I liked swimming to Patrice’s boat, Astra before he left. It was far enough for exercise and also to have a natter midway with him and Guillaume through the exercise. Hehe. Any excuse.

To get to Patrice’s, you had to turn from the shallows by the shore and swim over the deepening reef. Astra was in the deep water moorings. It gets deeper and deeper there until you can’t see the bottom anymore. All you can see is blue.

It’s unnerving this feeling. You’ve lost the depth. Well, rather you’ve gained depth but you’ve lost the perception of it. Only blue.

Over time, I’ve had to persuade myself to stay calm swimming in deep water. My imagination likes to fire things coming out of it – usually towards me. Big things. I know now big things are usually smart enough to stay hidden. Or big things prefer to surprise a person. So, I try not to let this invade my mind when I’m swimming. I try. Not sure I’d feel the same in the middle of the ocean though.

The water around here is filled with tiny pieces of junk. Plankton, organic material – all sorts. Not only unrecognisable stuff, but also cool things. I found out for example, sea lice in the Caribbean which ‘bites’ some swimmers is actually juvenile thimble jellyfish. Ha! And going to Patrice’s, I went past a beautiful, rainbow-making comb jelly. You don’t see these mamas in the shallows either.

Just then, as I was swimming, the light came through the blue water and split into a thousand pieces. Shafts broke through the surface and diffused into the water column. I focused on the really tiny moving things. It hit me. All of this is energy.

I didn’t call out for Astra’s crew when I got there. I paused and took the boat in. I listened to the wind whistle into the channel and the flag on my surface buoy which is tied to my waist flap around. Then I swam back home.

I feel as any traveller who is gathering up their thoughts, as well as their possessions, ready to leave a place. In this instance, Bonaire has given me something I hadn’t expected to take.

I’ve always been interested in nature. Whether it’s the glimmer of a soapy-looking embryo down a light microscope, or the frantic sight of a gazillion sperm cells all heading for the side of a Petri dish (urghh – sorry guys), to this. To the endless and seemingly depthless sea. Though the truth is it’s just short of 40m deep. I dived it the other day. Oh well. Potato potato.

Bonaire has developed my interest into what nature means to others. To us as a people.

Uh-oh. I can hear my Polish grandma, Wanda. She likes to tell this story when we first moved to Maryland. I was little – about five, and we had gone to this park with beautiful trees. America has really beautiful trees.

We were sitting under one such beautiful tree. I turned to my grandmother and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone in the world could sit together under this tree?’

My grandma usually starts giggling – all Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda. Huh. That movie had a tree in it too. Anyhow, we all take meaning from nature. Perhaps this is our greatest meaning. I just love that. I just do.

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