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Has anyone dove Bonaire?

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by 12th Man, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    8,155
    5,555
    113
    Perryed likes this.
  2. Ontwreckdiver

    Ontwreckdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: St Thomas, Ontario, Canada
    1,030
    205
    63
    I'm going to go against the grain. I have been there once and have no desire to go back.
     
  3. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    6,116
    4,589
    113
    312 dives there for a total of 12 days and 21 hours of saltwater therapy.
     
    scubadada, Lorenzoid and markmud like this.
  4. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    12,018
    7,777
    113
    I would be very interested in the rarionale behind your statement.
     
  5. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    8,155
    5,555
    113
    Okay, easier to answer when not on a phone. My research notes are more detailed, but in a nutshell:

    1.) What I call 'fishbowl diving' - warm, high-viz., usually minimal current diving with sort of an underwater flower garden (coral reef) setting and decent numbers of pretty tropical fish.

    2.) You may see tarpon, some barracuda, the occasional green moray eel or sea turtle and maybe a cubera snapper, but not a lot of 'big stuff.' There are small grouper like coneys and graysbys, and once in awhile I've seen tiger grouper (skittish), but I don't see black, Nassau or yellow-fin grouper there. Have seen the occasional eagle or southern sting ray. Once in a blue moon someone posts about seeing dolphins or a manta, but don't go expecting that. Never saw a shark in 9 trips.

    3.) Shore diving lets you dive when, there, and how (within reason) you wish, without being restricted to a dive boat's schedule. You can conduct your own dive, and if you stick to mainstream west coast sites, and are in decent physical health, you should be able to handle the simple navigation and get yourself back out without too much hassle (disclaimer: I can't turn up well off my entry, and surface fin back). I still recommend carrying an SMB when you dive large water bodies.

    4.) Buddy Dive Resort has housing, a good breakfast buffet, pier ladder entry to a nice house reef, a couple of onsite restaurants, a dive shop, they transport you from and to the airport, you rent your truck onsite. Years ago when I stayed with them, the parking could get a bit crowded.

    5.) Buddy supports tech. diving if that's of interest.

    6.) Sandy beaches sloping into the sea for wading are not a common fixture in Bonaire, and BDR doesn't have one.

    7.) Location close enough to town it's not hard to get to. Up the road is the little Zhung Kong Supermarket, really handy and without the hassle of driving around town. Just south a bit is a little shopping complex with the popular Between 2 Buns cafe.

    8.) Truck rentals in Bonaire default to manual transmission. If you want auto., tell them way in advance and expect to pay an uncharge, but it can be done.

    If Bonaire didn't have shore diving, I'd probably lean toward Little Cayman (did some via live-aboard) or the outer atolls of Belize (ditto) for general diving, or maybe Key Largo for sheer fishiness (lower viz, but on a 20-dive trip, fishier and fish averaged bigger, plus option for deep wrecks).

    TLDR: Bonaire rocks, but it's not the best in every way.

    Richard.
     
  6. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    4,087
    1,612
    113
    Was just there in October.......excellent experience at Buddy Dive.
     
  7. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    9,318
    7,025
    113
    Three dozen visits to Buddy Dive over two decades....always with a group. No complaints. It can be awkward traveling as a single or a couple if you want to do boat dives, because the sign-up system may cause you to go to a site that is not your first choice. With a group, you "own" the boat and go where you want.
     
    Gray Diver likes this.
  8. NDL_Diver

    NDL_Diver Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wichita
    386
    238
    43
    OntWreckdriver,
    What didn't you like about Bonaire that you will never go back?

    We havd been there 10x and leaving for 3 weeks in Feb. We have spots that blow away Cozumel in fish life and Coral formations.

    Is it the lack of Wrecks (besides Hooker and the barge)?
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  9. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    12,018
    7,777
    113
    You got me, only 197 dives, 9 days, 13 hours. I'll do my best to try to catch up with our 2 weeks in April :)
     
    woodcarver and uncfnp like this.
  10. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    8,155
    5,555
    113
    It's worth mentioning that Bonaire is not the best at everything, or the best match for everyone. I, too, would like to know what put Ontwreckdiver off, because it's likely there are other divers out there with similar wants and needs and it pays to know the 'con.'s section of the pro.s & con.s of most any destination.

    With Bonaire, airfare's often killer, not a lot of big stuff, not much sandy beach, reef (subjective, I can only give you my view) decent (lusher way south) but you can get better overall some other places, not a lot of wrecks (mostly the Hilma Hooker) if you're into that, hauling gear around and loading/unloading tanks and swapping them with your BCD is more work than a live-aboard and some people don't like shore diving.

    I love the place, but it's not for everybody.
     
    Perryed, woodcarver and markmud like this.

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