If you ever see what looks like a dead leaf in a coral head, it is most likely a Leaf Scorpionfish. They grow up to about four inches (10 cm) long and wave gently in the water, looking very much like a leaf.
Wikipedia tells me that they are ambush predators. They wait until a tiny shrimp or fish gets close to them, they sidle a little closer and then snap the prey into their open mouth. Yum!
I had forgotten how many eels there are here and one of the coolest eels to find in the waters off Kona is the Dragon Moray. It is also called the Leopard Moray Eel and is found all throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
These eels like hiding in rocky areas and corals which makes them very hard to spot. But once found, they are a magnificent sight.
Murray and I are sitting in the Seattle Airport waiting for our flight to the Big Island, Kona, Hawai’i. I feel so relieved now. This trip was causing me more anxiety than our trip to Bonaire. Same testing and paperwork involved, but this time it felt more intense. So, why am I relieved? This is why…….
Hawai’i requires visitors to log into a website called Safe Travels Hawai’i to fill in information about our trip, vaccinations, negative COVID test and fill out a health questionnaire. I filled out everything with ease until I got to the health questionnaire, where there seemed to be only four questions and the “Next” button didn’t do anything and so I “Completed” the questionnaire and created the QR Code. I might add that at no time did the website ever say, “You have not answered the other 64 questions of the health questionnaire.” Anyway, I slept very poorly over all this the night before our flights and have worried the whole time that I messed up. Sounds like Debbie, doesn’t it!
Once in the Seattle Airport, I noticed an area where we can pre clear the Hawai’i restrictions to quarantine (and I had read about this pre clearing on some website) and there was no line up, so we scooted over there and within about four and a half minutes we had been pre cleared and given our wristbands. I didn’t mess up at all! Such a relief to have that colourful band around my arm!
We still have a few hours to wait for our flight to Kona. Tonight we sleep by the ocean!
Murray and I came to Bonaire hoping to make up for lost dives in the 19 months of pandemic isolation. We have dived and dived while here and as much as I think I am over dived right now, I am thinking about where we should go for our next trip. Yeah, I’m hooked. Here are some crazy stats to sum up Bonaire.
Number of dives – 2 boat dives, 67 shore dives to total 69 dives each
Average length of dive – approx 71 minutes
Shortest dive – 16 minutes, aborted dive due to water in camera housing
Longest dive – 85 minutes, last dive-didn’t want to get out
Hours spent under water – approx 3.5 hours per day, approx 81 hours over the 4 weeks
Number of wipeouts in the surf or on the beach with dive gear on – Debbie 6, Murray 5
Number of robots encountered under water – 1 (Hayward) in the swimming pool
Number of dive days and number of rest days – 24 dive days and 3 rest days
Number of photos taken by Debbie – approx 1,270
Number of videos taken by Murray – approx 370
Best place to stay – Coral Paradise Resort
Best truck rental and dive shop combination – AB Car Rental and AB Dive
Best sushi restaurant – Panino
Best ice cream – GIO’s
Most dives at one dive site – Salt Pier 3, Something Special 3 and Oil Slick Leap 3
First time diving at a dive site – Tolo, Jeff Davis, My Place, Vista Blue, Soft Coral Garden, Fish Hut and Yellow Submarine
Some of those statistics are mind boggling. We spent the equivalent of two 40 hour work weeks under water! We are turning into fish! This is our fourth trip to Bonaire and we still managed to dive sites we have not dived before. The dive sites we did multiple times have something drawing us back each time.
If you are thinking of going to Bonaire, stay at the Coral Paradise Resort. Carolyn and Vincent (Canadians) are great hosts and run a small eight unit resort. They are tied in with AB Dive and AB Car Rental so a truck rental is easy and tanks are delivered right to the resort. Each unit has a kitchen so breakfast and lunches can be made, which we did most days. Some days we cooked in, but most days we ate out. It can’t get any better than that! Check them out!
So, this was our dive trip to Bonaire in a snap shot.
Everyone knows about anemones from the movie Finding Nemo. They are the habitat for Clownfish in the Pacific, but in the Caribbean, they are habitat for Pederson Cleaner Shrimp, Yellowline Arrow Crabs, Squat Anemone Shrimp and Spotted Cleaner Shrimp.
There are a number of different anemones in the waters and it is always a surprise to peer inside one to see who is hanging about. The most common are the Giant Anemone and the Corkscrew Anemone.
The long tentacles have a mix of toxins on them that aid the anemone to feed. This toxin will sting a human, sometimes not so bad, but sometimes lethally. So it is best to not touch anemones, or anything, underwater.
The myth behind the Lionfish in the Caribbean is that they were brought to this side of the world in the bilge of a freighter and got released into the water. They have no natural predators in the Caribbean, so they are thriving. They are voracious hunters and eat many different types of fish. Many Caribbean islands mandate the hunting and killing of the Lionfish to get rid of them. Restaurants even offer Lionfish on their menus. They are pretty but, unfortunately, have a bad name in the Caribbean.
The spines on a Lionfish are venomous, so a diver doesn’t want to get too close.
Along with fishes and creatures, I like to take pictures of what could be called art. If I see cool lighting of a coral, or a mixture of colours, I will snap a photo. Here are some of my creations from this trip.
Trumpetfish are one of my favourite fishes. They are long, sometimes almost a metre, and have a snout that almost looks like a horse. They belong to the same order as seahorses and coronetfish. They come in an assortment of colours. My favourite is the one with the blue snout, pale body and blue tail.
They often hover in the water vertically and can move into a gorgonian sponge vertically, deftly avoiding the branches.
When we dive, we are always on the look out for crabs. Tiny ones, large ones, hairy ones and hiding ones.
This Batwing Coral Crab was sitting out in the open on a piece of coral when we swam by. He wasn’t disturbed by my camera light or photo taking. Such a cool guy!
We see many small crabs hiding in coral heads, their legs poking out. Hermit crabs, in their chosen house shells, can be seen inside sponges. Sometimes they are on the move and sometimes they are just hanging around.
It’s fun to search for crabs as we never know what we will find.
Peppermint Shrimp are usually found inside tube sponges. I swim over a tube and peer in and there is this little fellow staring back at me, swaying from side to side. They are named for their bright red stripes. Cute!