Today we dived Windsock named because there once was a windsock nearby. I'm not sure whether it's still there, but the airport is. It's a great snorkling location at high tide, but there is (was?) a lot of elkhorn coral and fire coral to navigate in and out and around. My son took me through a fairly sandy entry and helped me on with my fins. From thence we went, except we didn't. I forgot to turn on my air. Fortunately I have a habit of sucking on my regulator before I actually get in the water, so my son could turn on the air while I was still standing up. From thence we headed out to the drop off, except we didn't because I forgot to turn on my dive computer. Actually I thought it was turned on, but I guess it needed to be turned on again. And so, I had to go up to the surface because it won't turn on underwater (a design flaw if there ever was one). From thence we started along the reef toward the south end of the island. Except we didn't. I misread the current and thought I was headed against the current. My son turned me around and we headed toward town. I get the ditz of the day diving award.
The coral seemed battered, but this area does get battered in the storms. I'm not sure how much is due to run off from construction. There has been an enormous amount of construction since I was here last about four years ago. The building we are staying in is new this year. A couple of lots away, they are tearing down a perfectly nice house for a McMansion (I suppose). Across from the airport, several new developments have gone in. And now, with the global recession, I would imagine unfinished buildings will be left here to languish. There is one that has been here for at least eight years at the southern end of the island. It's a shell and an unsightly one at that. When we first started coming here in the mid 80s across from the airport were shell of buildings. They stayed unfinished for probably 10 years until they were either finished (I think) or torn down for a new resort. I am hoping with the Dutch taking over the governing of the island, there will be more oversight of developers and more requirements that they have financing before they start. It seems that most of the buildings are build with the idea that apts will be presold to finance construction.
It isn't a particularly beautiful island (above water). It is a desert. The island is basically poor. They are dependent on imports for all their food. (Yesterday the restaurant owner apologized for not having salads. There is no lettuce on the island right now.) I'm hopeful that the new government relationships will focus on economic development especially for the locals who have heretofore been pretty much overlooked. On the other hand, the Dutch are notorious (here) for their racism, so who knows. There are few jobs for young local men.
Gotta go diving.