View Full Version : Safety of snorkeling Lac Bay

snorkeling vet
08-21-2011, 10:03 PM
On our first trip to Bonaire two years ago we snorkelled Lac Bay with Rene and loved it. We subsequently talked to an experienced snorkeling couple who they said they would never snorkel Lac Bay without Rene because the current was quite dangerous and it was possible to get pulled out into the ocean.

Has anyone had experiences with the current in Lac Bay? How safe is it? We will likely book another tour with Rene, but depending on the weather and her schedule I don't know if it will work to do Lac Bay. If not, I would like to snorkel it, but not if it is not perfectly safe (that and my wife is terrified of seeing a shark).

Thanks in advance.

08-22-2011, 08:21 AM
There is a wicked ocean ward current over at La Cai side (north end). You can see this current from Goggle.


That blue area just before the arrow head is the Tarpon Hole, milkey water and loads of Tarpon.

Anyways, there is some most excellent snorkeling on the other side at the fisherman's pier. Easy in, easy snorkeling and MANGROVES and upsidedown jellies, also under the pier is way cool.

If you are adventuresome and want a long walk, walk out to the barrier reef from the wind surf place. Long walk but some of the best reefs.

Glen R
08-22-2011, 12:09 PM

Is that current 'tidal', i.e., ingoing during flood? Or at least diminished: no infinite source of water in the bay, is there, and normally an 'ingoing' wind? During 'normal' easterly winds it 'should' be tidal.

How about exits 'outside' for emergency recovery?

08-22-2011, 06:37 PM
What happens (I think) is the tradewind blows the water into the bay and that is the channel for the excess water to exit. I have done that dive twice and both times the outbound current was quite strong and to get back we had to crawl sideways over the rocks starting from Baby Beach.

snorkeling vet
08-24-2011, 06:28 PM
Thanks for that. We have done the fishermans pier but I was more interested in the reef.

So does that mean that it is safe to snorkel the bay side of the reef is you stay away from the channel on the north side? Any concerns on getting 'sucked' into that area? Is it easy to recongnize that you are getting close to that channel?

08-24-2011, 07:07 PM
I have not snorkeled the south side but it's looks to be about a half mile walk from the wind surf place to the reef. Now that is through 2-3 foot deep water. Some people have done it and the comments generally were great snorkeling, long walk.

08-24-2011, 07:36 PM
We have snorkeled the reef at Lac many times. True - long walk, great snorkel. But would recommend you don't attempt it when there are strong easterly winds and especially if the tide is coming in with those winds. While it is nothing short of spectacular when you get out there, in these conditions the water is deeper and the walk then swim into the incoming water pouring over the reef can be a real work-out. So yes, a highly recommended snorkel, but choose wisely the conditions under which to do it.

Glen R
08-25-2011, 03:12 PM
That makes sense, Cecil: the easterly wind is my 'infinite source' of water, pushing lots in over the broad shallow area.

snorkeling vet
08-26-2011, 06:32 PM
We are in Bonaire the first week of October so that is suppose to be the calm season so hopefully it is just that, though I am not sure that we will be able to tell how windy is too windy or how much water is coming in over the reef.

I suspect that we may hold off and see if Rene can take us. Thanks for the advice

11-12-2011, 04:17 PM
Nice pic Cecil.
Your arrow points to the inlet part of the bay.
The white hole where the school of tarpon usually are is not in that
aerial shot, but rather south of their, also easily seen on Google Earth.
I have snorkeled Sorobon and Lac about 100+ times in my 30 trips to Bonaire. My favorite area is still between the reef on the inside to look at the myriad of juveniles in the full colors and ultra clear water that is shallow but swimable (watching for urchins). Outside the reef (on calmer days), past the white hole is probably the best place to see turtles, but I recommend going with an experienced guide or person has done it before.
Access the reef with an easy walk through the shallows starting at the fisherman's hut south of the Sorobon Resort.
Also fun a night but do it in the day first to get your bearings.


11-13-2011, 09:39 PM
Isn't there a conch shell pile around there that you could walk from? I've tried to find it a couple of times, but with no luck.

11-14-2011, 08:36 AM
Yes, there is a conch pile. But not at the Sorobon side of Lac. It's at the other side.

11-14-2011, 08:38 AM
Sheila the conch pile is at the north side of Lac Bay oposite Jib City and Sorobon at Lai Cai. The map at the top of the thread is of this area. From Google the conch piles.


11-18-2011, 11:05 PM
So, if I'm driving, how do I get back to the conch pile? I've turned down several roads in that area, but I still missed it.

11-19-2011, 01:54 AM
Its on the other side of the bay. Go to the Sorobon side, south of the windsurf sites, drive in the sand to the old fishing hut. Walk across the flats and shallows to the closest part of the isthmus land that you can see (directly east). Walk out to the where you see an easy entry into the shallows to the left (not out into the ocean, but behind the reef). You will not believe what you will see. Eels, octopi, rays, live coral, and more fish than you can imagine. Stay close to the back of the reef so you don't get pushed into the bay. Watch for black urchins. Relax in the rough water. You are in the right stop if you are able to the see the piles of whitish conch shells far off in the distance as you pick your head up out of the water.
Awesome day.

11-19-2011, 09:20 AM
Sheila it out past the Mangrove Nature Center, find that and just keep going, just follow the signs to the Mangrove Center east of town.

11-19-2011, 12:22 PM
Thanks, guys. I've been searching for that place for a few years now. I'm going in May and can't wait do this.

01-22-2012, 03:07 AM
Its about a 20 walk out to the location. The current to be aware of is not really near where you will snorkel. At least where I have snorkelled in the past.


01-22-2012, 09:49 AM
Very nice Gordo, that picture sums it up perfectly. Thanks for taking the time.

01-29-2012, 01:48 PM
My husband and I are headed to Bonaire for the first time next week for snorkeling and windsurfing, staying at Sorobon Beach Resort. I read somewhere that you can kayak out to the Sorobon reef and snorkel. Are there buoys out there on the Sorobon side to tie the kayaks up to?

01-30-2012, 08:36 AM
There are buoys, but they can be difficult to find unless you know where to look. If you're staying at Sorobon, you can just walk or swim out, too. Just stay toward the side of the bay and watch for the windsurfers. It takes about twenty minutes or so to swim out to the inside of the barrier reef. With the winds the way they are right now, I don't recommend going outside the barrier reef, and the snorkeling is excellent inside of it anyway.

01-30-2012, 08:52 AM
For me, it's too big a challenge to get back into a kayak, having waves.
Even without the waves :-)

01-30-2012, 08:56 AM
As long as you stay inside the barrier reef, the waves should be minimal. And with fins on, it's not too bad to get back in the kayak. But walking or swimming out is just as easy, and then you don't have to worry about finding buoys, getting back in, etc. Just keep watch to be sure the windsurfers see you, and as I said, try to stay toward the side of the bay, out of their way.

Dive Biddie
01-31-2012, 03:13 AM
I've always said, "Snorkeling Lac Bay was the most difficult dive in Bonaire." Ha Ha

02-01-2012, 12:56 PM
Thanks, Susan. I hadn't thought about getting back into the kayaks although it looks like these are the open-top kind. We'll probably walk out.