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#3095 - 11/29/00 11:38 AM Anyone been to Bonaire ???
Reef Guy Offline

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 21
Loc: Puerto Rico
Next year I will be visiting the 5th annual dive festival in Bonaire. They tell me its really expensive but the experience lasts for a life time. Does anybody know any great dive sites in Bonaire?

#3096 - 12/08/00 09:04 AM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
jtuszka Offline
just got here

Registered: 12/08/00
Posts: 1
I have been to Bonaire 3 time in the last 6 years. I have not been there since 1998. I am contemplating a trip there in May or June of 2001. I have always stayed at the Sand Dollar. In recent e-mail with them I found that in Nov of 1999 the west side of Bonaire was hit by 10 to 30 foot "storm surge" from hurricane Lenny. Many of the dive operations on the west (lee) side of the island sustained heavy wave damage...docks and piers ripped away, Green Parrot resturant at the SD was destroyed. Worst of all, coral in the 10 to 30 foot deep range (depends who you talk to) was trashed. As I understand there are still many good dive sites, esp. on Klien Bonaire (boat dives), but the shore diving on Boniare isn't as nice or as easy as it used to be. If there are others out there who have been to Bonaire recently please post. Bonaire is my favorite dive site in the Caribbean and I would still go back if I had some reliable info. The dive operators I have e-mailed seem to be sugar coating this event. The photos I have found online that were taken during the storm surge make me sick...

Jim Tuszka

#3097 - 01/20/01 03:44 PM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
scubagrl Offline
avid diver

Registered: 01/20/01
Posts: 11
Loc: Milwaukee, WI USA
I was on the beautiful island of Bonaire December 29 2000-January 13, 2001. This was my fifth trip there, and I also stay at the Sand Dollar. Yes, the waves from Hurricane Lenny were pretty destructive, but the coral and dives are as incredible as ever. As a matter of fact, the Bari Reef right in front of the condo remains one of my favorite to dive. There is not a new dock at the dive shop yet, but there is a staircase leading down to the beach/entry point. Also, the dive shop is operating next to the Den Laman restaurant, which is right next to the Sand Dollar. For boat dives taken through Sand Dollar, there is a van shuttle that leaves to take divers to the awaiting boat ~1/4 mi. away at the Harbour Village harbor. If you have not done so yet, check out or for more info. I can not say enough about diving in Bonaire. Since the water around the island is a Marine Park, it is illegal for boats to anchor at the sites. The coral is well preserved and water pristine and beautiful. I plan to return to Bonaire in the late summer as well as around Christmas/New Years. Hope this info helps. Feel free to email me at: for more information. Enjoy! Linda, Milwaukee, WI

#3098 - 03/08/01 02:56 PM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
artg Offline
just got here

Registered: 03/08/01
Posts: 1
Loc: Jackson, MI, USA
My wife and I have been to Bonaire twice. Our first visit was for 7 days beginning on 08/30/2000. We stayed at the Sand Dollar and did nothing but shore diving. The second visit was at Captain Don's (two single tank boat dives daily & unlimited shore diving)in February 2001. We have just booked reservations for Buddy's Dive Resort for August of 2001. The diving is great. Every dive site has something different and you won't see any more species of fish in one place anywhere in the world. Summer months are of course warmer with water temperatures around 82 the February trip had cooler water around 75. The visibility is also greater in the summer but the cooler waters of winter offer the rare glipses of plankton eaters like whale sharks. You can enjoy any type of diving you desire from shallow 60 to 70 foot dives to technical diving. There is really no need to boat dive unless you want to go to Klien Bonaire. Many dive sites are easily accessable from the shore and are well marked. Some of my favorites are Ole Blue, Bari, The Lake, Mi Dushi, Andrea II. I highly recommend Bonair to anyone who likes to dive on their own schedule.

#3099 - 03/18/01 09:38 AM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
rmikea44 Offline
just got here

Registered: 03/18/01
Posts: 1
Loc: baton rouge, la, usa
I've been to Bonaire three times in past 4 years. I always stay at Buddy Beach and use their Drive&Dive package. Rooms and staff are adequate. The drive thru airfill makes things really nice.
I really like the sites on the North End, 1000 Steps, Witches Hut, Karpata, Rappel. The sites near the airport, Windsock, N. Belknap, etc are great also, and most of the time a bit easier entries.
Buddy's is a great place, if you're used to diving w/just you and a buddy, w/o a lot of active supervision from a d/m.

