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Monday, May 14, 2007

Bonaire 2007

Photos...

NOTE:
Underwater photos copyright Todd Krebs, 2007.  All rights reserved.
Topside photos copyright Kimberly Hubbard, 2007.  All rights reserved.

Topside Photos

Underwater Photos

About the Trip...

Todd and Kim took a nice little trip to Bonaire in May, 2007.  We searched for turtles, seahorses, frogfish, and nudibranch.
We found some, didn't find others.  We enjoyed sun, sand, coral, diving
and plenty of fun.  Quite possibly my all-time favorite trip :)   We're
already talking about going back next year.

Of course, this was Todd's second time in Bonaire, he was there at about
the same time last year.  He loved the island, loved the diving, but
hated the company (and all of the people that we saw who
remembered him from last year seemed to agree that he has upgraded in
the last year).  He wanted to share Bonaire with me and we chose to go
there so that he could do it right -- with the right person this time.
I shared Disney with him, so it was his turn to share a favorite
vacation spot with me.  And now it's ours and not just his.  I love it!

 Thursday 3 May 2007

Up painfully bright and early, we headed down to the airport before the
sun had risen. Nothing especially exciting about the plane trip down
(except that we slept), we made it into Puerto Rico mid-morning or so.
We had about a 6 hour layover in San Juan, which we spent lounging in
the hotel in the airport. This was very nice, as I really needed the
sleep. We had dinner in some restaurant in the airport, then boarded
our little plane to Bonaire as the sun was setting. We met some folks
from Colorado on the plane and talked a lot about where to eat, where
to dive, etc. We didn't see them again until the plane home, as they
were staying at a different resort. We landed in Bonaire around 9pm or
so, got our luggage and rented our Toyota Hilux. Off we went to Harbour Village Resort.

Our
room was not particularly great. We had asked for a king, but had two
double beds. The water was not quite clear (the hot water anyway), and
the bathroom looked a little dated. We figured we'd talk to the front
office in the morning and headed out to get some dessert in town. We
went to Mona Lisa, where Todd chatted it up with the waiter, Rudy (they
remembered each other from last year). Had some delicious apple pie
with cinnamon ice cream, and a couple Amstel Brights (only apparently available in Bonaire, Curacao and Amsterdam...). Then, we headed back to the resort to sleep.

Friday 4 May 2007


First
things first, we had breakfast at the restaurant at the resort, La
Balandra. During our stay, we got to know the waiters and waitresses
there. Bianca was especially friendly and nice. Then, we headed to the
front office to figure out the room situation. We ended up switching
rooms to a much nicer room. We were still marina view, but we were one
bedroom with a king bed and a living room, and two bathrooms. This was
very nice since we could shower at the same time and spread our stuff
out to dry easily. We also had two balconies - one off of the bedroom
and one off of the living room - so we could put our dive equipment out
there to dry also. Plus, we had a beautiful view.

After the room
switch and the unpacking, we headed over to the dive shop to get our
National Park Passes (required to dive in Bonaire) and do our checkout
dive from the resort. We did an easy dive down to Our Confidence,
which is the wreck right off of the resort. I'm not going to go into
too much detail of our particular dives because I plan to write up a
dive log at some point and I will elaborate then. Todd did get some
great pictures throughout the trip, though. We had lunch at La Balandra
and then did the 2pm boat dive to Monte's Divi, which was a dive site
off of Klein Bonaire.

We sat on the beach and watched a gorgeous sunset, then got ready and headed to dinner at Wil's Tropical Grill.
I had Blue Marlin Salad with blue cheese for an appetizer (really good,
I don't think I've ever eaten Blue Marlin before. It was smoked there
and terrific) and Todd had Conch Fritters. We both had Wahoo for our
entree and it was GOOD. Then, for dessert, Todd got the special cookie
dessert and I was horribly jealous of it even though my creme brulee
was very good. I also had two yummy margaritas, passion fruit and
mango.

Then, to bed.

Saturday 5 May 2007


We
had the 9am dive with Dive Master Nolli (after breakfast, of course...
). I was nervous because we were supposed to go to the Hilma Hooker,
which was a pretty deep dive for only my third dive of the trip. Todd
reassured me and we had a great dive, doing a drift dive across The
Lake, to the Hilma Hooker and into Angel City. It was just the three of
us, so that was awesome. I got to see a few squid, which were the main
things I wanted to see on the trip. Then, the 11am dive took us to
Petrie's Pillar and Andrea II. Also an excellent dive. Lunch at La
Balandra and then we decided not to do the 2pm dive, and instead spent
some time on the beach, doing some snorkeling and getting ready for
dinner.

