It was four years ago today that we landed on Bonaire to begin a new life. Since then I have written one hundred Island Notes, musings about living on an island. Looking back, the series has covered an amazing amount of subjects especially considering the diminutive size of this place.
There are a lot of stories about animals—parrots, dolphins, eagle rays and eagles, screaming frogs, oversexed iguanas, haute couture flamingos, intimidating boa constrictors, disappearing geckos, and obstinate donkeys.
And there are tales about interesting people like Yellow Man, Tunbi Adeogaba, James “Crocodile’ Johnson, Mayo the mixologist, Breno from Brazil, the Birdman of Bonaire, the Choo Choo Man and Utopia, the Jamaican boatman.
Sports have included swimming, scuba diving, free diving, fishing, golf, surfing, kayaking, caving and, of course, sailing. In fact, many entries have involved boats. My little catboat, Kontentu, has received a disproportionate amount of attention considering its size. Write a letter to the editor if you have a problem with this. But in fairness, Islands Notes also covered tall ships, tug boats, speedy catamarans, hand-made fishing boats, blue water cruisers and obnoxious cruise ships.
Not all the Island Notes have been about Bonaire. Travels have taken me to Anguilla, Aruba, Cuba, Curacao, Jamaica (mon), Marco Island, Saba, Sint Maarten, Statia, and most recently, the islands of the Pacific through my father’s World War II photographs.
Island Notes has had an obsession with food including peanut sauce, coconuts, iguana soup and chicken on a stick. Mangos have taken the cake so to speak with titles like Mangos & War, Waiting For Mangos To Ripen. It must have something to do with their erotic appearance and fragrant smell.
Grand festivities have been a repeat offender with stories on Karnival, the Bonaire Jazz Festival, Saint Patrick’s Day-island style, a Thanksgiving off the coast of Cuba, and the wheels of love—The Party Bus. But Island Notes has also covered the mundane—a swing in a hammock, a walk with the dog, a swim in the sea or dreaming surfing.
However, this particular entry, as you may have noticed from the title, is about numerical conclusions. I have considered stopping the series. After all, how many stories can one little island offer? Plus my blog has evolved and now offers different categories like The Sailors Who Never Left, Other Writings, and Travels. But I still believe Bonaire just may have a few more tales to offer. What I will discontinue is putting numbers on the titles. Since triple digits started appearing this year, the numerical labeling has lost significance for me.
One confession before closing… I began writing the notes for myself, mere journal entries rather than polished pieces with some kind of coherency. These early attempts had some great titles—Time, Bars & Birds; Screw The Wall; and Peanut Sauce & Hinges—but that was about it. Few have read these early attempts. I believe Island Notes #6, Swimming the Edge, was the first ever distributed. It was sent via e-mail to about 40 friends, renegades and associates who I thought might like to have an island diversion now and then. As time when on two things happened. First, my long time friend, Kashyap Choksi, continually harped on me to create a blog for Island Notes. I was resistant because I wasn’t seeking a large audience plus I didn’t think there would be much interest. Second, unexpected events occurred. People on the e-mail list started passing on the Island Notes to other friends and family. One recipient found the notes so cool that he distributed it among his coworkers via his corporate firm’s newsletter. They clamored for the next edition. I finally caved in. On June 8, 2009, I posted the first ‘blogged’ Island Notes, #38 After The Last Picture Show. Since then, there have been over 9500 ‘hits’ on the blog with Island Notes #84 Color World receiving the most.
In short, Island Notes will continue sans numbers. I haven’t a clue what is ahead, but then again I never have. It is perhaps that uncertain spontaneity that keeps the writer’s fire burning. Don’t worry for tomorrow is another day. There is much more to come from down in the land of bon bini.