The sleepy streets of Kralendijk, the capital of Bonaire, felt different this morning as we headed toward our dive site on the southwest coast. Something felt off. At first I attributed it to rush hour traffic, which is a challenge to generate on an island with a population of 19,500 people. And then M made the call: two massive cruise ships were docked in town.
Just to clarify: Kralendijk is extremely small. It is made up of just a few streets, with a minuscule central tourist area near the port. What happens when you dump 5,000 passengers into such a small area? They go everywhere. And businessmen devise means of entertaining them, such as driving golf carts around the island.
Or Segway tours. Sigh.
Our first stop this morning was the Salt Pier, but we found a ship docked, and the company doesn’t want divers at the site when a ship is docked, so we had to move on. We drove a few sites down and pulled to the side of the road to read the guidebook. The book described our current location, “Tori’s Reef,” favorably, so we decided to make a go of it.
This was a spectacular decision, with plenty of fish, coral, anemones, and more to see, and we would later recommend the site to other divers.
We had started our day late, and then took our time with the dive, which led to a hurried lunch (our intended restaurant was closed), after which we joined a boat dive in the afternoon.
M hasn’t been on a boat dive like this before and I’m glad we are getting some this week. You see, I’m just not as adept at finding some of the smaller creatures, or the better camouflaged ones, so I’m hoping this helps him to see some of these things. I want him to have a great trip – to see the eagle rays and turtles, and drumfish.
And we saw flamingo tongues on this dive. I had seen one yesterday, but managed a better photo today.
Even though we didn’t spend that much time diving, it was a bit of an exhausting day, so M and I relaxed a bit in the afternoon, talking and planning some of our upcoming dives while the sun set.
The nice thing about being here is we can do as many or few dives as we want. And the exhaustion that I mention is frankly exhilarating. It allows me to rest, and that type of intensity and exhaustion are an important aspect of the vacations that I love and crave.
This morning, while we were at Toris’s reef, was when M and I saw that Segway tour. We had just had our plans upended, but had adapted to the situation and made new plans. Yes the day was off to a delayed start, but we were going. And while we were swimming out to begin the dive, the Segways arrived. I paused to glance back at the herd of feral tourists standing single-file in a line on the bridge with their guide and their motorized machines, and I thought, “Where would I rather be?”
Without hesitation, I turned my back on the Segways and toward the site ahead.