16 days. 16 days until Kristen and I pack up our lives by the sea and return home to Texas. With the end of our trip in sight, I am finding myself mindlessly gazing out upon the waves a little more often. The warm sand between my toes, the salty breeze that leaves my skin chalky, the rhythmic sound of my breathing while underwater- these things have become part of me that I do not want to forget. Both our lives have been changed by our time here in Bonaire. This has been a season for reflection and growth and amazement in God’s creation. I will not forget it. I can’t.

We’ve recently made a new pal. Kristen and I are pet starved. There are tons of dogs roaming the neighborhood, but they are much too busy to be concerned with us. James the Butler, however, is not…

James is our apartment manager’s new cat. He is a lovely creature that is constantly begging for a good pet. He is the king of the garden and loves to prance about and hide in the bushes. He does have a bit of competition…

… but iguanas are not very fun to pet.

We’ve spent a good deal of time exploring the island lately. We’ll do our best to show off a bit of Bonaire in the next couple of posts. The southernmost tip of the island has been a favorite destination.

And Kristen has found the east coast to be a great place to hunt for shells. She has found so many “keepers” already that we may be buying another suitcase for the trip home. What can I say? We promised our god-daughter shells and we plan to deliver!

Though we’ve ben making a point to get out and see more of Bonaire, our favorite activity lies, of course, in the water. We’ve just about been to every dive site on the island at this point, but we definitely have our favorites. We’ve been to “Invisibles” 11 times!

I know I’ve said it many times throughout our blog, but the diving here is amazing. You won’t find many of the bigger animals such as whales, dolphins, or sharks, but you will find wonderfully healthy reefs FULL of tiny creatures. The variety is truly magnificent.

Finding shrimp (like the spotted cleaner above) as become a favorite goal of ours. They hide among different types of anemones and wait for fish to come for a “cleaning”. Some fish will lay prone on the sane while these tiny shrimp come and clean them. I’ve grown fond of getting my nails polished up…

The pederson cleaner shrimps are generally pretty bold

The yellow arrow crab is another one of of our favorites. They are equally as bold as the cleaner shrimp- in fact, I’m pretty sure they’ve attempted to bully my fingers on several occasions.

Nimble spray crabs are often found under urchins- built in protection!

Sponge brittle stars are usually found in tight spaces…

Christmas tree worms pepper the reefs and will quickly retreat if they smell something unpleasant… Kristen has to take all of their pictures because they won’t let me get close… sigh…

Clams are also extremely picky about anyone coming near…

The yellowhead jawfish is hilarious to watch. They keep close to their homes and will retreat to watch with a furrowed brow if approached.

The spin-headed blenny has a similar habit but looks holistically more terrified. It’s my goal to capture one of these guys feeding…

The lettuce sea slug is amazingly vibrant and found roaming all sorts of corals. They are a variety of colors and are really stunning to see up close.

There are a seemingly unlimited number of tiny fish scurrying about the reef that could easily be missed due to their size.

The sharknose goby.

The peppermint goby.

The bridled goby.

The redlip goby.

The flamingo tongue nudibranch can easily be missed if within the right coral.

We could spend a lifetime just doing macro photography here in Bonaire. Every dive we see something that we’ve never seen before just because we never knew where to look. Amazing! Oh, the majesty of the ocean!

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