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View Full Version : Snorkeling Review October 1-8



snorkeling vet
10-26-2011, 11:58 PM
We were in Bonaire October 1-8 (2011) and spent the week snorkeling. We didn't get to all the sites we hoped to but we did get lots of time in the water. Here is a review of the sites we went to and what we saw:

Yellow Submarine
We stayed at an oceanfront apartment half a block south of YS so we did a lot of snorkeling in this area (by design when we booked accomodations). We went from from the dock south of the YS all the way up to Something Special. This was our favourite place to snorkel on our last visit and it was even better this time.

On the first day we say 2 octopuses, 3 scorpionfish, 2 porcupinefish, a lionfish and a few eels within the first 15 minutes. This was the area just north of YS dock.

We would routinely do a sunset snorkel in the last hour of the day and I was amazed at how there was always something new and cool every single time. One time it was a collection of huge moray eels all together, or a HUGE cubera snapper, or two tarpon swimming around us or seeing 4 burrfish. Fantastic time and place to snorkel, especially if you like seeing LOTS of eels.

Rene took us to Something Special. We entered the water right where the road ends and went north in front of the private homes and up to the entrance of the Harbour marina. We saw lots of fish, including some porcupinefish, a juvenile spotted drum and a queen Angelfish. We were hoping to do this one again but ran out of time.

There is not alot for coral in this area, but there are tonnes of fish, lots of variety and it is shallow, close to shore and has easy entrances/exits.

Plaza
We spent the first afternoon here after the redeye so that we could veg on the beach and get some underwater time in too. I thought the coral was more bleached that last time but my better half disagreed :). Lots of fish but the clarity wasn't great the time we were there. Lots of the usual suspects along with some very large, friendly French Angels that liked to follow my wife around and a honeycomb cowfish. Really easy E/E.

There is a $10 per person charge to use the beach and chairs but no one was around to collect it and when we seeked someone out to ask they didn't get back to us.

Airport Beach
I'm not sure what the real name for this one is but it is the area just by the airport with the yellow hut building. We went here with Rene. This was one of my favourite places with lots of fish and some interesting hard coral. Sightings included Queen Angelfish, porcupinefish, a barracuda, lots of filefish, tonnes of juveniles and a really great growth of staghorn coral.
Super easy E/E.

Bari Reef
As mentioned elsewhere this is nicknamed 'the aquarium' for good reason. The water is crystal clear and there are tonnes of fish. We really enjoy checking out the ruins of the underwater building. There are big schools of French Grunts and a huge spotted drum at the base of the one pillar. Some amazing anenomes on the sides as well. We also saw a couple more spotted drums, a scorpionfish, a very angry flounder, some angry eels, and some squid. Not much for coral here except at the drop off but a great snorkel anyways.

The entrance is over a coral beach so some type of foot protection is recommended.

Karpata
We had tried to go here the day before but decided it was too choppy. Unfortunately on the day we went it was still pretty wavy and definitely diminished the experience for me.

The coral is really amazing and worth the snorkel by itself. There was not a lot of fish to be seen the day we were there (or they had more spots to hide). There were lots of damselfish, a few black durgons, a spotted trunkfish, some squid and a dead lionfish that was floating on the surface.
Entrance is easy as there is a stone dock you can gear up on and then swim off of. Busy place with lots of divers there on both days.

Tori's Reef
We had hoped to snorkel yellow hut, Red Beryl North or Visa Blue but they were all too choppy for our comfort level, especially since we had never snorkeled a south site before. Tori's Reef however was super easy to get in and out because of the small channel coming out of it and was pretty calm the day were we there. No real current either.

Because of the reviews we had read before we didn't really have much for expectations but were pleasantly surprised. Immediately after getting in the water we had a flounder and a moray eel almost underfoot. This site had more juvenile damselfish and Fairy Basselets than I have ever seen before. I often found myself floating over firecoral mesmerized by those colorful fish. Twice there was a small Rock Beauty amongst them as well. We also got close to a Cubera snapper and found a huge claw tucked away in a crevice...likely belonging to a huge sleeping crab.

Divi

This snorkel is worth doing just to see the big porcupinefish that lives in the rocks. We were also lucky enough to see a spotted drums, a trumpetfish shadow feeding over a parrot fish and a barracuda in the distance.

Super easy E/E.

I also did a night snorkel with Rene here and it was fantastic. We saw walking sea anenome, a huge green moray eel hanging out with a crab, tonnes of shrimp and lobsters, two top hats, squid and a free swimming octopus that attached himself to the rocks, then swam over to the next road, giving us a show in camouflage the whole time. This was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.

Carib Inn
This was not on our list of sites to go to but the wind was not cooperating so we went with somewhere in town that we had not been before. There is not much for coral here but some fish can be found. Fish of interest for us would include a large scorpionfish, a barracuda and a porcupinefish. There is also a huge old anchor that is on the bottom with coral growing on it that is very picturesque.

Super easy E/E.

Klein Bonaire (with Woodwind)
We did the tour with Woodwind again this trip, and would recommend it to everyone. We did the all day snorkel with 3 stops on Klein Bonaire, which includes lunch, and beverages and of course the boat ride. Had a great day!

Things of interest we saw: turtles (although most fairly deep and swimming rapidly away from us) a gorgeous queen angelfish, black margate, porcupinefish, blue chromis; black durgeon, different kinds of filefish, etc. The coral here is gorgeous, and no other site on Bonaire even comes close. Some of the snorkeling here is quite deep, and other spots are very shallow so that you have to watch where your fins are at all times.

We enjoyed it so much we took the water taxi over on our own on the last day of our trip in order to do some more snorkeling. We did the drift snorkel, paying the water taxi a few extra dollars so that we could drop off our stuff on the beach and then get back on the boat and be dropped off in the water and drift back. It was well worth it, although a bit unnerving to get dropped off in such deep water to start the drift snorkel. But a few minutes of swimming and kicking and we could see the reef below us.

Klein Bonaire also has the best beach of all the spots on Bonaire, so for those craving some sand and sunshine, take the water taxi over.

TIP: Take drinks and snacks and sunscreen. There is little shade, and you may choose to stay longer as we did...and be wishing for some refreshments. (and starving for snacks!) lol

We will be back! Another great trip to Bonaire! We hope this review helps newbies, as much as all the posts on this forum assisted us on our travels to this beautiful island.

Cecil
10-27-2011, 07:37 AM
Great info, Jamie. Thanks for taking the time to post this, it should be very helpfull for the snorkelers.

jkehnle
10-27-2011, 09:02 AM
Thanks for that report -- love the details. My wife is the avid snorkeler, and we'll be down again (#15) in February. I'm printing off your list of snorkel sites for her to peruse at her leisure this winter. It will, I'm sure, be on the table by her easy chair with the seed catalogues which begin arriving right after Christmas...

Bill K
10-27-2011, 01:13 PM
Nice report. We also like the beach at the little yellow building across from the airport entry road -- I have seen that called "Te Amo" beach because the young lovers hang out there. One similar place not mentioned were the Andreas; the near coral is beat but there are tons of fish.

smits
10-27-2011, 01:53 PM
We entered slightly to the right of Andreas 2 and found an enormous baitball right opposite a wouden pier.
Tarpons were hunting them.

Illinijs
11-01-2011, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the detailed report. A lot of great information and some places we've never tried before.