Time Isn’t Waiting

Fifteen new cases. Not exactly the four-thousand cases the UK just recorded for a single day. Still, it’s the highest number of recorded daily cases Bonaire have had. In response, Bonaire’s Government announced they’re holding an emergency meeting at 6pm. This means that if the UK is beginning its second wave, Bonaire is beginning its first.

And this is after Bonaire’s lockdown from March. After they banned flights from North America; arguably the source of Bonaire’s economic lifeblood. No coincidence that Bonaire’s currency is the US Dollar. At first, we felt Bonaire was a straightforward place. After all, it’s relatively stable and small. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from being here for nearly two months now, it’s that Bonaire is complicated. Even without coronavirus.

At the same time, we’ve learned Caribbean islands often are that way. Islands can be, by their nature, a place people want to leave from. Especially if you’ve been born and grown up here. People say it’s something about being surrounded by water. I guess this is one of the reasons we are yachties. We can pick up the anchor at almost anytime and sail away.

Caribbean islands have a history too which involves displaced people. They were built on such a de-humanising system it was as though they were some of the worst social experiments. And the weirdest thing is that they are also the most geographically beautiful places. So, what were the people thinking at the time? I guess they weren’t. Just like people are going to say about us in three-hundred years. We weren’t thinking.

Unlike the huge landmasses of North and South America’s New World, the islands of the New World aren’t self-sufficient places. They rely on the visitor. And here we circle back to the here and now.

As the second viral wave hits the rest of the world and the first wave hits Bonaire, it’s been surprisingly easy to forget the fear of the unknown that began for us in mid-March. The sense of disbelief when commercial aircraft stopped operating. Watching people around us calling their embassies to find out how to get home.

Here’s the last thing; which is a little embarrassing to admit. Here goes. I’m not sure that I want to come back to Bonaire when it goes back to normal. To before the pandemic.

Why? Because we’ve heard it’s usually crazy busy here. There can be up to 10,000 divers in the water a day around this island then. It’s hard to get on a dive buoy. Find a parking spot. Feel alone. And right now, it’s empty. Quiet. Serene. We’ve caught this place at its most vulnerable moment in at least a generation, in terms of economy and healthcare – and we are enjoying it immensely. Ouch. That is embarrassing.

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