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Thread: March 2014 - Bonaire! First time, woohoo!

  1. #1
    Grouper
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    March 2014 - Bonaire! First time, woohoo!

    well, scored some good air tickets ($705 round trip from OKC - 7:45pm departure, 5:30am arrival with 2 hour connect in Houston just enough time for some papadeaux). Saved a bundle by going on Thursday night, staying 7 nights and returning Friday rather than going Friday night, staying 7 nights and returning saturday. I would estimate that it saved us 400pp in flight. Usually the flight cost spooks me off of Bonaire vs Cozumel or Roatan.

    Planning on staying here:
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...k_Bonaire.html

    The price looks right, plus I like the idea of this type of place.

    Going with my wife. The teen daughter is staying home this time. Going to dive 6 days, and will likely end up with 12-18 dives (hard to get the wife to do >2 tanks a day).

    Was wondering what your top 'must do' shore sites are considering:

    1) easy entry, it's gotta be something pretty special to get the wife to do a particularly PIA entry.
    2) sea life, sea life, sea life
    3) since every dive is an out and back - no ridiculous current.

    Plus any other first timer advice...I've read about the theft issues(leave car unlocked, and nothing of value inside). What are folks doing with their keys?

    thanks,
    Ray
    Slowly exhale, relax, your brain will kick in...and if you can breath and think calmly, there's not too much you can't figure out, in any part of life.

  2. #2
    Shark
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    keys... last time we were there the keys to the truck were not electronic just clipped them to my bc.Cliff is awesome....north through the slaagbai park there are some remote sites that are not as well traveled plan to take MORE time to get there 45 min to go about 5 miles inside the park but the dives....oh the dives..... were awesome!!!!!hilma hooker is a sunken ship...very nice but at 100 ft be careful with your remain time....buddy reef is wonderful for an easy night dive because there is a line that goes to about 80 ft so you can go north or south and on your way back just watch for the line and make your way back to the resort. they also have a freshwater shower right on the dock we always showered wearing all of our gear and when we got back to our apt we just had to hang things upI could go on and on but I will leave room for others and their 2 cents....
    God is good, no matter what!!

  3. #3
    TadPole
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    We stayed for our 1st time last year. The must do dives are north on the one way road. Karpata, Tolo any of the dives around there have the most beautiful, healthy reef. There really is no bad dive on the whole island. I remember Windsock being very easy entry. If you don't have a copy already, you should really get Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy by Susan Porter. It gives you a break down of each dive. Talk to your dive shop when you get there. If they have a good staff they will circle dive sites on a map for you & explain any areas you may want to stay away from at the time based on your profile. GO SLOW!! That is the best dive advice I can give. You will miss the seahorses & frogfish if you are going too fast. Most sites have little to no current except those at the southern end of the island. There are some pretty cool Indian inscriptions on the "wild" side of the island & a distillery (called Cadushy, named after the cactus) that you should try when topside. Have fun! I cant wait to be back on the island!

  4. #4
    As mentioned, Windsock is easy. As you move further south, the ironshore starts to be more of a factor for easy entries. Salt Pier is another easy entry - there's a sandy beach just north of the pier. By the time you encounter the ironshore, you're floating. Also look for sand channels between the ironshore - some lead right out to deeper water. If it's still there, there's one at Vista Blue but to find it park and walk to the shoreline - there's a natural ironshore bench that you can sit on to gear up and the channel is directly in front of it. It looks like this: http://www.shorediving.com/Earth/ABC...ue/c004508.jpg It can also have some ripping current at times - often in the afternoon.

    You can also dive almost all the oceanfront resorts for free if you let them know when you drop in - they just want to keep track - or since Casa Calexico is not oceanfront, maybe book a package with Dive Friends, they have about 5 locations that you can dive from and/or exchange tanks at. At Habitat, there's a $5 usage fee but it gives you access to the showers, dive dock and lockers. (bring a lock) Cliff is accessible from there or you can drive past Habitat and the next left takes you to a public access area. Bari Reef is similar, pay at Bonaire Dive/Adventure to use their dive dock or the next road south leads to a more difficult entry point. And they are fussy about non-guests using the dock if you don't rent from them - we just rented tanks there for a dive. They have an on-site naturalist who will accompany you on a paid fishcount if wanted - two people in our group found 185 species in one dive there. It's known for that.

    Easier entries tend to be south as there's less ironshore cliffs to deal with. Although a couple north sites like Weber's Joy aren't too bad either. 1000 Steps or Karpata are more difficult entries - actually the entry at 1000Steps is fairly easy - carrying the gear down 64 rock steps is the challenge.

    My short list of must-do's

    Rappel (boat dives)
    Bari Reef
    Cliff/La Machaca (from Habitat)
    Invisibles
    Salt Pier
    Vista Blue (watch the current)
    Forest or Hands Off at Klein (boat dives)

    http://www.shorediving.com/Earth/ABC/index.htm - has site entry pictures and some detail on how to enter at the more difficult ones. Besides looking for sand channels, at some sites previous divers have piled up coral rubble at the best entry point. At some it's pretty obvious, others not so much. Or there's the Porter Book. You used to be able to buy it online from a place in NH.

