When you mention Captain Don Stewart you do not only refer to him as a man but as a passionate diver, a pioneer, a person that helped the island of Bonaire develop to great lengths.
The history of Captain Don Stewart
The very first time Captain Don Stewart came in contact with the Bonaire Island was back in 1962 when he arrived here having only 63 cents in his pocket. The governor from that time did not find his presence on the island beneficial or even interesting. In fact, he did not want Don Stewart on there at all. But Don did not give up and he saw the governor’s desire to keep him out of the island as a challenge.
As he was used to spearfish he organized the first spearfishing competition on the island but realized afterward what a great damage it had done to the marine creatures, so he refused to do this ever again. After this experiment, which failed nonetheless, he became a protector of the sea and developed the island of Bonaire in unimaginable ways.
When Captain Don Stewart first came on this island, the only commerce Bonaire had was salt, goats, and charcoal, completely ignoring the endless other possibilities regarding reefs. Back then the area was not a touristic destination because people on Bonaire did not know how to dip into the amazing things this island had to offer.
So, Captain Don Stewart decided to help them out. In a couple of months, Don Stewart and his friend Percy built an aquarium as a way of sharing with the people from Bonaire the wonders of the sea. Then, Stewart began to look for people that would be interested in diving and this is how the diving history of Bonaire began. In the following years, he created the first diving center on the island, the Council of underwater Resort Operators and installed 60 moorings. He then founded the Captain Don’s Habitat, which was an environmental diving resort, which later was recognized as the first destination when it came to snorkeling and shore diving.
Captain Don Stewart saw the island’s need for plants and he built a 7-acre plant nursery exactly for this purpose. But he did not stop there. While he made sure the island grew, he also made sure to write 9 novels that included magic adventures on the sea. This was his another method of sharing his love and passion for the sea, undersea and the creatures that lived in the waters.
Captain Don Stewart was not simply a man that saw an opportunity and took it, but also a man who wanted to do something good for this island and managed to do exactly that. His hard work and dedication are what put the island of Bonaire on the map of the world, turning it into a major tourist site.