Bonaire 8/2-27/2 2008
| Once again, the Danish
weather forces me to travel.
My friends plan
about going to New Zealand was changed,
and after a short meeting, we decided on Bonaire. Morten and I were there in
2006, and the excellent diving, weather and strange nature draws us back, once
again, and it was easy to lure Jesper and Amira along.
This time, the planning is much more extensive. Not that we bother to read any books, but we actually book a car and a apartment from home. I even buy a diving computer and camera! A few facts: Bonaire is part of the Dutch Antilles, known as the ABC Islands. It is 285 square kilometres, have a population of 13.000, and besides from being a holiday centre with diving, not much else is going on.
The official langue is Dutch, but the most spoken is Papiamento, a mix of Spanish, Dutch, English, French and a bit of Portuguese with a hint of Indian and African, and so are the population. The religion is mainly Catholic, but not as strong as most catholic countries. The currency is Netherlands Antilles Guilder (NAf), 1 equals 2,50 NAf. 1 US$ equals 1,50 NAf.
The island has been occupied by the Spaniels, British and latest; Dutch. It started as a trading station, then seawater has been condensed into salt and now, divers make the big income for the island. Washington-Slagbaai National Park takes up 20% of the island while Bonaire Marine Park covers the sea from the high-water mark to 60 meters debt, all the way around the island.
8. Delayed one hour from CPH, due to the new tower. Three minutes to gates open in Shiphool. Smooth night flight; I kind of sleep from it all, except the meals. Arrival at 4.15 am; Hertz closed, but Jesper have prepared a taxi to the apartment, in the fare end of town. Couple of hours sleep, but eventure draws Morten and I out in the beautiful, perfect weather. Not a cloud and 28C.
Walk in to Yellow Sub - the favourite dive operator. Book free Nitrox and find some used dive equipment for me. Buy used: 325 US$ Rent for 2x6 days: 420 US$. Let me think... Of cause, I end up spending more, replacing used stuff with new, but only up to 374US$: Idon't extend the 420US$ limit. Nice to have my own: I can alter it like I always have wanted to.
9. No chance getting a cap to the airport, and Morten's phone don't seems to like the local operators. Can't mant the phonebuth work, and even when we get the emploies at Yellow Sub to call, no one pick up the phone. Walks into centre, and pop by the dive shop to get some new dive shoos while Morten flag down a cap.
Even though Jesper have booked a four door pick-up, we can only get a small toy-car for the day. Well, it surely beets walking back to the apartment! Pick up Amira and Jesper, who still looks like they could do with some sleep! Drive back to Yellow Sub to get the Nitrox, and makes a test dive in Yellow Sub's House Reef, right in front of Yellow Sub. The used BCD I found turns up to be too large, but it is the only used they have for sale.
Amira and Jesper have a bit difficulties getting their 7 mm double long suits drawn down in the heavy salty waters, and find two used 3 mm shoorties.
Amira signs up for a Nitrox course, and while the brothers go for an other dive, I swap the car in the airport. This time I get the double cabin Chevy Pickup which is perfect for diving. Back to pick up the others and then on a hunt for a used BCD. The other operators have sold their used as well, but find one by one of Buddy Dives employs for 100 US$. Bit too steep, I think.
Back by the supermarket to buy coffee, breakfast and alike. Home to have a shower and then in to town to find a good supper. Real short evening, when we get back to the apartment!
10. Get up a bit early: I have forgotten my new shoos at Yellow Sub, and drives by Buddy Dive, and offers 100 NAf (65$) for the good looking BCD. He agrees without hesitating, and even points out it have been renovated recently. The rest of the gang look almost alive when I get home, and we drive out to Oil Sleek Leap for an easy dive. Short stop at home for some fresh fruits, and we head for Alice in Wonderland.
Back for coffee and surgery on my dive computer. It haven't figured we have started divining yet. Finish the day at Oil Sleak, Leap testing Jesper's extreme lighting for his camcorder. Success! Here are, as on the other dives; plenty of small fish - up to 40 centimetres and some morels, eels, sea porcupines and other amusing and interesting animals between the many soft- and hard corals. Even my computer finally figures we are diving!
