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jujubees
01-08-2012, 11:30 PM
Hello,
My husband and I will be coming back to Bonaire in April, again for 2 weeks this time and I would like to attempt shore diving this time around. Last year , we stayed at the Divi and just did 3 boat dives daily plus their reef. Any suggestions for easy shore diving sites...Thank you all for your help....;)

DiverVince
01-09-2012, 06:47 AM
JuJu.. Most folks do their first trip doing boat dives & then on subsequent trips start doing the shore dives themselves. Once they learn how EZ and convenient it is, the boat dives tend to become less & less. Of course the general advice is to p/u a copy of Susan Porters Bonaire Shore diving made Easy. Off the top of my head, Windsock beach/Bachelor's Beach/Buddy Dive/The Lake/The Rock together with many many more too numerous to list. Enjoy the shore diving & freedom it provides.

ModCecil
01-09-2012, 09:19 AM
What Vince said, the addition I would make is do not get tunnel vision on diving a particular spot on a particular day. Pick the spot that has the best conditions on that day.

wwguy
01-09-2012, 11:47 AM
Hello,
My husband and I will be coming back to Bonaire in April, again for 2 weeks this time and I would like to attempt shore diving this time around. Last year , we stayed at the Divi and just did 3 boat dives daily plus their reef. Any suggestions for easy shore diving sites...Thank you all for your help....;)

As mentioned above, this book is a great resource for Bonaire shore diving: http://www.infobonaire.com/bsdme/index.html This web page also has a link to order the book.

Nick F
01-09-2012, 12:18 PM
BSDME has good descriptions of the entries. Look for sand channels, Bari has a good one by the "no fishing" sign. Something Special is coral rubble but easy, just plant one foot before moving the other.

Neptune Nick
01-09-2012, 01:51 PM
The Plaza Resort's "house reef" has a very sandy entry. Check it out!

kiddoc
01-09-2012, 04:06 PM
There is no substitute for Susan Porter's book, but here is a great site to get you starting to think about it. http://www.shorediving.com/Earth/ABC/index.htm

jujubees
01-10-2012, 12:45 AM
Thank you all for your imput. I ordered the book. This will be our 2nd time down there but this time for 2 weeks. The 1st time we went down with people from our dive shop, too much drama and we got a little bored with the 3 boat dives daily. This time we will be going down a week earlier than our friends to really experienced the real Bonaire diving and living for 2 weeks...Cannot wait. I do appreciate all your advice. Any other suggestions? Laurie

ChrisR
01-10-2012, 06:20 AM
As, the others have said BSDME is an great resource study it to see what dives you might like to do... but don't do like I did and try to make out a schedule of dives for each day, it does't work out. The freedom of shore diving on Bonaire is awesome, I mean Really Really Awesome. It has totally spoiled me to the point that it is the only kind of diving I want to do. I tend to think all the west coast dives are easy (maybe I've just been lucky on the conditions?)

I will preface the following advice by saying "If you are not comfortable doing a certain dive you probably shouldn't do it." --- I would however argue that any uncertainty should be based on real factors. You should certaintly stick to dives within you experience level, just try not to sell yourself short on what you can do. I think there is nothing wrong with challenging yourself and I would encourage you to. Some of the more challenging sites can also be the most rewarding. Dont be afraid to branch out and try some of the more remote sites to the north and south. for the most part, they're not as scary as some make them out to be. Plus, they have usualy turned out to be my favorites.

Here is some general advice that may help you conquer some of the more challenging sites: If you see other divers coming out of the water say hi and ask them for any pointers. Take a moment on the beach to study the conditions before you make your entry. As was previously mentioned, look for sand channels, study the surface current (if there is any) by watching foam or floating debris. If there is wave action, watch the pattern. Waves come in sets so often you can time when the stronger set comes and avoid being in a precarious position at that time. As you are making your way out, test each step before commiting to it and then make sure that foot is firmly set before moving the other. Scan out for incoming wave surges and have both feet set before they hit you. Make sure your dive booties have good thick soles. Everyone likes a thick booty! (and it makes walking across coral rubble and sharp limestone much nicer.) One simple tip that has always helped me is to keep the straps of open heel fins buckled when you are carrying them out. Just pull the buckled strap down onto the underside of the foot pocket. That way, when you are putting them on, all you have to do is give the strap a quick tug and it should slide securely in place to the back of you heel. It is much quicker for me than trying to fumble with the buckles.

