After a couple of false starts, we geared up and jumped off the back of the boat for a dive. The first thing we saw was a big ocean triggerfish, just hanging out and patrolling the shallow ledge. Silly floppy guy.
We headed out to the drop-off and turned south, away from the anchorage and towards the end of the island. Our immediate feeling was that it was bleak. Some coral, but not as much and not nearly as healthy as we’d grown used to in Bonaire’s world-renowned and well protected marine parks.
The healthiest coral cropped up in isolated patches, surrounded by sand and dead coral rubble.
Still, there was a good selection of critters. Here, a shrimp, a fire worm, and the omnipresent evil lionfish.
Or, living in this anemone, a spotted cleaning shrimp.
Anemones were really the stars of the show here. From the huge dangling arms on this giant anemone, to the tiny stubby ones on the sun anemones that were all over the shallows (this one host to another spotted cleaning shrimp), or the foamy spray-pearl look of the knobby anemone in the last picture.
There were also fish, of course. Like these two soapfish, whose silly faces are still some of Andrew’s favorites.
There were also a few of these yellow-orange guys, which we can’t seem to identify. Maybe some kind of hamlet, or a weird juvenile stage of something? Regardless we thought they were striking looking.
In the sand, we found this three-rowed sea cucumber and sharptail eel.
And here, a pair of spotfin butterflyfish, a scorpionfish, and a baby smooth trunkfish (“dice”).
And finally, we passed under Nautilife as Drew cleaned the boat, and he popped down to say hello.