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Thread: Snagel in Bonaire

  1. #1
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Snagel in Bonaire

    Well, we made to Bonaire. Woke up Saturday morning with ice, sleet, and snow and headed to Kansas City for flight. Despite the previous 24 hour weather predictions of Snowzilla, there really wasn't much issue and made it to the airport without any issues. Our connection was in Atlanta and we made it fine, but my BIL/SIL flew out of St. Louis and had an hour delay leaving while they deiced the plane. They literally got to Atlanta and they were announcing last call for Bonaire. They ran through the airport and made it. I was getting really nervous, but Delta announced we would be leaving late due to many flights flights being delayed into Atlanta due to ice. Since that Delta flight was the only game in town and if you missed it you were pretty much screwed, my hat goes off to Delta. We left about 45 minutes late out of Atlanta, but nobody was upset about it. Good thing to know for our future trips.

    We made it to the island and it is hot and humid. Picked up the rental truck and got our room at the Sand Dollar. We've been here before so knew what to expect. Long day so just spent the evening looking around. It is pretty much dead for a Saturday night. I guess we are at shift change and most people left and a new crew is now on the island.

    I guess we'll see about the diving arrangements here at the Sand Dollar. We walked down to the beach area and can no longer walk over to the pier because they have it fenced off. We knew this. I guess we are not supposed to use the pier because that is owned by Bonaire Dive and Adventure and since Sand Dollar now has another dive company (Dive Friends) on property there seems to be some issues. First impressions of Dive Friends arrangements doesn't look as good. The old shower house building near the pier is where they store tanks for the Sand Dollar guests. The dive shop is up in the front parking lot (it was closed when we got here). I'm not sure how all this going to work out and appears I'm going to be carrying my gear quite a bit, but we'll see after we have had a chance to check everything out.

    As I write this it is Sunday morning. My sleep schedule is a little off with the time change and going to bed a little early. Got up at 5am local time (3am my time). Sitting on the screened in balcony looking out over the ocean waiting for the sun to come up. Just got our morning rain shower. Plans for today is to go through our dive orientation, buy some food, and get to diving.

  2. #2
    Megalodon
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    11/12/2007
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    Glad you made it okay, have a great time!

    I once saved a man in Wichita just to watch him dive...(inventor)

  3. #3
    Grouper
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    08/25/2010
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    Some tips on Dive Friends. If you are diving south pick up tanks at Port Bonaire - get replacements on the way back to your digs. You can back right up to where they store the tanks. I think that the Dive Friends at Sand Dollar is where the Cliff dive site is. You go down stairs to get to the site. Enter just left of the rock wall and use it to help keep your ballance. Once you get your fins on follow the pipe out till you are far enough to descend. The cliff is to the left. I didn't go to the right. Finding your way back is easy - once you see the pipe just follow it in. I got tanks there when I dove north.

    Most of Dive Friends shops are open 8-5. The one at Cliff closes early - 4:30 I think. I also think they have a 2 tank/person limit as they are the smallest Dive Friends shop. I always made sure I had 3 full tanks for the following day and replaced them each afternoon. Since my apartment was in Belnham (just a wee bit south of Port Bonaire) it was easy for me to keep a set of full tanks handy.

    Bonaire is pretty much a gear carrying place for me as I always stay in apartments away from the water. I carry my gear to the apartment (all of about 30 feet), rinse and set it up to dry. Put it back in the truck in the morning. You shouldn't have much carrying to do unless you have to park a distance from your unit. Maybe I'm confusing where you are staying.

  4. #4
    Shark
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    09/29/2007
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    keep us posted!!!!! we are cold here!!!!
    God is good, no matter what!!

  5. #5
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention earlier, Saturday night we ate at the Grill House because we just happened to run into it while we were walking around downtown. It was okay. I wouldn't write home about it. Sunday night we ate at Dive Flamingo....very good. I would recommend this place. We stayed and played in the Casino a little bit. We were there several years back and many of the machines were barely working, but they have gotten all new machines and the place actually resembles a real casino now. Nobody won, but we had a good time.

    Diving: Did our checkout dive on Bari and it was great. I didn't take my camera and really wished I did. We saw Tarpon, Barracuda, Flounder, a spotted eel, along with all the "normal fish". As Charon suggested, we drove down the road to Hamolet and dove The Cliffs. Great dive with a more shear drop-off. Didn't see any unusual marine life, but a nice easy dive. Yes, the pipe helps out a lot to find your way back. The entry is a little rough given the amount of wind and surge we are getting, but very doable. We did pick up more tanks there because it was easy to drive up and load them.

    We did our grocery shopping on Sunday as well. Went to the New Mega Grocery Store by the airport....nice and almost like a Walmart. Buying food is a little challenge because everything is written I think in Dutch. We needed pickles and never realized this challenge because we wanted dill and couldn't read what was sweet and what was dill. We ended up having to ask somebody. You have to watch prices....some are pretty good and others out of the world. I picked up a small bag of cherries and was amazed that it was over $10....they went back on the shelf.

