Bill and Carol Collins, 800 Dives Later

800 divesCarib Inn congratulates Bill and Carol Collins, who recently completed their 800th dive while visiting Bonaire.  They recount their love affair with diving and the island of Bonaire:

Back in 1988 we decided to reward ourselves with a special trip to Aruba to celebrate 27 years of marriage, kids being relatively independent and if not now……when?

In planning our trip, we enlisted the help of a travel agent friend who suggested that we extend our trip to include a stop in Bonaire at a small intimate hotel, Carib Inn, about which she had heard some fantastic reviews. She knew we enjoyed the water as we had run the waterfront at summer camps.

Upon arriving we noticed how pleasantly underdeveloped Bonaire was, but enjoyed the simplicity of the island. After establishing ourselves in the “honeymoon bungalow” we went looking for groceries at the Cultimara “super” market and Jokes.

Snorkeling and swimming were our beginning activities and were very much enjoyed.  The fish were so very colorful and different from anything we’d seen before.

We met Kitty, a recent arrival to Bonaire and a scuba instructor, who enthusiastically suggested we try diving. “I’ll show you how,” she said, and with Bill’s urging proceeded to introduce us to the underwater world of diving with the “Resort Course.” It must have been her elementary school teaching skills as she gained Carol’s confidence and convinced her that we had the skills necessary to accomplish scuba diving. As we became more comfortable with our new skills, we did several boat dives–again under the supervision of a dive instructor.

We remember our apprehension of clearing our ears, wondering about the dangers of fire coral, dangerous fish, and backward rolls off the boat. Carol said, “it was easier walking down the aisle 27 years ago than falling into the water with the roll.” Our first boat dive was on our anniversary day. By the end of our stay at the Carib Inn, we knew we had to become thoroughly trained and we did that back home in Connecticut.

In October of 2015 we completed our 800th dive and have done more than 600 of those dives in Bonaire at Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn. Kitty continues to encourage us and has become a good friend. She has seen two of our granddaughters become certified at the Carib Inn in 2010 when they were 10 and 12. In 2011 we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with 11 of our family members in Bonaire. On one particular dive there were 7 of our family diving together. What a special time for both of us underwater. Priceless!!!

Our initial certification as Open Water Divers was completed in the cold, dark North Atlantic, but we knew that it would be so comfortable in the warm Caribbean waters. We have since become Advanced Open Water certified. However, we only dive in warm, clear water.

We’ve now been to Bonaire more than 20 times, with multiple trips some years, always diving with the Carib Inn. We say we must keep our gills wet or realign the aging bones. Our confidence in Bruce Bowker’s and the Carib Inn staff has always been high and we are ever grateful for Kitty’s initial suggestion to “take the Resort Course to Scuba.”

We plan to continue to dive, schlepping the gear takes a little more effort, but the reward continues to be great.

Thanks to Bruce and the Carib Inn staff through all these 27 years of underwater adventures.

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