#3100 - 03/27/01 09:20 AM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
dvrliz Offline
new diver

Registered: 03/27/01
Posts: 2
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Hi Reef Guy...Just got back on 3/14/00. Weather, people and diving was great. We did all shore dives and it was great. I particularly like Karpata, Jeff Davis Memorial, Lighthouse Beach Margate Bay and the White Slave Huts. I stayed out a townhouse I own at Lighthouse Beach Resort, which I also rent out year round when I am not there. I recommend Green Submarine Dive for your dive package if you choose to stay privately, but if not I highly recommend Bruce Bowker's Carib Inn.

#3101 - 04/05/01 11:13 AM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
mrhover Offline
avid diver

Registered: 04/05/01
Posts: 11
Loc: China Maine, USA
Reef Guy: Not to worry. I just got back last week from Bonaire and it's still awesome. In fact, I'm headed back again in June to do more U/W photography. With the exception of the reefs from Nukove north (6 sites total) that were storm damaged, the reefs look excellent with less macro algae than I've seen in years. In fact, I commented at the time that they look to be improving. One of the local DM's told me that the reefs were wiped out on the northern end (after the oil tank farm) so I decided to check it out for myself. One of the sites I use to like up there was Nukove beach. It's a bit of a challenge to get through all the rubble into water deep enough to swim but it's barely possible. In fact, getting back in is very tough and I actually wouldn't suggest doing it. The wave destruction was more extensive than anything I've ever encountered. What used to be a beautiful crater of corals was now a flattened field of broken coral. It's like a bomb went off and left twigs of coral to cover the ocean floor. Quite a sight! If you swim out further, there's a patch of living reef that will in time repopulate the old Nukove. Aside from that area north, you wouldn't know the area had major waves except for occasional missing wharfs, etc. Corals and fish life still near the best if not the best in the Caribbean...tom

p.s. One of my favorite sites is Oil Slick Leap (I think that's the accurate name). Ask at a dive shop for directions (to the north but not as far as 1000 steps). You leap in from a cement pad (two cirles off to the right) and climb out on a metal ladder attached to the shore wall. There's likely to be a nice brown seahorse at about 32' that hangs in a gorgonian about 75' South of the entry. Oh, that site is best going South...tom

#3102 - 04/06/01 08:37 AM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
myoungrtg Offline
new diver

Registered: 04/06/01
Posts: 4
Loc: Bradenton, Florida 34207
Originally posted by Reef Guy:
Next year I will be visiting the 5th annual dive festival in Bonaire. They tell me its really expensive but the experience lasts for a life time. Does anybody know any great dive sites in Bonaire?

I have been to Bonaire 4 times, the last time was in August of 2000. We stayed at Buddy Dive and had the use of a king cab p/u, which comes in handy for shore diving. The only damage from the tidal wave was at the shallow depths, as soon as you got to the drop offs (around 30 ft) it was fine...
It is beautiful and the pier dive is great for macro. I would go back in a heartbeat.
you can't go wrong there and there are the salt flats to see and flamingos, and the state park and there is even some cave snorkeling,,if your limber...

#3103 - 05/13/01 12:13 AM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
Judy Offline
avid diver

Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 7
Loc: Satellite Beach, Fl, USA
I've been to Bonaire 3 times over the past 5 years. The hurricane didn't do any major damage as far as the diving goes. My husband and I always stay at Buddy's Dive Resort. Great staff, good monring boat dives, and their rental vehicle deal gives you the opportunity to visit the shore diving sites all over the island. The on-site food has improved dramatically the past 2 years. Great value.

#3104 - 05/12/01 03:06 PM Re: Anyone been to Bonaire ???
nobends Offline

Registered: 04/08/01
Posts: 76
Hi reef guy. I just returned from a 10day vacation at Bonaire on 5/9/01. Great time!! I have to disagree with Judy when she says that the waves didn't damage the diving. Overall, the corals are in spectacular condition and the fish are healthy and plentiful. However, the dive sites on the northern end of the island (in washington park) are a wasteland. It will take decades for these sites to recover.

The Sand Dollar, Captain Dons, Buddy Dive, and Plaza resorts all looked great! GO GO GO!! Best of luck

I stayed at the Divi Flamingo. The Divi doesn't have nitrox. The boat diving operation at the Divi looked a little flimsy. I did all shore diving thought and found a ton of good diving (see sites listed above), but the corals in the dive guides in the 10-30ft range are badly damaged. Almost all of the elkhorn and stag horn corals are recked. Go a little deeper and the dives are spectacular. Definitely worth the visit! Good luck to you!

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