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awright
06-03-2011, 06:12 PM
Howdy,
The missus and I have a scheduled trip to Bonaire this coming September. We are AOW certified with ~25 dives (more to come) in and around the Caribbean. Have gone through Porter's Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy and trying to figure out which sites we should visit.

Ideally we'll be able to meetup or make temporary friends with people who have experience, but right now we're still winnowing down the numerous options. Are there any good planning resources that have dive profiles? We have a good idea of what we like and don't like in our dives, but the possibilities are a bit overwhelming.
Best

Cecil
06-03-2011, 07:23 PM
My advice on site selection is very seat of the pants, I have been burned to many time where I say let's dive Angel City (eg.), we get there and the condition are not ideal and we dive it and are disappointed. I am more inclinded now days to pick a list of close sites and dive the one that looks best. You can tell a lot from shore especially visibility which can detract from a great site. Generally do not worry about current unless you are diving Eden Beach.

This is your first visit and you should make sure you do the Hilma Hooker and Karpata some time during your time.

Profiles are entirely up to you, the wall starts at 30-40' and drops quite deep. We generally go out deep (60-80') and back shallow (30-40') then deco in the sand flats.

kob
06-03-2011, 07:23 PM
Welcome to BT awright -- lots of good info here and everyone will have their suggestions. Mine is to spend some time with Bas Noij & Bas Tol at VIP Diving; they are gurus of Bonaire diving and will help you see more than you can imagine !! :D

There are more dive sites than you'll have time for, but some of the "must do's" would be the Hilma Hooker, Salt Pier, Oil Slick Leap, 1000 Steps, Bari Reef (from Buddy Dive pier is good), Something Special, etc.

It is also great, if you haven't done it, to jump on a boat and do some dives over at Klein.

Have a great visit !! You will soon see why we are so passionate about our island !! :D:D

awright
06-05-2011, 06:25 PM
Thank you Kob & Cecil.
Kob, I'll make sure those are on our short list.
Cecil, is that profile you describe typical of most west-side locations?

I'm thinking that we'll plan most days as two AM dives in one general area, and then drive to center of the island for a mid-day meal, then move to the other side of the island and do a later afternoon dive. Slip in a night dive a couple of times.

Good point on not counting on a specific site or immediate area- we'll probably have primary and backup locations everywhere.

Cheers!

Nick F
06-05-2011, 09:18 PM
When will you be on Bonaire? I'll be on Bonaire Sept 10 to17, second trip. I'm also looking for a few people to dive with. I'm AOW with several other certs. I have over 110 dives, probably be close to 150 by the time I get there. Last year I was able to hook up with about a dozen people thru Bonaire Talk, it was a great week.

DiverVince
06-06-2011, 07:12 AM
I'm thinking that we'll plan most days as two AM dives in one general area, and then drive to center of the island for a mid-day meal, then move to the other side of the island and do a later afternoon dive. Slip in a night dive a couple of times.
!

The amount of shorediving sites on Bonaire will make your head spin. Most of the diving takes place on the lee side of the island which faces west. Generally the reef drop off is a bit closer to shore on the sites north of town, however the southern sites have the wreck Hilma Hooker ansd also the fabulous double reef system on many of the sites. BSDME is a good place to start. Another site you may want to check out is :
http://www.shorediving.com/Earth/ABC/index.htm

However nothing takes the place of personal experience in diving Bonaire. And as far as the night diving, yes do experience it, but personally my favorite is the 06:00 early am dive right before the sunrises.;)

awright
06-06-2011, 06:07 PM
Sorry Nick, we'll be there from 9/3-9/10, just before you.

Thanks for the site, DiverVince, I've got that bookmarked. I've also been using
http://www.infobonaire.com/divemap.html and
http://www.bonairediveguide.com/
As a way of cross-checking different details about the sites that I read in Porter. Obviously I don't expect conditions and marinelife to be certain, but if multiple places say the samething about a spot, it gives me greater confidence.
From everything I've read, it sounds like the southern half is more our style, specifically on the west side. The warnings about the drive times in the Washington Park are a little off-putting since I'd hate to drive there and find poor conditions. I also am a little fearful that if we have an emergency, it'd be remote.
A dawn dive is on our must-do list for the trip.

Any further suggestions are most certainly appreciated.

