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Thread: Dive Friends vs Bruce Bowker at Caribbean Inn

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    Kdleeskis2 is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Default Dive Friends vs Bruce Bowker at Caribbean Inn

    Was thinking of diving with Bruce , renting tracks and equip...instead of Dive Friends. More choose effective. Anyone have an opinion of which is better. BB was rec'd by a friend who has been to Bonaire 8 times. Thx!

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    Cornhusker is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    cannot go wrong with either---if I have any equipment issue Bruce is the man on Bonaire who I trust to make repairs hands down. We rent a house up north so we use Dive Friends just for ease of picking up/dropping off tanks, so depending on where you staying should have some impact to your choice. Again, cannot go wrong with either of them as both very good operators. Last year we decided to try 100's and only place I found them were at VIP diving and another really great dive operations and very close to Bruce.

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    Has anyone tried Divi Dive? We stay at the Divi Flamingo and used the Divi Dive for the last 17 years now. Serge and his staff are the best. For us they are very professional and their boats are fantastic too. Go on their website and check it out.

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    For our last three trips to Bonaire we sayed with Bruce, and we will be saying with him for our next. We have been very happy with both the resort and the dive operation.

    I will note that Bruce does not have nitrox. And for picking up tanks for shore diving location is the only thing I would consider. A tank is a tank.

    For boat diving Bruce is different from everyone else. One tank trips. No time limit, 90 minute dives are not unusual. The boat is a small open boat and you back roll in. A second line is tied to the mooring pin as the boat captain goes in the water with you as the guide.

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    Kdleeskis2 is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Quote Originally Posted by cneal View Post
    For our last three trips to Bonaire we sayed with Bruce, and we will be saying with him for our next. We have been very happy with both the resort and the dive operation.

    I will note that Bruce does not have nitrox. And for picking up tanks for shore diving location is the only thing I would consider. A tank is a tank.



    For boat diving Bruce is different from everyone else. One tank trips. No time limit, 90 minute dives are not unusual. The boat is a small open boat and you back roll in. A second line is tied to the mooring pin as the boat captain goes in the water with you as the guide.
    We are staying at Courtyard. Some of us are nitrox certified(my husband and i) , but the other three are not. How close is Carib Inn to Marriott? We like to shore dive and did so on Curacao. It's it worth it to boat dive on Bonaire?? Thx, all!!

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    Dive Friends is on site at the Courtyard. I would think it most convenient to use them. Carib Inn is like a 2 minute drive if you really prefer to use Bruce.

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    Kdleeskis2 is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Ok. Thanks! Karen

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    DSearle is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kdleeskis2 View Post
    We are staying at Courtyard. Some of us are nitrox certified(my husband and i) , but the other three are not. How close is Carib Inn to Marriott? We like to shore dive and did so on Curacao. It's it worth it to boat dive on Bonaire?? Thx, all!!
    Dive Friends is on site at Courtyard-- new, full service facility. They also have five other locations, so relatively convenient for picking up tanks. Boat diving is available from the dock at the Courtyard Dive Friends Shop. Carib Inn is owned and operated by Bruce Bowker, who's been a dive instructor in Bonaire since 1973. If you need some gear fixed, everyone in Bonaire would tell you to take it to Bruce. Both of these operations get 85% 5-star ratings on TripAdvisor. Carib Inn doesn't offer nitrox, which is available for no extra charge at Dive Friends. According to Google maps, it's a fifteen minute walk from Courtyard to Carib (0.8 miles). To minimize gear-lugging, Dive Friends shops are all designed to facilitate drive-up service; Carib, a little less so.

    Of the 63 officially marked dive sites on the main island of Bonaire, 54 are accessible from the shore (53 if you don't count La Dania's Leap). In addition to these, one guidebook lists 15 additional unofficial sites, all accessible from shore. By the way, I also recommend Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy by Susan Porter. These guides are readily available for purchase all over Bonaire. There are 23 more official sites around Klein Bonaire (the little island just off the west coast), which are only accessible by boat.

    Advantages of boat diving: access to sites unavailable from shore, knowledgeable professional guides, departure from hotel, very little gear-lugging, easy water entry/exit, meeting friends on the boat.
    Disadvantages of boat diving: a little extra cost (a two-tank boat dive will add $56 dollars to your unlimited shore-dive package at Dive Friends), scheduled departure, shortened bottom times, meeting friends on the boat.
    Advantages of shore diving: freedom of schedule, extended bottom times, choose your own friends, slightly reduced cost (about $50/day to rent the little pick-up you need), no guide, see more of the island.
    Disadvantages of shore diving: slightly more gear-lugging, potentially tricky entry/exit (sites vary), no guide (it's possible to get a guide for shore diving if you'd like one).

    Personally, I like the freedom of shore diving. I go when I want, where I want, and with whom I want. You do need a boat to get to certain sites, so if you're here for a week, I'd recommend one two-tank boat dive to someplace you can't get to by car (e.g. Klein Bonaire).

    Doug Searle, Bonaire Help Desk

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    You already got a lot of great advice. DFB will be the most convenient - remember to rent a car or pickup. They run boats to Klein most weekdays and Sunday. They run a boat to some north west sites you cant't access from shore Saturdays and I think Wednesdays.

    Don't forget to book a boat trip with East Coast Divers - they have 2 tank morning and high season afternoon dives outside of Lac Bay near Sorobon. Awesome trip, very organized, lots of turtles and eagle rays. www.bonaireeastcoastdiving.com

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    Kdleeskis2 is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Default Thanks avmnd diving Klein, plus....

    Doug and Cornhusker, et al ...
    You've been a great help. We've chosen Caribe Inn add Bruce because we can get a boat to ourselves and His prices are more reasonable and finally, because wet have a truck for our gear. We are excited to be diving again. And to be on Bonaire in less than a week. Thank you so very much!! Is there a particular dive off Klein that you would recommend?? and another boat dive?? We will be doing at least one boat dive if not more. Grazi, Danke!! Karen

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