How Bonaire changes lives and influences life choices.
How can a small, laid-back island, such as Bonaire, actually change and influence lives? Well, for those who decide to make Bonaire their home, it’s easy to understand how the island influences a life choice. But, other than offering fantastic vacations for many travelers, how can the island actually change one’s life?
There is a subtle “magic” about Bonaire. First-time visitors will “catch it” during their initial visit, but long-time returning visitors already have “the bug.” They step off the airplane at Flamingo Airport and immediately feel the cooling tradewinds, and they sigh. They know they are home.
Jay and Patti Pearce.
So it was for Jay and Patti Pearce’s initial visit back in 1992, over a quarter-century ago. They had decided to celebrate their tenth anniversary and arrived on the island for a dive vacation. Patti, already a certified diver, relaxed and enjoyed the resort, while Jay, who wasn’t yet a certified diver, went to school for the first few days. Upon completion of his PADI Open Water certification, the couple enjoyed their remaining days in paradise. And it was love at first sight, with Bonaire that is!
After returning home from their Bonaire dive vacation, Jay and Patti became busy with their careers. Before they knew it, Adam, their son, decided to make an appearance. A few years later, Lydia, their daughter, came upon the scene. Jay and Patti were kept busy raising their family in the years immediately following their initial visit to Bonaire, but the island was never far from their hearts.
November 2006, and the Pearce Family journeys once again to Bonaire.
As Adam and Lydia grew up, their parents wanted them to become familiar with Bonaire and its underwater world. Still very impressionable young kids, Adam and Lydia visited Bonaire for the very first time, while Jay and Patti returned for another visit. Lydia was immediately enchanted with Bonaire’s underwater world, a passion that she has never lost.
Ten-year-old Adam, on the other hand, met former NASA astronaut, Colonel Charles Bolden, who was also on Bonaire giving a series of lectures and presentations entitled, “Work hard, and you can achieve your dreams!” Charlie discussed his four space missions and explained various facets of space exploration. This was a presentation which changed young Adam’s life and, instead of looking under the horizon at marine life, his eyes instead went toward the skies. Adam was lucky to be on the same return flight to the United States as Charlie Bolden, so he sat enraptured and talked to the Colonel and then kept in touch with him afterward. The Colonel encouraged Adam to follow his dreams.
And so, Adam began to chase that dream and he never wavered from the course!
In May 2019, Adam, who already holds a minor in Engineering Mathematics, will graduate with a Bachelors degree in Aerospace Engineering. After graduation, Adam will continue in a research study with his professor into the integration of Computational Fluid Dynamics. This is an undertaking where computers are used to calculate the different Navier-Stokes and fluid particle equations to calculate what a given particle will do in a controlled volume space, as in around an airfoil.
These terms don’t make sense to most people, but what can be understood is that this research study hopes to provide insight into the design of interplanetary aircraft, generating optimal configurations for them. In simple words? Designing planes to fly in outer-planetary atmospheres, at a “reasonable super-sonic speed” (Adam’s words!), so under 12,000 miles per hour! These could be manned missions, but it’s possible these missions could be configured with drones.
Lydia is studying marine biology at Oregon State University. This spring, she will begin her specialty classes in marine biology, and in the 2020 spring term, she will be able to work and attend classes at Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Pink Beach inspires the young girl.
As a young girl, Jay and Patti used to tell Lydia about Pink Beach, a favorite southern beach on Bonaire. In prior days, the sand would have a pinkish cast, so Lydia was hoping to experience that! Unfortunately, the sand is no longer pink, but this site is still where Lydia found her inspiration! She had found something to love, and people always protect what they love!
Helping coral reefs.
Lydia wanted to help coral reefs. She was saddened by the deterioration in many reefs around the world, due to warm sea temperatures, pollution, coastal development, chemical sunscreens, storms, and other stressors and she became fascinated with the work done on Bonaire by non-profit organizations, such as the Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire (previously Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire). So, she decided to make helping corals her life work.
Helping endangered sea turtles.
Lydia also wishes to help with the protection of endangered sea turtles, and thus closely follows the work of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire. Lydia has learned in her studies that the nest temperatures determine the sex of the turtle hatchlings, and now, in some areas of the world, because of warming temperatures, there can be too many females being born, and not enough males.
This energetic young lady hopes to be able to make a difference in marine conservation and return to Bonaire one day to live and work within her field of study.
Thanks to Bonaire, the next generation has found their paths for life.
So, for the Pearce Family, a one-week visit over a quarter-century ago has influenced the lives of the family’s next generation. Has Bonaire influenced your life in any way? If so, tell us in comments below.
(Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter)