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Thread: Diving Bari Reef

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Default Diving Bari Reef

    My wife and I are returning to Bonaire in about 5 weeks for our third trip. The previous two trips we used BDA and while we never had any real issues, we liked all the divemasters except one whose name I never knew, but I always found the office staff to border on being rude. And after reading some pretty uncomplimentary reviews about BDA since we were last on Bonaire and doing a lot of research on lodging options we decided to stay at Villa Safir this time, which I believe uses Div'Ocean for rental gear and tanks. My question is are there any restrictions on who can use the dock at Den Laman/BDA/Sand Dollar for diving? Can anyone just carry their gear out to the dock, suit up and jump in?

  2. #2
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    In my experience they do NOT like that at all.. However you can ask at Buddy Dive at the dive shop and they are always very nice.. we love that dive..

    Or there is a beach entrance to the South of Den Laman that you can use as well but please do stay off the dock.. I believe it is for BDA ONLY ...
    Freddie




    When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the information.

  4. #4
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    The "First State" Delaware
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    Use the beach entry at the old Sunset Beach hotel off the traffic circle (where the Bari Reef rock was located last time we were on island) and avoid the whole problem.

  5. #5
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    The dock leased by BDA is really nice. Much nicer than Buddy's or Captain Don's. Its easy to get to as well. BDA has to pay to lease the dock. Most other dive firms that have a dock, Buddy's, Captain Don's, etc. openly post information about charging a fee to use their docks.

    It seems like half of the issues with BDA stem from non-customers trying to use their dock. BDA offers such a great deal with their packages and free nitrox, I don't see why people who don't stay at Den Lamen don't also use BDA.

  6. #6
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    My wife and I have stayed at DENLAMAN a couple times in the past and our experience with BDA is that you are only allowed to use the dock if you are staying at Sandollar/Denlaman. Access to Bari reef is therefore only available just south as a beach entry. Using the rinse tanks and shower was also only exclusive to guests of the above mentioned. Since our last trip over a year ago, there was a large locked gate at the dock which was never there before, to be used by guests only. Hope this helps. We will be back in April for two weeks, staying at Bamboo Bali.

  7. #7
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    the only resort that I am aware of that charges is Capt Don's.. and that is 5 dollars a day.. Unless Buddy's has changed their policy this year they do not charge.. you just have to be polite and ask first.. also at Buddy;s you can drop your gear up near the steps to the dive op but you MUST park elsewhere..
    Freddie




    When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

  8. #8
    wwguy's Avatar
    wwguy is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Quote Originally Posted by divezonescuba View Post
    BDA offers such a great deal with their packages and free nitrox, I don't see why people who don't stay at Den Lamen don't also use BDA.
    BDA charges more for dive services than Dive Friends Bonaire, Buddy Dive, or Wannadive. (Feel free to check my math via their respective web sites.) Only Divi and Captain Don's Habitat charge more than BDA for shore and/or boat diving with nitrox. Habitat charges a "facility fee" for non-guests to dive from their dock, but DFB and Buddy Dive do not. DFB, Buddy Dive, and Wannadive all offer multiple locations. You can sign up and pay at one location and use the facilities and amenities at any of their locations. BDA only has this one location.

    Even if public access to the BDA dock were permissible and free, its a shorter walk to enter Bari from the public access point adjacent to Den Leman than it is to park in Den Leman's lot and walk to the BDA dock. The public entry to Bari is one of the easiest shore entries on the island.

    It's no coincidence that DFB recently opened a shop next door at Sand Dollar. They offer amenities, rates, and service level that BDA doesn't. One thing you won't read much of in the internet forums are posts about Sand Dollar owners and guests complaining about having DFB as an alternative to BDA. Complaints about BDA are nothing new.

    I don't have anything personal against BDA. But I respectfully disagree with the assertion that they offer great deals or convenience for divers not staying at Den Laman.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2014
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    We had a diver who stayed at Divi Flamingo with us late December / early January. He had no difficulty booking with DBA and using their dock. They also don't charge extra for using 32% nitrox unlike a number of the other shops. Another thing that we noted is that some of the shop charge different rates depending on whether or not you stay at their associated facility.

    When you go through the briefing with DBA, they give you the combinations to the locks on the pier gate and to all of the tank storage areas both in the parking lot and on the dock. That means you can pretty much use the dock whenever you want.

    One of the people in our group broke their BCD. We went to Buddy's to rent him one. Our experience with them was not pleasant after they found out that we were not guests there. In fact, the woman at the desk told the diver if they didn't get their low end BCD back, that they would replace it with the most expensive one they could find and that they would also have a really good dinner on him. Her tone indicated that she wasn't joking either. That pretty much convinced us that we didn't want to have anything to do with them.

    On the other hand, another person in our group lost their fins when their luggage went to Amsterdam rather than Bonaire. BDA let him use fins without charge until he was able to recover his luggage later that week.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by oshendvr View Post
    My wife and I have stayed at DENLAMAN a couple times in the past and our experience with BDA is that you are only allowed to use the dock if you are staying at Sandollar/Denlaman. Access to Bari reef is therefore only available just south as a beach entry. Using the rinse tanks and shower was also only exclusive to guests of the above mentioned. Since our last trip over a year ago, there was a large locked gate at the dock which was never there before, to be used by guests only. Hope this helps. We will be back in April for two weeks, staying at Bamboo Bali.
    Just a clarification on the above info. Divers registered with BDA can use their pier regardless of where they are staying. Staying at Den Laman or Sand Dollar does not automatically entitle you to use BDA's pier. Some divers stay at Den Laman and use DFB. In that case, they can not use the pier, but they can use the easy beach entry at Sand Dollar.

    We have been diving with BDA for our last three trips, and we find the service, professionalism, convenience and safety consciousness to be excellent. We like having access to their pier, as I have some mobility issues which make many of the shore diving entries quite difficult. The pier makes set-up, entry and exit a breeze.

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