We went for a dive with Bonnie yesterday and her friend, Frank. Both work as dive instructors in Bonaire.
Jack, Delph and I have been diving all week with the truck. Lu’s been doing her free-diving course, but we managed to dive once with her too. Patrice had sinusitis and took the day off to recover.
For Lu’s free-diving course, Carlos joined us into a WhatsApp group with Patrice.
‘Have you tried the steam treatment, Patrice?’ Carlos wrote.
No answer. Carlos asked it again. Then he re-explained how to do it.
Now, Patrice likes to call me a Jewish mother. I enjoy the compliment. I take it as one anyway. When I see the thread for all the medical work Patrice is being told to do, I can’t help but chuckle.
My father was an ENT consultant,’ Patrice says when I call him, ‘and Carlos is telling me.’
‘So what are you going to do?’ I ask.
‘I’ve already started on antibiotics,’ Patrice replies. ‘I have them onboard.’
When he tells Carlos this on the group chat, Carlos writes back, ‘Did you go to see the doctor, Patrice?’
Urghh. Yachties don’t go to the doctor. Unless we really have to. A lot of boats are floating pharmacies instead, having sourced medicine from home or bulked it in from previous doctor’s trips.
When we met Bonnie yesterday for our dive, I told her the story of Patrice and Carlos and the group chat. Bonnie was a yachtie too. It’s how she originally got to Bonaire.
She said, ‘Yachties don’t go to the doctor though.’
I laughed again. ‘And Patrice thinks I’m the Jewish mother.’
We went for a drift dive. Frank decided we should be too lazy to swim against it. It wasn’t a lot of current, but enough to slowly move over the reef – and easy enough afterwards to walk back to the cars.
The reef was beautiful. It was very varied, mostly soft corals among pockets of white sand. We saw two stingrays in these pockets. One stingray didn’t move at all, just stared at us with glowing yellow eyes. Its stinging tail was calm, but held up to a near-vertical position.
We came across a blue parrotfish in the reef then. I hadn’t seen one before, though Jack and Delph have. I swam fast. Only remembered to slow down at the last moment. Don’t scare it away you doofus.
These parrotfish are big – though Bonnie told me this one was still a juvenile. It came smiling towards us. Of course, parrotfish just look like they’re smiling. They have white crystalline plates for teeth. I’m going to say it was smiling. Blue parrotfish have bulging foreheads, like underwater rhinos. And it was as blue as a lapis lazuli.
We saw a green moray after, getting a clean from some cleaner fish under a ledge. Jack tried to tickle it out, to no avail. Lucky – since Bonnie was taking a picture of its face. That would have made quite the photo.