Dinner!! The best dinner of the trip and potentially
the best dinner I've ever had. Todd had reserved the pier table at
Richard's. This is a single table at the end of the pier in front of
the restaurant. Our reservations were at 6:30, just in time to watch
the sun set. We basically ordered our dinner and wine and then were
left alone to sit and eat and talk and enjoy the ambiance. It was
TERRIFIC. We had so much fun. Two bottles of wine, filet mignon with
shrimp and bernaise sauce, shrimp bisque, and chocolate lava cake for
dessert. We stayed 3 hours (we had the table for the whole night). I
had so much fun. We chatted with Richard for a while and then headed
back home to the hotel to go to bed.

Sunday 6 May 2007


Breakfast,
then a 9am dive on Small Wall with Malin. This ended up being one of
our best dives of the trip. We saw an octopus, lots of squid that let
us get very close to them, and a few seahorses. For the 11am dive, we
dove at Rock Pile, off of Klein Bonaire. We were starting to get to
know some of our fellow divers. We didn't do the 2pm dive, but instead
did a shore dive to Something Special (which is right in front of the
resort). Vis was low and the boat traffic was high, so we ended up
spending some more time at Our Confidence.

In the meantime, a cruise ship had pulled into port.  We later found out that this was the Flag Ship for Scientologists.
Hm.  It left a few days later (presumably to go to Curacao), and
returned before we left.  It was still in port when we flew home.  We
saw only maybe 2 people on the ship the whole time we were there.  VERY
WEIRD.

More beach time (we were watching sunsets every single
night on the beach. Well, unless we were at Richard's, obviously). We
had dinner at La Guernica, where I had tapas that was just kind of ok.
My least favorite meal of the trip.

Monday 7 May 2007


Todd's
birthday! We had breakfast and chatted some with Bianca, then headed
out on the 9am dive to Karpata. This is the farthest north dive site
that our dive shop will take us to. A couple, Chris and Kristine, had
joined up for this dive. Kristine was pregnant and therefore stayed on
the boat. This was Chris's first boat dive and he headed out all Lance
Armstrong and I followed him. I slowed down and we did end up having a
great dive. And we mocked Chris a bit for heading out so fast. :)

11am
dive was to Eighteen Palms. Lots of people on that dive. We had lunch
at La Balandra and chatted a bit with Chris and Kristine and Bianca. We
were very suprised to see that the waitresses had gotten together and
baked Todd a birthday cake!! They all came out and sang Happy Birthday
to him! It was AWESOME and so sweet. We then did a 2pm dive at South
Bay, which is off of Klien Bonaire.

After the 2pm dive, Todd and I drove south to Lac Bay. We had met Larry from Larry's Wildside Diving
at the City Cafe for lunch on Sunday. We wanted to look for it, as we
were thinking of trying to dive with his dive shop. He promised sharks
and turtles and rays and all sorts of cool things. We found it, we
think, at a place that was just a shack with an old man cleaning a
fish. This man was not particularly friendly at all. As a matter of
fact, he just ignored us. We walked around the bay and then went to the
other side of it where the wind surfers are. The southern shore had
huge breakers and was a little creepy with Blair Witch-like rock piles,
but it was beautiful. We headed back to the resort, and then a lovely
dinner at It Rains Fishes,
which comes in second for me (behind Richard's) in terms of ambiance
just because it was decorated with brightly colored fishes and I like
stuff like that. I had Dorado (Mahi Mahi), which was very good, and
some Belgian waffles with ice cream and strawberries for dessert that I
swear were as good as the waffles that I had in Brussels. Shocking, I
know. I think had an appetizer also, but for the life of me I can't
remember it.

Tuesday 8 May 2007


Breakfast and a
9am dive at Bon Bini Na Cas. There was a turtle on this dive that Todd
got some photos of, but he wouldn't stop eating long enough for him to
get a really good shot. We bailed out of the 11am dive because so many
people had signed up. Instead, we tried a shore dive at Buddy Dive Resort.
This went extremely well and it was a lot of fun to only be diving with
just the two of us. We saw the wreck La Machaca and really enjoyed
ourselves. It was a great intro to shore diving for us. In fact, we
liked it so much that we found Chris and the three of us drove south to
Alice in Wonderland for another shore dive. Again, it went extremely
well and we had a great time. The southern reefs are just gorgeous.

Sunset
on the beach, where we drank a total of seven Amstel Brights between
the two of us. We had dinner at Mona Lisa, delicious tuna sashimi (with
what I think was real wasabi because it tasted STRONG) and then a fish
trio with Rainbow Runner, Dorado and Baracuda. Delicious!! And, we had
more apple pie for dessert and chatted it up with Rudy.

