Karlendijk is bigger than when we were here 6 years ago but it is really much the same. I could not remember the routes to take here or there but that just took a couple of days and some things began to look familiar and now navigation is easy. One thing I do not remember is the number of cruise ships that stop here. From Tuesday to Friday there is a least one ship a day moored to the main pier and the hordes descend upon the two block downtown or rent a golf cart and take an hour trip around the island. These are days when it is best to be underwater as much as possible. I’m guessing the revenue is worth it for the buisnesses but the extra traffic is quite annoying to the ones here to dive.
Today was our only shopping day and it was, without planning, an non cruise ship day. We had the main street and any shop we went into to ourselves. We did not buy much so we didn’t help the “divers are enough for Bonaire” movement. Explaining why there are cruise ships every day.
The first two shops we stopped at are owned by Canadians. A crusty old fellow that had been in the Canadian military and retired down here. For a few years he ran dive tours but now he mans the shop that sells his wife’s paintings. We walk down the street and stop in an upscale kind of jewellery shop and damned if that lady is not from Edmonton, Millwoods in particular. The lady at the Carib Inn dive shop guessed that we were from Edmonton or Calgary, just by the way we talked. I believe she is Canadian too. I do find it odd that there are so many Canadian expats here but most of them came because of the diving and have stayed on, so I guess it is explainable.
Diving today was a little different. We were on a boat. A Canadian made boat. An aluminium hulled Zodiac. We went to the “wildside”, the east coast of Bonaire. I found the diving quite easy but I have to say the swells were really something. Four to five footers. Ten people on the boat, back roll in one at a time, drop to about 30′ and let the dive begin. The main attraction, besides being able to say ‘I dove the wildside’, is the possibility of sighting the larger ocean going pelagics. Managed to see a couple of eagle rays out in the blue and there was one HUGE nurse shark. (Nose in the air again) I have seen so many nurse sharks I don’t even bother to swim over to have a look when the dive master points one out, but this one was big. Eight to ten feet would be my guess.
The next dive was on turtle heaven. 40 turtles is a conservative number. Kick, kick….. turtle, kick, kick….turtle. Could have gotten boring if turtles were not such elegant swimmers and able to mesmerize you with their fluid motion. And of course with that many turtles one is bound to have a close encounter or two. Debbie managed to get a turtle nose as one of her photos. They were not that bothered by divers, even though they have seen far fewer than the turtles on the west side.
The dive master (owner) guys were both youngish entrepreneurs. Seemed really happy with their work. Enjoyed guiding even though they had probably done those two dives hundreds of times.
The last portion of the second dive was over some coral ‘fingers’ that ran from quite shallow into the depths. Beautiful terrain but we did not have any time to explore them. The dives are limited to 60 minutes and both of the DM’s had that part down to a science. By the time we passed over the fingers once it was time to call it quits and we had to surface.
Only two dives makes for an easy day. Wandering downtown is not very taxing. Hopefully we have had enough leisure time to rest up for tomorrow’s three shore dive day.