It’s a common phenomenon, and a tale that is not often told, but it truly exemplifies why visitors feel such a bond with Bonaire after they visit. But let’s first set the scene: It’s around twenty years ago, and a young couple from the United States visits Bonaire for the first time. They come for the diving, but end up doing so much more than diving. They get to know their dive guides, even having dinner with them and their spouses, and getting to know them personally. This young couple begins to return to Bonaire every year, sometimes even twice a year, and they are always in touch with their same dive guide, a local man by the name of Bas.
Over the years, this young couple and Bas and his wife, Rosa Bella, go dancing together, dining together, every time the couple returns to Bonaire. Bas tells mesmerizing stories about Bonaire in the “old days.” Soon Bas retires from diving, and the next time the young couple visits, now with children of their own in tow, they lose touch with Bas.
Now, fast forward to November, 2014. It’s time for the annual DEMA dive trade show, and Bonaire is well represented as usual. This same man is attending the show, and tries once more to find out what happened to his old friend, Bas. He approaches the booth of the Tourism Corporation Bonaire, and inquires…….not really hoping to actually hear news, but not giving up. The gentlemen behind the booth asks this visitor if he remembers the name…………but he replies he cannot remember the last name. He only remembers Bas.
Bonaire is a small island where everyone knows everyone else. The gentlemen in the booth just happens to be Rolando Marin, from the tourist office, and he just happens to be Bas’ son. There’s a quick reunion while the two bring each other up to date. Sadly, Basilio Marin passed away about ten years ago, his wife, Rosa Bella, followed five years later.
And now, it’s the present day, and the Fishman Family, along with extended family members and friends, visit Bonaire once again. And this time, the Fishman Family is back in touch with another Marin–this one Rolando, Basilio’s son. Rolando learns about all the visits of the family over the years–one son even studied at CIEE on Bonaire for a semester–and hears they all have been here for at least ten consecutive years. He suggests they might want to apply to become Bonaire Ambassadors, an honor bestowed on those who visit at least ten years in a row (bronze), fifteen years (silver) or twenty (gold). On their last evening on Bonaire, Rolando was delighted to be able to honor the entire Fishman Family and inducted them into the Bonaire Ambassador program. Congratulations!
But it won’t be the last time we see the gang, they will be here later this year…………just like clockwork! (Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter)