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Thread: Looking for a new snorkel and dive spot

  1. #1
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    Arrow Looking for a new snorkel and dive spot

    From Lorimich

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    Hi everyone!

    We are looking forward to our 6th trip to Bonaire, and with this trip comes a desire to find new places and people to snorkel and dive with. We usually vaca in March, but with schedule demands, we now have to go in April. WE have some friends who do not dive so we would like to find a spot where its decent for snorkelers, newbie divers and a 77yr old. We've been to these spots thus far: Bari, buddy dive, cliff, Andrea ll, all the spots downtown, salt pier, windsock, vista blue, the rock, Alice and Klein.

    thanks!
    ~L
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  2. #2
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    answer from Cockwheat

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    I’ve only dived these sites, so haven’t paid too much attention to the depth, but I love the shallows at Tolo (north), Yellow Hut and Soft Coral Garden (both south). There’s a big step or two down to the beach at Tolo, but I think your 77 y/o could manage. The Soft Coral Garden entry is very rocky walking out “fin putting on” depth, but my perspective is from wearing dive gear. Should be easy with just your mask and fins. Hopefully others will chime in on whether these indeed are good snorkel spots.
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  3. #3
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    reply from Lorimich

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    yes, thanks! We will be ditching the snorkelers for our morning or later afternoon dives!
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  4. #4
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    This query is going on two threads, but I will only answer once. I assume that you have an active 77-yr old (go for it!!) and will recommend Karpata for the combination. There are about a dozen steps, but the entry is easy since you hang on to the right side of the concrete slab as you walk out. It is easy in snorkel gear. Everyone could snorkel before the divers head out by themselves. Only drawback is the long return drive.

  5. #5
    BostonDavid is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    I feel obliged to snort at the idea of a 77-year-old being particularly fragile or incapable just based on age. Individuals vary greatly, of course - and that's my point. I think we do a person an injustice simply categorizing her/him by attained age. Speaking for myself, I've never been particularly athletic, but I've never been a couch potato either. I don't expect that snorkeling on Bonaire at age 85 will be significantly more challenging than it was on my first visit, when I was 59. Launching off the concrete pad at Karpata has always required one to be thoughtful about timing waves, but I don't anticipate any more problem now than it was in the past.

    One exception is that I'll have to be careful about swimming against strong current, but this is less about my age than it is about using a new one-piece snorkel and mask combination, which doesn't allow as much oxygen replacement as a standard mask and snorkel. You are are warned not to exert yourself when using the one-piece combo. I don't think this will be a great limitation, though. The only place I ran into strong current on Bonaire was at the old Bon Oil site, north of the scientific area. Difficult because you had to return against the current, but quite lush. One of my favorites before it was closed for security reasons.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ModRoy View Post
    From Lorimich
    The only draw back to these dive sites up North is the long drive back. I would suggest taking a lunch and plenty of water. Spend the entire day out there snorkeling or diving or both. Agreed.....age is not a limit. Just a number.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suuntodiver View Post
    The only draw back to these dive sites up North is the long drive back. I would suggest taking a lunch and plenty of water. Spend the entire day out there snorkeling or diving or both. Agreed.....age is not a limit. Just a number.
    Stop for a beer in Rincon, don't consider it to be a drawback

  8. #8
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    Default Snorkel sites

    Quote Originally Posted by ModRoy View Post
    From Lorimich
    We have been to Bonaire about 17 times and now come each year for 5 weeks. We don't dive, only snorkel. You have snorkeled and realize most of the shore is rocky uneven coral. I'd suggest the new people not get the "full foot" fins normally sold for snorkeling. You want something on your feet when getting in the water.

    Get some dive booties and rear entry fins with ankle straps. Some people get by with simple water socks instead of booties.

    I'll go through some of the sites we like, and some we don't like.

    Karpata was recommended. It's a great site and not too bad of an entry. We hear it's a bit more eroded before getting onto the concrete platform. It can get rough, and don't go in if the waves and wind are up. Only go to the left against the current. It's better looking that way and you don't have to struggle getting back. The surface current on the island is usually going from left to right from any entry point. Always swim one way and then reverse to get a feel for the current.

    To get to Karpata you have to go on a one way road starting a bit after 1000 steps (after driving through a wall marked with the Karpata sign). Many people either don't understand or don't care it is one way and it is not unusual to find people coming the wrong way. After swimming at Karpata it's nice to drive through Goto Meer and continue to Rincon. Stop for homemade icecream at Priskas on Kaya Kubomber. (Turn right onto Kucomber one block North of the gas station. It's the last house on the left with no sign, but a window with a wooden serving platform.)