On the way back, we passes an ATM. I try three times, and them my Visa is closed. Climes I used the wrong pin-code, which I didn't. Morten experience almost the same, and we all wrote for Jesper as sponsor. Back to have a shower and clean the equipment. Then down at the Argentine Restaurant: Mixed Grill to you tilt! Some of us survive long enough to write this, look at today's photos and do a bit of tampering with the gear.
11. A slow start on the day, and when we finally reach the first dive site, two octopus' are missing. Eventually we plunges at Windsock , just south of town. Plenty of corals and small fish like on most of Bonaire dive sites and on top of that: Big schools of larger fish around the colons for the fuel-loading-pier for the airport. A huge barracuda glides off, down into the deeps.
On our way to shore, we meets with a huge octopus on the sandy shallow waters. It only slowly gives way, and I hope for some great shots along with the other 300+ photos of today.
After a short surf time, we heads for Jeff Davis Memorial, quite similar to Windsock, just a bit more south. Besides for the plentiful corals and fishes, nothing real new appears, and after an hour, we heads back for some lunch and coffee. It is getting late, and Amira and Jesper stays put, while Morten and I head for the north. Had planed Repela, but misses, and reach the awesome Karpata.
It is slowly getting darker, but we still find a lot of great sights. Morten even find a sleeping hogsbilled turtle. When we emerges, the temperature have dropped to freezing 24C, and the 26C water feels warm. We head back for a cold shower along with the gear, and then into town for some well deserved supper.
Even though it is getting late, we still have some stitching, photo- and video looking to do, along with writing. Boy; it is hard to be on vacation!
12. Get up early, to do some serious diving. Drive down to The Lake; a double reef with some interesting features and to day: 60 meters sight. Morten morns about a bit of damp in his camera diving house. Mean while, mine fills up. Even though I rush up to wash it in sweet water, it never works again. Well, I did have it for four dives, and I only spend a weeks pay (@#€%&@£$!!!!).
After having washed and dried it at home, we try the local bank. Their ATM claims I have tried the wrong pin-code three times, and it have closed my Visa. When Morten tries his, it claims it have no coverage. Bit annoying, when you don't have a stack of dollars. The bank can't help - they only disables your card.
Seems like it is just one of those days, and we figure we might just start some serious diving. Drives up to the amassing Karpata. Once again, I have to say; this is my favourite site. Nothing particular, but just plenty of all. I drive the others back home, and continues into town: I need money and a new camera!
The only shop selling cameras think I might get one like the drown one, on one of the other islands. Would like a replacement just alike; fitting the diving house. After all; the house is more expensive than the camera! More luck at an ATM; my bank have re-opened my Visa, and I can redraw some US$. All prices are in both NAf (Dutch Antilles guildes) and US$, but they haven't adjusted the rate since the dollar actually was something worth. We save 7% or more, if we pay in US$.
Back to pickup Morten, and out to La Machata, just out of the town. Nice, but nothing new. Back for cold shower - not that I needed it cold - and into town to find some nice supper. As usually, we are toast after the meal. I just have to try to fit my other camera into the diving house - and try if it is tight now - without camera! It do, but the camera doesn't fit.
13. After a solid breakfast, we all head for 1000 Steps, north of town. The 63 step stairs feels like 1000 when you climb them after the dive! Morten bails out, feeling a bit cooled, and he stays back to watch the guys sandblasting the huge radio masts. We have an amassing dive; lots to see, and an awesome sight; around 60 meters or more!
Next plunged is down at Bachelors Beach. Morten and Amira stays back while Jesper and I have a nice dive. I borrows Morten's camera, and get a few but excellent shoots. Back home for a coffee brake, and I cut the way too long strips from my fines. Every time they touch my ankles, I think I have hit the reef or an other diver.
After lunch, Morten and I head up to La Dania's Leap. Good site with a large, flat area filled with corals on a sandy seabed, not more than four to six meters down. I have lost half of my lead weight (a 2 Kg weight stayed at the car), but it works any how. I always empty my BCD completely in the beginning of a dive, but this BCD have to be emptied from time to time due to a small leak in the valve. Haven't annoyed me before, but with only two kilos in the pocked, it does.
