entry/exit observations

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boat sju

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. . . Generally speaking about half of the divers entering and exiting the water did so to the detriment of their own safety and that of the shallow water reef. Before gearing up they should have scouted the shoreline and identified the only obvious clear channel into the water, located next to the big yellow rock on the shoreline. Instead they geared up at the truck and wandered into the water wherever they could. . . . About half of those exited using the same strategy, making a beeline for shore from wherever they popped up at the end of the dive. . . .
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wwguy, Hope you're ok with the way I cut up your quote from the "Scooter" thread.

This is exactly what we were seeing that was pretty scary to watch, especially when coupled with the fact that most of the divers we saw were taking their regs out and their masks off before they got near the wave break. And, absolutely no one seemed to be paying any attention to the pattern of the waves.
 

Doctorfish

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I agree. We made that mistake once exiting from the Hooker. Bashed around pretty good. Now we scout, plan entry and exits and keep mask and regs in place. The shore diving made easy book is valuable as well re pointers for entry/exit.
 

AdivingBel

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I agree with wwguy. You really need to scout entries/exits sans gear prior to the dive. Having one of the shore diving books is helpful, but it doesn't replace onsite, real time info and feedback. The ocean is the ultimate force of nature and things change. Plus the books are written by experienced individuals and their version of easy might not match yours.

You also need to manage your limitations & expectations. The wife and I have a list of really easy access sites (not all dive docks :)) that we will fall back on if the conditions become sporty. Part of the beauty of Bonaire is you can customize your dive experience minute by minute if you choose too. No real reason to put yourself in a bad situation.

All that said, there are some wonderful dive sites we struggle with. Even scouted out, in benign conditions, easy for everybody else, they still kick our a** from time to time. It doesn't stop us from diving them (Angel City) "'cause they're so purty," but...:rant:

Bonaire seems to be built on a shelf and that last step up & out can be treacherous especially with the rolling rubble & potholes under your feet. Some we just put our head down and come out with confidence. If you stop you'll lose your balance. On some we are more deliberate, especially if things are not so stirred up you can see your feet and where to step. On some we'll tag team them. I'll come out first with a little "boost from the rear," doff my gear at the truck, then go back and assist the wife. Some, despite our best efforts, we'll sprawl on the shore (or bear walk), lick our wounds (wipe off the blood), and laugh about it back at the truck (nobody's perfect). If folks have other methods, I'm willing to learn 'cause I love Bonaire diving.

Here's our brief list of easy entries, mainly for new visitors. The "old salts" already know and probably don't need it because they are way better at it than we are.:) It's centered around Hamlet Oasis & Dive Friends because that is where we stay and who we use. If anyone is interested please feel free to add as I think it's good info for new visitors just getting their feet on the ground (especially if they get discouraged after a few crash and burns or if they have physical limitations and don't just want to boat and dock dive).

Any of the dive docks. Capt. Don's, Buddy Dive, BDA (check with them first). There are others. These are close to Hamlet where we stay.
The Cliff entry at DF Hamlet shop - wide steps on path with big rock outcropping for balance
Oil slick - giant stride entry with platform and ladder exit/entry
Windsock - beach entry
Pink Beach - beach entry
Tori's reef - entry via salt channel
Dive Friends Yellow sub - steps down, small beach entry, dock for balance
Dive Friends Dive Inn - ramp down, beach entry
Tolo (Ol' Blue) - steps down (be careful, carved into shore, long last step), small rubble entry but low "shelf" step in/out, surf can be rough

All IMHO, YMMV. Have fun.
 
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gbf

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Checking it out bfore trying to get in is the answer.

If it looks a little sporty, or if we haven't been there before I'll slip on my wetsuit and boots and do a dry (wet) run sans equipment. If I have trouble without gear then we abort - my womyn would probably have even greater difficulty.

Check it out. If it's dicey go elsewhere - don't take a chance on getting bashed. There are plenty of places to fall back on.

It's a rule 0 thing for us.
 

The Chairman

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As I was reading the first post, I was thinking the Hilma Hooker. Then the mention of the yellow rock and I look and see this is in the Bonaire forum. 2 phreakin' phunni.

Getting in is always easier than getting out. It's easy to pick a deeper place to fall into going out. Not so much getting back in. There are a number of sites where I prefer to take the boat to, the HH being one of them. I don't feel a need to prove myself as being better than the shore line. :D I dive to have fun.
 

Murky Waters

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Getting in is always easier than getting out.

So true. Everything feels heavier after a dive, and it takes a few minutes for vertical balance to return for me. Once I've made it to shallow enough and safe enough water to remove the fins, I take things real slow. Getting knocked over from a wave from behind is not uncommon. I take steps cautiously, wating for waves to recede before taking steps forward to better see where my next step is. I also don gloves prior to rough exits. This helps enormously. I also find that picking a good visual clue on the way in makes the exit route easier to execute. Planning & patience.
 
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The Chairman

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Jetwrench

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So true. Everything feels heavier after a dive, and it takes a few minutes for vertical balance to return for me. Once I've made it to shallow enough and safe enough water to remove the fins, I take things real slow. Getting knocked over from a wave from behind is not uncommon. I take steps cautiously, wating for waves to recede before taking steps forward to better see where my next step is. I also don gloves prior to rough exits. This helps enormously. I also find that picking a good visual clue on the way in makes the exit route easier to execute. Planning & patience.

Murky, I hope you have permission to carry those gloves. If not, leave them at home and surely don't suggest using them on Bonaire.
 

guyharrisonphoto

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How does doffing your gear and floating it in behind you on a line work for exits? Or entries, for that matter, and then gearing up in the water?

What about the use of gloves only for entry and exit, and keeping them in a pocket during the dive? We will be wearing full 3 mills on the trip for our exposure protection, and boots, so the only exposed areas are our hands if we have no gloves.
 

uncfnp

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How does doffing your gear and floating it in behind you on a line work for exits? Or entries, for that matter, and then gearing up in the water?

What about the use of gloves only for entry and exit, and keeping them in a pocket during the dive? We will be wearing full 3 mills on the trip for our exposure protection, and boots, so the only exposed areas are our hands if we have no gloves.
For some sites or if you have a physical mobility problem some divers have their partners carry the gear into the water then they don while floating past the surf. Then do the reverse for the exit. For most of us those caution, scouting and experience suffice. there is a bite of a learning curve to sore dives in Bonaire. And as mentioned some sites are easier then others. Start at the easier entry, work on your technique, then head to the sites that pose more of a challenge.

For me, carrying the gear into the water would be harder then wearing it.

Gloves, a no no in Bonaire but for some of the rockier entries I have considered them just for entry and exit. If I ever shore dive the east side again I would definitely do this. Do wear thick-soled boots. Sometimes we use fin keepers.

Tips...

Scout the site for best entry. Look for markers, piles of rock, ask exiting divers.
Don gear at the truck.
At waters edge don mask and regulator. Partially inflate wing. Time the surf.
Enter water and be cautious of submerged boulders, slippery rocks or unexpected drop-offs.
When past the surf, don fins.
On exit, keep mask and reg on till out.
 
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