Lori
06-06-2011, 07:22 PM
During our last trip, we followed Cecil's "seat of your pants" method and it was our best trip ever. We carry the BSDME book with us and once we were exiting the parking lot for the condo, we looked at the clouds/sun/wind and said, "let's dive south (or north)." We just started stopping at sites until we found one where the conditions were to our liking for the moment. This was a very enjoyable way of shore diving and was a great departure from our usual plan ahead/may be disappointed method. Enjoy your time on the island! :o

Barbara "CB" Gibson
06-06-2011, 07:35 PM
I love to throw three tanks each into the truck and drive north to CandyLand, NuKove, and something else...either TaylorMaid or Nukove twice. It's a long drive, so I like to make a day of it...take my frozen water bottle and a snack so I can take my time. It might seem a little remote compared to the southern sites....maybe go with a couple of the new best friends you'll make at the fill tanks if it gives you some security.

Going south, I'm a fan of Margate Bay. And you shouldn't miss the Hooker, at least once. Be aware that in general, the further south you go, the more current you will encounter.

I can't praise Susan Porter's book enough. I've dived Bonaire a good bit, but BSDME was still a revelation to me!

Oh, and as Cecil and Lori said, there are too many sites on Bonaire to commit to one that looks hinkey...you can always com back and do that one on a day when you like the conditions better.....

kob
06-06-2011, 08:47 PM
If you can, take the time to dive Cai. It's a funky entry inside the bay with a bit of a swim out to the windward side reef, but you will not be disappointed. Shortly after you drop over reef, you will begin to be greeted by more 4 ft. - 5+ ft tarpon than you can count. You can swim with them in a big school. Never fails. We do this dive every trip to Bonaire. You also have a high probability of seeing several spotted eagle rays on this dive.

Barbara "CB" Gibson
06-06-2011, 09:41 PM
kob, I've never dived there. I never understood the directions to the entry...must try it next time....

DiverVince
06-07-2011, 05:56 AM
The first time I dove Cai it was at night! Fortunately I had Bas Tol with me who was an excellent guide. Personally I don't think I'd recommend it to someone who only had 25 dives under his belt, but that's just me. If you do decide, I strongly advise using a guide at Cai. There are plenty of great dive options on the lee side of Bonaire which I think would be much better suited for you.

kob
06-07-2011, 07:10 AM
CB -- the entry is very easy ... there's an easily identified entry just past the big piles of conch shells. After you enter, you will have a bit of a swim east towards the wall that separates Lac Bay from the windward side. Stay away from shore, as it can get shallow and the surge can beat you up if you're too close. Once outside the bay, things calm down and it's a pretty neat dive.

As I mentioned previously, shortly after you get to the wall, you are likely to be greeted by a large school of tarpon. These guys magically appear as if they somehow know that you're there. We have had this experience on EVERY dive at Cai. We also see turtles and spotted eagle rays here as well.

Try it ... you won't be disappointed. :D

Barbara "CB" Gibson
06-07-2011, 12:36 PM
Thanks, KOB. Gosh, I need to get back to Bonaire sooner rather than later. Life sure has been in the way the last few years....

Vince, I was going to rant about the Lighthouse on the rare day, but bit my tongue for that reason...

DiverVince
06-07-2011, 01:03 PM
Thanks, KOB. Gosh, I need to get back to Bonaire sooner rather than later. Life sure has been in the way the last few years....

Vince, I was going to rant about the Lighthouse on the rare day, but bit my tongue for that reason...

I understand..As an aside, I note the OP made an indication of the remoteness of some of the northern dive sites. Well Cai is fairly remote also, with the amount of time it takes to traverse back contingent upon how well the roads are currently maintained out there.

KOB..If we're on island at the same time in the future would be glad to dive Cai with you.

kob
06-07-2011, 02:23 PM
Vince -- thanks, I'd look forward to a few dives with you, too. We are on island from Sept. 17-24 this year. Does that match anytime you will be there ??

awright
06-08-2011, 07:31 PM
Thanks all, very nice tips. We hadn't really considered a guide, but we'll now look into it. Especially if it's an east-side dive since we've read it's a bit more advanced conditions.
Cheers!

DiverVince
06-09-2011, 06:07 AM
Vince -- thanks, I'd look forward to a few dives with you, too. We are on island from Sept. 17-24 this year. Does that match anytime you will be there ??

Unfortunately no. We're down this Aug for 2 weeks, but perhaps when we're both retired! ;) We plan on spending the winters on la isla bonita so at that point we will be down for a much longer time frame.