Janine wants me write about our New Year’s Day dive.
I want to write about Janine. And Hilde. And Patrice and Mark (aka Lenny). We’ve made some good friends in Bonaire who like to dive.
We met up again on New Year’s Day together just south of the airport. We caught a ride with Patrice in his big car. Thankfully, Patrice’s car lets us Questies bring all our dive gear and ourselves.
Shore dives are still strange though. Got to walk across the corals. Your gear gets all gritty when you put it on the ground. You’ve got to get changed in the car. It’s like dive camping.
Janine and Mark and Hilde came to the dive site on their scooters. Janine and Mark double up – so that when they encounter the odd hill, Janine gets off and walks the hill. This means they can go places with their gear – and their tanks. Kid you not. They keep their tanks by their feet, neatly stashed so they don’t roll around.
Janine and Mark are from Minnesota. They bought a holiday apartment in Bonaire – just before the pandemic hit. Since March, all flights to and from the US have been cancelled. They still haven’t resumed.
It seems the change in flights have created something of a temporary re-balance for the island. Bonaire being a special municipality of the Netherlands, along with Sint Eustatious and Saba, means the only international flights in almost a year have been exclusively from Holland. This is despite the US sector making up around 80% of Bonaire’s tourist revenue before the pandemic struck.
In this way, Bonaire has gone back to its European roots. Luckily, Janine and Mark don’t seem to mind too much. Janine explained that the only thing they do differently is time their food supply up to the next announcement of whether Bonaire will open their borders to the US.
In this way, if there is an extension of the travel ban, they go to the supermarket and stock up. They make their food last from there – until the next travel announcement. I was impressed with this. They’ve had some practice now.
Then there’s Hilde. Lovely Hilde. She is from Holland, so wins in the nationality/flight availability game. Hilde isn’t going though. She likes to volunteer in Bonaire’s animal shelter. There’s lots of puppies there at the moment.
Hilde wants to take the girls with her to pet the puppies. I’m not sure how that will happen – without it bringing a puppy back to Quest. In this way, I’m not exactly sorry we don’t have a car to get to the animal shelter. And that Hilde only has a scooter. She can take her dive gear on it, but not both my children. Or a puppy.
Back to the dive. We all got in, swam out and waved to the camera. All seven of us. Happy New Year!
Now, only a few days later, case numbers are suddenly soaring in Bonaire. For here, that’s into the daily double digits. Our dive bubble may not have burst yet. We have to be careful though.