When we do boat diving or go on a liveaboard, we meet and talk to the same people for a few days or even a week. We get to know folks, even develop friendships with them.
Shore diving, with just Murray and me in our group, is different. We meet and talk to other divers, but it is different divers at each dive site, three times a day. No opportunity to have a long chat and share dive stories over supper or a drink.
We meet up with a couple from Alabama, who when they ask where we are from, and we say “Edmonton, Alberta”, we get a blank stare, until Murray adds “Canada”. Then the lights go on. Had a good talk with them about the dive site though. They seemed quite knowledgeable as they had been here numerous times.
We are meeting divers from Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and from England. Everyone is friendly and has something to offer when asked about a dive site, or where they are from.
Bonaire is a stop for cruise ships, and there is a HUGE ship in today. As we are taking our gear off after our second dive, a taxi van touring cruise ship folks around, stops opposite us, the passenger window rolls down, and an older gentleman asks us if we scuba dive. Of course we chat him up. His friend in the back seat also gets into the conversation and we have some fun for a few minutes. “Where are you from?” “How long does a tank last?” “Psst, come here, I really like your hair, but I can’t say it in front of my wife.” (Made my day!)
The couple, Caroline and Vincent, who own the Coral Paradise Resort, where we are staying are fantastic people. Always helpful and chatty, and Canadian too! They are also divers , of course, and are eager to share stories.
When we were here in 2011 the place was busy but now it is bordering on crowded. The ocean is big so it is not too much of a problem, only at the parking areas. The plus side is we get to meet a very diverse group of people with a common interest and a good part of travelling is interaction with the people from around the world.