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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Back on Bonaire: Rediscovering Diver's Paradise as a Father is a nonfiction travel memoir written by Andrew Jalbert. Jalbert knew, from the time he was a young boy, that he wanted to be an explorer, to have adventures, and so archaeology seemed a perfect choice. He also began scuba training with a friend; a hobby that also offers opportunities for adventure while working. That, combined with the job he found as a low-level field archaeologist, seemed the perfect recipe. And his scuba gigs seemed more and more suited to his dreams of adventure. Bonaire is an island off Venezuela’s coast and was where he first led a dive. Bonaire was a favorite diving destination for scuba divers. The island offered an infinite choice in diving opportunities. The first trip he took there led to many others. Like so many other divers, Jalbert found Bonaire irresistible and endlessly fascinating, no matter how many times he went there. Some twenty years after the first visit, Jalbert and his wife’s musings about purchasing a rental property on the island were put on hold when they discovered that they were going to have a child. Their son Luc seemed a perfectly behaved traveler, unlike so many other young children. So, yes, their trips to Bonaire could be continued, with a few tweaks on how they managed dives and such. Just how different it would be was something he was soon to discover.
While I love open-water swimming and snorkeling, the dependence on an external source of air places such limitations on exploring the world under the waves. In Back on Bonaire: Rediscovering Diver's Paradise as a Father, Andrew Jalbert shares most eloquently his love of scuba and his attachment to Bonaire, a diver’s paradise. As I read, I began to feel a kinship with the author and get a gist of what diving on the island was like. Jalbert shares so much about Bonaire: its environment, wildlife, aquatic creatures, and history, that the island soon becomes real and familiar to the reader. Adding in the unknown quantity of experiencing the island through his son’s eyes enhances the experience for the author; a point he makes so clearly in this well-written and enjoyable book. Back on Bonaire: Rediscovering Diver's Paradise as a Father is most highly recommended.