I drop Morten off at home, and heads for the dive shop, where I bought the BCD from an employed. The will fix it; I can pick it up after half an hour. I head for the shop next door, to find some rubber straps. I try to build my BCD and other gear as tight and streamlined as possible. Have been freezing a bit lately: My used short suit are only two millimetres and real used, and the suit I have borrowed from Amira does not fit perfectly. Here I find a three millimetre shorty for 80 cheep US$.
Drive pass Yellow Sub to return the thin suit I now haven't bough, but rented. While I am there, I find these short, light fins I have seen before. Gota give them a try! So much easier to take on and off, not to mention the benefits when travelling with them.
Back to pick up Morten for the last dive of the day: Ol Blue. We had hoped to swim to the Salt Pier, but Morten's ears are not in shape, and we have to be satisfy with a sand seabed dive. That it interesting as well; new animals we haven't seen before. My new suit fit perfectly, and I only starts to freeze when we head the beach and strong winds. The fins feel a bit loose, but works fine. I'm going to swap them with the long, heavy ones - I cut the straps off this morning....
Supper at the great restaurant we find the the day, and I try the Grilled Cheesecake with ice and whipped crθme. Delicious and huge! Got to have more weights on to morrow, but it is worth it! Home to do a bit of stitching on the BCD, and then I faint...
14. As usual, while we eat breakfast, a tiny hummingbird visits the flowering bushes on the veranda. The day's first plunge is at Alice in Wonderland. Morten stays back, and Amira having problems with getting her legs, covered in nine millimetres neoprene to sink, Jesper and I head for a nice dive. Among the huge amount of fishes and corals, a small hogesbilled turtle emerges.
Back bye Yellow sub to return my long fines: The short, lightweight works fine, and are so much easier to take off in the surf. While we are there, I get one kilo of weight more. Can't tell if it is the grilled cheesecake or the new, thick suit that makes it necessary. Back for lunch and a bit more tampering with my BCD. I have to listen to suggestions on sewing it from scratch...
All in the car, and out to Oil Sleek. We have to send Amira in again, the weights still causes her problems. Switching between six combinations of suits makes it almost impossible to find the right and balanced weight. It is a balance between freezing or caring more than ten kilos of lead. Personally, I freezes.
Morten and I takes the last dive at 6 pm. Had a plan of trying Jeannies Glory, Bloodlet or Reppel, but as usually, we misses the yellow stones that makes the sights, and end up at Karpata. Doesn't matter that much; it is after all the best sight on the island, I think. We head down stream, to the left, where the steep wall is very folded and overgrown. We are rewarded with two hogsbilled turtles and plenty of other marine life. Sometimes, all around this island, you feel like swimming in a fish soup.
Supper at an excellent, newly opened Indonesian restaurant, where we defiantly have to get back to. I am so much out of energy when we reach home! It is hard to be on vacation!
15. A good nights sleep after the tree have been cut down: It was banging against the roof all night. The first dive is at Yellow Sub's House Reef to get Amira proper balanced. She ends up in the thin shorty; alternately would be 14 kilos weight! The reef just in front of the city are excellent, and we even see a large spotted eagle ray.
I try to pay my used gear and the Nitrox for the first six days, but I'll have to wait for the boss to get the 10% - or more - I want. Back to pick-up Morten, and lunch, and then off to Hilma Hooker; the wreck on 10-30 meters. The sight is real good, and we can see almost the whole huge ship. Along it, some one meter plus thaipans and other huge fish only lazy moves, when we swim bye.
The last dive in this round of Unlimited Nitrox should be something special, and I lure the others out to Cai. Here are some large mountains of concylies, which have been eaten many ears ago. The dive is in a bay on The Wild Side, where a wall of coral boulders forms a home for lobsters. Unfortunately, the current are turning, and the sight less than five meters. Short dive, but we have to return the tanks and do a bit of shopping. First dive I don't freezes at, but that changes, when we hit the mall's cold.
16. First non-diving day, and we head for the Washington-Slagbaai National Park, witch makes up 20% of the entire island. We starts at nine, after Amira and Jesper have prepared fried chicken and other delicacies for the tour. Against all odds, it pours cats and dogs when we drive up north, and we even gets a few showers in the park.