OK, I'm starting to write a novel here so I'll stop and let others chime in. Please remember, this is just my advice, and I never claimed it was good advice!! ;)

tschamp
01-10-2012, 11:21 AM
As, the others have said BSDME is an great resource study it to see what dives you might like to do... but don't do like I did and try to make out a schedule of dives for each day, it does't work out....
I do think it's a good idea for most folks to plan EASIER shore dives for the first day or two, so that you can get your technique down again after having been dry for a few months.
Dives like Nukove, Karpata, and Ol' Blue can wait till day 3 or later...

jujubees
01-10-2012, 01:36 PM
Thank you...I will do as I am being told... I'm sure I'll be Ok after the first few...just like to hear other peoples opinions. I have done a few shore dives up north into a lake so I'm sure I'll be fine...Looking forward to 2 weeks here and away from the cold...:)

Bill K
01-10-2012, 01:53 PM
Unless the weather is really lousy during your week, you should be able to make shore entries without much problem. I concur with some of the "easier" entries already mentioned as Windsock and The Lake. Take a minute or two to guage the waves, wait for some calm, and move slowly. If need be on middle-aged knees (or surgically-altered ones like Mrs. K.), hold onto your buddy and move slowly together. Strangely, we think one of the easier shore entries is 1000 Steps, with the caveat being that you have to shlep your gear down and back up. Save Angel City and Karpata for the end of your week after you are quite comfortable. Enjoy.

ModCecil
01-10-2012, 06:46 PM
One other piece of advice, an easy way to make some of the tougher extries/exits, take off the tank, carry it and use as a cane, once your past the waves, put the on bcd. Much easier than having that weight pulling you over backwards.

PADiver
01-11-2012, 01:49 PM
I can empathize with the originator of this thread. I did at least 2 trips to Bonaire where I did boat dives exclusively (Mrs. PADiver is not a diver). To get the required 5 specialties so that I could get a Master Scuba Diver cert I did Underwater Navigation here at home. Anyone who has been in the military will have heard the old adage about 2nd lieutenants and compasses (they often don't mix) so I'll admit my compass skills are fair to lousy. What did help was the rest of the course - picking landmarks, timing your outbound leg vs your return leg and so on. I didn't realize the value until I tried shore diving.

What I'm saying is that you need to be comfortable with getting back to where you started. This is why I waited until the 3rd trip to try shore diving. If you are just you and your buddy (buddy, wife, significant other), you may want to tag along with a group you find at a particular site. I find an excellent place to join a group is the Hilma Hooker. First, it's probably the signature site on the island so everyone goes there. Second, it doesn't involve following a reef so you get comfortable with going out and coming back. Once you do this, branch out and try other sites. Just remember what the boat divemasters stressed: go against the current, turn around at half tank and now, keep track of your outbound time so you know when to start looking to exit on the return leg (25-30 minutes out, start looking at 20-22 on the way back in).

Finally, I haven't found a bad dive site on the island. They're different but they'e all good. Enjoy!

Tom
01-11-2012, 03:04 PM
Don't worry too much about getting back to where you started. Other than some of the sites up north with limited entry/exit points, it hardly matters. Just turn around and look at the shore before you drop down, register what your parked truck looks like from this side, and you will have no problem finding it again. A little swim/walk because you overshot your exit never anyone.

Really the shore diving in Bonaire is, with a few exceptions, cake. Once you have done your first couple you will wonder why you even bothered to post. I'm not saying you don't need to be careful, watch where you step, etc. But it's really not challenging.

thom
01-11-2012, 09:57 PM
One year, the boats were crowded so I just did shore dives, that was the end of boat dives. We haven't done a boat dive in 6 or 7 years in Bonaire, we do an annual 2 week visit. Get hard sole booties. This is important. Those soft sole ones just don't cut it. The iron-shore and rubble rocks can be hell on your feet with soft soles but with hard soles your golden.

Have Fun.

