Trip Report Bonaire - Capt Dons - May 28 to June 4

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drrich2

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unless it has changed you are limited to diving at just the dive ops site and are not free to just shore dive wherever.
For the benefit of newer dives who may see this thread, it's worth expanding on this a bit. If I understand correctly from prior discussions, the following factors apply:

1.) Grand Cayman shore dive sites tend to be on private property without public access, and often there is a dive business on site whose property it may be (e.g.: perhaps site access is part of a condo. property, and access to that site a perk of staying there).

2.) It is often needful to rent tanks from an onsite dive operator at the place you wish to shore dive.

While this is far different from shore diving in Bonaire, it doesn't mean a diver staying at a property in Grand Cayman only has access to one shore diving site. But when you go elsewhere, you then need to rent tanks from which ever dive operator controls access at the other site you shore dive.

@tkaelin - is that an accurate summary? My limited diving in GC was all boat diving.
 

Doctorfish

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drrich2s comments re shore diving GC are accurate. Most accessible shore dive sites are on private property with a dive op on site. They do not charge for access but expect divers to rent tanks from them. When last there, $12-15 bucks a tank.
There are sites one can access from shore not on private property such as Smith's Cove and Cemetery
Reef but not great diving there. You can Dive Babylon from shore but very condition dependent and a long swim.

I'm not sure whether any of the shore dive ops have unlimited package rates or just by the tank. Dive Tech runs boats and a shore site so they might package together. Sunset House might as well.

In contrast, most dive ops on Bonaire have unlimited tank access and you can essentially dive the entire island.

Overall, I have found GC more expensive than Bonaire all in, despite cheaper flights. Boat diving, accommodation, and restaurants on Bonaire are less expensive than GC and the diving much less costly. On the other hand, there is no real wall diving on Bonaire.

Personally I prefer Little Cayman and Brac to either Grand or Bon. Better diving and the package pricing from Clearly Cayman Resorts provides real value, particularly during low or shoulder season.
 
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tkaelin

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I agree with doctor fish that GCM generally more expensive when all things figured in but that doesn't mean I won't return. I have enjoyed all my trips to the island and it has a lot to offer.

I suspect boat diving and airfare are going to get considerably more expensive in short order. I know this must sound like stating the obvious but I don't think we have seen it kick in yet in full force.
 

NW Dive Dawg

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Thanks so much for the trip report on your stay at Capt Dons.

Wife and I and friends have been to Bonaire a dozen times from the early 90's to 2015..... and we'll be back. I just plain love Bonaire!!!!...... and I know it's because when I'm there I truly feel that I'm on vacation. No schedule. No Alarm Clock. No dive time limits or rules other than self imposed. No snotty divemasters. No telling me I can't pop a nice cold brewski after a dive..... basically just total freedom. I mean how cool is it when you can wake up from a nap with no idea or care about what time it is and just say...."hey, anyone wanna go for a dive?"

Most of our early trips were at Buddy's which I really think is pretty much the same as Dons. Great house reefs.... and killer breakfast!!!! On the last 3-4 trips we changed up and stayed at a flipp'n awesome villa up in Sabadeco. We still used Buddy's for unlimited Nitrox tanks and also had breakfast there everyday.

The villa we stay at is totally private with a fresh water mineral pool and has steps that go right down to the Andrea II site.


And by the way...... contrary to the popular movie "Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World" where they state that only on Galapagos do the iguanas swim...... I have proof that Bonaire Iguanas also swim. After returning from an aftern noon dive there was an iguana in our pool and since my vid system was still all good to go I was able to hop in the pool shoot vid of a swimming Bonairian iguana!!

 

morecowbells

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I am getting excited about our upcoming Aug visit. We are staying in a Port Bonaire rental. We plan on renting tanks through Dive Friends. I would like to check out the dive in front of Captain Don's. I looked at their website for information about tank rentals for their shore dive, but didn't find anything. Do you know if people not staying outside the resort are allowed to use their facilities? I have no problem paying a fee and renting tanks through them for the day.
 
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tkaelin

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Email Roger for the specifics. You can find his email under the diving section of the CD website. He runs the dive operations.

There was a sign that said something to the effect that outside divers are welcome but ask that you check in at the dive shop.

I suspect when the dive shop is closed you could simply walk in with your gear.

If you haven't been to CD or are not familiar with their shore diving set up just let me know. The main rule is there is a dive boat dock and a shore diving dock. Don't shore dive off the boat dock.

Enjoy your trip and post a report.
 

morecowbells

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Thank you for the details. I love shore diving, but using a dock is so much more appealing than navigating a rocky shoreline. With the kite boarders proliferating in the southern sites, I will need to check out more of the mid and northen sites.
 

puget_sound

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I'm not sure that I understand why it is necessary to rent a vehicle when staying at a full-service dive resort. From what I have read, there is accommodations, dive boats, food, a bar, and shore diving all available at the resorts. Do they not have airport transfers? Are there other places to go beyond what is available at the resort?
 

SoccerDad

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I'm not sure that I understand why it is necessary to rent a vehicle when staying at a full-service dive resort. From what I have read, there is accommodations, dive boats, food, a bar, and shore diving all available at the resorts. Do they not have airport transfers? Are there other places to go beyond what is available at the resort?
Probably 60 dive sites that you can access by shore and that is why so many prefer to get a truck and add in the occasional 2 tank boat dive the Klein. Why on an island with over 80 sites would you limit yourself to one house reef. Plus if you are a foodie especially local foods a vehicle helps.
 

Catito

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For the benefit of newer dives who may see this thread, it's worth expanding on this a bit. If I understand correctly from prior discussions, the following factors apply:

1.) Grand Cayman shore dive sites tend to be on private property without public access, and often there is a dive business on site whose property it may be (e.g.: perhaps site access is part of a condo. property, and access to that site a perk of staying there).

2.) It is often needful to rent tanks from an onsite dive operator at the place you wish to shore dive.

While this is far different from shore diving in Bonaire, it doesn't mean a diver staying at a property in Grand Cayman only has access to one shore diving site. But when you go elsewhere, you then need to rent tanks from which ever dive operator controls access at the other site you shore dive.

@tkaelin - is that an accurate summary? My limited diving in GC was all boat diving.
We were in Grand Cayman in May 2022. Loved it. Had only snorkeled there previously. There are several shore dives but Eden Rock is the best, in my opinion. It is free to dive there. You can bring your own tank or rent one from Mario, who owns a shop right there. Our dives there were about 1hr each dive.

Stayed on the East end with Compass Point. Great place associated with Ocean Frontiers (great op). Not too expensive: 5 nights, 4 days of two tank dives, car rental, breakfast = $1,105 per diver.
 
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