The main vegetation is acacia bushes and tall cereus cacti. Everything looks more green than last we were here,15 month ago. The cacti have buds, not fruits, and the acacia and alike bushes are covered in green and lush leaves. We take the long way around, showing the main sights to Amira and Jesper: The Window: A hole in a rock-wall, The Blowholes at Playa Chikitu, the ancient (1 million years old) coral rock and the fossilised coral reef at Boka Chikitu.
Some giant waves hits the wall, and I just get turned around and bend over, before I am totally soaked, but my camera survives. Once again, I am taken by the power of the bronze plate, warning about swimming in the bay. It is erect in memories of a 19 years old man, who did take a swim.
We are hit by an intense shower, and drives on to Boka Kokolishi and it's light tower. We eat lunch, sitting well covered in the car, while them the column and barrow cacti are getting soaked. The rain drives off, and we walk up to the tower and the magnificent views. One can see most of the park from here, and it is a beautiful sight!
We continues of the rough and serrated road along the northern end of the island. Occasionally, we get a chance to meet the sea, and most times that means a inland lagoon with pink flamingos. Where ever we stops, colourful lizards watch us intensely, and occasionally, a giant green iguana joins in in the begging for scraps. One can not be picky, living in this deserted and dried place.
In the bushy areas, wild goats do their best to disappear, which seems sensible, considered they are living in a national park. On the other hand; the donkeys approaches the car, and don't seem to be surprised to see slices of bread appearing from the opened windows.
A short detour brings us to Pos Mangel; the only freshwater pool in the park. It measurers only ten meters, but last we were here, in the dry season, the area were crowded with thirsty birds. It is significantly more quiet to day, but on our walk down to it, we see a real colourful starling and some of the tiny pigeons.
I have this dream of making a Bonaire area in Copenhagen Botanical Garden, and searches for seeds of the more interesting plants. Last time we were here, the column cacti had plenty of fruits, now they only have buds, and that paten goes for most of the rest. Although I did bring my heavy boots just to botanise, I can't find much.
It is getting late, and we have to leave the park at five. While we drive out, some amazing views emerges. One at the basalt columns, others where the road are flanked by giant cacti. There are significantly quiet at the backseat - until the snoring starts. Can't blame them; I could do with a nap my selves. The rough road demands some attention, and the beautiful nature the rest.
Supper at one of the favourite restaurants. I wisely chose a light main meal and commit suicide with a quarto Death by Chocolate. Almost works!
17. Sunday, and we take it real easy. I sort my photos and resizes them. Leave Amira sleeping, while we find some essential spare parts for her diving gear at Bonaire Adventure and Diving Shop. Then down town to the internet cafe to upload the first week while the brothers relaxes with a beer on the pier. Home by the supermarket and the local grosser. The supermarket have at least 50 different coffee creamers on a five meter rack, but no instance coffee at all.
Home to tamper with the gear, cleaning some seeds and do some serious stirring out in the thin air. At three, I pull my selves together, and head out to the ridge, leading to the peak: Seru Largu, which raises to the staggering 123 meters. Only the fare north can top that. I take the back road, crawling the ancient rough coral reef, which are cowered with Acasia, cacti and other hostile vegetation.
To my big surprise, I find some small and wind shaped trees I haven't seen before. Try to find seeds of the more interesting plants and photos of the rest. The area is almost bare coral limestone, slightly covered with 3-5 meter trees and few Cereus, but I do find a few shrubs in the cracks. The more or less wild goats seems to find the most.
It is like a maze, and I get my trousers torn along with my legs, arms and hands. Then, with no warning, I find my selves on a parking lot. I have reach the peek, and here are a Madonna sculpture and a large cross. Doesn't seem to be that visit, and after a short view over the town, I start the tour back.
Catch up wit a small group of donkeys, which seems surprisingly scarred of me. The lower part of the ridge seems to be completely overgrown with cacti, Agavas and Acasias, and I have a living hell, trying to find out to my car. Had promised to be back around five, and I hit our front poach at 16.59.55. Morten claims I'm too early... I clean some small Passiflora fruits I found. The are dark purple, and not surprising, the colour sticks to my fingers, wash after wash.
