Trip Report First Time to Bonaire & Buddy Dive

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Ken Kurtis

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Tie an smb to some dead coral right there and note the depth. Swim up current of course and on the way back if you are anywhere close to the right depth you will see the marker and can follow the reciprocal heading to exactly where you started. Makes it basically foolproof.
Unnecessary (as well as illegal). Every shore dive site has a mooring buoy directly out from the entry point in about 30 feet of water. THAT'S effectively the legal SMB. User that as your drop point and then the rest of what you suggest works. You also don't need to worry about a compass. use the slope of the reef. For instance, hit the buoy, drop down, go to 60-80 feet for the first part of the dive, turn around, come back at 30-40 feet, you should see the mooring buoy, turn and kick in to shore. Currents in Bonaire are usually negligible so you could do 1/2 dive out, 1/2 dive time back, and end up close to where you started.
 

tursiops

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Currents in Bonaire are usually negligible so you could do 1/2 dive out, 1/2 dive time back, and end up close to where you started.
Negligible, but not zero. So start INTO the current, and it will take less time to go out than back. Better than half dive-time out, most do half tank out (based on the heaviest breather in the team/group), so less than half a tank coming back...that is your reserve, especially if the return trip is shallower. If the currents are actually zero, go either direction, but turn at 1200 psi or so.
 

drrich2

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You also don't need to worry about a compass. use the slope of the reef.
I used to think that. Got turned around in some unusually vigorous surge once. And while I don't recall which sites (probably southern sites, which have longer swim outs), I've had some long swim backs over sand where the bottom sloped gently enough that a compass was handy (especially not just to eventually reach shore, but aiming for a general area on it). The lines in the sand parallel to shore help.

I agree someone can get by without a compass shore diving Bonaire, but over time, I came to appreciate having one.
 

rmorgan

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We got in the water at Delfin’s dock on a heavily-overcast afternoon in June, and just as I thought the swim out (which is long and shallow) was longer and shallower than I remembered, all but banged my head—on Delfin’s dock. Needless to say, my wife and niece were more amused than I. I renewed my acquaintance with my compass on the second swim-out, and take a shot or three (or more) on every dive so that it’s automatic.
 
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