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Thread: Bonaire Newbie, compared to Cozumel Diving and conditions?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakley37 View Post
    we are thinking of staying at dive buddy and getting there unlimited shore and 6 boat dives, kind of worried the boat dives will not hit the best spots.
    Buddy runs two tank boats in the mornings and then one tank boats in the afternoon, I think. If you do one morning to Klein Bonaire, which you can only do by boat, and one morning to 1000 steps and Karpata, both of which can be taxing from shore, you will have done 4 good dives already that you might not otherwise do. Buddy used to run a trip up farther north into the park. You probably wouldn't do those wither without the boat, but that trip takes longer. I guess the bottom line is that you are unlikely to go to bad spots on the boat and getting in and out will be pretty easy. However, you may have several dive buddies, though if there is something to see, like a frogfish or seahorse, guides that might know where they are are built in to the boat dives. For a person's first trip to Bonaire, I think the boat dives are a good thing to do.

  2. #12
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    thanks to both tkaelin and antennaridae for your thoughts, looks like the 6 boat dives for me and my son from buddy dive is running me around $20 - $23 per person per dive
    I guess if we like them a lot we can add some more after a few days doing both boat and shore dives... like one of you said it's probably a good idea to try both and see what fits us.
    just got the book in the mail (bonaire shore diving made easy) what are like 5 dives we should not miss (best in your opinion's) Anyone.....

  3. #13
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    If you search the forum, you'll find a thread or two about favorite dive sites. A lot depends on personal preference but I would answer the question a bit more generally by saying you should try to experience the variety of what Bonaire has to offer. I'll add our favorite spots in the list:

    1. Do a dive along Bari reef somewhere -- Buddy is along this stretch so that one is built in for you. I'd also recommend Something Special, or Yellow Submarine as they are similar and the entry is really easy. This stretch is a good place to night dive. We used to like Front Porch/Bari but haven't experienced it since CoCo Beach opened there . . .
    2. Go up north: Karpata is very nice, but the entry can be a bit challenging. Good candidate for a boat dive if you are concerned. When we go north, we normally do Weber's Joy or Tolo, then Karpata. Note that the road along the shore going north turns one-way after a certain point so you are committed to a long(ish) return ride (unless you are one of the people who ignore the one-way restriction and put everyone else's lives at risk by driving back the wrong way (I've seen this every trip the last three trips. VERY dangerous!!!!!!!!)). If you are adventurous, you can go around the oil plant to Nukove or Candyland -- these are more "advanced" dives due to the entry and require a time investment to get there and back -- I'd love to go back up there, but not sure my wife would be able to do it, especially if the swells are up.
    3. Double reef system. Heading south there is a double reef system and the outer reef is very nice. There is a sand channel between the two reefs that can be narrow or quite wide. Invisibles is one of our favorite sites there as the second reef is fairly easy to access. Alice in Wonderland and Angel City are also nice, though the second reef is a bit farther off shore there. At Aquarius, the second reef is pretty deep.
    4. If you like wrecks -- do the Hilma Hooker. Easy to get to from shore. Not really my cup of tea, but if you want wrecks, this is what Bonaire has to offer on standard SCUBA.
    5. Salt Pier -- apparently the restrictions about diving there have either been relaxed or they are no longer enforced. UNLESS there is a ship docked there.
    6. Go farther south: Lots of good dives. you can drive along the road and gauge the surf as you go farther south. We like Margate Bay a lot. And Sweet Dreams and Vista Blue. HOWEVER, three has been a lot more kite board activity along this stretch the last couple years so be careful!

  4. #14
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    and I forgot to mention again that you should make the trip over to Klein to dive there for a couple dives . . .

  5. #15
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    Got to concur with froggie on the list and the other suggestions. If you've got six boat dives, hit Klein every time unless they are going up north (Karpata, Rappel, etc.). For five sure-fire shore sites, hit the Bari/Buddy's/Capt Don's/Cliff house reef frequently (including at night), Lake or Angel City for the double reef, Karpata, Margate Bay/Red Beryl/Vista Blue down south, and Oil Slick Leap. I add the last one since the entry is easy (but the exit required climbing a ladder) and we have seen several turtles there. Just watch the entries and go to sites that don't look so rough. Remember that diving in Bonaire is at your pace, your depth, and your time limits. Enjoy.

  6. #16
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    What I better realized on my last trip, it is not only where you dive but when. I have always been reluctant to try Salt Pier but we dove it late afternoon with the sun low on the horizon. The lighting from the sun/light while approaching the pilings was beautiful (not to mention all the turtles we came across in the shallows on the way in). We loved the dive. The same with Windsock but did this closer to sunset. We came back to the shallows after our dive and watched the sun sink below the horizon. The beach and dive site was empty - all to ourselves. Again a dive a might not have picked otherwise but beautiful around sunset. I always do a nite-sunrise dive on the house reef. Like a night dive but you get to watch the light increase with sunrise and watch the reef "wake-up". Suit up while dark with the time/plan of the sunrising while under. Enjoy!

  7. #17
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Another tip not previously mentioned ... when diving south or east coast, don't assume you have to exit at the same point you enter ... many nice drift dives when the current is working ... just enter, say at Larry's Lair and go with the current (if present) north and walk out at/near Aquarius (or vice versa) ... leave your gear and divers at the exit, walk 1/4 mile back to your truck and drive to the exit to retrieve divers & gear ... you get to see more reef and don't have to worry about relocating the exit ... there are some really nice drifts from Red Beryl to Margate Bay on the south and from La Dania's Leap to Karpata on the north ... enjoy
    KOB
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  8. #18
    DSearle is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    My personal favorites (from North to South): Playa Frans, Karpata (or La Dania's to Karpata drift), Bari, Something Special, Angel City or Alice in Wonderland (or in-between), Salt Pier, Fish Hut, Chocogo. As I was making this list, I noticed that it's really impossible to make this list. Also my list probably unduly favors the southern sites, because that's where I live, so it's easy.

  9. #19
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    Default Kob going about diving when shore diving in bonaire...

    Quote Originally Posted by kob View Post
    Another tip not previously mentioned ... when diving south or east coast, don't assume you have to exit at the same point you enter ... many nice drift dives when the current is working ... just enter, say at Larry's Lair and go with the current (if present) north and walk out at/near Aquarius (or vice versa) ... leave your gear and divers at the exit, walk 1/4 mile back to your truck and drive to the exit to retrieve divers & gear ... you get to see more reef and don't have to worry about relocating the exit ... there are some really nice drifts from Red Beryl to Margate Bay on the south and from La Dania's Leap to Karpata on the north ... enjoy
    Wondering from your post about drift diving and getting back to your truck. How many of these dive sites do you immediately submerge and stay under water until your about to shore on your exit.
    Or another way of saying it is how much swim time on the surface is there on a typical shore dive.
    thanks

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakley37 View Post
    Wondering from your post about drift diving and getting back to your truck. How many of these dive sites do you immediately submerge and stay under water until your about to shore on your exit.
    Or another way of saying it is how much swim time on the surface is there on a typical shore dive.
    thanks
    On most dives you can submerge almost immediately. However you may have a bit of a swim over a sandy bottom before you reach the reef. This is more true South than North. The surface swim is more to get you to the reef without burning up air and to get you to a point of reference (the buoy) at the top of the reef. We almost always swim back in all the way to shore at the end of the dive . . .

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