It's Hard to Complain in Paradise


Kristen and I have officially been here long enough to have created a routine and frankly, it's the best.

  • 7:15 AM: Wake up.
  • 7:23 AM: I stumble to the kitchen, make french press coffee and turn off the AC ($$$).
  • 7:45 AM: Kris makes pancakes and we eat breakfast while enjoying the morning breeze. 
  • 8:15 AM: We edit some photos, read a bit, and do a lesson with Rosetta Stone.
  • 10:00 AM: I start prepping our camera gear while Kris makes us a sack lunch of PB & honey.
  • 11:15 AM: We throw our gear in the truck and let her (aka Suki) warm up. She's a classic and needs a little time to feel awake enough to drive.
  • 11:18 AM: I stall Suki because I'm too impatient. 
  • 11:30 AM: We arrive at our first dive spot and do our thing.
  • 1:00 PM: We hop back in Suki to escape the sun and feast.
  • 2:00 PM: We drive to another dive spot and do our thing.
  • 3:45 PM: We arrive back home and immediately rinse off all our gear with fresh water.
  • 4:15 PM: We soak ourselves in fresh water in the pool.
  • 4:30 PM: We jump in Suki and go to a dive shop to get more air and to the grocery store(s) to get dinner.
  • 6:00 PM: Kris downloads photos.
  • 6:30 PM: We walk 1 minute to the ocean for a sunset swim.
  • 7:15 PM: Kris cooks dinner while I watch over her shoulder (she hates it so much).
  • 8:00 PM: I do the dishes.
  • 8:30 PM: We watch a movie / Seinfeld, read, play cards, all while enjoying the first cool (all a matter of perspective in the Caribbean) breeze since breakfast.
  • 10:15 PM: AC goes on, we snooze.

We have also been here long enough to understand that island life is so much slower than we're used to. For instance, let's say that you were interested in going to a grocery store to buy fresh milk, some apples, and vanilla extract. A random assortment, sure, but not far-fetched. In this example, you would be going to three separate stores. 




Our main grocery store. Has AC, lots of name-brand stuff, and fresh mile (like we were looking for, remember?). 

Plus it has some of Kristen's favorite things...






...Cap'n Crunch...






















Next, you would head across the street to this place. Awesome fruit selection but that's about it.







Lastly, you would head downtown for Cultimara, a grocery store that features hardly any Western brands that we are familiar with. Surprisingly, we were able to find vanilla extract there... But there you have it. The trio of a successful grocery outing.




Anyway, enough about food. Let's head to the ocean!

We bought ourselves a couple of tanks and made a deal with a nearby dive shop for cheap refills. They loved the idea of someone coming for months and diving multiple times every day. Because of this deal and the fact that we own all our own gear, we're diving for about $5 each time - which is absolute insanity. 







There's been a nice lull in the action of the Caribbean lately which has created fish bowl clarity. We have big strobes for our cameras but we've decided to just get comfortable with shooting since we can right now before we start lugging the lights along.







These little guys are called nudibranchs, a type of sea slug. They vary greatly in different parts of the ocean but I really like their pattern in Bonaire. 








The amount of life just in a shallow 20-25 ft of water is incredible.

Above is a trumpetfish. Their coloring varies greatly and they aren't really fans of having a camera thrust in their faces. 



Kristen's favorite fish so far. They are called trunkfish and they patrol the sand flats between reefs. The models of the fish world, they seem to be fairly vain and will pose in a variety of positions.




We've spotted turtles on many dives already, but this particular guy let us swim along for quite a distance. I should admit that while he was casually soaring across the sand, we were huffing and puffing...

Below is the Indo Pacific Lionfish - emphasis on the "Indo Pacific". It is NOT supposed to be in the waters surrounding Bonaire. In fact, all the dive shops here ask for divers to report lionfish sightings so that they can be hunted later and removed from the reefs. They were accidentally introduced and are a major threat to the ecosystem and are fairly venomous to divers. Beautiful either way... 





I'm sure I will be mocked for this later, but I have no idea what this is. Not a clue. It reminds me of the Michael Crichton novel, Sphere. For those familiar with that reference, I did not touch it or try to enter the metal ball...








With every dive we're learning new tricks and techniques. It is a serious blessing to wake up every morning knowing that the day will bring exciting new discoveries. 

God is good.

Why We're Here


Kristen dreams of whales often. She has for as long as she can remember.

So when we went scuba diving for the very first time five years ago, she looked at me calmly and very honestly proclaimed, "This is the best thing I've ever done." I don't know this for sure, but I'm guessing she said this because it got her step closer to being able to swim with whales. She has also been fascinated with photography since she was little. Yesterday, right when we had surfaced after our first dive with our underwater camera gear, she immediately spurted out, "That was the most fun I've ever had!" Again, I can't be certain but I have a feeling that it has something to do with making her dreams and passions collide. 


What has surprised me over the past couple of years is that our dreams and passions have become mashed together in a wildly fantastic vision of what our life can be together. Yesterday was the first step in what is sure to be a crazy ride.


After spending a ridiculous amount of time of pouring sweat in our little workshop, our camera systems were ready to be immersed in the ocean. We guessed. We took the minute walk from our apartment to the shore and did our first two dives with our new gear in crystal clear, Caribbean water. Seeing as we have no idea what we're doing, I'm sure you'll give us some grace...

In stark contrast to the beauty we were seeing under the surface, a fire broke out on the island and burned over the past couple of days. 200,000 barrels of oil caught fire at the Bonaire Petroleum Corporations refinery due to a lightning storm. The smoke pillar soared above the island and the huge flames could be seen from our window. 




Even with the fires of Mount Doom raging, Bonaire is still lovely. 

Life is good.



Bon Bini!


We made it to the ocean.

After years of Kristen and I pondering how we could put ourselves in a position to combine our passions for photography and scuba diving, we're finally here. 

It took 14 hours of travel for us to come from San Antonio, TX to Bonaire. We were so excited about getting to the island that we hardly noticed the outrageous baggage fees ($420!!!) and long, cramped flights. I should say that our last flight at least gave me a reprieve by putting me in the exit row.


One of the first things that greeted us as we exited the airport was a sign for a bike rally that had just started. What amazing timing... More on that later.


After a bit of trouble getting all our gear into our rental truck and then actually finding our rental, we unloaded our stuff and finally realized that this was really happening. Our place (Bonaire Fun) is simple but will be okay for our first week while we look for something a bit more permanent. 

Our first night was an eye opener. An island-wide blackout left us with no fan to circulate the stuffy air in the room/furnace, so we moved to the rooftop beds. Dogs barked. Cars honked. Roosters crowed. Welcome to the Caribbean. 

We hopped in our amazing rental truck (I seriously am in love for some reason) and went for a tour of the island. Remember that motorcycle rally? It turns out that there were hundreds of bikes that came specifically for this event. I love bikers. We are bikers. We own bikes. But Bonaire is small and waiting an hour for gas was not ideal...

Amidst the madness we came across a beach where we have spent the past couple of days swimming and snorkeling. It's a hard life but someone has to do it. We don't really need to get to work until next week anyway...

Before we end this post, this next story must be told. We were driving down the main drag past a couple of places that rent motorcycles, scooters and dune buggies when my eyes spotted something familiar. What are the odds?!

It pretty much looks like the guy has given up on this (I'm guessing) 20 year old Ural but I wish it was for rent. 

So that's it for now. We've been running around trying to find a long term rental and will definitely post as we go along. Can't wait to start diving!