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Thread: Everything Bonaire!

  1. #21
    Barracuda Founding Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Yaskowich View Post
    Join the fun and tell her yourself. Still lots of room.
    Only wish that I could. Been out of the water and unable to dive since 2014, when I had a stroke that has left me partially paralyzed. Chances are I will never be able to dive again
    John Lewis--the PlatypusMan!


  2. #22
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    PlatypusMan, I know of one dive op that does take handicapped people for dives. as long as you can keep a reg in your mouth & breath I think they could get you in the water. They use 2 DMD's one on each side. I am partially handicapped due to knees and need help to get in & out of the water.
    Dive paradise has helped me in the past. The one I was thinking of was Dive Urge in Dahab Egypt.

  3. #23
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Okay, back to Bonaire.......

    It's probably easier to talk about the bad diving places; rather then, the "good" spots but we'll try. If you don't know by know, Diving in Bonaire is easy and awesome compared to other places. Why? The freakin' reef is right off shore and they make it easy by having a road that virtually goes all along the shoreline. Drive down the road pull over and dive. The currents are there, but fairly mild.

    Some of my favorites:

    Bari Reef - We usually stay at Den Leman or Sand Dollar so Bari is our back door. Regardless it is a great reef and said to have the most abundance of sea life anywhere.

    Oil Slick - This is an interesting spot because it sits on a rock bluff. You can do stride into the water and fall about 10' to the water or you can take the ladder down. It's something you have to do at least once.

    1000 Steps - not really 1000 steps. I think it is more like 70ish. Anyway, this is a great dive, but you have to carry your gear down and back up all those steps. At the bottom is a beautiful beach.

    Karpata - Not sure why I like this spot so much. It is a little of a challenge to get in due to the wave action and there are rocks and cements foundations in the way, but I really like this dive.

    Northern Tip Behind the BOPEC Tanks - Last time on Bonaire we decided to explore the island a little more. We loaded up the truck and headed North along the shoreline toward the BOPEC oil storage tanks. We heard about some great dive sites up that way and believed that since most people to go there it had to be all that much better. So, we made our way around the back of the oil storage tanks along what might be called in the very loosest terms a road. More like a mud path. We were actually surprised as we made our way through this jungle that there were actual houses in the middle of nowhere. Our minds were racing if this is where they hide the dead bodies, or where the drug lords live, you get the picture. Eventually, and I say eventually we came across this shack. I think they call it a fish market but it was basically a shack in the middle of nowhere. There were two guys here one butchering some iguana and the other cleaning some fish. They really didn't pay too much attention to us and didn't speak English; so, communication was restrictive. We didn't know if we were allowed to dive or not. Eventually, we decided that since we came this far we were diving. We had already given up hope that the truck would be there when we got done with our dive. We gathered everything we could carry said goodbye to the truck and made our way into the ocean. At first there was nothing but sand then we ran into the reef. Here we found one of the largest eels I've ever seen and the reef did appear a little more vibrant and alive. After our dive we made our way back out hoping we were following the correct path. Once back on shore, we were delighted to see that our truck was still there. (We honestly believed there was no way it was going to be there - I'm not sure how we thought we were going to get back). The two guys were gone and the place was a ghost town....not sure if they walked, somebody picked them up, or they had a car stashed somewhere. Anyway we spent the better part of a day getting to this place and then getting back to "civilization". Morel to this story is, it isn't worth it. It's a long drive through the jungle on something that really isn't a road. If you break down, get hurt, or get in trouble in any way you are pretty much out of luck.

  4. #24
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Windsock and Beaches: Many have asked about the beaches of Bonaire. Bonaire does not really have beaches. There are a few - 1000 steps, Slagbaai National Park has some, and then there is Windsock. Windsock is located by the airport just outside of town. I think it is what the locals call the beach. It's a beach and a pretty good dive site. We typically do several dives here because it is easy to get in and out and the reef again is right there.

