring a pair of water shoes and swim googles. I loved the freedom of not having much equipment and just being able to enjoy the feel of the sea.
On my last day in Bonaire, Hannah and I spent the morning doing chalk art on the pathway through the backyard. It was a lovely way to wrap up an amazing and relaxing week. I was sad to leave my family and very sad to leave the Caribbean climate, but happy to be going home after a fantastic three-week vacation.