    Car Keys? I use one of these: http://www.leisurepro.com/Catalog.as...BrandName=Witz The small one takes a set of keys, a little cash and a credit card. No leaks in about 10 years of use but I don't know if I'd trust an electronic key in one.

  5. #5
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scubajane View Post
    keys... last time we were there the keys to the truck were not electronic just clipped them to my bc.Cliff is awesome....north through the slaagbai park there are some remote sites that are not as well traveled plan to take MORE time to get there 45 min to go about 5 miles inside the park but the dives....oh the dives..... were awesome!!!!!hilma hooker is a sunken ship...very nice but at 100 ft be careful with your remain time....buddy reef is wonderful for an easy night dive because there is a line that goes to about 80 ft so you can go north or south and on your way back just watch for the line and make your way back to the resort. they also have a freshwater shower right on the dock we always showered wearing all of our gear and when we got back to our apt we just had to hang things upI could go on and on but I will leave room for others and their 2 cents....
    There is this hole on the side of my door and if I stick my key in it and turn it...guess what? My lock opens. What a great idea.

    All kidding aside everyone should go to Home Depot, Walmart or Lowes and have a key made for $2. It won't start the car or open the windows; but, it will open the door and you can clip it to your BC. Leave your real keys inside somewhere. Be prepared for some static from the key maker. He can't figure out why you want a non electronic key or a key with no transponder in it. He may tell you he can't make that key; but, he can. You have to be persistent. My key is an american flag and it cost $3 bucks. I went with the high dollar model.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  6. #6
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeagle Eagle View Post
    There is this hole on the side of my door and if I stick my key in it and turn it...guess what? My lock opens. What a great idea.

    All kidding aside everyone should go to Home Depot, Walmart or Lowes and have a key made for $2. It won't start the car or open the windows; but, it will open the door and you can clip it to your BC. Leave your real keys inside somewhere. Be prepared for some static from the key maker. He can't figure out why you want a non electronic key or a key with no transponder in it. He may tell you he can't make that key; but, he can. You have to be persistent. My key is an american flag and it cost $3 bucks. I went with the high dollar model.
    Are you seriously telling me there is a walmart, lowes, or home depot on bonaire?

    Now this is interesting advice. All advice I have received thus far is - leave your door unlocked, don't leave anything in the car - if you lock the door sure as anything you will come back to a broken window. If you leave the door unlocked someone will undoubtedly open and go through your car - but no broken window.

    You are saying you leave your door locked in bonaire?
    Slowly exhale, relax, your brain will kick in...and if you can breath and think calmly, there's not too much you can't figure out, in any part of life.

  7. #7
    Grouper
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    BTW thanks all for advice on dive sites....4 months, and I'm already giddy.
    Slowly exhale, relax, your brain will kick in...and if you can breath and think calmly, there's not too much you can't figure out, in any part of life.

  8. #8
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    Of course not. My remarks were intended for SJ (whom I quoted). It is also meant for the car you have at home. It's just a great idea to have a spare key (cheap) that can open the door.

    I have not been to Bonaire yet. The island of Guam sounds the same though. I had my Jeep Wrangler broken into with my windows down, my doors unlocked and there is no lock on the glove box at all. They still sprung the door with a pry bar and jimmied the glove box. Cost me a couple of hundred to fix the door and glove box. There was nothing in the car except the registration.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  9. #9
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeagle Eagle View Post
    Of course not. My remarks were intended for SJ (whom I quoted). It is also meant for the car you have at home. It's just a great idea to have a spare key (cheap) that can open the door.

    I have not been to Bonaire yet. The island of Guam sounds the same though. I had my Jeep Wrangler broken into with my windows down, my doors unlocked and there is no lock on the glove box at all. They still sprung the door with a pry bar and jimmied the glove box. Cost me a couple of hundred to fix the door and glove box. There was nothing in the car except the registration.
    Well - I wouldn't put it past Walmart. The internet doesn't always express sarcasm clearly.

    That happen to me the last time I was in Austin for work. Grumble Grumble $300 in damage, $0 in stolen items.

    I have to hand it to the thieves - you see divers go in the water, you know you've got a little time to work. Certainly more than the 120 seconds it takes to break a window grab and go.
    Slowly exhale, relax, your brain will kick in...and if you can breath and think calmly, there's not too much you can't figure out, in any part of life.

  10. #10
    Shark
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    well.... the question was..'what are folks doing with their keys?' well YES I heartily recommend sticking them in that little hole in the door of the truck. but if you want the truck to still be there when you get out of the water do NOT leave your key in that same little hole... take the key with you. electronic keys become a problem because they don't work so well after being in salt water for a while... when we are in the states we have managed to have car dealerships make car keys for us for a rental car most places like walmart do not like to make duplicate keys for rentals and rental keys are pretty detectable because they have that goofy hermetically sealed key ring with BOTH keys on it. which really does not help if you lose your keys.
    any way.... hopefully they wont have electronic keys in Bonaire that would solve lots of trouble. and you can keep your car safe by taking the keys in the water with you.
    thank you Zeagle. I had forgotten about that little hole in the door..... 8 )
    God is good, no matter what!!

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