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.
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