    Dawn Dive: On my first trip to Bonaire I was with a group from a local dive quarry. I was blessed being with them on my first trip because they knew everything about Bonaire and I learned so much. One thing they talked me into doing (as if it took a lot) was my first Dawn Dive. So, we met outside in the parking lot around 5amish if I'm remembering right. It was dark. We drove over to Windsock and got geared up in basically total darkness....try that sometime. We made our way into the water and started our dive in darkness (except for our dive lights of course). As the sun started waking up so did the reef. It was a magical experience being there when the reef wakes up in the morning. One by one, the fish came out of their hiding spots, the coral seemed to stretch and yawn as the sun hit. We eventually made our way back to the trucks and went for breakfast.

  5. #25
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    I've never done a dawn dive but have at dusk. It is a magical time as some creatures seem to disappear while others come out. I imagine dawn would be simelar.

  6. #26
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    What is there to do in Bonaire? Bonaire is the Dive Capital of the World (my opinion). I typically say if you don't dive you won't have much to do. It's not like it's sister island Aruba that is where you go to party or the other sister, Curacao, that is a little more "urban" and has a little more "city life". Bonaire is neither of those. It's laid back and again geared toward diving. With that said there are a few things to do outside of diving if you must or if you have people in your group that do not dive.

    Relax Take in the Island Air and Do Nothing. My wife's first trip was exactly that. She didn't dive at the time; so, while we were out diving for the day she stayed back in the room napping and reading books. She says it is the most relaxed she has ever been in her entire life....she describes it as having taken a weeks worth of valum. We had a room that overlooked Bari Reef and one of the nicest patios ever.

    Kite Surfing: They do Kite Surfing on the South Side. We have never done it but have stopped and watched...it appeared to me there were the "professionals" and also those trying it out for the first time. If your interested, go for it.

    Casino: There is a Casino at the Divi Flamingo. If read this so far you have heard my opinion of it. To be honest it may be better. Maybe somebody else will chime in and any updates.

    Relaxing at the City Pier: There is some nightlife down along the pier downtown. There are several restaurants and "drinking establishments". A nice relaxing night.

    Tour the Island: The island isn't very big so you can drive around it in a day and stop enjoy many things. You will go into Rencon; which, is a native town on the interior of the island (away from the pirates of long ago). People still live there with their goats and donkeys. I wouldn't recommend stopping and hanging out because it isn't a tourist town at all.

    Visit the Cave Drawings: This really isn't much. The Indians of long ago left some drawings on some rocks. Over time they have tried to protect them with some steel gates. They are still there and something to see, but not something to go specifically to Bonaire for.

    Visit the National Park: Again it is 4 wheeling and basically drive through a jungle and see inguinal, goats, and donkeys. Occasionally, you come across some buildings and a beach. Very secluded.

    Shop: There is downtown to Kralendijk. There are shops and gifts to buy. If a cruise ship happens to be in port the streets will be filled with street vendors and the shops will be full. When the cruise ship leaves, most the street vendors go away and many shops close. Honestly not sure how many cruise ships visit Bonaire anymore. In our early trips we use to get a schedule first things so we could decide if we wanted to mess with the crowds or stay away. This hasn't been an issue in recent years.

    Resort????: I may need some help with this one. On the southern tip is a private resort. We have driven by it several times as we drive around the island but can really only see a wall. I am told (I don't know this for a fact so others please help out here) that this is an Adult Only Nudist Resort. Again, I may be totally wrong here and buying into a joke, but that is what I've heard. I can tell you the resort is there and it looks big. It is on a inlet to the ocean.

    Bird Watch: There are birds everywhere and notably the Flamingo. These are awesome birds to see and they have several sanctuaries for Flamingos.

    Kayaking: We may try this on our next trip (the girls want to try this). The best area is in the Mangroves on the eastern side of the island.

    Visit Klein: There is a smaller island that sits off the coast of Bonaire. Many do boat dives at Klein and others take a water taxi over and "check it out". We have never been there, but will probably check it out on our next trip. We looked into seeing if somebody would take us there to shore dive and then explore. But, we are told the dive boats anchor off the island and the water taxi's don't take divers because that are what the dive ops do. When we have asked they say, "why, there is nothing there".

    The Wild Side: I don't think this is there anymore, but maybe it is or maybe somebody else is doing it. When we first started going to Bonaire you could book a boat dive called the Wild Side. With this you went to other side of the island and dove where the waves are BIG. You are basically in the ocean. This was an intense dive where you had the opportunity to see bigger things like rays, turtles, and such. Again, I think the outfit that use to do this stopped, but maybe somebody else can give us a heads up.

