Megan and Tal Blog Bonaire: Day 6: Last Day Blues

by mammalfish

After oversleeping a bit, Tal and Megan finally got on their gear to go out for a morning snorkel. When we first got out we decided to visit the sailfin blenny we’d found the other day, and the eel who lives underneath it. We found the same rock, and sure enough, there was the blenny poking its face out of a hole in the rock. Tal saw the eel, but Megan didn’t; she did see the blenny do its ostentatious dance once more, however. After visiting these fish, we swam further out to where the sand drops off into deep water and the reef begins, and swam leisurely around, looking at the life. We spent a long time in silence, just watching everything happen. We really enjoy snorkeling together.

We headed inshore for lunch, because shore is really the only place to get food (Ralf may eat lionfish for lunch, but we prefer mac and cheese with random sauteed vegetables). Our random vegetable of the day was a carrot. It was delicious. We ate by the ocean, as usual. We understand your jealousy.

Our days have developed a bit of a schedule: next was a boat dive from Bruce’s, with Ralf again this time (yes, lionfish died). We went to a site called Sharon’s Serenity, which is on the far side of Klein Bonaire, a bit more exposed to the open ocean than most of Bonaire’s dive sites. This means that not many people go there, so the reef was extraordinary; it also means that big fish passing through the open ocean will sometimes end up cruising by. In the first few minutes of the dive, Tal found a lobster, which was just the beginning of our cool finds. Ralf found a lionfish and speared it—this is nothing new. As he was engaged in this dark business, Megan spotted a huge, silvery fish—a type of mackerel known as a Cero—swimming by, beyond him. Megan especially likes these huge ocean fish, because she likes wondering what deep-ocean things they have seen; they seem like messengers from beyond. He moved on quickly, as if he had somewhere important to be. Another big fish find was a tiger grouper, found by Megan. Tal then found another lionfish, and summoned Ralf by banging on her tank (which makes a loud noise and attracts attention underwater), but the lionfish seemed to catch wind of the situation and escaped this time. While he was hunting, Ralf spotted an incredible diving treasure: a yellow frogfish sitting on a yellow sponge. There was a huge commotion as everyone caught wind of what he’d found; frogfish are kind of a big deal, rare and camouflaged and interesting to watch (there were no tires near this one). It was a big female, very well-camouflaged, and was either pooping or laying eggs—no one could tell. After so much excitement, Megan was getting low on air, and we turned around to head back to the boat. Both of us managed to find one more rarity each: Megan found a batwing coral crab, which she has never seen before in ten years of diving on Bonaire, so that was exciting; and Tal found a sharp-tail eel, a weirdly adorable eel that slides through coral rubble searching for shrimp. If you put your hand down in front of one, it will nuzzle your fingertips (try it sometime).

A cero, AKA a big mackerel.

We had our ritual after-dive snorkel following the dismemberment of our gear, though this one was shorter than usual (and we couldn’t harass any divers) since everyone was back on the boat already. Megan said goodbye to the ocean because this was her last dive before she leaves tomorrow: she does this by diving down and doing a few flips, and it’s a ritual. We rode back to Bruce’s, we washed our gear, and we begged Rishi to help us find another coconut. He said, “OK. I will. Don’t worry. Magic. Go away.” We did, and came back a few minutes later. The man had a shelled coconut waiting for us. He’s either a wizard, or an incredible tree-climber. Or both. Megan spent awhile photographing a parakeet in one of the trees by the gazebo, which turned out well.

A brown-throated parakeet eating from a fruit tree at Bruce's.

We came home, drained our nut, smashed it, and ate large quantities of it, just enough to slightly spoil our appetites for dinner (not really). Dinner was delicious; we went to a new restaurant that Divemaster Linda had recommended to us, and it was smashing. We were all greatly enjoying ourselves, with a slight hitch when Tal trapped herself in the bathroom and had to be rescued before she barreled down the door. Wendy heard her hollering, and Megan flew to the rescue. Tal was greatly appreciative.

After taking a short, breezy walk around Kralendijk, Bonaire’s main village, we came back home and have had a very wildlifey evening. The tarpon are here, as usual, and Wendy was taken aback by the light gleaming orange in their eyes (“Tapetum lucidum!” said Megan, which is one of her favorite phrases). The three of us—Tal, Wendy, and Megan—all watched, mouths agape, as two tarpon (one just huge and one truly gargantuan, so we named them David and Goliath) swirled about in the lights, occasionally turning on their sides and flashing bright silver as they chased fish. We also spent some time watching bats fly about the porch of our upstairs neighbor. This man, who shall henceforth be known as Batman, puts some weird tasty jelly out for the bats every night, and he sits out on his porch, listens to loud classical music, and takes photographs of the bats eating. Megan has been trying to make friends with him because she freaking loves bats. Batman is even kinder than we expected, and he’s lowered some of his bat jelly on a line from his porch to the level of our deck, in the hopes that the bats will grace us with their presence, but we don’t think they’ve caught on. We’ll wait here for a bit, hoping. (Literally as I was writing that sentence, the first one showed up, and started sniffing around the jelly. SUCCESS!)

Goodnight and goodbye for now. Megan and Tal are going to watch some of Fly Away Home, which is one of Megan’s favorite old movies, and tomorrow she’ll be on a plane home. Night!

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