An hour of Zen with Ned & Anna Deloach
Naturalists and authors of the Reef ID, Fish ID & Fish Behavior books.
We arrived at Sorobon beach – a wind surfing haven on Bonaire – and bypassed the restaurants bars and beach – to find ourselves at the entrance of Lac Bai – an expansive bay surrounded by mangroves.
As everyone suited up in full length wetsuits, booties & hoods for what seemed to me like some hard core snorkeling , the mood was quite academic. The Buddy Dive Resort guests around me were making guesses at what they might see here – from Bucktooth parrotfish to dusky blennies – that is until Ned and Anna Deloach took center stage for the briefing.
When divers think of snorkeling most likely it's in the context of that last “topside” day where breathing compressed air is a no-no as you will be jetting up to around 30,000 ft. above sea level the next day. The Deloachs’ Mangrove Snorkeling Trip on Bonaire is the exception.
What I thought would be like a classroom session turned into an exciting peek into the Deloaches world – a place where barracudas wearing their signature juvenile “army fatigue” munch on silversides, jellyfish have evolved into other worldly upside-down algae farmers and tiny flat worms swim about like flying flamenco dancers. A stark reminder though of just how important our mangroves are was Anna's mention of the Tsunami in Asia – had their mangroves not been all harvested for fire wood the tsunami would not have had the devastating effect it did – mangroves are storm protectors as well.
Wading into the water we waited for the Deloaches to take the lead – they never did – and I soon discovered that this was our exploration. Steadying myself ever so gently with the red mangrove roots I entered the shade of their leaves and my eyes adjusted to see the world within – a virtual nursery of our reefs on Bonaire. Everyone found something – from a gold spotted eel to a “nest” of baby Caribbean lobsters (12!) we all guided each other – with Ned and Anna knowing just when to fin over and provide insights into what we were seeing. As Ned gently pulled up one of the odd upside down jellyfish and set him loose, positioned perfectly for my camera – pulsating in a colorful dance before my eyes I found my moment of Zen.
Here among the mangroves we can paddle over on our SUP or breeze by on a wind surf board but the true beauty is in the inter connectedness of this special place. These juveniles of hundreds of species born on the reef have a sense way beyond us – they know exactly where there food source is and they all come right here.
I have lived on Bonaire for almost a year, but I felt like I was seeing our mangroves for the first time. The Deloaches talk about the fish and other marine life just like they were members of their own family - with descriptions that include phrases like "adorable", "bobbing around" and "just as cute as they as they can be" a snorkel in the mangroves was transformed into a visit into the nursery wing of the hospital listening to Ned & Anna talk about their own beloved grandkids. I can clearly see why guests come year after year to spend a week with the Deloaches – to find their dive Zen.
Some more things you night not know!
- On Bonaire we have some of the best mangrove visibility in the world – so you don't miss a thing in this busy microcosm.
- Mangroves & grass beds are dependent on each other and many species will only settle here – such as the Goliath Grouper.
- “Mangrove” is actually a term meaning salt tolerant plants and there are many types – in Lac lagoon we have the Red and Black.
- Those bubble formations you see lying on the bottom are the largest single celled plant in the world aka Sea Pearls.
- Our mangroves are “Island builders”. Slender “pencils” float vertically until they imbed into the sand and expand out forming mangrove “islands”.
- Healthy mangrove=healthy reef!
Every year at Buddy Dive from mid-August to the end of September Ned & Anna Deloach host Reef Id & Marine Life Education weeks at Buddy dive.
Upcoming Special, Book now!!!!
MADNESS returns to BONAIRE!
Join us the first three weeks of December as BONAIRE GOES MAD – with fun-filled weeks of parties, giveaways, treasure hunts, free demos & special guests.
; Second diver dives for free, free upgrade to 8 boat dives (if on 6 boat dive package), reduced price on photo classes, free t ‘shirt and a free discover scuba for non divers.
Insane group deals
; On top of the incentives a group gets 8=7 and the group leader a free copy of Bonaire shore diving made easy. Valid for travel between: November 29th – December 20th 2014.