Ebert’s Hooker

It’s not often I meet someone who is excited to be in the blog. You know, like write about me, friend me and tag me. Please. But I have a feeling it’s how Ebert does things. After all, when I took a photo of him to add to his story, he pointed to an official poster – with himself in it. He is the official poster of Bonaire, encouraging you to get your vaccine. He’s even pointing in it. C’mon people, this is how we do things.

We met Ebert at Wannadive’s facility. It is quite exciting, just meeting people there now. Before it was all yellow tape and you couldn’t go here or there. Bonaire is going down to phase yellow. Thanks, Ebert. People went and got their vaccines. The island is going to try and open again.

Ebert was hanging there yesterday with one of the staff members, Emma, having finished his shift next door. And he was sitting next to Wannadive’s huge 3D, hand-painted mural of the nearby shipwreck, the Hilma Hooker. With us were Kim and Topher, Tanner’s mum and dad. Tanner had stayed behind with the girls – to teach them to play poker. I’m not sure who the adults were.. but never mind. Jack and I were on a dive double date.

And Kim and Topher were excited about diving the Hooker. So off we were – in the rust bucket.

As soon as we rocked up at Wannadive, Ebert approached us. He said, ‘My father was a divemaster back in the day, at Captain Don’s. He always wanted to teach me how to dive. But I used to say, “Dad, diving is for the fishes.” Now I’m sixty and I finally want to learn to dive.’

‘Well, you should,’ I said, ‘after all, this is your island. Above the water and under it.’

On Saturday after diving, we’d taken Tanner and Delph for ice cream at Gio’s. We’d sat there, soaking up the slightly surreal situation. A couple of hours before, we’d been down in a different world with ancient sea creatures. Now we were eating ice cream.

I pointed at the mural of the Hooker opposite us. Ebert nodded. ‘That’s what I’m talking about. I remember the Hilma Hooker when she was first captured – as a drugs boat. Before she was sunk, she was full of weed, and being guarded at the port. My friends and I snuck past the guards by climbing down the dock lines.’ He stopped to chuckle and to show me how he’d held on to the ropes. ‘We had a good smoke then. And now, look at her in the sea. I want to see her again.’

‘You can,’ I said.

He began to protest about his age and fitness.

‘Rubbish! You look in fine shape.’

Ebert smiled. He liked that. Then we found his poster.. and now I’m writing about him. In the meantime, we dived the Hooker. She is lying on her side, guarded by a school of tarpon.

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