Shark in the Lagoon

Of all the places I thought I’d see my first shark in Bonaire – it wasn’t here. Not in a shallow lagoon. Delph and I weren’t even waist-high. We were surrounded by other people, windsurfing and playing in the water. But there the shark was. About six feet long and swimming with both fin and long tail poking out of the shallow water. Did it want to play too?

I stood staring at it, unbelieving at first. We were adjacent to a swimming pontoon. The shark was cruising just north of the pontoon. Should I alert the other swimmers, I thought? Since no one seemed to notice it. We watched the shark. It didn’t seem particularly bothered being surrounded by people. And it wasn’t pointing to anyone in particular. Well, that might be ok, I thought.

‘Can we get out of the water now?’ Delph asked.

I nodded. We were about a hundred metres from the dock steps leading out of the lagoon. Walk casually. And check behind us. Just in case.

I had no mask to snorkel with. Jack had borrowed it – since he hadn’t bothered to bring his own. Urghh. Still, he, Lu and our new friend Patrice had gone further into the lagoon. They were making their way to the very edge, where the lagoon borders the outer reef.

This lagoon is on the east side. We’d made it to the east side of the island. The famed ‘wild’ side of Bonaire. Patrice had driven us, holding firmly to the car keys, after our recent lock debacle. Still laughing at us, he took us down the coast to one of his favourite sites. This was Lac Bay – a large, shallow lagoon bordered by mangrove on one side and the sea on the other.

A number of small resorts border this part of the lagoon. The area is dedicated to windsurfing, the lagoon being vast and protected from large waves. It wasn’t a very windy day though. Only a few windsurfers were playing around in the water.

When we arrived, Patrice found a couple of resort sun beds. We hung back slightly. We don’t do the resort thing very often. Not that there was anyone around to mind, or to notice. This resort – like most at the moment, is eerily quiet.

Indeed, we were joined by a pretty mellow green iguana as we got changed by one of the empty apartments. Delph stood in the veranda. I watched the iguana munch on some leaves. Then after our lagoon and shark-spotting experience, we used their outdoor shower to rinse off. It was very civilised – even if Lu and Jack decided the place had a communist Eastern Bloc vibe about it. I wasn’t going to argue about that. Only that the latter had some real scary sharks. And the lizards here were definitely better.

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