26th June 2022
Over eons man has developed 2 eyes. These 2 eyes have helped him by keeping one eye on the dangers that surrounded him and the other focussed on everything else. As the Caribbean hurricane season has been ‘heating up’ we’ve very much been keeping one eye on dangers and the other squarely on everything Bonaire can offer.
Off the coast of Africa, a high energy weather wave has been forming and although it was 2,500 miles away, we knew that its final destination could be somewhere near us. This wave could simply disappear or turn into a tropical cyclone, destroying everything in its path and reaping a level of destruction that we’d never experienced before. In everything we were to do, we’d be keeping an eagle eye on the weather.
With 4 eyes between us, Iain kept a careful watch while Fiona had both eyes squarely on our underwater safety. Setting up on “Blue Mist”, Ross deployed his expert eye and diving regulators were broken down into a myriad of tiny components, washed, lubricated, replaced, tested and put back together. Atter hours of fiddling, Iain was sure that something was wrong as after reassembly nothing was left over! No bits were left languishing in the cleaning fluid and none had bounced overboard, this is what usually happens when Iain explores the inner workings of critical components!
Wanting to test Fiona’s maintenance skills we once again took off in Brock to the aptly named dive site called ‘Cliff’. We plunged into the water and air magically flowed through into our mouths while all the water, which had been previously giving Fiona a form of Chinese water torture, remained resolutely outside*. We didn’t know what to expect from a dive site such as ‘Cliff’, but magically we happened upon a Cliff, who could have guessed that? The wall plunged into unknown depths and we were left to glide along it, nestling among the fishies and getting glimpses of huge creatures that were at home in the depths of the ocean.
As the days went on, we watched the track of the potential tropical storm which was becoming worryingly big and worryingly unpredictable. Only time would allow us to form a plan, but in waiting we were starting to feel helpless. In waiting we had to do something to steer our minds and eyes away from disaster and that distraction was exercise.
Leaving Fiona on Ruffian to her regular online cardio fitness class full of cruisers from all over the eastern Caribbean, Iain took to the roads and tested the Brompton. Fiona was getting her highs from jumping up and down, and Iain got his ascending the second highest peak on Bonaire. This proved that Ruffian is a difficult place to do cardio and hills are tough to conquer on a Brompton. After hours of sweat, Fiona was broken and Iain victorious (and broken), unfortunately the weather was still on our minds and now we just watched it with tired bodies.
Once again jumping into the water we dived at Bari reef and wondered if we’d find a Barry in the form of either Barry Manilow (Fiona’s hoping) or Barry Chuckle (Iain’s hoping). In the deep-water wrecks came and went, huge tarpon came and went, but the stars of the show were to be found in the shallow water basking in warm sunshine. Eagle eyed Ross nosed into some coral to investigate an unusual yellow blob and in an instant, he’d achieved a goal. After 1000’s of dives he’d finally found a Frog Fish.
The Frog Fish just sat on the coral completely oblivious to our intrusion and simply focussed on his weirdness. In place of his fins, he had feet and instead of swimming, he walked. Luckily for us he’d ditched his camouflage and had chosen to hide his neon yellow body on purple tube coral fringed with green brain corals. Clearly his weirdness was also extending to his predator evasion tactics.
In everything we did we had one eye on the weather and one eye on the activity. Over drinks and dinner to celebrate Iain’s Birthday**, the talk was of the weather, as we prepped to dive the talk was of the weather and as the cruisers radio net crackled every morning the main focus was on the weather. With such analysis we are very much now at a crossroads.
If the forecast is right and we stay in Bonaire then we might be lucky and be safe, but if it’s wrong we risk a ruined home; if the forecast is wrong and we head out to sea then we might be lucky and be safe, but if it’s wrong we risk a ruined home. The challenge is every forecast is different, every 4 hours we see a wildly different solution and everywhere we look there is both risk and reward.
* Our inkling that water was leaking through the pressure gauge around the system and into Fiona’s mouth proved to be right and diving gear preventative maintenance prevents suffocation
** Happy birthday to you; happy birthday to you; happy birthday dear Iain; happy birthday to you.
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