Megan and Tal Blog Bonaire: Day 5: Megan is scared of tarpon and doesn’t like it.

In the morning, we honestly laid around. We worked a bit (on science—Tal answered textbook questions, and Megan read papers on dolphin cognition), and then Tal made the two of us lunch: grilled cheese for Megan and pasta for herself. It’s nice to have a chef.

Our three elders decided to forgo a dive for the day; Wendy had editing work to do, and Grandma and Grandpa came to Bruce’s and went for a long swim. Tal and Megan went for a boat dive by ourselves (rather, with Dive Master Awesome Bitch Linda and several other divers including Schrodinger Dave and his wife, Cindy, or something). We ended up boating over to Klein Bonaire, which means Little Bonaire—Bonaire is an island in roughly the shape of a comma or boomerang, and Klein Bonaire is a much littler island the shape of a period or ball that sits in the crook of the bigger island. It has beautiful reefs because it’s harder to get to Klein, which means that the coral is less spoiled (coral is very fragile, and the more contact it has with humans in general the less pristine it is). The reef was, as we expected, extraordinarily beautiful and full of fish, though we didn’t really see anything unusual or shocking. It was still wonderful, and interesting to dive just the two of us, though Linda was watching out for us. We did see two of the evil lionfish lurking under a coral head, and Linda did not kill them because she doesn’t have a spear like Ralf. They really are freakishly beautiful despite their devilry. We had hoped to find a frogfish, which is a type of fish that almost never moves in its whole life. It looks like a blob, and settles down in one place where it may be mistaken for a coral blob, and fishes with an angler thing on its head. Because they are so immobile, we can know where one is for months at a time, and some divers knew that there was a frogfish at Keepsake. When we got to the spot, however, there were some tires that seemed to be marking the place. This sent Linda into a furious rage. We never found the frogfish. Picture yourself as a three-inch-long immobile creature. You pick the perfect spot to spend your entire life. Then, some huge human comes along and drops a huge rubber thing next to your perfect spot. The light changes, the current probably changes, if they’re really, really dumb, maybe they even dropped the tire on you—we don’t know. But of course, you up and leave. When we got back onto the boat, Linda was irate. We don’t blame her. Human beings are idiots. Sometimes.

We dismembered our gear as usual, and hopped right back off the boat into the water with snorkel gear to harass divers (Cindy saw us doing this, and remarked, “They’re fish, aren’t they?” We were both proud of ourselves. We like achieving fish status). Divers having been roundly harassed, we popped back onto the boat and back to Bruce’s, where we rinsed off our dismembered gear, and jumped back in the water, again. Grandma found us a coconut several days ago (she’s awesome that way), and so we finally decided to throw ourselves on a local man’s mercy, because he owns a machete. His name is Rishi, and he’s worked for Bruce for as long as we can remember, certainly. He always seems very shy, but we found out today that he’s also very cheerful and silly; when we asked him to open the coconut for us, please, he said, “Sure. How shall I do it? With my hand? With my head? With my friend Edward’s head? With magic?” We said, “A knife would do fine, thanks. Can we watch?” He said, “No, go away.” We said, “Fine,” and skipped off. He emerged from the dive shop about a minute later with the shucked coconut—we were both surprised. Soon after, we headed home, and immediately fished a corkscrew out of a drawer and pierced our coconut. We got a good cupful of cloudy, tasty coconut water. Grandma told Tal insistently that cracking open the nut would be nigh on impossible. Tal was skeptical and slightly aggravated to be so doubted, so she took the coconut to the patio, held it above her head, and hurled it to the ground exactly once. The coconut split cleanly in half. Lesson of the day: never doubt Tal’s brute force. We had what may be the greatest snack on Earth (in Megan’s opinion): fresh coconut meat, a beer (for Megan), swiss cheese, and saltines. In front of the ocean, with good books. We win!

We hung around for a few hours (reading, relaxing, napping, eating coconut very slowly), and eventually had dinner, which was a mishmosh of everything: asparagus frittata, ridiculous vegetable soup, and bread. And margarine (halfvarine to the Dutch).

Soon after dinner, Wendy, Megan, and Tal vowed that tonight they would swim with the tarpon that show up by the dock every night to fish in the porch lights. They showed up, on schedule, at about 9:00, and Megan was instantly terrified. We all suited up and descended the stairs to the ocean, keeping our eyes on the giant fish, whose eyes were gleaming red in the light. We pushed off the ladder into the water. It was very murky, dark, and cold, and at first we saw nothing—but then Megan saw a giant shape emerging from the murky water, and screamed her head off despite herself, which scared the tarpon away for a moment. Wendy said, “Where the hell is it?” and then shouted, “Oh my god, it’s right here!” This undid Megan completely, who scampered for the steps and out of the water; she vows to tackle her phobia again tomorrow night. Tal is irritated because she didn’t even see the fish, and since she and Megan have a standing bet on the tarpons’ size (Megan thinks it’s bigger than Tal; Tal says no way), it’s important that she catch a glimpse of it sometime. Tomorrow night, then. It’s gonna be great.

A bunch of tarpon. Megan thinks they are incredibly beautiful and runs like hell when she meets them in dark corners.

Megan was feeling a little shaken after so much screaming, but Tal made us all an incredible dessert: a milkshake with chocolate, peanut butter, hazelnut spread, more chocolate pieces, coconut milk, and shredded coconut. It was divine. Now we are here, blogging. And now we are done. Bye for now!

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