    I hope I covered most of it, maybe I left something out. My point is my son who is now in his early 20's has never been to Bonaire. He has been with us in a lot of places - Roatan, Mexico, Coz, Beleze, etc. But, never to Bonaire simply because he isn't a diver (ear issues) so he isn't very interested. He likes to do things, and that isn't what Bonaire is all about.

  7. #27
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    That was a great post Snagel
    --Zeagle Eagle

  8. #28
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    More thoughts on Bonaire.......

    What should I not Forget????

    Bug Spray: Bonaire is an arid island that if fairly dry, but they do have some pesky biting insect. I can't say it is bad, but you want to bring along some bug spray because it is not cheap on the island. I usually bring a can and what I don't use I leave in the room for the next person or whoever takes it.

    Tire Inflator: Once you get to Bonaire and see the tires on the rental trucks you will understand our concern about flat tires. We have luckily never had one, but many have...(I think I just jinxed us...you will find out in our trip report once we return in Mid December). Anyway, we picked up one of those tire inflaters that we can hook a dive tank up to and hopefully get air in our tire long enough to get us back to town.

    Spare Tire / Jack: Yes, I'm paranoid about flat tires. I think I've said this previously, but when you get your rental truck make sure you have a spare with air, jack, and a lug tool. Enough said......

    Sun Screen: I have an issue with sun. Too much sun makes me break out due to a medical issue. So, you would think of all people I would remember my sunscreen when going to an arid sunny island. Nope...and it cost me. I think I paid upwards of $20 for small bottle of sunscreen once on the island. It's not cheap.

    Water Bottle: You need to bring a water bottle to help keep hydrated especially when diving. I believe years ago the dive shops gave you a nice water bottle, but with cost cutting that has gone away.

    Batteries: Remember batteries for you gadgets, lights, and dive computer. You can probably buy extra batteries on the island but they are real expensive. Another issue with the batteries is they want you take them home with you because they don't really have a place for them except bury them in the dump. Imagine the thousands of batteries from divers that can be buried on the island and the letching of the heavy metals from them. We bring back all our used batteries and dispose of them at home rather than litter the island. I can say that I have left new/good batteries for our housekeeper with a note saying they are good. I don't know if this is a good practice or not, but given the cost of batteries I"m hoping she/he appreciates it.

    Nitrox Card: Obviously, you need to make sure you bring your C-cards to check in. I guess they might be able to look you up on the PADI site, but I'm sure there is a cost to that. Most dive shops give a free Nitrox upgrade; so, if you got it bring it and you can dive on Nitrox; which, obviously is good given the amount of diving you could be doing.

  9. #29
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by snagel View Post
    Bug Spray: Bonaire is an arid island that if fairly dry, but they do have some pesky biting insect. I can't say it is bad, but you want to bring along some bug spray because it is not cheap on the island. I usually bring a can and what I don't use I leave in the room for the next person or whoever takes it.
    I stay far away from deet, which will melt plastic and destroy dive equipment if you accidently get it where you don't want it.

    Instead I treat my clothes with https://www.amazon.com/DurationTM-Pe.../dp/B001MA7KPU - this kit is easy to use. It comes with a couple of bags and concentrate. You roll your clothes up, put them in the bag, mix the concentrate and pour it in, wait a couple of hours, hang till dry and you're good to go. The protection is safe and lasts 6 weeks or 6 machine washings. I also bring Sawyer's 20% picaridin for exposed skin (also safe for equipment).

    I used to use the spray for both permethrin and picaridin but I found the Duration kit vastly easier to use. Last trip I poured the picaridin onto a small roll of guaze and applied it that way. Since then I have decided to try the lotion. I'll find out this Nov 26/Dec 10. Two weeks of paradise.

    One final note. I dive Bonaire in nylon shorts and nylon t-shirt - except at night. I don't need the insulation but I use a hyperflex polyolefin full suit (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) treated with permethrin - I hate the way the mosquitoes devour you after a night dive when you are trying to break your equipment down. Just remember to swab with picaridin on face hands and ankles.
    Abandon all hope ...

  10. #30
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Thanks Charon!

    I think I might try that. I'm learning something new as well.

    Snagel

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