Bonaire’s Bounty

We went searching for octopi yesterday. One of our favourite creatures on the reef. Possibly because they are so hard to spot. In this same group on Bonaire are the frogfish and the seahorse. They are the dynamic duo which every diver tries to spot. And they’re elusive!

The seahorse we think, prefers to hang out in the rubbish. If there is a tyre or a broken piece of metal, that’s where you tend to see the little, clingy seahorse.

Frogfish are the coral reef comedy creatures. Often hanging out by a piece of sponge the same colour, they look just like the sponge – and are almost impossible to see. They are Bonaire diver’s ritual question: did you spot the frogfish?

For us so far, the answer is always, no we did not. You need to be lucky, have acute observational skills, or know where they hang out. The many dive instructors on the island will usually give the heads-up – if you pay to dive with them. Urghh. Being cheap means we are non the wiser yet.

We went into the little bay next to the marina. The dive site is called Something Special. Before the descending reef wall, there’s a nice sandy ledge. Jack’s been going over dive skills with Shona here. She is soon to get her PADI Open Water ticket – which means she and Gavin can go off and dive together. Probably smooching underwater! Pukey noises coming from the Ormerods. Get your own dive site! Hehe.

Jack and I scrubbed the bottom of Edna and then went off to have a little look around. Our marina neighbours, Brittany and Clint, have seen an octopus skulking along the sand. They are such fascinating creatures to come across. With the most developed brain and neural circuitry of the invertebrates – yet wired completely differently from vertebrates – intelligence and cunning oozes from these critters.

If you catch octopi unawares they often take quick shelter. They are often darting across to a rock or a piece of coral – any sort of cover. They move like a living pancake. Usually turning a different colour as they move, as though they can’t contain their emotions. Finally they get to their destination and curl impossibly into their chosen space. All that’s left are two enormous eyes poking out at you. And a kind of metaphorical middle finger. Haha. Come and get me now.

So that’s what we were looking for yesterday.. but to no avail. The resident octopus was already curled up somewhere. While we were poking around, we did see something else though. This is particular to Bonaire. If you’re not used to it, it can often give you a mini-heart attack.

Tarpon. The silver king. They are everywhere in Bonaire’s waters. Beautiful and huge. They come right towards you too. They aren’t dangerous, despite their shark-like size. And that’s the thing. Anywhere else, and a fish this size coming this close, might be a concern. To be honest, I’m not quite used to it yet.

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