After months of anticipation, counting down the days and focusing our sights on “just making it” until our Bonaire trip, the day was FINALLY here! When we left Central PA at nearly 1am en-route to Newark Liberty International Airport for our non-stop flight to Bonaire, it was a frigid 22°. We planned to get to the airport extra early to deal with parking, checking bags and security. The drive from the house to Newark was uneventful and we ended up arriving at the airport around 3am.
Checking our bags and getting through security at 3am was a pretty great idea, as the lines were short and the employees were pretty pleasant. Since we only took a 4 hour nap before heading to the airport, we were pretty tired from a long week at work and decided to grab some breakfast at a pretty fancy airport restaurant.
$35 later, we had eaten some sub-par eggs and undercooked bacon. We would ahve been perfectly satisfied with some fast food breakfast, but, after a stroll through the airport, there were no fast food joints to be had. This “fancy” airport restaurant reaffirmed the fact that we don’t get out nearly often enough as the wait staff had been replaced by 7″ tablets bolted to the tables. It would have been awesome to get some cheese on my scrambled eggs, ask for my bacon to be extra crispy, or at least ask for less-burned toast, but, ordering tablet didn’t offer these options, so we were out of luck. Food was brought to the table by humans, but, they quickly scurried away and that was the only time we had any interaction with a real, live person throughout our meal. After eating, we swiped our credit card on the holy ordering tablet, left an 18% tip (which I still can’t wrap my head around) and left. Man, times they are a’changin!
A few hours later, we boarded our plane and took off at 0907. In just a few short hours, we’d be stepping off the plane in a foreign country for a week of sunshine and diving. These are the face of some truly happy people!
After absorbing the +1 hour time change and a pretty bouncy flight, our plane landed in Bonaire at 1530 local time. We stepped off the plane, bundled in layers of Central PA winter clothes, and were greeted by 80° weather and beautiful, blazing sunshine and the cutest little pink airport I’ve ever seen! We picked up our rental truck and headed about 2 minutes down the road to our home-away-from-home for the week – the Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire. The staff were extremely friendly and we quickly checked in and headed to our room.
When we opened the door to the room, we were pretty amazed! The room was HUGE and offered plenty of room for scuba gear, clothes and the assortment of other crap we brought with us for the week. Our room was a “Junior Suite,” that came equipped with two queen-sized beds, air conditioning the was downright frosty and a walk-out terrace with a view of the marina. (Does it bother anyone else that the only two pictures hanging on the walls in our room were the exact same?!)
After getting settled, we headed to a meeting room at the resort for our local dive orientation and to get our STINAPA Nature tags that would permit us to make use of the Bonaire National Marine Park. For $25, we were authorized access to a total of 86 public dive sites, which are home to over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 recorded fish species. GAHHHH!
After all the formalities were checked off our list, we headed for a celebration cocktail and our first of many all-you-can-eat buffet meals. (The wahoo in creole sauce was to DIE for!)
After taking in our first Bonaire sunset, we headed back tot he room for some much needed rest. Sleep came easy on our first night in Bonaire and we couldn’t wait to see what the week would bring!