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Great week scuba diving on Bonaire - part 1

It was great spending a week with best friends on this island of 20,000 people; Bonaire is the easternmost of the ABC islands (Aruba is westernmost with Curacao in the middle)

It was great spending a week with best friends on this island of 20,000 people; Bonaire is the easternmost of the ABC islands (Aruba is westernmost with Curacao in the middle)

Scorpionfish have a type of sting in the form of sharp spines coated with venomous mucus; most species are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish

Scorpionfish have a type of sting in the form of sharp spines coated with venomous mucus; most species are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish

Goto Lake; Bonaire is home to one of only four nesting grounds for the Caribbean flamingo

Goto Lake; Bonaire is home to one of only four nesting grounds for the Caribbean flamingo

Bonaire is home to the ecologically vulnerable yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot; it exists only on Bonaire and in northern Venezuela

Bonaire is home to the ecologically vulnerable yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot; it exists only on Bonaire and in northern Venezuela

Green moray eel; there is no public transit on the island so getting a rental car is essential

Green moray eel; there is no public transit on the island so getting a rental car is essential

Celebrating birthdays of Gary and Chuck; Mike and Gary generously (again!) housed me during my short stay in Houston

Celebrating birthdays of Gary and Chuck; Mike and Gary generously (again!) housed me during my short stay in Houston

Pipe coral on mast of Hilma Hooker; the ship, built in 1951, sunk near the Dominican Republic in 1975 but was raised before being intentionally sunk here in 1984

Pipe coral on mast of Hilma Hooker; the ship, built in 1951, sunk near the Dominican Republic in 1975 but was raised before being intentionally sunk here in 1984

Donkey and me; in the 16th century, Europeans introduced sheep, goats, pigs, horses and donkeys on Bonaire, and the descendants of the donkeys, goats and pigs roam the island today

Donkey and me; in the 16th century, Europeans introduced sheep, goats, pigs, horses and donkeys on Bonaire, and the descendants of the donkeys, goats and pigs roam the island today

Our rental house was Spartan but it's redeeming feature was an outdoor patio on the water with an amazing view where we could watch the cruise ships which docked right in the center of the photo

Our rental house was Spartan but it's redeeming feature was an outdoor patio on the water with an amazing view where we could watch the cruise ships which docked right in the center of the photo

Cool rum in bottle designed like a scuba tank; bizarrely, the rum was made in France

Cool rum in bottle designed like a scuba tank; bizarrely, the rum was made in France

Bonaire is a special municipality within the Netherlands; 80% o Bonaire's population are Dutch nationals and nearly 60% o its residents were born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba

Bonaire is a special municipality within the Netherlands; 80% of Bonaire's population are Dutch nationals and nearly 60% of its residents were born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba

One of four green sea turtles we saw snorkeling from La Dania's Leap to Karpata; Bonaire lies only about 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela and lies outside Hurricane Alley

One of four green sea turtles we saw snorkeling from La Dania's Leap to Karpata; Bonaire lies only about 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela and lies outside Hurricane Alley

Chain moray eel; Bonaire is essentially a coral reef that has been geologically pushed up and out of the sea

Chain moray eel; Bonaire is essentially a coral reef that has been geologically pushed up and out of the sea

Spot winged comb jellyfish which I had never seen before; fortunately we only saw them at the Karpata dive site and we had no trouble avoiding them

Spot winged comb jellyfish which I had never seen before; fortunately we only saw them at the Karpata dive site and we had no trouble avoiding them

Most everyone diving wore a light wetsuit but I never did and never felt cold; the water temperature varies between 78 and 84 degrees

Most everyone diving wore a light wetsuit but I never did and never felt cold; the water temperature varies between 78 and 84 degrees

Octopus at Karpata dive site; Dutch is the official language of the island but is the main language of only 8.8% o the population

Octopus at Karpata dive site; Dutch is the official language of the island but is the main language of only 8.8% of the population

Less than 5% o the animal kingdom mate for life; included in this group are French angelfish, puffins, clownfish, and seahorses

Less than 5% of the animal kingdom mate for life; included in this group are French angelfish, puffins, clownfish, and seahorses

Elkhorn coral branches create habitats for many other reef species, such as lobsters, parrotfish, snapper, shrimps and other reef fish; this prominent Caribbean reef-building coral is still struggling to recover from white band disease

Elkhorn coral branches create habitats for many other reef species, such as lobsters, parrotfish, snapper, shrimps and other reef fish; this prominent Caribbean reef-building coral is still struggling to recover from white band disease

Karpata was my favorite dive and snorkel location; the area was covered with large, pristine corals and sponges and packed with a great variety of fish (turtles too!)

