Looking in Sponges and Hiding Holes

When diving, I enjoy peering into tube sponges and other hiding holes. I never know what I will find. Will it be a Decorator Crab? A Coral Banded Shrimp? A tiny Gobi? Or will it be empty?

Yellow Arrowline Crab
Yellow Arrowline Crab

The tube sponges are mostly purple, but I find some that are golden orange. They provide a great background for taking pics of wildlife.

Tube Sponge with small I habitant
Tube Sponge with small inhabitant

I also peek into holes in the coral and between rocks. This one held a File Clam, brilliant reddish orange body and light feathery fringe (highly technical word!).

File Clam
File Clam

This was day three of diving and I am already looking forward to day four, so I can peer into more hiding holes.

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It goes forever

This one is short but I had to write it. Two days ago we were in transit through the Denver airport. Our gates were at the opposite ends of the terminal. I have walked that far in many airports but never before in a straight line. The B wing of the terminal goes on, and on, and on.

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Playing the Game in Denver

We play the game in the Denver Airport, our first stop on the route to Roatan. We are overnighting in Houston tonight and are booked on a flight that leaves Denver at 8:45 pm and arrives in Houston at midnight. Our flight out of Houston tomorrow morning is at 10:00 and if we arrive 3 hours ahead of the flight to get through security, we are not going to get much sleep.

There are two flights to Houston between when we arrive in Denver and when we are scheduled to depart. After deplaning, we check the board and the first flight is leaving soon, so we “Murray March” almost the length of the terminal to the gate. We ask the gate agent if there is any room on the flight and she makes a zero with her fingers. RATS! First strike.

Murray has the idea to go to the Customer Service desk for United and is rewarded with two standby boarding passes for the next flight. If we don’t get on that one, our original flight is still booked. If we board the earlier flight, we will be taken off the later flight. There’s hope. Murray learned that, with United Airlines at least, if we try to make a change in Edmonton, our start point, we would be charged the change fee. But once on the move, like in Denver, there is no change fee if we make alterations to our flight plan. Nice to know.

We have time before the next flight so we grab supper and people watch. Fascinating past time. A myriad of folks walk by and they are all the same, different, but basically the same. And then an enigma will walk by. A woman, athletic movements, bright sweat pants, fluorescent shoes, wild haircut. A standout.

The next United flight to Houston boards and then they make the call for the errant passengers. They call out four names. We are numbers 2 and 3 on the standby list. Looking good! After a few minutes they call our names and we go up. Since the plane is fully loaded now and we have largish carry on bags, we ask whether there is room for the bags. The fellow phones down to the plane and is told the overhead bins are full. So we have to check our bags, which is okay thinking they are only going to Houston. The fellow says he has to check them through to our final destination, which is Roatan. So that means we would not have the bags in Houston and they would sit in Houston’s airport overnight, with the potential of going missing. Exactly why we go carry on. So, thwarted by our carry on bags! We reluctantly pass on the seats and congratulate the guy who is number four on the list.

So here we are sitting at our gate waiting for the later flight. It was a game well played and passed the time between our flights.

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3 Days and Counting to Roatan

Bought a new bag. It is an AquaLung carry-on, like what Debbie has only pink. The bag is meant as a dive equipment carry on. I don’t know of any other people that actually do what we do but if there is call for such a bag there must be a few folks out there.

Aqua Lung Dive Carry On
Aqua Lung Dive Carry On

Now I have to learn to pack all over again. If I go by Debbie’s philosophy, learning anew will stop me from aging. Plunking away at putting this and that in the bag I did not get any instant feed back informing me I had found the fountain of youth.

Aqua Lung carry on bag

It is a slightly bigger bag so it means I will take more. Don’t want to but if there is space available it will be filled. Up to now Debbie’s bag has been slightly heavier than mine so I will see if I can take some of the items she usually carries. Started today and already the packing seems easier. I think the zipper will close without having to compress the contents.

Really looking forward to diving again. Trying not to get excited, a lot can happen between now and Friday but it is so serene underwater and I guess a it is a bit addicting. Anyway the above water place is new and that always holds some intrigue. I will try to give some insightful info about Roatan.

Ciao for now

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Denmark and Germany Photos!

Photos of our trip through Denmark and Germany are now posted! It has taken awhile to get them ready, a side trip to Bonaire didn’t help, but they are done!

Bjerre Molle (Bjerre Mill)

Bjerre Molle (Bjerre Mill)

To view photos, hover over “Photos” until the drop down menu appears. The destinations are roughly grouped by continent. Hover over Europe and another drop down menu appears . Click on the Denmark 2018 in the drop down menu. Wait until the photos load. Click on the first photo and a “slide show” view will appear. Scroll through the photos using the arrow on the right hand side or the arrow key. Click on the “x” in the upper right hand corner to exit out of the slide show. Then find the Germany photos the same way. Enjoy!

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

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Bonaire Photos

I have posted some photos from our recent Bonaire trip! Go to Photos on the menu bar. The destinations are now roughly grouped by continent, so find Central America/Caribbean, hover over it and another drop down menu will appear. Click on Bonaire 2018 and wait for the photos to load. Once loaded, double click on the first photo and then use the arrow key to scroll through the photos.

