View Full Version : Kite Boarders in Light Blue Water !!! Dangerous for Divers

02-27-2013, 06:55 AM
Diving yesterday at Pink Beach a Kite Boarder was doing all of his
tricks in the light blue water. It is very dangerous for people diving.

The same thing was happening at Red Beryl on Sunday. It was very
scarey trying to come up with the kite boarders zooming right over us
when we were down 10 feet.

Stinapa was there at Pink Beach checking our park tags and we
pointed out the kite boarder to them. They said yes, he should
not be in the light blue water. They honked their horn at the kite
boarder but to no avail.

02-27-2013, 08:10 AM
I thought "kite beach" (Atlantis) was their place?

03-09-2013, 04:59 PM
Yes Stretch, this is a dangerous situation and it is only a matter of time until some diver gets his head taken off. Last summer at Margate Bay we had a confrotaion with one of them that nearly came to blows. The kite boarder was about 30 yards off shore and I am yelling at him to move out to blue water. So this young Dutch guy comes right up on shore and we get into this big arguement. I am telling him that the rules are for kite boarders to stay out in the dark blue water and somebody is going to get seriously hurt or killed. He's telling me I don't know what I'm talking about and they can go anywhere they want. One thing leads to another and he tells me not to come back to Bonaire, that they don't need us or want us on the island anyway. Was later talking to some locals about this and they said he is part of what they called the "New Dutch" when I ask what that meant they explained that since the Dutch government has taken over there as been an influx of these "New Dutch" and that they are very arrogant and pretty much think they own the island. They are not well liked by the locals. I later confirmed with Stinapa that they are in fact supposed to stay out in the dark water but there is apparently no enforcement or penalty for violating this policy. I have seen them as far north as Invisibles in shallow water. I would think the dive shop operators could apply enough pressure to get some enforcement but apparently they are not interested either.

03-10-2013, 07:56 PM
Had the same thing at Margate Bay 3 years ago . They were just meters offshore well inside the shallow zone . It is scary for sure !

03-11-2013, 07:57 PM
Well, for a different (and hopefully helpful perspective)...."most" kiters who are skilled enough to ride in the light blue ALSO know to watch for divers and are courteous and thoughtful. Obviously there is always one bad apple (just like scuba divers), but I hope you won't let an interaction with one single Dutch guy color your opinion of all kiters or all Dutch persons. You may be surprised to know that many local kiters (a/k/a non-tourists) are also active dive instructors, so we have an appreciation and respect for BOTH sports and their participants.

To reassure the divers who feel in extreme danger when diving the sites adjacent to Atlantis, please know that everyone I kite with is on the constant lookout for divers (and snorkelers) everywhere in the water (light blue, dark blue, whatever). We scan the shoreline for dive vehicles, watch for bubbles in the water and keep an eye out for dark figures underwater. We also watch for turtles and anything else that may be in the water with us. In fact, this is one of the things learned when you take lessons. No kiter wants to run into/over anything on the water, especially a scuba diver.

I hope the next time you are on the island, you pass by Atlantis and get to know some of the local kiters. We are nice people for the most part. You may find that simply getting to know what the sport is all about will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable when you choose to dive near Atlantis, rather than another site further away from the kite action.

03-11-2013, 10:10 PM
lotsa dive sites on bon. If the kiters are around Atlantis and the sites adjacent I just go elsewhere. I believe one of my missions on bon is to avoid things that might interfere with our enjoyment - injury or aggravation are at the top of the list of things to be avoided.

I either skip those sites, go when it is not windy, or go early. Kiters are not generally an early-rising bunch. If you get out of the water before about 0900-0930 you're usually ok.

03-12-2013, 02:19 PM
With this I agree, it would be unfair to paint all kiters with a broad brush based on an encounter with one individual. However, the day will come when some unlucky diver surfaces at exactly the wrong moment in the path of a kiteboarder and no matter how diligent in scanning the water it will be too late to make a correction. Wouldn't the simple solution be for all kiteboarders to simply follow the rules as established by Stinapa and stay in the dark water????

03-12-2013, 04:11 PM
We all have to learn to play nicely with each other. The Bonaire National Marine Park is a shared multi-use resource and STINAPA is clear that they're managing it with that in mind. The ocean is big enough to make room for both divers and kite surfers. Kite surfers should be observant and avoid divers when they see them in the water. Divers should do the same with kite surfers. If either party can see each other, someone should be able to move out of the way. As Brad posted earlier, kite surfers can be easily avoided altogether by diving elsewhere on the island.

A couple of the previous posts mention rules requiring kite surfers to remain in the blue water. This is new to me and I couldn't find anything about it on the STINAPA BNMP web site. The STINAPA BNMP Rules & Regulations page (http://www.bmp.org/rulesandregulations.html) only says that kite surfing is prohibited on Lac, and the BMP Activities page (http://www.bmp.org/activities-2.html#kitesurfing) says the following:

"Bonaire’s calm waters make kite surfing popular for beginners. The kite surfers have made a part of Peliké, in the South, off the dive site Atlantis, their preferred site since kite surfing was banned from Lac. When kite surfers enter or exit the water it is very important to avoid collision with SCUBA divers who may be ascending. The best way to see if someone is SCUBA diving in your area is by paying attention to their bubbles, which flatten the surface of the water in a circular area. We recommend that SCUBA divers hold a fin out of the water before they stick their head up. Please look out for a fin (or a head) sticking out of the water and change your course immediately."

If it matters (I don't think it does) I'm a scuba diver who thinks kite surfers have just as much right to this stretch of ocean as I do. The world is about as big as it's going to get. I wish I could say the same for human population and demand for access to natural resources like this.

03-12-2013, 07:40 PM
WWGuy has it right. We all need to share the resources on dushi Bonaire. The key is to be respectful of each other when we use them. And that goes BOTH ways. (And I also cannot find any written documentation to deny kiters access to the light blue water.) Common sense goes a long way, too.

Kiters are limited to Atlantis as an entry/exit point for kitesurfing. We can't use Lac, as it is the exclusive domain of windsurfers. Atlantis is it. That's all. Nothing more. We don't have much choice in the matter.

Meanwhile, divers have over 60+ marked dive sites (plus many more on Klein Bonaire) and numerous unmarked sites to choose from. It seems strange that, when the wind is blowing and there are kites on the water, a diver would insist on diving anywhere near Atlantis. Especially when there are so many other great sites in other places. I promise...nobody is hiding super awesome sea life or corals between Red Beryl and Vista Blue...really, I promise. ;) The reef along that stretch is surprisingly similar to other reefs further away from Atlantis. So if you are uncomfortable sharing resources near Atlantis, why not select a dive site someplace else so you can relax during your final safety stop and exit? After all, we all recreate on Bonaire to chill out and relax, don't we? Why purposely make it stressful for yourself?

I only offer this in the spirit of "let's all get along" and I certainly don't mean to turn this into a kiters vs. divers drama. Just the opposite...I simply hoped that offering a kiter's point of view would provide an alternative framework for thinking about this situation.

03-15-2013, 04:27 PM
Where the "dark water" rule came from? Kiters care about their safety as well as divers. The close to shore the better. Let's face it, there are a lot of good places for divers around Bonaire, and the only one for kiters. If you want to dive around kiters - take a responsibility and understand that no one owes you anything.