    Sunday the weather was cloudy with a lot of rain throughout the day. First time we seen that when we were in Bonaire, but today it looks like it is going to be bright and sunny. During our dives yesterday for the first time I was a little chilled during both dives. The water is what it was the last time we were here low 80's. I'm thinking because of the clouds and rain maybe I just wasn't as hot above water and this escalated the chill feeling. We will see today. It's been a lot more windier than I remembered in previous trips which is causing larger waves and swells.

    The girls still need to do their checkout dives today....they just sat around yesterday relaxing and enjoying the vacation. I'm thinking we might head North today and checkout Oil Slick and I think Tolo is in that area as well....recommended to us I think by Charon.

    Trying something new this time and going to try and keep up with this running trip report just so I get it done. Not trying to throw it in everybody's face, but wanted to give a trip report for future travelers.

    Snagel

  6. #6
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Charon, re-read your earlier post. We are staying at the Sand Dollar which is behind the "In Between 2 buns" and ice cream shop by the roundabout. Bari Reef is at this site. The Cliffs is maybe a mile north of us.

  7. #7
    Grouper
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    OK. Not familiar with Sand Dollar. Is that the one down another road off the main road?

    Glad you got to try Cliff. Yes, Tolo is up by Oil Slick. Remember that you can backtrack from Tolo (road is plenty wide enough and no real traffic) rather than driving the very long way around. I probably wouldn't do it from sites much beyond Tolo but it's such a short distance from Tolo that it's a shame to waste the gas unless you want to sight see.

    About the wind/surge. Usually the wind starts when the sun comes up and increases all day. It seems to have the biggest effect on southern sites. I tried to hit them as early as I could and saved the northern sites and those southern sites with very easy entry for later in the day.

  8. #8
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Monday we headed out to Oil Slick, geared up and climbed down the ladder into the water. Nice dive. We ran into a pod of squid and they seemed to love being videoed. The next stop was Tolo. OMG....Charon you were absolutely correct. This reef was simply amazing. The coral was dazzling. When we were done we took the long way back through Rincon only because we wanted to enjoy the ride.

    For lunch, we stopped at the Between Two Buns. Many commented how good the sandwiches are and we confirm this. The girls had the Bacon sandwich with all the fixings and they said it was very good. We had the "hamburger" again because several told us it was very good. I would say for me, the hamburger wasn't all that great. Not exactly sure what they made the hamburger out of, but the meat was very dense and had an odd taste to it (for me). However, the place was packed and I could see many of the other sandwiches and they looked delicious. I would recommend this place for lunch.

    After lunch we did a dive on Bari to make sure our bearings were correct and prepare for our night dive later. That night we did a night dive on Bari Reef and it was amazing. I forgot how much I enjoy night dives. The Tarpon and Grouper escorted us and enjoyed finding their evening meal due to our lights. It's crazy to be diving with several 6' Tarpon gliding past you constantly. We ran into a Jelly Fish and enjoyed filming it; only to find out we were surrounded by Jelly Fish....they were everywhere about the size of a volleyball. It got a little unnerving with so many and wasn't sure if they would try to sting us or not, but we made it out.

    For Dinner we drove down to Cap't Dons and they were having an all you can eat BBQ buffet. Wow! The food was great (and fast). We always eat one night at Cap't Dons because the food is very good and tonight we got a special treat.

    Travelers Tip: We are pretty much finding that for Dinner you need to budget about $25 per person. This doesn't include extra drinks. We are not "drinkers" so we don't know exactly how much beer and wine is.

    Charon, if you are driving north out of town you pass Pasa Bon Pizza and eventually come up to the roundabout by the TV Station. After the roundabout, the first resort on the left is Sand Dollar / Den Lamon. The next one would be Buddy Dive, then Capt Dons. To give you an idea.

    The plan for today is to go up into the National Park and do some site seeing and diving and try and find some of those "secret dive locations". We have always done our park tours the last day of the trip after checking out of the room and waiting for our flights. This time we wanted to do some diving and enjoy the park without having to leave early and catch a plane.

    Snagel

  9. #9
    Grouper
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    You are making me very envious! This morning it's below zero and Sunday morning I woke to over a foot of snow. Glad you are enjoying. I got the "Fight Club" at Between-2-Buns. Didn't try the burger because I was cooking those at my apartment.

    I didn't like my night dive. Didin't see anything that wasn't there during daylight (maybe I went too early) and breaking down in the dark being eaten by mosquitos wasn't my cup of tea. If I do it again I think I'll dump my BC in the back and jump in the car and break down the equipment back at the apartment.

  10. #10
    TadPole
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    Hey Snagel, these daily logs are great! I am enjoying reading them and find myself looking forward to the next one each day! Living vicariously through your dive reports!!
    Keep 'em coming and have a great time!
    (videos to come, right??)


    Mark

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