My quest for the perfect Tourst

A presence that we shall not soon forget. The arrival of Lenny. A silent Tsunami that abraded our shores as a steel brush a chip of sun-baked paint. Bonaire endured the onslaught. When came the calm, no dock or jetty stood. Three diveshops simply disappeared as did restaurants, shops, and the livelihood for many. Our reefs seriously shattered.

Scuba diving is the heart of tourist, and tourism is the soul of our economy. Legion said our reefs have proven to be our treasure, our bay richer than a field of gold, our living reefs ensuring that we are no longer an island adrift.

Things change.

I have not forgotten an evening when, during one of my Tuesday night shows, I announced to the audience that I had been sober for over five years. Simply meaning I was on the wagon. It had only been a passing remark, but surprisingly, I was given a standing ovation--that was a year or more ago. I have never forgotten the thrill I knew as I realized others beside my immediate friends honestly gave a tinker's damn that I had given up drinking, because the plague of the hospitality industry was killing me.

Cuba is threatening to share its reefs wtih Americans, the Far East is now easily available, and our faithful old divers are slipping away like the lemmings. The time has come for the new traveler to find us.

Persons sensitive to our people, caring for our nature, and considerate of our customs and ways--is there such a visitor? Gamblers, gays, or......maybe those who life had all but given up, now mended and looking for new tomorrows. The attraction is simply the magic of this rock called Bonaire. I know of such people, as you might. They call themselves the Alcoholics Anonymous, or simply, a friend of Bill's.

This quest of mine to find the perfect tourist is by no way new. I often had spoken to Niki Tromp of the need to start to prepare our tourist industry for yet another type of visitor other than the diver. Divers, like the measles, will run their course and one day vanish, and we'd best have the groundwork laid for the replacement, as our flourishing diving industry will one day melt away.

The people in Bonaire's tourist office in New York City were no stranger to this prediction. So here we are, boys and girls, the melt has started and the new base yet not formed. In other remarks in this site, I suggest a few new remaining tricks to slow down the melt. However this page is dedicated to the AAs of the world who I feel will enjoy the aurora of Bonaire as much as the thousand of divers of the past have.

I am building a website that will play on Yahoo, especially designed to be saturated with subliminals:

First page, a photo of myself, at my best, smiling and saying, "Hi, I'm Captain Don living on the little Dutch island of Bonaire." Then comes the statement: "And! I have been sober for nine years!" Then, the punch line: "And I am a friend of Bill's."

There are six coffee pots. Each a button for information, a story, perhaps a poem, and just some great words about being sober and on a magic island like Bonaire. Our own hall. The Aquarius with 50 seats. Speaking platform. The Juice Bar with cold whatevers. The speaker: Bonaire's own Captain Don giving his testimony. The thrill of no longer being Anonymous.

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