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Suggested Shore dive spots in Bonaire?


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#1 grasshopper

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 09:43 PM

First trek to Bonaire. The map shows about a 'gillion' shore dive spots. They're probably all good . . . are there any spots that people particularly loved? Any decent restaurants? Thanks. :unsure:

#2 TedJ

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 04:38 AM

Great restaurant at the Lighthouse overlooking the marina. The owner worked in New York and Paris and the food was great. Been to Bonaire for the last three years over Labor day. Did boat dives but drove around the island several times. There are a couple of easy sites south of the Salt Pier (which BTW is a great dive, particularly at night). There is also a public beach site that is just south of the airport. I mention these sites because they are easier to get to with gear on. Most of the northern sites require a fairly good trek , some up and down, like Thousand Steps. The shore dive at 29 Palms (Plaza Resort -Toucan Diving) is also an easy dive and there is a second reef offshore that is rarely visited.

Ted Janssen

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#3 yahsemtough

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 06:12 AM

Was there before the damage but Bari reef at Sand Dollar Resort is good and most sites up North I found were better than down south. Closer to the marine preserve the better. ie Karpata, 1000 steps. Yes, a bit of walking but well worth it.
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#4 Chris_Duncan

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 09:58 AM

I am also planning a trip to Bonaire for the first week in July. In preparation, I purchased the book "Diving Bonaire", which is very informative. It gives descriptions of 50+ dive sites (including description of entry, what sea life to expect, depth profile, difficulty level, etc.). It also describes some land-based sights to see. In my opinion it is worth the $15, or so, bucks.

Here is the book on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.co...33411?vi=glance

Chris

#5 mellingson

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:25 AM

You must dive Karpata and 1,000 steps. Dove both sites several times lst time I was there. Stayed at Buddies which has a nice night dive at the shop complete with large tarpoons hiding over your should waiting for you to spot a small fish so they can zoom in and eat.

Have fun

#6 MikeO

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:35 AM

Went in Ocotber. The best spots for me were toward the north end of the island. We dove the same two every morning and weren't disappointed! We'd drive out to Ol' Blue, then drive up to Karpata for the second dive. Then back down the other side of the island (dang one way road!) before lunch. Ol' Blue is very nice and at Karpata, we turned left off the beach every time and saw the same turtle three days in a row. Sometimes there were three or four there. There's also a big anchor there embedded in the reef. Also be sure to so the Town Pier night dive. Be sure to sign up early because it isn't open often now that cruise ships tie up there. I went for the dusk dive and it was packed. The group that dove it at 9:00PM said there wasn't much of a crowd. Don't do the town pier unless you have good buoyancy control and are polite. I got kicked in the face more than I care to think about. I would also recommend the Salt Pier, which is on the southern end. Not much on the way of corals, etc., but you can get some cool silhouettes of the pilings and I played with a turtle there for about 20 minutes. If you don't mind a bit of a swim, and want a dive to do before the relatively shallow Salt Pier, go to Angel City but be sure to go out to the *second reef*. After a fairly short swim across a 80-90 foot deep sand channel (swim across shallow to save air!!) your exertion will be rewarded, I promise. Alice in Wonderland is also in that area, but I don't think it is as good as Angel City. If you like wrecks, there is the Hilma Hooker. It a bit of a surface swim but the wreck is nice. Saw some ginormous tarpon there. These were my favorites (except the Hilma Hooker, which I could do without). I'm sure others have theirs. If you're on the southern end of the island, be sure to load up the telephoto lens and check out the flamingos. You can see my Bonaire gallery by going to http://www.picturestage.com and logging on using:

LoginID: mikeoelrich
Password (guest password!): digitaldiver1

HTH,

Mike

PS -- If you can do 1000 Steps as a boat dive, it's much easier! Also try to get to Klein Bonaire if you can . . .

PPS -- the underlined sites above are links -- another hint, if you appropriately truncate the URLs I linked to, you can see ratings of all the sites on the index pages . . .

Mike Oelrich
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#7 yahsemtough

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:36 AM

As for dive difficulty, there is none. All site are basically top of the wall 50 feet from shore in 15 to 20 feet of water sloping to 100 to 120 feet with zero current and lots of fish varieties to be seen.
Todd Mintz
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all photographs posted Todd C Mintz

#8 MikeO

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:50 AM

All site are basically top of the wall 50 feet from shore in 15 to 20 feet of water sloping to 100 to 120 feet with zero current

When I was there in October there was always a current from south to north -- on a couple night dives, it was fairly strong. Also, the wind blew in some sea wasps at night. Finally, the south end has a double reef system -- so don't just swim down the the first reef and stay on that slope -- the second reef is the good one!