Scuba Sheila
01-11-2012, 11:40 PM
Ditto to all the above, but here's my 2 cents. We really enjoy Something Special and always use that as one of our first dives upon arriving as it is really easy to get in and out and have never had any wave action or current. We have seen lots of underwater critters there too....seahorse, octopus, squid, and so much more. My husband had both of his knees replaced a couple years ago and we were back on Bonaire diving 6 weeks later and Something Special was great for him! We also find Oil Slick to be easy, but would do this a few days into your diving when you're feeling comfortable (it's easiest to jump in rather than go down the ladder) Last year we found another seahorse there and found him the next 2 days as well-it was great!
I also highly recommend hard-sole booty's. Until last year, I've been using soft-sole booty's and the diving was soooo much more enjoyable and much easier with the hard soles-yep, the softies will never see Bonaire again!
I'm sure you'll do great wherever you choose and enjoy every dive! We've never done a boat dive there and will be heading back next month for our 5th time! We go for two weeks also, but now need to bump that up to at least 3 weeks as we love Bonaire! Have fun!:cool:

billmosel
01-13-2012, 12:48 PM
When you get to the reef I usually tie a marker onto a piece of dead coral. I look at my depth and on the way back look at my time and about 10 minutes from approximate time to turn in I go to that depth and look for my marker. Works every time.

Nick F
01-13-2012, 02:31 PM
Hard boots are preferably, I agree, but I've also used my soft soled boots with inserts. I get the cheap CVS ones and they hold up the entire week.

Navigation is relatively easy - the marker suggestion is a good one. What I normally do is take a reading to the mooring buoy. I will either go to it or straight out from shore. If I go straight out I look for a distinctive coral formation or other marker at the top of the drop off and note the depth, then head into the current at our planned depth. On the way back we ascend gradually and look ahead for the selected marker. Once reaching it follow the compass heading necessary to get back to the entry site. If going to the marker buoy, note it's depth and just look ahead for the line on the way back, vis is so good you can generally see it from a fair distance.
Worst case scenario, you just head east toward shore for most sites, find an exit point, and one of you walks to the truck and drives it back ;)

Tom
01-13-2012, 03:43 PM
A couple more thoughts to add:

Re hard soled boots, definitely great, but thick soft soled boots seem to work okay too. The wife uses a pair of thick, although soft, aqualung boots and they do her fine.

Re distinctive coral: Make sure to take a look back at it as you swim away, it might look different from the side you need to identify on the way back. Also picking out a pair of markers within about 10' of each other, and noting the depth, is a good way to go. I find it's a lot easier to identify a pair of markers and their relationship, vs trying to identify a single piece of coral among like peers.

ChrisR
01-14-2012, 07:01 AM
Just remember the old adage: "Once you dive from shore, you won't like boats no more"

...
..
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:confused:what?!?, you guys don't say that? ...I'm gonna make it a t-shirt!:cool:

townses
01-14-2012, 10:33 AM
One other thing you may consider is doing some of your first shore dives with a guide from one of the dive shops.We made our first trip to Bonaire two years ago and did several shore dives with a local guide ( Bas N with VIP ).Can't say enough good things about Bas and his professionalism.Took away some of the apprehension we had about shore diving on our own and was well worth the extra cost.Returning too Bonaire in three weeks for another two weeks of shore diving.

fraserfraser
01-14-2012, 04:22 PM
townses,
Bas is a great option.Agree highly recommended. Hope to do that again. He took me to spots would not normally go.
Only boat dives I have liked have either been to Klein or with the Carib Inn.
Carib Inn boat dives are closest I've come to shore diving--you just dive your own profile, no follow the leader bull@#$%. if need be would do that again too.

bnoij
01-14-2012, 10:32 PM
I like that one...once you dive from shore you won't like boats no more :)

You won't believe how many people still think that boat diving is more relaxing than shore diving...

tschamp
01-16-2012, 03:51 PM
...You won't believe how many people still think that boat diving is more relaxing than shore diving...
Boat diving most times IS more "relaxing" than shore diving.
But shore diving can be much more of an ADVENTURE most days if you do it right...

thom
01-16-2012, 10:53 PM
Boat diving most times IS more "relaxing" than shore diving.