We pack the car with disposable grill, marinated chicken and some other stuff, and drive down to Oil Sleak for a nice BBQ. It starts to rain on the short drive, but clears up at the beach. After the last divers have emerged, the moon takes over the lightning, and we enjoy some nice "home made" supper. A bit disappointing, there are no dessert menu.
18. After two days of rest, we are ready for an other round of diving. With a new Unlimited Nitrox account, we head down south to Salt City, just upper site the pink salt lakes. Easy access into the water, and a magnificent sight. Plenty to see, and even a small hogsbilled turtle. After an small hour, we returns to the car for an apple break and some surface time.
Warmed up, we drive a bit more south to Pink Beach, with it's palms and nice sandy beach. An other cosy dive with plenty to look at, but lunch is in some minds - and the rest of us is just cold enough to agree. Here are a double reef, but the outer is quite deep and there can be a rather strong current. The fish are bigger, but the colours weaker, and it is really not worth the swim.
Afternoon dive at Ol' Blue, up north. Shorter swim to the reef, and a nice top reef on top of that. Spots a few new fish of the more than 350 species, of which I think we have seen a pretty big part of. Here are 110 species of corals, and there seems to be longer and longer between the new ones. I wish I had a (working) camera: I would love to get an image of each species!
This evening supper at the one main restaurant we haven't tried. As every where else, the food is excellent. Here the portions are not as huge as some other places, but the taste is heavenly. Morten get fried yucca, which is very tasteful. I start with a starter; pork role topped with havarti, salad with nuts and a mild muster sauce. That makes room for a dessert: Warm pineapple capatchio with white chocolate trifle, arranged with fresh strawberries. If I hade made it my selves, I would strictly walk to the kitchen and prepare a new - double portion!
19. Morten and I make a morning dive at southern Punt Vierkant. A large hogsbilled turtle to start with and plenty of life afterwards. Pack to pick the others up, and then up to Oil Sleak, making some weight adjustments once again. When that is sorted out, we swim south with the current, but this area offers so many beautiful corrals.
Stops at the supermarket on the way home. A ship most have come in: The peevishly empty shelves have been filled - but now; some of the others are empty. Amira prepares a lunch that can mach the restaurant's, but I stick to a packed of dry bisques. Fell that I already are caring weights enough! Five kilos of lead might not sound like much, but in comparison with the tank, BCD and other equipment, it is is quite a load to draw up of the water and across the corral barrier at the beach!
A short stop by Yellow Sub's Nitros sheet to re-load, and then out at the northern Andrea II. Huge, deep reef and as a special treat: A giant Blue Parrotfish. It is truly blue! It swims a bit further out than the other giant Midnight Parrotfish, that seems to prefer the steep walls just under land.
Back to the apartment to relax with homemade popcorns, books and PCs. At eight, I drive the others down to Front Poach for a night dive. I can't handle the thought of being cold, and have to surface into the dark, cold (24C) night. On the other hand; their stories about giant barracudas and stuff like that might talk me into a night dive to morrow.
While I wait, I head down to the internet cafe to upload my diary, and check mails in general. A walk through town, a rest at the dockside and a cupertino at our favourite restaurant. I left them with the car, and walked into town, but it sounds like I shouldn't have bothered: They emerged in a completely other location, and have to walk anyway.
At home, I see their photos of "the giant barracuda and the group of morays". Strangely enough, they are only able to produce blurry photos of a big herring and some small Sharptail Eels...
20. Our first dive is at a former visit site: Pink Beach. This time we swim again the current to the left,. Here, we can enjoys a fantastic clear water, with a visibility around 60 meters, even at the shallow sand seabed. Here, I see two "new" species of fish. One long, slim, one high with huge eyes.
After a small hour of surface time, we continues down south to the Red Slave Huts. These tiny huts were actually the home for the salt harvesting slaves so many years ago. They are around one and a half times two meters with a tiny door opening and a symbolic window. Behind the huts, which are based only few meters from the sea, we find one of the best dives until now. A fantastic visibility, plenty of life, even some new. I find a giant concylie which to my surprise, actually is alive, but Morten experience a bit too much water in his camera house to his likening, and we head on land in a hurry. The camera survives this time.
