Diving in Bonaire
Kralendijk Travel Blog› entry 5 of 9 › view all entries
Last night after getting back on board after Aruba we watched Pirates of the Caribbean while drinking campaigne in our cabin as the sunset over the ocean through our port window. We then had dinner with a nice couple from Puerto Rico and a family from North Carolina with solarium tans and ultra-white teeth. The couple from Puerto Rico told us that they visited Australia for the Sydney Olympics and thought that it was one of the coldest countries in the world. We also talked about whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st State of the US, or whether it should become independent. The couple actually wanted Puerto Rico to stay in the American Commonwealth, but for them to be independent in foreign affairs and trade, more similar to the position of Australia in the British Commonwealth than the status quo.
This morning we reached our port in Bonaire. Lydia had arranged to meet a naturalist, Dee Scarr, to take us scuba diving. The diving was simply fantastic. We dove off the beach in the harbour, swimming first over the sandy bottom then to the reef. The reef was in really good condition, because anchorage in Bonaire is banned, with all the ships using moorage. There were beautiful hard corals, such as the bright organe brain coral, and finger-like pale purple soft corals. We were surrounded by different species of tropical fish in every direction.
Over lunch we had the misfortune to have to share a table with the most obnoxious couple I have ever met. When asked if they had enjoyed Bonaire they curtly replied "we don't get off the ship", and proceeded to complain that at the end of this cruise they had to get off the ship and recheck in for the next cruise, even though they were staying on the same ship. Then unprovoked they started to talk about global warming and how environmentalists were a cult just like Marxism, and they were making it up because they wanted to keep their jobs as activists.
As a plus we just had an interesting talk about St Kitts. I thought it was odd that the cruise would organise a session talking about the history of the Caribbean, but it turned out that it was just a passanger giving the lecture. He was a great(x7) grandson of Sir Thomas Warner, the first European to colonise the West Indes. While the Spanish had been in the area for years they weren't interested in building colonies, so it was only after the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Amada broke their grip over the New World that colonists moved in. The first was Thomas Warner in 1624. He landed at Sandy Point on St Kitts and grew a crop of tabacco. He returned to England in 1625 and gained a letter of patent from Charles I as governor over the island. Back on St Kitts the colony was swelled by a French party. This alarmed the Caribs, who realised that the Europeans were growing in number. They attacked, but Warner was warned by his Carib mistress Barbie, so he ambushed and massacared the Caribs. He slaughtered the entire population, such that he had no workers left for his plantations, and so he started the slave trade from Africa. He was known to boil alive or tear apart with horses rebellious slaves. They seperated the slaves by skin colour - the darkest worked in the fields, while the lightest (the children of black women raped by their owners) were the house slaves. It is a horrible legacy that the Caribbean has to deal with.