I get really jealous when other people -- tourists, residents, neighbors, my own flesh and blood -- get to espy Bonairean creatures or phenomena that I myself have longed to see. It's not fair. I swim every day when we are on island. I dive regularly, patiently, slowly. I read religiously about the best times and places to both identify and see what I long to see. So why is it that others always get there first? Lucy with the mantas and seahorses in January. Pretty much every tourist on the island with the bait ball at Something Special back in late winter. Mike and Anner with the world's largest Loggerhead turtle off Klein Bonaire. Some random guy with a whale shark (a WHALE SHARK for pete's sake!) two weeks ago.
So what was my first reaction upon hearing that son Elias and his girlfriend Lucy (who are both interning with Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire this summer) got to swim with dolphins in the warm, clear ocean off the back of the villa? Let me just say it was not a warmhearted fuzzy feeling of happiness for them, followed by a long congratulatory speech.
No. It was, "Excuse me? WTF? We sat around there for four months this past winter, just waiting for such a scenario to present itself. And you two Johnnies Come Lately who aren't even staying there at the villa but are merely snorkeling interlopers swam with the damn dolphins??"
I wasn't even ashamed of myself for the base and selfish knee-jerk reaction to this news: The two of them were innocently sunning themselves on the pool deck of the villa (where, I may have already noted, we let them visit to swim and use the outside shower, BUT NOT LIVE) when they spied a pod of dolphins (Spinner or Bottlenose? We will never know. But we would know if that had been I who swam with the damn dolphins. Because did I mention that I read and identify religiously??) that was moving unusually slowly from north to south. Elias and Lucy quickly donned their snorkel gear and swam unobtrusively toward the pod, which soon surrounded them. It was a group of about 8-10 adults, along with a calf of about a half meter...no canned dolphin encounter, this. It was the organic real deal.
C'mon. No fair.
We woke up today to a 43-degree morning here in New England (that's 6.1 degrees celsius to all of you Bonairean friends). It has been a notably gray, cold spring since our arrival back home in March after our first long stay at Villa Salentein. It has been so gray and cold that the little desert rose we planted in a decorative pot (see photo, left) and placed out front of our New Hampshire porch to remind us of Bonaire has sprouted neither one leaf nor one flower in a month. We don't blame it.
Though we New Englanders are a hearty lot who are used to uncooperative and downright heartless weather (and who are not supposed to complain about it), Ben and I are estimating we have seen the sun for all of about seven days since we got home in mid-March. Today I sadly rifled through my pant drawer until I found the leggings with the warm fleece inner liner, jacked the car seat heater up to its highest setting, started a fire in the woodstove, and did a few jumping jacks to get some blood pumping in my otherwise reptilian body. This all naturally leads to wistful thoughts of Bonaire and Villa Salentein: sitting on the open-air patio sipping a sundowner at sunset (and yes, the sundowner sipping comes to mind first); taking a long swim-snorkel south toward Crown Ridge; warm evening walks around the neighborhood; diving (diving!!) whenever the spirit moves us; dinners at Mezze or Rum Runners; snuggling with the cats and dogs at the shelter; yoga on the patio.
Clearly, it is time to discover what Bonaire is like in the summer, since winter is persisting here at the bitter (cold) end of the New England spring.