Meet Martijn, my Dutch (of course) scuba instructor in Bonaire. I headed back to class, this time for my Advanced Open Water certification, which involves five dives at the resort’s house reef. Lucky for me, Martijn also shared his expertise at spotting interesting underwater inhabitants, including a hawksbill turtle.

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After attaining my new certification, I was ready to venture beyond the house reef to some of Bonaire’s famous dive sites. Being carless and buddyless (Karen only snorkels), I was at the mercy of Captain Don’s boat schedule, which turned out to be unfortunate. One day, I signed up for the 2:00 pm trip, since its destination sounded better than the 11:00 am trip’s, only to find out that the 2:00 was cancelled. I was told this at 11:05, just as the boat full of happy divers was disappearing on the horizon.

At the beginning of our Bonaire week, I mentioned to the scheduler that I would love to dive the wreck of the Hilma Hooker. He nodded and waved me away, saying, “Yes, yes, I usually schedule that mid-week.” He scheduled it for Friday… the one day I couldn’t dive (you can’t dive 24 hours before flying, because your body needs to rid itself of excess nitrogen). No Hilma Hooker for me.

A boat's eye view of Captain Don's resort

A boat’s eye view of Captain Don’s resort

Never fear: despite these missteps, Karen and I got on that boat several times, including a couple dives/snorkels off the small island of Klein Bonaire, with its abundant coral.

Underwater camerman

Of course, I snapped a few photos.

I also did two night dives: one with a newfound buddy, George, and one using fluorescent light, which causes certain living things to glow eerily, completely changing the appearance of the undersea environment.

Night divers

Prepping for a night dive with George

At the risk of making my pix look amateurish by comparison, I encourage you to check out Bon Photo’s gallery of Bonaire images, to see how the pros see the seas. Hmm, I wonder how much an SLR and underwater housing go for on eBay…?