Escape The Winter Trip 2020: Day 11

I was really looking forward to today since we had booked two boat dives for this morning through the dive shop at the resort. I really enjoy boat diving so I kind of couldn’t wait for this morning to come. We got up bright and early to be at the boat, ready for the 8am departure.

All smiles before 8am on vacation…must be boat dive day!
Our boat for the morning, Purple Rain.
Only 8 divers on the 12-person-capacity boat made for plenty of room on the boat.

Our first boat dive location was a dive site on Klein Bonaire named Hands Off. It’s Bonaire’s dive site M. From what we understand, Hands Off was originally designed to monitor the damage caused by divers on the reef. Now, the dive site offers boat divers a fascinating landscape, perfect for wide-angle, panorama views.

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp.
Juvenile Stoplight Parrotfish.
Juvenile Threespot Damselfish.
Giant Anemone.

Also, the Hands Off dive marked my 50th dive since starting to scuba dive, which was pretty unbelievable and pretty awesome. The green turtle we saw at the end of the dive must have known it was a celebration dive, as he offered us a few good photos to commemorate the event.

Green Turtle.
I was too cheap to pay the $25 to keep the 50 dives sign, but, I made sure to grab a quick, FREE photo with it to commemorate my progress!

Our second boat dive site was a site that we dove last year but willingly took another crack at this year – Small Wall – Bonaire’s dive site #25. Small Wall gave us gorgeous views of the small and beautiful reef wall.

Feather Duster Worm.
Bridled Goby.
Feather Duster Worm.
Spotted Moray Eel.
Sand Diver.
Bi-color Damselfish swimming above coral.
Goldentail Moray Eel.
Goldentail Moray Eel.
Spotted Scorpionfish.
Large Bearded Fireworm.
Bearded Fireworm.
Blenny peaking out from his coral home.
Flamingo Tongue.
Spotted Scorpionfish.

After lunch at the resort, we headed back into the water at the resort’s house reef, 18th Palm. Not surprisingly, Jon and Josh took their times, taking pictures of some easily-passed-over seacritters while I lazily followed, taking it all in.

Banded Butterflyfish.
Coney Grouper.
Pederson Cleaning Shrimp.
Christmas Tree Worms on coral.
Sharpnose Puffer.
Sharptail Eel.
Harlequin Bass.
Coney Grouper.
Long-Spined Sea Urchin.
Hermit Crab.
Can you spot the Spotted Scorpionfish?
Juvenile French Angelfish.

This evening’s night dive was a plan that the guys had been putting together for the past few days. The plan was to night dive at 1000 Steps. The guys would dive while the girls waited on the beach, with some surface marker lights to make sure that everyone that got in the water, found their way to shore in the darkness.

Josh’s commentary about the 1000 Steps night dive: “It was a very cool night dive and the preparation and planning paid off. We had to cut the dive a little short due to some unexpected current heading in the opposite direction than we had anticipated.” (The backup plan was that the girls on shore would be alert for an SMB popped to the surface with a strobe light in it. If the SMB and strobe light appeared, that was signal that we needed to get in the truck and drive north, to the next dive site, to collect the guys because the current would take them there to exit. When the guys discovered that the current was actually pushing them south instead of north, they wisely figured that the girls wouldn’t deviate from the established plan to drive north to pick them up, not south. Good call, guys, we would not have driven south, no matter which way the SMB and strobe light were heading.)

Hermit Crab.
Spiny Brittle Star.

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