    On the North side, 1000 steps is decent and relatively easy to get in. We are in Bonaire now and small turtles have been seen in the surf to the left. You can return to town from 1000 steps w/o the one way road issue.

    We don't like snorkeling the stretch from oil slick to before 1000 steps. Coral and fish not that interesting. Oil slick is the easiest to enter from a dock and ladder, but relatively poor snorkeling.

    We don't like the Andreas either. They are easy to enter, but much of the coral was smashed up and died after one of the hurricanes.

    Cliff is good and OK to enter if calm. Enter near Dive Friends. When you leave, note the underwater drain pipe. On the return follow it in. If you are comfortable snorkeling try to make it to Captain Don's dock. There are often big tarpon under the dock or just south of it. The Dive friends entrance is narrow; wait until it doesn't have people near it to use it.

    You have been to Bari's. It's easy to enter and the broken concrete has lots of fish. There is usually little current and is the one area we go to the right after we get in. Beyond Bari's there is another dock and beyond that a reef in front of Sand Dollar. This is usually an easy and good snorkel even when many other areas have heavy waves.

    In our opinion most of the dive areas near the Salt pier are only OK to poor. (Both entry and what you see)

    Tori's reef is an exception. Tori's entrance is via the salt water intake channel. It's usually sheltered and easy to enter. It often has little current, again flowing left to right. Usually the current is not strong and you can go either direction. The coral is not fantastic. There are always plenty of fish in shallow water and close up to you. They hang out under the ledge along shore. We don't often see an octopus, but have seen more at Tori's than anywhere else. I would recommend Tori's as a first snorkel for a new person.

    If you are at Tori's in the late afternoon, swim into the deep water and watch for eagle rays in the sand.

    The whole South shore from White Slave to Red Slave is good snorkeling IF THE WIND IS CALM. It's a bit more difficult to get in, but worth it. Again swim to the left and avoid the kite sailing area. White Slave has some unique and interesting rock and coral, but can be more difficult to enter.

    If the roads aren't too bad and you have a high clearance vehicle, you can drive beyond BOPEC (right just before the fence and after the Goto Meer turn) to the fisherman's hut. It's the end of the road with an easy entrance from a beach and a good snorkel.

    I'd recommend the drift snorkel at Klein from the water taxi. It leaves from Eden Beach to No Name. You drop off towels, snacks, etc at No Name, get back on the boat and then jump in on the way back. It's a really great snorkel and easy, but you have to be comfortable in the water. You can't get back to land for about 45 minutes. You drift along beautiful coral and many fish.

    One final recommendation is to book a Woodwind trip for the day before you leave. It is a popular trip and book early. The divers can't dive the day before flying. They can join the whole group to snorkel and relax. Woodwind's "long" trip brings you to three sites, one often has turtles. You are on a catamaran having drinks and later lunch. They split into groups according to skill and experience and a guide goes with each group. You can find further reviews on Bonaire Talk.

    Have fun!

    Tom and Lydia

  9. #9
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    We've been coming to Bonaire as snorkelers only for 18+ years and have to agree completely with Tom and Lydia's post! Only additions might be Salt Pier (because of the different type of seascape), and the reefs in front of Harbor (up to the marina entrance) and in front of Plaza to the marina entrance for the variety of fish, the artificial reefs, and coral restoration works.

    Can't say enough about Woodwind! Also consider Renee's Snorkel Trips for great guided snorkels.

    Tom T

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hallerdodd View Post
    We have been to Bonaire about 17 times and now come each year for 5 weeks. We don't dive, only snorkel.

    I'd recommend the drift snorkel at Klein from the water taxi. It leaves from Eden Beach to No Name. You drop off towels, snacks, etc at No Name, get back on the boat and then jump in on the way back. It's a really great snorkel and easy, but you have to be comfortable in the water. You can't get back to land for about 45 minutes. You drift along beautiful coral and many fish.

    Have fun!

    Tom and Lydia
    Update on the Klein drift snorkel: It is not available on days when a cruise ship is in. The water taxi will only drop you off at No Name Beach. You then have to walk along the water to a yellow pole that marks the entrance and do a drift snorkel back to No Name.
    Last edited by ModRoy; 02-28-2018 at 06:10 PM. Reason: no need to quote the whole post

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