• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

February Trip: Den Laman, Telerin Truck Rental, Bonaire Dive & Adventure

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by Ron G., Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Ron G.

    Ron G. Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ellicott City, MD
    188
    40
    28
    We just got back and I wanted to share a bit about our trip.

    We used Telerin truck rental. I was a little nervous because there was a post last month from a very unhappy Telerin customer. He said his truck was in poor repair and unreliable. We were very happy with our truck. It was 3-4 years old and in very good condition. Ran very well. I would definitely use Telerin again because of their streamlined pick up and drop off process. They meet you when you exit the airport, they have all the paperwork ready to go. You just inspect your vehicle, sign and off you go. Returning it was even easier...you drop it off in the short-term parking lot (directly in front of the terminal), leave the keys in the ashtray, and you're done.

    We stayed at Den Laman condos. They have about 20 units with about half of them ocean front. We'd reserved a one bedroom ocean front, which was exactly that. Great view. However, we noticed that the two bedroom units on the corner of the building had an even better view. We upgraded and moved two days later and really loved the new view. The first unit faced the water directly, but the second also had a northern view up the coast. It was neat to be able to watch the comings and goins at Buddy Dive (a couple hundred yards away) and Sand Dollar (right next door). Admittedly, it was an extravagance for the two of us to pay for a 2 bedroom apartment, but we just loved the expanded view. (There are two other 2-bedroom units that face south. We didn't look at the view from them, but I think the units on the north end have the best view, by far.)

    We also liked Den Laman overall. The on-site manager, Amina, was very responsive to one or two minor problems we had. The apartments are only several years old and in great condition. The units are considerably nicer than a couple others we checked while we were down there. I suppose most folks would call DL a luxury condo. We'd definitely go back.

    We used Bonaire Dive and Adventure as our dive op. It's a strange situation there. BD&A has a very nice facility. The dock is great, as is the gear room. They include Nitrox in the price of their air packages, which is a plus. They always had plenty of tanks available 24/7 on the dock and up at the parking lot area. Den Laman offers BD&A as their on-site dive op, which it is (on-site).

    The strange thing is that Sand Dollar condos (which is right next door, separated from DL by the dive op, apparently has some sort of problem with BD&A). As a result, Sand Dollar customers are offered a dive package with another dive op: Dive Friends Bonaire. DFB has a much smaller set-up on the Sand Dollar grounds, but their facility is significantly inferior to BD&A. They "shop" is 75-100 yards from the water. If you want to do a shore dive on Bari Reef (right out front), you have to borrow their wagon and drag your tanks and equipment up to the shore. Then, you enter by walking down some stairs to a very small beach. You may not use the great BD&A dock. If you want to take a boat dive, you have to drive to another dock. I don't know the nature of the problems between SD and BD&A, but they must be major for SD to want to offer what something different. Having said that, Sand Dollar guests can choose to use BD&A, but my understanding is that the standard SD packages are with DFB.

    The DFB air package was only $160, compared to $195 at BD&A, but BD&A included free nitrox, which most folks used.

    We did get a hint of the problem SD has with BD&A. We had a couple minor issues that came up during the week and the owner of BD&A became very cranky very quickly. It was very off-putting, but not enough for us to opt for a lesser dive facility. The rest of the BD&A staff were great.

    All in all, we were very happy with Den Laman, Telerin and the BD&A op.

    Ron
     
  2. wwguy

    wwguy Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Boise, ID
    673
    652
    93
    Thanks for the great trip report!

    We also had a great experience with two vehicles rented from Telerin this winter.

    You aren't the first person to report the "hint of the problem SD has with BD&A". Here's one example, from the end of the thread you started last year as you were planning for this trip. Crankiness by the owner has also been reported by others previously. He's made it clear in the past, and by the huge sign on the dock, that outside shore divers are unwelcome on his dock. So we've stayed away. For the most part, the paying guests (like you) seem content with convenient and exclusive use of the dock and facilities.

    As you mentioned BD&A prices are 22% higher than DFB. I think this is significant at a dive destination where dive operations are competing side-by-side. Especially when scaled out to larger groups and/or extended vacations. For example our group this year was 4 people diving for 3 weeks. For us the difference in shore diving package alone would be $420. I'm okay with paying more to get more, but I can't see that applying to BD&A unless I was doing all of my shore diving from their dock.