Back by the supermarket, and home for lunch. After lunch, Morten and I passes the postal office on our way to the southern docks. Here, a ship is bedded, and we continues to Corporal Meiss. Nice dive which have the perfect ending: Caribbean Reef Squids. We saw quite a lot last time we visit this Divers Paradise, but this is the first time we encounter them on this tour.
Home to view the photos and prepare supper in the wild. After dark, we drive up to Oil Sleap Leap, and after a cosy meal, plunges at the ladder. We don't have to wait for long, before the "giant baracudas" emerges from the deep. As suspected, is large tarpons, and they do seem a bit intimidating, coming fast up from the dark deep. After a few bye-swims, they are less than a arms length from us, when they swim underneath us, coming from the back. They feed on the unlucky fish, caught in our lights. Especially Jesper's camera lights makes a good meal. On the other hand; it do take off the magic by fumbling in the dark on a night dive.
The corals are more active; their tentacles are out, and some emerges from the deal-looking rocks, and display fantastic coulors. After half an hour, we head back, and I enjoy the two litre of warm water I have brought. Home to see the last photos, taste Morten's American Rice Vine with Plum Supreme. Just what I needed; tastes like Plum in Madeira.
21. Starts the day with a nice dive at the airport's harbour. We have heard this should be the place to see squids, but we are not able to find them. Anyway; it is a good dive with good visibility and plenty of life. Re-load with air, and into town to find the freezing Jesper one more suit. The ones he have are either too thick or too short. He buys nothing, but I find a buckle for the tank belt, and Morten a book about the creatures in the reef.
Stops by the other dive shop, but nothing here either. Home for lunch, and then down to Pink Beach, which once again amasses with great visibility and a abundance of life. I head for the deeper parts. Here, the columns of corals erect from a bright white sand seabed.
While Jesper and Amira still are in the shallow waters, Morten and I see a small group of dolphins, just 20-30 meters out. Could have been cool to meet them in the water, but we missed them with less than five minutes.
On our way north, we passes the first dive shop, and Jesper and Amira get two new, long three millimetre suits. Back to the apartments to drop off Jesper's video and huge light setting, then up to Witch's Hut. An other great dive finishes off the day: It is a deep reef, starting at six meters and heading straight down to the white sand seabed around 50 meters down. I cruses at 30-32 meters deeps; the maximum for Nitrox diving. Here I see some new fish and some amassing coral formations.
22. Heavy showers during the late night and most of the morning. Morten and I head for a wreck we didn't find on our first visit. We have more luck this time: a small towboat is laying on the side on 25 meters deeps. We experience some strong current, but the visibility is great. In the beginning of the decent to the wreck, we meet with a hogsbilled turtle, and after we see quite a lot, rather big moray eels.
Due to the strong current, we make it a short dive, and drive around to fill up with Nitrox, milk and petrol. The petrol is only two NAf a litre, close to one Euro, but the milk is 5,25 NAf ~ 2,30 Euro. Close to the upper site of Danish prices. Home with the car to Jesper and Amira, who wants to go to the internet store.
Then we all join up to take a dive at the airport's pier: Windsock Steep. Here we find large schools of fish around the pillars and a huge hogsbilled turtle. Suddenly, Morten disappears in a furiously cloud of yellow fins. Turns up, his camera have taken more water in than usual. The weather have not improved, and after a long, cold dive, I could have used some warming sun instead of the rain and wind we emerges to. I have had it for to day, and the others seems to agree. Morten tries to bring back his camera to life, but it might been the last we have heard from it.
Dinner at the Indonesian Restaurant, where Morten "by mistake" orders their huge Rice Taffle, with eight different courses. Home to clean seeds and "shave" Opuntias. Hell of a work, but they feel more comfy in the luggage after the "trimming". I would have preferred seeds, but it is the wrong time of year. On the other hand; I get some great shoots of the Opuntia wentiana flowers.
23. After a cold, cloudy yesterday, this turns out to be an other great day in Diver's Paradise. We start at the northern Jeff Davi's Memorial. In the abundance of life, we spot a huge fireworm - or at least; something looking like it. It is a great dive, but we decide: Jesper and Amira are ready for the big treat: Southern part of Karpata.
A short drive up north brings us to my favourite site. There are almost no current, and it a fantastic visibility. We can see fold after fold of the 50 meters high reef, and take it into some of the canyons, which we can see all the way down to the bright, white seabed. The reef are steep, and filled with columns of several meters height. On our way back, we spot a turtle out in the free waters.