Wednesday 9 May 2007


We
started out with a shore dive with Chris, going to Oil Slick Leap. This
is a fun one where you can do a big giant stride into 15 feet of water.
Chris did it, but Todd couldn't because of his camera, and I was a
little nervous, so we used the ladder. I cut my hand on some coral on
this dive (very excited about an eel), which pretty much hurt for the
rest of the trip.

We went back to the resort and picked up
Kristine, then did another shore dive at 1000 Steps while Kristine
sunned on the beach. This was actually 72 steps down and up, but that's
a lot when you're wearing tons and tons of scuba gear. I had to take it
slow both going up and down.

We enjoyed some wine on the beach.
On our second night at the resort, they left us a bottle of white wine
in our room. We finally enjoyed it out on the beach and ended up
getting a second bottle while we were out there. Hence, lots of funny
photos were taken. Some will not be posted... Dinner was at Casablanca, where we had the Mixed Grill. It was tasty, but just a lot of food.

Thursday 10 May 2007


After
breakfast, Malin took us out to Bonaventure (off of Klein Bonaire) to
dive for the 9am dive. This time, there was a turtle that Todd got to
spend time taking photos of and he got some better ones. After that,
Todd and I headed up to Witches Hut to do a shore dive. The surf here
was rough getting out of the water and I got knocked around quite a
bit. At the end of the day, I had some serious sand to clean out of my
BC. We had some lunch in town (at Zeezicht) and then headed back up
north to Andrea I for another shore dive with just the two of us. Some
divers in the water told us to look for squid, but I never found them,
which was sad.

We watched the sunset on the beach, and then
went to Wil's again for dinner. This time I had the "dip of the day"
and Todd had chicken wings (hooray Jim!). We had the special wahoo dish
again, but it was slightly different this time. And I got the cookie
that I was so jealous of the first time :)

Friday 11 May 2007


Chris
wanted to go to the Hilma Hooker. Since we'd already been there, we
stayed on the reef around the Hilma Hooker and didn't go to the actual
wreck. Chris LOVED the Hilma Hooker and we saw some fun fishes on the
reef, including a Queen Angel, which we hadn't seen all trip.

The
11am Dive was to Just a Nice Dive, which included a pretty hefty swim
back to the boat. We also saw about 6 Queen Angels, so apparently
that's where they're all hanging out. Lunch at La Balandra and then we
went to Small Wall again for the 2pm dive. I was coughing into my
regulator and having general mask issues, so it wasn't as good as the
first dive. We did get to see a turtle VERY up close though.

Todd
wanted to do another dive at La Machaca, but since we'd scheduled a
night dive, I was worried that I was going to be too worn out and so we
ended up resting in the room for the afternoon. We met Chris at the
dive shop and then headed out to the Bell desk to meet Nolli for our
Night Dive. Kristine waited on the pier. We dove under the Town Pier
and it was REALLY REALLY AWESOME. We saw all sorts of things, including
an octopus, seahorses, lobster, crabs... And these really cool crabs
that carry sponges around on their backs so that the predators will
think that they are sponges and not crabs. GOOD TIMES. When we
surfaced, Kristine said she could tell where we were because she could
see Todd's strobe for his camera going off underwater.

We
showered and then the four of us went to It Rains Fishes and
Casablanca. Both were closed and we ended up begging Rudy at Mona Lisa
to feed us. He did, and we had a great dinner. We walked into town to
get ice cream from the stand where Todd and I had already had ice cream
twice, and they were helping customers but then told us that they were
closed. We must have looked like the four most pathetic and sad people
on the planet (including pregnant Kristine), so the lady there had pity
on us and served us some ice cream. If you go to this ice cream place,
I recommend the Cherry Brandy flavor. Yum!!!

Saturday 12 May 2007


We
had breakfast and did a couple of housekeeping type things with the
front desk. This was our non-diving day, so Chris and Kristine came
with us for a trip around the island. We took photos at the shore dives
in the north, then headed into Rincon and Washington Slagbaai National Park.
It was maybe 98 degrees outside and we were FRYING. Thank goodness
there was air conditioning in the truck. The park was... lame. It was
hot and it was like driving through miles and miles of cacti. We had a
sense of humor about it and we checked out the shore dives there. They
look doable - maybe next year. We followed the map to the freshwater
spring... it was green water in the woods. Hm.

We had lunch at
the City Cafe back in town and then the four of us had a nice swim in
the water and watched what was perhaps the best sunset of the entire
trip. We said goodbye to Chris and Kristine, who said they would be
meeting us back in Bonaire next year.

Dinner was at Patagonia,
which was just ok. Todd didn't care for it, I thought my steak was
tasty. We packed up and went to bed early.

Sunday 13 May 2007


Ugh. Up at 4:15 to get to the airport and return our car. 10 hour layover in San Juan, which is where I am as I am writing this.

Over all, a WONDERFUL trip. I really had a great time and I can't wait to go back next year.

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