Karpata was my favorite dive and snorkel location; the area was covered with large, pristine corals and sponges and packed with a great variety of fish (turtles too!)

The green moray eel is a western Atlantic species found from New Jersey south to Brazil; green morays are sedentary predators with strong teeth and rather than hunting for food, they wait until food comes to them

The green moray eel is a western Atlantic species found from New Jersey south to Brazil; green morays are sedentary predators with strong teeth and rather than hunting for food, they wait until food comes to them

The orange elephant ear sponge is a filter feeder with flesh that is tough, firm and resilient; the thick surface skin is rough to the touch (so don't touch them!)

The orange elephant ear sponge is a filter feeder with flesh that is tough, firm and resilient; the thick surface skin is rough to the touch (so don't touch them!)

Lee and I saw a huge lionfish during our Karpata dive but he was under a ledge where I couldn't get a photo; this was another one seen on our dive

Lee and I saw a huge lionfish during our Karpata dive but he was under a ledge where I couldn't get a photo; this was another one seen on our dive

It is illegal to harvest parrotfish (this one was huge!) on Bonaire;  without constant grazing from herbivores like parrotfish, algae would grow tall and thick smothering coral so the parrotfish is very important for a healthy reef

It is illegal to harvest parrotfish (this one was huge!) on Bonaire; without constant grazing from herbivores like parrotfish, algae would grow tall and thick smothering coral so the parrotfish is very important for a healthy reef

I think this is a large column of fish eggs; it was such an unusual sight I'd love to hear from better informed individuals

I think this is a large column of fish eggs; it was such an unusual sight I'd love to hear from better informed individuals

Flounder (look for the eyes) perfectly blending into the sea floor; it's the only fish I've seen that doesn't swim vertically

Flounder (look for the eyes) perfectly blending into the sea floor; it's the only fish I've seen that doesn't swim vertically

Porcupinefish; my underwater camera died early in the week but fortunately there's a good camera store on the island where I found a replacement

Porcupinefish; my underwater camera died early in the week but fortunately there's a good camera store on the island where I found a replacement

Barrel sponge; I have a hard time distinguishing between corals and sponges since to me they seem structurally similar

Barrel sponge; I have a hard time distinguishing between corals and sponges since to me they seem structurally similar

Salt Pier; open only when no ship is present, this dive site is one of the most popular on the island

Salt Pier; open only when no ship is present, this dive site is one of the most popular on the island

Each head of brain coral is formed by a colony of genetically identical polyps which secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate; there are more than 80 marked dive sites on the island

Each head of brain coral is formed by a colony of genetically identical polyps which secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate; there are more than 80 marked dive sites on the island

This lavender stove-pipe sponge has a unique L shape; these sponges take hundreds of years to grow and never stop growing until they die

This lavender stove-pipe sponge has a unique L shape; these sponges take hundreds of years to grow and never stop growing until they die

Feather duster worm; United flies non-stop from Houston to Bonaire once a week on Saturdays and returns on Sundays

Feather duster worm; United flies non-stop from Houston to Bonaire once a week on Saturdays and returns on Sundays

Sand diver lizard fish is a lie-in-wait predator fish; the species is able to alter its color, becoming paler or darker to blend with the background

Sand diver lizard fish is a lie-in-wait predator fish; the species is able to alter its color, becoming paler or darker to blend with the background

Rock beauty; the roads on Bonaire are in pretty poor condition with nary a stoplight on the entire island

Rock beauty; the roads on Bonaire are in pretty poor condition with nary a stoplight on the entire island

Trumpetfish in blue phase; Bonaire is consistently rated as the number one shore diving destination in the world

Trumpetfish in blue phase; Bonaire is consistently rated as the number one shore diving destination in the world

Branching vase sponges feed on plankton and detritus; the sponge has very elastic tubes that vary in length and can stand singly or with other tubes

Branching vase sponges feed on plankton and detritus; the sponge has very elastic tubes that vary in length and can stand singly or with other tubes

Bonaire's Marine Park offers a total of 86 named dive sites and is home to over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 recorded fish species

Bonaire's Marine Park offers a total of 86 named dive sites and is home to over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 recorded fish species

