Bon Bini Bonaire!

In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught. -Baba Dioum

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These are some photos from our field trip to Slagbaai National Park. We spent the day touring it… Bonaire is a volcanic island, we learned a lot about how it formed and the various stages the island went through… and ended it with cliff jumping, naturally. (This one was maybe half as high as the first one)

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In the midst of mad research, paper and various hair-pulling assignments, we chose to take a quick break (4 hours…) and dive. Best decision of our lives. I saw more sea turtles than I could count, sting rays bigger than me, and incredibly beautiful fish… May have been one of my best dives ever.. Swimming with the turtles (at the risk of sounding corny) was something magical. Our second dive, at Alice in Wonderland, we swam between two reefs… and ascended into the pink water of sunset. I can’t think of any better way to spend a study break…

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Pictures from the Rincon International Food Festival… International may have been pushing it… But it was still delicious! We found a woman who sells the most amazing lime juice, all hand made, tart but sweet… So refreshing in the hot sun! This outing served as the only break from school work all weekend, and it was well worth it! The last photo I took about 10 minutes ago, there’s a rainbow completely around the sun! Incredible!

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Incredible Manta Ray that some of the crew saw… Unfortunately I have yet to see this amazing creature… BUT THERE IS STILL TIME! 

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Here are some photos from the last little bit… Been doing so many fun things! Learned to wind surf… (sorta)… No injuries to report! Lots of diving… even more school work. 

Sometimes life is just a little too sweet…

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Just some fun creatures from previous dives… It’s the coolest living here, it really is!

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Synopsis: Days 48-58

Everyone in the world should dive, at least once.

Under the water is a world that everyone should be required to see. As you can see from my pictures, it’s beautiful and colorful… So wonderful.

And now, back to real life. Okay, not really, but the Caribbean version of real life. I have continued to do my research for my paper, diving several times a week and spending my nights in the lab. On top of that, we’ve had multiple papers, tests and what not to do… living in paradise is not always sunshine and rainbows.

But, for the most part, it is. Last Monday night we went to see the ostracods. I wish I could explain what they are, but I can’t. What I do know is they fluoresce five days after the full moon, and when you shut off all of your dive lights, the water glows around you, even at 60 ft. It is and will be my favorite dive of all time, and definitely top 10 experiences of my life. I’m going to try and find a video of them and post it so everyone can see.

Other than ostracods, we spent the last week kayaking and snorkeling in the mangroves, a completely different ecosystem than what we’ve been in. It is a shallow tidal zone that is incredibly salty, and mangroves are one of very few plants that can grow in the salt water. It is a nursery habitat for fish and other species, and was really quite the experience! Plus, kayaking is ALWAYS a good time.

In addition to these wonderful activities, the pictures below show more of what we have been doing… Really this is the most incredible experience of my life..

As always, -c

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This weekend we rented a car and went diving (and cliff jumping) on Saturday. We squished six people, twelve tanks and all our gear into a teeny tiny truck, turned on the music and drove around the island, without a map or much gas, and ended up diving at Karpata and Red Slave. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. These are some of the incredible things I saw! Did I mention that half of my paper is due today? Always making great life choices… Study or dive? DIVE. 

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Soo… One of my favorite things we’ve done this trip… We went kayaking through the mangroves and out into the ocean. It was amazing, and beautiful, and so tiring! Wiley and I shared a two person kayak (which I promptly capsized), and I swear he paddled all of two times… I got my work out in!

Then… CLIFF JUMPING! (I’m sure you love this, parents) What a great way to start a day! It was a 50 ft drop, though it looks shorter in the picture. Don’t worry, the water below is at least 40 ft deep… As you can see in the first photo, I am seriously considering the sanity of this move… But it was so worth it!

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Here are some photos from when we visited Rincon, another town on the island. We spent an afternoon here walking around the town, guided by two older women who have lived there their whole lives. We saw the main town, the cemetery, the soccer fields and had a local meal prepared by a family. It was an incredible experience, I’ve never felt so welcome in my life. 

We tried Cadushy liqueur, which is made from the Cadushy cactus, by hand, here on the island. It was delicious… 

We (okay, I) got bit by fire ants… All over my feet. Wiley and I explored the soccer field.. reminded me of the documentary Pelada, if you haven’t seen it, you should!

More photos to come!