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Thread: Trip report : July 7th - July 14th

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Default Trip report : July 7th - July 14th

    My wife and I just returned from our 4th trip to Bonaire. Each trip seems to be better than the last, but I'm not sure how that's possible.

    TravelThis is the 2nd trip we have made since moving to Houston. That makes our travel plans a snap. We took the United Friday night redeye without incident and arrived on time. Immigration and gathering our bags took almost no time at all and we were at the resort before we knew it. This year was unusual in that our return flight home was also a breeze. In years past, we have stood in the very long check-in line for what seemed like an eternity. There was almost no line when we arrived (about 5am) and in less than 15 minutes from arriving at the airport, we were at the gate!

    LodgingWe have stayed at Buddy Dive every year we have gone, and this year was no exception. We gave serious thought to staying at Den Laman this year because of how nice and modern the rooms look, but decided to stick with Buddy Dive because of how much we like the dive operations. This was the first year we have stayed on the "Lion's Den" side of the resort and we were in the 700 building. Our room was definitely a bit more outdated than some of the rooms we have stayed in previously, but it was certainly comfortable and spacious. Our room was very close to where some renovations were taking place. We could hear the wet saw cutting up tile from our room, but the resort seemed to be mindful of not starting too early and waking people up. We had Buddy's "Dive and Drive" package, so our rental car came from them as well. No complaints at all and I got exactly what I've come to expect from this resort.

    DivingMy wife has been known to get seasick from time to time, so we have typically done almost all our dives from shore. After taking a nasty fall last year at the Hilma Hooker shoreline, we decided it was time to add some more boat diving in to the mix. My wife didn't have any problems at all with nausea (the boat rides are like 10 minutes after all) and we were really glad to get the chance to see more of Klein and some of the other sites that perhaps we wouldn't have gone to by car. Here are the highlights....

    Oil Slick Leap - Shore dove it. Making the leaping giant stride entry was a blast. This was a great dive and the highlight was 5 very curious Caribbean reef squid that followed us for a bit at the end of the dive. We also saw a very large hawksbill turtle resting against the reef slope. This was the biggest turtle I have ever seen on Bonaire, but I can't recall if she was tagged. Getting out of the water here isn't exactly a picnic, but it wasn't too bad. There IS, however, one step out on that ladder. It makes one of those first few steps up an awfully big one.

    Invisibles - We liked this site so much we shore dove it twice. This was one of the easiest shore entries I've ever had on Bonaire. Just go in right where the yellow "Enter / Exit" rock indicates and you are good to go. This was the first time I have ever seen garden eels! They are in about 20 feet of water, just as all the guide books say. They lie just outside the mooring buoy before you get to the reef slope. The reef itself was gorgeous and it gives you a great chance to see the double-reef system. I also really liked how easy navigation was on this dive thanks to the very large sand channel that bisects the upper reef. It is a bit of a swim out to the mooring buoy, but well worth it. If you've never done this site, put in on your list.

    Knife - Thanks to Bautista, one of the DM's from Buddy Dive, we saw a frogfish, a seahorse and a turtle all in the same dive. This was one of 3 frogfish I saw for the week. I really love the topography of the Klein Bonaire sites. The reef slope seems a bit steeper for the most part and the soft corals are abundant.

    Yellow Submarine - I feel like a broken record, but I'll say it again. I really feel like this dive site is underrated. We dove this site about 3 times this week and it was often a site we would hit on our way back to town from the south. On our last dive, I felt like this site was a French Angel nursery. We saw juvenile French Angels in just about every stage you could imagine. We also ran in to squid on the reef lip while coming back up.

    Something Special - I was kind of bummed when I heard this is where the boat was headed, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This was one of the best dives of the trip. Saw a frogfish here in about 35ft of water and getting to dive the seawall of the harbor on your safety stop was really cool. I saw the biggest bait ball I have ever seen in my life just off the reef in the blue water.

    Other great dives included the Hilma Hooker (by boat this time), Capt. Don's reef and Keepsake. Those Klein sites are just amazing. One odd thing about this year was the visibility. It was worse, by a lot, than any other trip we have made. I felt like there was more algae growth on the reef and there seemed to be a great deal of particulate matter in the water. Even on the really bad days, I think the vis was still 50 ft., so I shouldn't complain, but it was just surprising compared to previous trips.

    Dining

    We ate well on this trip as usual. We prepared a handful of lunches in the room, but we ate dinner out every night.

    Will's - We had never eaten here before, but had always heard good things. It totally lived up to the hype and it was without question the best meal we had on the island.

    Rumba Cafe - This was also a first. The food was really good and was probably the best value of anywhere I ate. The special the night I was there was Mahi Mahi with grilled shrimp, a pesto lime sauce, rice and veggies. $16 bucks! This was also the best service of anywhere we ate all week.

    It Rains Fishes - We had been previously and had a good experience so we went back. Good, not great, but such a beautiful restaurant.

    Paradise Moon - I love this place. The shredded pork tacos are out of this world. I know it seems weird to order tacos while on vacation in the Caribbean but they are solid.

    No Dive DayVisiting the Donkey Sanctuary is a tradition we did not want to break. If you haven't been since they moved, you should really check out their new home. It was nice to visit with the owner and hear about all the great work they are doing. Also - you should visit their website if you aren't aware of the situation with the government and the proposed move of all wild donkeys off the island. I'm pretty sure there is a thread going on this site, but if you aren't familiar with the issue, hit the website of the sanctuary and see their petition to prevent all the wild donkeys from being shipped off to Haiti.

    Cadushy Distillery - This is how we spent Friday afternoon and it was an absolute blast. The owners are very friendly people and talked to us at length about how they make their product and all that goes in to it. My wife and I liked the Cactus variety the best and picked up a few bottles to cope with PBD. I would definitely recommend this spot while you are on the island.


    Many thanks to the BT community for your continued input and insights. Thanks to Buddy Dive and all the staff. You folks are top-notch.

    It was a perfect week on my favorite place on the planet.

  2. #2
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Very nice report ... gave me a bad case of PBD !! Glad we're going back soon !!
    KOB
    PADI CD-159014
    KOBScuba.com
    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

  3. #3
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    Excellent report and in total agreement on the Invisibles just a great dive, check out my report from April, we saw some cool stuff there.
    And Jerry said, Keep it light, Keep it friendly. Post Like Jerry.

  4. #4
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    Also agree on Yellow Subamrine a vastly under rated spot and a great dive.
    And Jerry said, Keep it light, Keep it friendly. Post Like Jerry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Chicago, IL
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    Yes, agree again on Invisibles. That sand channel that splits the reef makes navigation a breeze. A few years back I was solo diving there and saw a southern stingray right at the buoy doing his thing. I watched him for about 5 minutes. Would of watched him longer except a group of 4 divers came into view and then started chasing him. Obviously he could swim faster.


    But anyway, nice trip report. I'll be staying at Buddy Dive beginning of Oct...can't wait to get back.

    Jason

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Thanks for the report, the wife and I will be there for the first time next week.
    Hopefully the vis will have improved a bit.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2012
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    Enjoyed your report. We visited Bonaire in June and noticed less visibility some days.
    We had a few cloudy periods and I think that influenced vis a lot.
    We also enjoyed Rumba very much. Plan to eat there on our next trip.

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