I disagree. People crowded into the boat, waiting in ling to get off the boat, playing follow-the-leader in the water, being pushed around by the eight photographers trying to snap a pic of that one poor little sea-horse, waiting in line to get on the boat, ...... Relaxing? NOT.

fraserfraser
01-17-2012, 09:49 AM
Well everyone has their own opinions but I am in thom's camp. only boat dives i'd consider would be at the carib inn and that's not a first choice. shore diving is why i keep coming back to Bonaire.

smits
01-17-2012, 11:48 AM
I prefer shore diving too, but will make an exception for a boat dive at the east coast of Boanire and Curacao and the North coast of Curacao

fraserfraser
01-17-2012, 12:06 PM
Did a boat dive with Ocean West to Watamula(sp)etc on Curacao, it was very much like thom's described and would therefore be very hesitant to do one again (except for carib inn on bonaire as mentioned above).

tschamp
01-17-2012, 03:49 PM
Did a boat dive with Ocean West to Watamula(sp)etc on Curacao, it was very much like thom's described and would therefore be very hesitant to do one again (except for carib inn on bonaire as mentioned above).
Ocean Encounters West you mean (their fomer name).
I dove with them on CUR a few times in March and found them to be quite good at the boat diving gig.
Nonetheless, I did more shore than boat diving on CUR and only shore on BON the past 3 trips...

fraserfraser
01-17-2012, 04:41 PM
Yes thanks Tom that's what I meant Ocean Encounters West and yes it was as described by thom's. glad you had a better experience but doubt i would ever do it again. shore diving in curacao as well as bonaire way too inviting.

ChrisR
01-20-2012, 06:09 AM
Anyone who has been in the military will have heard the old adage about 2nd lieutenants and compasses (they often don't mix)

Ha ha... that reminded me of a friend who, when someone would flatulate, would always say "keep speaking lieutenant...we'll find you!

Did your copy of BSDME come in yet Jujubees?

Scuba Sheila
01-20-2012, 07:29 AM
[QUOTE=ChrisR;410142]Ha ha... that reminded me of a friend who, when someone would flatulate, would always say "keep speaking lieutenant...we'll find you!

Last edited by ChrisR; 1 Hour Ago at 03:11 AM. Reason: Googled a more proper term for fart ;-)

Chris - you crack me up! :rotf: Your comments sound wayyy too much like what my husband would say, so it's good to know there's others out there with a great sense of humor!! And two sets of air bubbles underwater make it an easy way to find someone!! ;)

pat murphy
01-25-2012, 02:06 PM
i agree with tom about nukove and karpata but i've found that ol blue is a pretty easy entry. hardest part is getting down the slope to the water. the only disadvantage to sites north of 1000 steps is that once you get there you have to either go around the island to get back to town or take the dirt road. the tourist road is one-way after 1000 steps.

jujubees
02-26-2012, 07:21 PM
Thank you....

Bonaire Jay
02-26-2012, 07:52 PM
Bonaire shore diving made easy by Susan Porter
found at
http://www.latinadivers.com/pros.html
defines all the sites, easy/hard entry
available at all dive shops
Bonaire JAy

Vann Evans
02-27-2012, 09:49 PM
lots of good advice above. here are several tips about actually getting in and out of the water to add to your shore diving --sounds like a lot, but it's mostly common sense once you do it a couple of times

before you get in the water-look at the buoy and/or take a compass reading straight out toward the reef

before you enter the water, add a small amount of air to your bc so that if you do get tripped or blown over by a wave you will have enough flotation so as not to sink

put on your mask and snorkel at water's edge-put the snorkel(or reg) in your mouth

carry both fins in one hand by holding both of the straps(already buckled)

when you see a wave coming, turn sideways to present a narrower profile and wait until it has passed before you continue walking out

carefully walk out to about waist deep water-then float out a little further, put your fins on while floating-not trying to stand on the bottom

look at the shore and out toward the reef -- think about where you want to go and return

get on your back and kick out to the point where you want to drop down,we usually use our snorkels in order to conserve air

put your reg in-look once again at your entry/exit point and make sure you haven't drifted too far north or south-- descend

try to look straight down at an obvious coral as a landmark so that you don't drift too far off target as you descend

we usually use a lion fish marker(bright surveyor's tape wrapped around a wine cork) tied to dead coral as a marker for the entry/exit point--important to remember the depth at which you put the marker-we usually try to put it right at the drop off edge

look at the marker and see which way the current is flowing-start the dive by going against the current

swim until you feel the need to turn around(usually 1600psi+/- depending on current, experience, etc)

swim back to marker, look at your compass and return to shore-don't forget the 3 minute safety stop at 20 feet

swim to shore and stop in about 3-4 feet of water and remove fins, place both fins in one hand --add some air to your bc for flotation in case you get knocked over or trip-leave your reg in your mouth and your mask in place until you are safely on secure footing



hope this helps

Vann Evans

A4 Sand Dollar