    Also, free nitrox is offered at all 5 DFB locations and tanks can be obtained or exchanged at any location. Buddy Dive and Wannadive also offer free nitrox and multiple dive shop locations for their divers. We stay at Beachcomber Villas so we primarily use the new DFB Hamlet shop, but we love being able to exchange tanks and use the facilities at the other locations too.

    Again, great trip report. Thanks for taking the time to share.
     
  3. Ron G.

    Ron G. Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ellicott City, MD
    188
    40
    28
    WWG,

    I don't think the situation will continue indefinitely as it is now. It seems like there's a lot of rumor conversation going on, folks speculating that DFB will build a floating dock, or that BD&A losing a lawsuit over the dock, etc. Who knows what's really going on.

    I can say that the beautiful dock, etc. are being greatly underutilized. We took a walk around Buddy Dive and Captain Don's and both of their gear storage rooms were packed. The (very nice) gear storage room at BD&A was maybe 20% full.

    The number of folks using BD&A boat dives was very limited. DFB goes out daily with at least one boat for a two-tank dive at 8:30 a.m. BD&A does single tank dives and their boat was going out with 2-5 divers (from what I noticed) and sometimes they did only one boat per day.

    Ironically, Sand Dollar apparently owns the BD&A dock and the rest of the dive op facility, but are locked into a lease with BD&A. I'm sure SD would love to be able to break the lease and I wonder if losing many SD customers is making BD&A a financially difficult operation.
     
  4. DiveMaven

    DiveMaven Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Kihei, Maui & Vancouver, WA
    4,898
    389
    83
    We've stayed at Den Laman for our previous 3 trips and have 2 weeks booked again for this summer. We've never had a problem with BDA, but we don't have much contact with them since we don't boat dive and simply grap tanks and go. Be interesting to see what happens with the feud and how that changes things.

    thanks for sharing your trip report!
     
  5. diverjen

    diverjen Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver
    497
    132
    43
    Thanks for the trip report! I stayed at SD in October 2011 and used BDA (seems like we had a similar experience to you although no DF at that point). We will are hoping to go back to either Bonaire or Curacao soon and I really want to know how it all turns out, so that we can factor that in to our decision making....
     
  6. lmorin

    lmorin Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Hampshire
    1,504
    211
    63
    I can tell you with certainty that BDA does not own its beautiful dock or some of its buildings. Rather, BDA rents them from a company collectively owned by most of the condo owners at the Sand Dollar Resort. BDA created a big problem for many of these owners when it decided to no longer fill or store private tanks belonging to Sand Dollar owners who are resident for long periods of time. Imagine living at Sand Dollar for several months per year and not being allowed to have your tank filled at BDA! Because of this BDA policy, these owners started using Dive Friends fills, obtaining them at one of the several Dive Friends facilities on Bonaire. After numerous discussions between owners and Dive Friends, establishment of a Dive Friends dive op at Sand Dollar became a no brainer benefit to both Dive Friends and Sand Dollar owners/guests. Dive Friends is in the process of obtaining the permits necessary to build a floating dock for boats from a cement platform on the Sand Dollar shore where there will also be tanks, a gear-up location and steps into the water. It really is a strange situation that may go on for years. IMHO, the competition between Dive Friends and BDA has improved the customer relations at BDA; Dive Friends already has stellar customer relations.
     
  7. Ron G.

    Ron G. Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ellicott City, MD
    188
    40
    28
    I'm amazed that private tanks are the main issue. Can there really be that many SD owners who have private tanks....and, couldn't find a solution with BDA that would have allowed them to continue to use that great dock? (Not only that, but being willing to make DF the default dive op for SD guests.) And, the same goes for BDA...was this really a big enough issue that BDA was willing to lose a great deal of SD business?

    Actually, after a couple encounters with the BDA owner last week, I can imagine him cutting off his nose to spite his face.
     
  8. toughturtle

    toughturtle Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    8
    1
    0
    BD&A is awful. I should say that the staff, outside of the owners, are awesome. BUT... the owner is unfriendly and not accommodating at all. Our 20 person group stayed at Sand Dollar last year and dealing with BS&A was a nightmare.
     
    sullivan likes this.
  9. lmorin

    lmorin Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Hampshire
    1,504
    211
    63
    That is why there is so much relief about having an alternative dive op on the Sand Dollar site. Numerous groups that swore they'd never return are returning.
     
  10. sparkinator

    sparkinator Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northwest Arkansas
    47
    0
    6
    Thanks for the great report... We are there for the same package in 11 days -though staying in a studio. I know there isn't a view but we're rarely in the room. :)
     

Share This Page