Enjoy!Bonaire Shore  Diving

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Last Dive on Bonaire and Homeward Bound

Eighty minutes into our last dive I realize I still have 1,000 lbs. of air. I have done 90-minute dives a few times but with that much air I could do 100. Debbie and I have a short conversation using our patented hand language and even though she is not trilled about it she reluctantly agrees and we shoot for a 100-minute dive.

bonaire octopus

We have that discussion at 30 feet and it not very far to the shore so we zig zag our way up to the shallows and by the time we reach 15 ft. the dive computer ticks over 100 minutes. Thinking back to when we started diving, my bottom time was 45 to 50 minutes. It has taken quite a while but I have managed to double it.

bonaire gobi

I have to rant every once in awhile and here it is. Sitting in the airport, I see people walking in and out of the duty free store. Then on the airplane the stewards walk down the aisle selling things from the AC duty free pamphlet. I have to believe these items are indeed duty free but that does not stop the purveyors from inflating the price and instead of passing the extra onto the government, they pocket it. I have copied the manufacture’s name and the items I have been interested in, an aerodynamic umbrella or a carbon fiber wallet, and lo and behold on the internet the cost of those items is the same as I would have paid from a duty free source. Somebody is making money here. Make sure you know the MSRP of the items you want before you make a purchase from the duty free store and then find you didn’t get the deal you thought.

Another rant…..about the Toronto Airport. Do not fly through Toronto arriving on a Sunday evening and leaving again Monday morning. It is pandemonium! Too many flights coming in and going out and not enough resources. Whether it is at immigration, customs, traffic, security or the hotel shuttles. Just plain silly. We just shake our heads, take deep breaths and flow with the rest of the fish.

Home again. See you on our next adventure!

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Huge

The word for the day is “HUGE”. Today we see a huge crab right at the beginning of our first dive. This fellow was out in the open at 9:00 this morning. Must have been partying last night and was returning home.

Bonaire

Then, on the same dive, we spot this fellow. Also out of his hole and scrambling to get under cover. He could have fed a family of ten, plus the grandparents! Murray commented that NASA got the design for the lunar module from the way a lobsters legs move!

Bonaire

 

We always enjoy seeing schools of fish. Their movement through the water is fascinating and mesmerizing. This school of Blue Tangs swims right at me then veers off. We call this the blue highway.

Bonaire

Our last dive ended with seeing the humongous bait ball of shad fish again. We saw it on one of our first days here at the dive site next door. The ball has moved and we swim right into it on our route into shore. We are completely surrounded by fish and did not know which way the shore was except to look at the compass. Thousands of small silver fish with the light glinting off their sides. It is truly an amazing sight.

Bonaire

 

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The Reef

Bonaire designated the reef surrounding the island a national marine park in 1979. Long before it was the ‘in’ thing to do. The result is a very healthy reef with such abundant life it is hard to find those unusual creatures.  Debbie finds a small hairy crab stuck in a crack in a rock. Two squid are hanging about in the shallows. C & D stumble across a couple of Scorpion Fish. I find another juvenile Trunk Fish. But the rare stuff is hidden very well and we do not spot any.

Bonaire

The dive sites themselves are quite pretty. The first is a field of soft coral bent over from the current and so thick it is hard to swim near the surface of the reef. The second has a mix of soft and hard coral making for quite a surreal landscape. The third is almost exclusively hard coral looking like a boulder strewn slope in the mountains.

Scorpion fish, Bonaire

Scorpion fish

When the wildlife hides we entertain ourselves ogling the landscape, it is so different from the sites you might see on the other side of the surface of the water. We also look into the blue (the deep water) keeping watch for larger life such as sharks, rays, tuna and turtles.

Bonaire

Only a couple more days to explore this marvellous underwater world.

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Banner Day

Sorry, all we talk about is diving when we are here, but in fact that is all we do here. This island is not exactly a land of plenty. It is from my perspective one dimensional. If you are coming here, come here to dive.

We notice at breakfast on the terrace there was no wind. The trees around the pool are perfectly still. (Notice how I tried to instill jealousy by mentioning, outdoor breakfast and an onsite pool.) This has the effect of changing our dive plan for the day that was so meticulously laid out last night.

With no wind we will have to check out Lighthouse. It is a dive at the far south tip of the island that is not often dive-able. The surf is too high or the currents are too strong. Today we arrive early, 8:30am. We are the only people there, the waves are as small as they will ever be and when we look out over the surface there is no indication of any current. The decision is to dive. Getting in isn’t too bad and there is absolutely no current. L, the office manager at the hotel we are staying at, has lived here 10 years and has yet to dive this site. We are lucky. Debbie finds an interesting nudibranch, a Purple Spotted Sea Goddess. It is very tiny but one we have not seen before. Although I am sure they are about we do not find too many nudibranchs here. Just before we head to shore we spot a turtle. Always fun to watch how effortlessly they propel themselves.

Purple Spotted Sea Goddess, Bonaire

Purple Spotted Sea Goddess

Dive two is another coup. With no wind the kite boarders are taking the day off. The sites near the beach where the kiters start from are usually a bit dicey because the boards they use have a 4′ foil for a keel and if they are not planing this sticks under the water. It would not be good to be hit by one of those. Red Beryl is one of those sites and we dive it today. It is the site that has produced the most interesting wild life to date. A small crab chilling in a crevice, a couple of Slender File Fish, and a huge Green Moray out for a morning swim. Debbie is small and this eel had her eyed up as brunch but after closer inspection decided against it.

Green Moray Eel, Bonaire

Green Moray Eel looking very dragonlike

The third dive is closer to home, The Cliff. Although not strait down into the blue it is a wall dive, one if not the only wall dive here. More Slender File Fish are found and a resting Scorpion Fish are the highlights.

Bonaire

Slender File Fish

It is a good day, a really good day. The wind is suppose to be calm tomorrow as well so we will most likely return to kite boarder heaven and use the lack of stainless steel keels to our advantage.

Bonaire

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