Back for lunch and down to the Nitrox central to fill up for the last two dives of to day. First is down south at Tori's Reef, just at the intake to the salt plant. Rather easy access leads to a wide sandy area, leading to a nice reef. Besides form the usual suspects, we see two octopuses. One large in complete open, another smaller in a branched coral. It imitates the coulors perfectly, and when it swims to a rock-like coral, the colour changes to an other perfect match.
Straight on to the last dive; it is almost six o'clock. Bit cold without the sun, when we changes to get in, and real cold in the water, although it still maintain 26C. After half an hour, I am so ready to get up, and home to my fleece jacket.
After supper, we look at Morten's photos. Especially the ones where Amira have attached her to Jesper with the C-Mass robe. Some of the photos reminds me of a very unwilling dog, dragging it's master around. Morten and I discuss, where ever I have to pay for them, or get paid to public them on my internet site.
Having a cosy chat, it getting late, and only at 2 pm, the silence hits the place.
24. Rather early up anyway, and out to Aquarius on the southern shore. Here are large schools of smaller fish and some real nice corals. After the dive, we spend some time, picking around in the huge mass of dead corals and other remains from the reef, left at this particular stretch of the island. Then we go north, to the second best place: Witch's Hut. An other great dive, but we finish with the beat of all: Karpata. Great formations, great sight (60 meters) and a great dive in general.
I chose to quit the diving while it is good, and drop the others off, before a drive into Yellow Sub to square my bill. Unfortunately, the manager isn't in, and I still would like my 10% discount, which only he can grand. I have spend 31,5 hours under water on this vacation, divided over 42 dives. My bill ads up to 248 US$ ~ 165 for Nitrox and 190 US$ ~125 for the octopus and fins. Additionally, I have spend 188 US$ ~125 on BCD, shoos and suit. Total on diving 42 dives: 625 US$ ~ 415 . 15 $ a dive: A bit more expensive than last year's 10$ a dive, but now I got my own gear, and I haven't paid extra for it, compared to renting it, this year.
25. After breakfast, I drive the others out to Witch's Hut, to dive. I head inland to botanises. I don't find the plants I want to bring seeds home of, but I do find some seeds. It is rather tough terrain, especially due to the Acacias! There are not many cacti on this side of the island, but I do find Melocactus and the two more common Cereus'. The third Cereus is real scars, and I have only located a few groups on the eastern side.
After one and a half hour, I drive the divers up to Karpata, and start my expedition inland. A few more seeds are picked, a few more photos, but not the most exciting stuff. For that, I have to go up to the National Park, which is a whole day tour. When the others submerges, we drive home for lunch, and then into Yellow Sub to pay our bills.
Then down to the airport's pier. No plants for me to look at, and I can't pay the car before I returns it. After they finally emerges, we drive home to start packing, then down town for a nice dinner. Back to sort out photos and do some more packing.
26. Kicked out before 12.00. Last packing, and then out along the eastern shore. Here, we find the real Cereus cacti country, flat dessert like areas, Indian cave paintings, plains of Melocactus, and we end at the entrance to the park. I still have a few plants I would love to bring back seeds from, but I don't seem to be able to find them.
Back to town to do some last shopping, and find a snack. We ends up at the first restaurant we started at, and I re-discover I meal I saw last year: Mucho Macho Nacho. The name is well chosen! It is big, comprehensive and indeed nourishing! Still some time to kill, and we drive down to the nice beach by the airport.
When we hand in the car, the bill is 890 US$. Our contract said 820$, but they always seems to find some 5% tax and 5% credit card charge -even though we pay with Visa, which isn't a credit card! I ask, if they have forgotten the discount we should have for the tiny car, we had the first day. She re-calculates, and ends up with 743 US$. Don't say it doesn't help to ask!
We leave a bit delayed in the evening, and do a short stop at Aruba. Good nights sleep, and we change plain in Amsterdam. Morten have arranged pick-up service in the airport, and his mother drives me home to some rather dried, but living plants and a hell of e-mails!
Nice tour that should be repeated much more often!
6350 kr =