The past couple of weeks have been very interesting on our wee island of Bonaire. Although the infamous Steven came and spent the last week with us, it is worth mentioning that before he arrived we had a very intimate encounter with a personable turtle.

We’ve seen a number of turtles (a small island just off the coast called Klein Bonaire is a dedicated breeding ground) but we had yet to se one surface for a breath. It seemed like a chance to capture a unique perspective so we were thrilled when it finally happened. As it so often occurs, this guy caught us completely off guard. As soon as we descended at a site called Angel City, we saw him flying towards the surface. We followed him upwards but after only a few gulps of air, he looked down at us and dove directly towards the camera. It took us both by surprise as he came within inches of the lens and then casually made his way to the bottom of the feed. He was completely relaxed the entire 30 minutes that we were with him. He glanced at us from time to time while he munched away as if to say, “You’re not eating?”.

As mentioned previously, my friend is (was) terrified of the ocean. It is beyond commendable for Steve (who is frequently called by the names Tron, Dirty, and Buttercup) to pay good money to visit a place where he will HAVE to face his fear. We wanted to make his experience as stress-free as possible but unfortunately could not control the weather.

The water on the west coast of Bonaire is unbelievably calm. On a normal day, the tiny waves lap up on the shore and hardly cause any disturbance. For Tron, however, the ocean apparently wanted to test his resolve. Our first dive met us with the biggest waves we’ve seen in our time on Bonaire. I’m a tall guy (6’5″) and they were legitimately over my head. After a tough entrance, we descended into a sand storm. The visibility at most sites is usually that of an aquarium. No kidding. On Tron’s first dive, I could hardly see my hands right in front of my goggles. The current was strong, the visibility awful, yet he persevered. I was beyond impressed. Well done, Tron. Well done.

By the end of the week, the conditions had improved significantly and Tron is now on his way to becoming a master. It was a real joy to see my friend realize that the ocean is an open door to marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. I could see it in his eyes. He now understands what drew us to the ocean in the first place and why we will return to it often after leave.

Perhaps the most important moment of his time here came during our night dive. For someone that is a bit cautious of the ocean to begin with, diving in the dark is a wild step of faith. But after the initial plunge, the only real reaction is wonder. To me, this is most evident in the phosphorescent creatures that flood the dark waters. At some point during our dive, we turned all of our flash lights off and with every movement the ocean came alive with tiny, glowing stars. It is the closest I will ever come to floating ins pace. It is spiritual in the most hauntingly beautiful way and it left all of us wishing that dive would not end. How fantastic that I would share experiences such as these with my best friend and wife. I am blessed.
While he was here, it was important for us to teach Tron a bit about island life. We taught him the importance of a good thumbs up:

We taught him the importance of taking time to relax. Island life is tough:

We gave him a taste of fine Bonaire cuisine:

And showed him how to climb a palm tree:

We taught Tron to give island cars love even when they don’t start and leave you stranded at home when you need to get to the airport and then have to end up walking several miles because it’s too early to call a mechanic or taxi:

We tried to show him how to take a successful beach photo:

…but didn’t quite succeed.

Overall, his visit was great. We laughed a lot and shared some fantastic experiences. I think Tron even had a moment of zen…

I was especially sad to see him go.

We do have some sad news: only a few more installments until Kristen and I leave Bonaire! This is our last week on our island paradise and we plan to post several times over the next couple of days. Tune back in soon!

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