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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    6

    Default Bonaire Newbie, compared to Cozumel Diving and conditions?

    Me, my wife and my 20 year old son are planning our first trip to Bonaire in mid August.
    We have dove in Cozumel 3 times in the past 12 years. Once before the 2005 Hurricane
    with the latest being last summer. I'm 53 in fair shape but have had lower back surgery
    15 years ago, so the boat/drift diving Cozumel suited me well. We would dive 2 to 3 times a day.
    Question is how much more taxing is shore diving, I can somewhat picture walking in and out
    at sites (which will take the most energy) but what about the swim out to the start of the dive and back?
    Substantial? or not so much. Outside of a sand pit diving I have only drifted. Is this going to take a lot out of me?
    I know there was a hurricane in 2008 is there still damaged coral in the shallow area's? what percent of coral
    has seen bleaching? Cozumel diving since there hurricane has been not so good 35 ft and shallower.
    Going in mid August will I run into problems with potential storms and un-diveable conditions?
    Which dive sites have the best coral formations and which areas should I avoid if looking for nice coral.
    If anyone can help me compare Cozumel's diving to Bonaire's that would be helpful.
    Thanks to any input and experience anyone can provide.

    Oakley

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Posts
    108

    Default

    You've asked a lot of questions. I can attempt to address a few. First, you will probably not notice any effects left over from 2008. We were there a couple weeks after Omar and things were pretty stirred up but the reefs have recovered nicely. Bonaire is far enough south that hurricanes don't normally affect the island. However, every once in a while the swell from a storm will make it to Bonaire and cause some damage. So don't worry about August being un-diveable. The rest of your answers are in the "it depends" category. There is a wide variety of shore diving. The entries run the gamut from very easy to challenging. There are sites where there is basically no surface swim out (along the road by town Bari, Something Special, Yellow Submarine, etc.), and there are sites where you conserve a lot of air by swimming some distance out to a buoy before descending (many of the double reef sites heading south). You can find drift dives from shore, but that means a short hike to stage the vehicle or get back to it. There are also opportunities for boat dives. You might well avail yourself of some of these, especially if you want to do 1000 steps or Karpata, which require schlepping gear down and up stairs). Since you have never bene to Bonaire before, you should consider doing some boat dives over on Klein Bonaire. As for how taxing the diving is, that is also up to you. If you go out and swim into any current, then return with the current behind you, most dives sort of run themselves. As far as coral, the good news is that most sites offer good terrain and life -- that is the benefit of diving in a big marine park. In general, hard corals tend to be more north and the southern dives tend to be more soft coral. Since I don't know your condition, it is hard to give absolutes. In general the diving isn't all that difficult, but it is what you make it. You should probably talk to the folks at whatever dive operation you use and they can point you in the right direction. One thing I'd recommend, no matter what is getting a pair of dive booties with a good sole. Some of the sites have a slippery entry and there are also urchins in some places. When you walk in, you have the choice of donning your gear first (the tailgate of the truck is very good for this) and wearing it all in, or floating your BC and tank along with you and putting it on in the water when you get out a little ways. My wife does the latter, as she has back issues (I carry her BC/tank in for her). It depends on your comfort level.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    bonaire
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Hi Oakley, can you please email me at ebbyjules@msn.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    103

    Default

    Get a copy of Susan Porter's book Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy
    http://bsdme.infobonaire.com
    She gives very detailed info.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    6

    Default

    thank you for the information I also got the book coming, anymore on dive site conditions and what not to miss

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Port St Lucie, FL
    Posts
    323

    Default

    Where are you staying and do you plan to do any boat dives? I've been going to Bonaire for 30 years and over time done less and less shore dives away from Habitat where we usually stay--bad back etc. In my view, do some shore diving where easy entries can be found and also wherever you stay plus do some boat dives where shore diving is impractical or not possible--Klein Bonaire and some of the northern sites. I really like the shallow white sand, staghorn coral and gorgonions of many sites on Klein--the top of the reef slope--we usually see turtles and squid there. We and a group are doing 2 weeks in the middle of August, 2016.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Port St Lucie, FL
    Posts
    323

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    Something I should have added above... You will almost certainly get more time in the water diving Bonaire. We were on Cozumel in February and I was reminded of the long boat trips and basically all day to do 2 dives or maybe 3 dives on fast boats. Our dives were great,but jeez after dropping off divers various places; we didn't get back until 3pm! On Bonaire--we have done 2 shore dives BEFORE the boat leaves! The boat trips on Bonaire are mostly 1 tank with a 15-25 minute run to a dive site. Habitat does 3 single tank boat trips a day, other dive ops probably are similar.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    59

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    Where are you staying? The best way to get your feet wet so to speak with shore diving on your own is at a house reef where you are staying.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    6

    Default boat dives

    Quote Originally Posted by tkaelin View Post
    Where are you staying? The best way to get your feet wet so to speak with shore diving on your own is at a house reef where you are staying.
    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    59

    Default

    Buddy Dive has a good house reef and Capt Don's is next door with two good house reefs. You can hit all three from Buddys. Never have stayed at Buddys or Capt Dons but have done my diving 4x thru Capt Dons. One nice thing about doing boat dives with Capt Dons is they have three one tank boat dives a day. I think 8:30, 11:00 and 2 PM or something like that. The nice thing is they post the dives sites they are going to the day before on a schedule chalk board. If you see one you like, you write in your diver number. If you change your mind, you erase your number. That simple. You can sign up the day before and then change your mind because of the weather, how you feel or whatever. You can literally take your number of just before the boat leaves and no problem. It gives you greater flexibility in picking which boats, times and sites you want to hit. It works great and I wish more ops did this. We have had times where we saw an empty boat to a good site and signed up and then changed our mind when the boat was full. Conversely we have signed up last minute for a dive when we saw the boat empty. Another thing to note is to explore the option of something other than the standard package. We have signed up for unlimited shore diving for 6 days but signed up for something less than the standard 6 boat dives. On some trips we wanted some but not one every day so we were able to book less. Also ask if you can share the total boat dives the three of you sign up for. You may all take the amount you sign up for but sometimes it works out that one wants to do more and one wants to do less. Some ops will let you distribute the total booked among you. Some may not. Worth asking.
    Last edited by tkaelin; 05-23-2016 at 07:18 PM.

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