September 24 - October 2, 2010 -- Monica Visits Bonaire

Click on the thumbnail for a map during this time period

On Sept. 25 Monica Thomasson came and visited us for a week.   It was her fourth visit to Tusen Takk II; in February, 2007 she came to Puerto Rico and in December, 2006 she came to Titusville, FL, and in December 2005 she came to Melbourne, FL.   She is a marvelous guest.   Always eager to help with anything that needs to be done, and always easy to please.  She has been a friend of Barb's since grade school; the two of them chatter like magpies when they are together.

We did a fair amount of diving, and during one lull in that action when Monica was temporarily having ear problems, we rented a pickup and saw some of the island.   We went to the Washington-Slagbaai Park, of course, but were confined to the "short" route due to all of the unseasonal rain Bonaire has been having.  Lows and troughs in the general vicinity have cancelled the usual trade winds from the east and have caused unsettled weather with frequent squalls.   During one such squall just as we were about to retire the winds built up from the west and besides creating waves that rocked Tusen Takk II like a hobby-horse -- flopper stoppers are ineffective for that motion -- tore one of the nearby dive boats loose from its mooring.   I saw it slide past the dive shop's dock and settle up against the shore where it bounced in the waves against the rocky shore.   Just as we were discussing the feasibility of using our dinghy to try to rescue it, we saw someone come running down the dock and dive into the water.   Soon, a car arrived with additional help, and we watched as they first pulled the boat back along the dock and then started the engine and departed -- almost certainly headed for the shelter of a marina.  We later learned at the dive shop that the dive boat had sustained minimal damage to its nose.

Ned DeLoach, of Reef Fish Identification fame, was on the island for several weeks and mentioned in one of his slide shows that the annual "synchronized spawning" was about to happen.   Every Fall six to eight days after the full moon the corals release in mass eggs and sperm.  By using the lunar cycle, the release is synchronized so that the eggs and sperm can mingle in the water and make baby corals.   And not just corals; starfish, brittle stars, fireworms, sea cucumbers, sponges and Christmas tree worms all engage in synchronized spawning.  We found a reference on the web site for the Bonaire National Marine Park and determined that Sept. 29th, was the most likely night, and that about 10 pm was the best time.   So we did a night dive, joined by friends from other vessels.  That was already a crowd, but the numbers were multiplied when a horde that had put in at the shore by the dive shop came blazing by.  Lotsa lights flitting about, and lotsa bodies and fins.  Someone spotted a small amount of spawning from a coral head, and in the mle that ensued, the head got kicked and that terminated the spawn.  Barb and Monica got a glimpse of the phenomenon -- I did not.  Despite our high expectations, that was the only spawning we saw, although we did see lots of eggs on the surfaces of corals, presumably not quite ready to be released.  September 30 was also supposed to be a highly probable night, but the weather was lousy and we stayed dry and cozy on board.

On the day we had the pickup, we also drove south and saw the slave huts and the salt works and the windmills, etc.   It was a good visit.   One week wasn't long enough.

Photos marked (**) were taken by Monica or by Barb on Monica's camera

**Monica about to get wet at Klein Bonaire

Friends since grade school!

**Monica at the dive site "Thousand Steps"

At the outdoor exhibit at the Park museum

Display at museum: each dive token represents 100,000 years.

Start of Solar System

Last 100,000 years is further broken down into 200-year segments...

... as this sign indicates

Note the third card from the bottom

**Donkey in the Park

Flamingos in the Park

Parakeets in the Park

Goats on a hill in the Park

Heron at Boka Slagbaai

**Barb at Boka Slagbaai

At the Salt Works

Girls at White Slave

Monica at Red Slave

**Cactus fence

**Lighthouse on the south end of Bonaire

Chuck gets his goodbye hug






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