Yellowhead wrasse; in the late 1600s, slaves were brought to Bonaire and worked tending crops and in the salt pans

Yellowhead wrasse; in the late 1600s, slaves were brought to Bonaire and worked tending crops and in the salt pans

Flower Coral; during the day the polyps appear fleshy, but at the night they expand further and each is fringed by a rim of short tentacles

Flower Coral; during the day the polyps appear fleshy, but at the night they expand further and each is fringed by a rim of short tentacles

Blue tangs and surgeonfish; Bonaire has taken a very proactive approach to protecting its reefs and we saw virtually no trash in the water

Blue tangs and surgeonfish; Bonaire has taken a very proactive approach to protecting its reefs and we saw virtually no trash in the water

Endangered Kemps-Ridley turtle; these are smaller than the green sea turtles also present in Bonaire waters

Endangered Kemps-Ridley turtle; these are smaller than the green sea turtles also present in Bonaire waters

In 1499, (possibly September 6th) Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci arrived in Bonaire and claimed it for the Spaniards

In 1499, (possibly September 6th) Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci arrived in Bonaire and claimed it for the Spaniards

Green iguana; this species typically grows to 5 feet long, can swim and can survive falls of 50 feet landing unhurt

Green iguana; this species typically grows to 5 feet long, can swim and can survive falls of 50 feet landing unhurt

Foureye butterflyfish; a black vertical bar on the head runs through the true eye, making it hard to see

Foureye butterflyfish; a black vertical bar on the head runs through the true eye, making it hard to see

Yellowtail damselfish; when juvenile it has brilliant (metallic) blue spots on a dark blue background and is normally found among branches of yellow stinging coral

Yellowtail damselfish; when juvenile it has brilliant (metallic) blue spots on a dark blue background and is normally found among branches of yellow stinging coral

Whitespotted filefish; these fish can rapidly change appearance to a high contrast color pattern with a much darker background and many light colored spots

Whitespotted filefish; these fish can rapidly change appearance to a high contrast color pattern with a much darker background and many light colored spots

West Indian sea egg; the most widely spoken language is the creole language of Papiamento, which is the primary language of 74.7% o the populace

West Indian sea egg; the most widely spoken language is the creole language of Papiamento, which is the primary language of 74.7% of the populace

Photogenic Courtyard by Marriott is part of a new development by the airport built along man-made canals; the marsh in the foreground is home to flamingos

Photogenic Courtyard by Marriott is part of a new development by the airport built along man-made canals; the marsh in the foreground is home to flamingos

Vertical trumpetfish; this species is highly carnivorous fish and they stalk their dinner by hovering almost motionlessly a few inches above the substrate, inching their way towards unsuspecting prey

Vertical trumpetfish; this species is highly carnivorous fish and they stalk their dinner by hovering almost motionlessly a few inches above the substrate, inching their way towards unsuspecting prey

School of yellowtail snapper; yellowtail snapper is highly prized for its light, flaky meat and is considered by some to be one of the best of the snapper family

School of yellowtail snapper; yellowtail snapper is highly prized for its light, flaky meat and is considered by some to be one of the best of the snapper family

Black and white crinoid (also called sea lilies); these animals are characterized by a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded by feeding arms

Black and white crinoid (also called sea lilies); these animals are characterized by a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded by feeding arms

Stoplight parrotfish; like most of its relatives, it is able to change sex; these fish are typically 12-18 inches long

Stoplight parrotfish; like most of its relatives, it is able to change sex; these fish are typically 12-18 inches long

The guys enjoyed lunch at this food truck where Mike and Gary tried a lionfish wrap as environmentalists try to develop a demand so the predatory fish will get harvested

The guys enjoyed lunch at this food truck where Mike and Gary tried a lionfish wrap as environmentalists try to develop a demand so the predatory fish will get harvested

Tube sponges are animals although they lack organs and true tissues; the shapes of their bodies are adapted for maximal efficiency of water flow through the central cavity, where it deposits nutrients

Tube sponges are animals although they lack organs and true tissues; the shapes of their bodies are adapted for maximal efficiency of water flow through the central cavity, where it deposits nutrients

Blue chromis; this damselfish species makes up the most intensely collected fish group, representing almost half of the aquarium trade

Blue chromis; this damselfish species makes up the most intensely collected fish group, representing almost half of the aquarium trade

Posted by VagabondCowboy 19:15

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