Mike Oelrich
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#9 yahsemtough

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 11:49 AM

Really...things are a changing then as that was never the norm for Bonaire. Interesting.
Todd Mintz
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all photographs posted Todd C Mintz

#10 TedJ

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:35 PM

I was there over the last two Labor Day weeks and there was a considerable current running north/south particularly just south of the marina entrance near the Lighthouse and the Reef cam site. My guess is that it was running 2 maybe 2+ knots. We had two divers not realize this and it turned into a drift dive for them. I agree that Karpata is a good dive but I've always done it by boat. Diving in Bonaire is so inexpensive compared to Cayman, my other annual destination, that I just end up doing boat dives.
BTW, Richard's restaurant is also quite nice, but we did have mosquitos or no-see-ums one evening. The outside restaurant at the Plaza down by the cut is also a nice spot, although not as good food as Richard's. There's also a nice restaurant in "town" whose name escapes me but its just up the street from the grocery store and I think the building is painted purple. It's around the corner from Listman's Jewelers, a site my wife knows very well. It was very good. The diving in Bonaire is great especially slince your safety stop is not hanging on a line but usually over a 20' deep reef.

Ted Janssen

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#11 Evil Bill

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 08:22 PM

A group of us were in Bonaire for the first time the 2nd week of Jan. (last month). Stayed at Buddy Dive (ok - decent value- boat operation-management- could use some work--like friendliness). Easy diving at resort. Only got to shore dive one morning :) due to beginning of trip was training for a couple of new divers.

All the info. given here is right on. We did notice currents running both ways along shore at night along with a 5-6 water temp. drop. Something to watch for at least. Water temp. daytime 77-79 (3mm + beanie if you dive a bunch). Topside 85.

Shore dives we did: 1) Angel City - tricky entry with surf, you need to do a surface swim out to the 2nd reef and drop down. Not bad. Lots of life, many mushroom shaped coral heads. 2) Salt pier - AWESOME- Saw tons of life, schooling fish, seahorses, scorpion fish. Went in on south side of conveyor, dove with a local, no mention of permission, no boat in and pink bus was there on north side. Doesn't hurt to check though. Easy in & out. Best dive of trip!

Did some boat dives on Kleine Bonaire-nice and did Bloodlet and small wall towards north of Buddy. Saw turtle, sea horses. Interesting thing about small wall is it is next to the Bonaire Reef Cam. Reef Cam, if you do not already know, is an underwater camera mounted to an anchor block and is on all the time. It takes a digital photo every 2 min. and is recorded on a server and posted on the site:Bonaire Web Cams Which you can subscribe to (for a nominal fee) and download the pictures from it. Kind of cool, especially at night with your main light hidden :ph34r:

Restaurants: We ate at many different places and out of them you will not be disappointed with 3 of them:
1) Richard's Waterfront - Abraham Boulevard 60 - ph717-5263 - just south of Divi Flamingo - Great food, ate there twice that week.
2) Mona Lisa - Kaya Grandi 15 - ph717-8718 - Bar & restaurant in town north side of the shopping district - Spent a couple of bucks, food was incredible-get the Shrimp bisque soup!! Call 3-4pm afternoon for reservation.
3) Capriccio - Kaya Isla Riba- ph717-7230 - AWESOME - authentic Italian food - very reasonably priced for Top quality food (Best on the Island) Get a reservation.

Hope the info. helps. Have a great time!!
:unsure:

#12 grasshopper

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 09:27 PM

Thanks for the great info. Now I just need a housing, etc. to take advantage of this opportunity . . . segway to my questions on the consumer digital camera section (oly c3040z). Two people were very helpful, but I had a lot of questions. If any of y'all have a minute, could you peruse my post and let me know if I'm on the right track. The post is pretty exhaustive on detail, but I was hoping if I had a bolus of questions, it would show I thought it through . . . maybe. :freak:

Oh, any prefered sites for macro's or is that a stupid question, because it is everywhere? :ph34r: Thanks again for the input.

Sean

#13 TedJ

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 05:05 AM

Forgot about Capriccio's, but I agree. There was also a nice restaurant in the middle of nowhere sort of on the way to the nudist camp. Had nice outside space and very casual. South of the Airport and turn left. Don't remember the name of this one either.

Ted Janssen

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#14 MikeO

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 05:17 AM

There was also a nice restaurant in the middle of nowhere sort of on the way to the nudist camp.  Had nice outside space and very casual.  South of the Airport and turn left.  Don't remember the name of this one either.

Is this it?

KonTiki

We ate there after dropping off our bags at the airport on our last day. On Lac Bay where the windsurfers hang out.

Mike Oelrich
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#15 TedJ

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 01:41 PM

The place I'm thinking of had a small bar indoors with about four tables and an outside covered area with about six tables and a small stage. Had a nice lunch. Their signature was hand painted place mats, done locally, that were for sale. May very well have been the KonTiki. My wife doesn't remember the name either but it was recommended by the chef/owner of the Lighthouse restaurant which gets my vote for best on the island.

Ted Janssen

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#16 TedJ

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 01:46 PM

Mike,
Earth to Ted. I didn't even think to hover over KonTiki or see the underline, duh. That's the place.

Ted Janssen

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#17 Evil Bill

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 02:15 PM

We never got a chance to do much on the south side or go to Lac Bay. :unsure: Next trip though! Here's a link that may be helpful. Bonaire Restaurants