Diving Bonaire

With the purchase of our new dive gear, Matt and I set out to explore as many dive spots as we could on Bonaire – as it is the dive capital of the world!  Listed below are some of the sites we visited -keep in mind that I am a relatively new diver so what I think is cool and exciting might be “routine” for the more experienced diver.

There are over 80 dive sites on Bonaire and Klein Bonaire so you could do a dive a day for nearly 3 months.  This is a good site – Info Bonaire – dive map

  • Back of boat – Matt and I explored the wall beneath our boat seven times, sometimes to burn through the last remaining bits of our air and other times enjoying longer dives. We started out doing the giant step off the sugar scoops but I found it was much easier for Matt to dump the gear in the water and put it on while it floated.  We always saw something new when we explored this site.
Little blue fish in the water off Sugar Shack

Little blue fish in the water off Sugar Shack

  • “Something Special” – Just before the entrance to the marina, and a short dinghy ride from our mooring, is a dive site called “Something Special” which has extremely diverse flora and fauna.  There are not many corals at this site, but the sandy bottom is a great pace to see rays and turtles.  We did see a spotted eagle ray, turtles, and several other beautiful sea creatures.  We dove this site twice as it was convenient and a great dive.  Here is a great shot of a flounder trying to hide from us.

I cannot remember where Matt shot this video of a flounder running from him – but it is share worthy.

  • “Just a Nice Dive” is located off Klein Bonaire.  Erik, Kyle and Max from Ad Astra joined Matt and I for a 60’ dive.  We swam up current first as it was pretty darn strong, and when we were about half way through our tank we turned around.  The current was so strong that it took us less than 1/3 the time to get back and as we popped up hoping to find our dinghies close by we realized we over shot it by a 1/4 mile.  We attempted to swim back on the surface, but realized we were not moving forward, but rather backward.  After what seemed like forever, we accepted that this route was not going to work, so Matt and I swam toward shore.  Kyle and Max followed as Erik tried to power through.  Unfortunately, he ended up about a mile back.  Matt took off his gear, handed it to me, and swam along the coast in about 18” of water. He passed our dinghies and kept going to the tip of the island and was then able to swim/drift back with the current to the dinghies.  He went after Erik first as he was the furthest away and out of air, then rescued me and the kids.  It was a pretty dive despite the current.
  • “Small Wall” – Our friends, Mizzy and Brian from Kokopeli joined us for a dive at Small Wall which is north of the mooring area. This dive has a stunning vertical wall of corals beginning at 7 meters that deceptively entice you down to about 25 meters.  I would have thought that this would have made me nervous with the wall on one side and the bottom and surface 25 meters away from each other, but it was lovely.  I truly enjoyed seeing all the coral embedded and thriving on the wall – what a totally unique and different experience.  Loved it.
  • “Andrea II” – This site is known for its large variety of sea anemones, hard and soft corals. You will easily spot Grooved Brain Coral, Corky Sea Fingers, and Staghorn.  A remarkable number of large female Queen Parrot fish  (each kind: blue, midnight, and rainbow over 1 meter in length) and can be seen throughout this site.  It was a stunning dive site with a large variety of fish and coral. Kokopeli joined us for this dive.
  • “Mi Dushi” (Klein Bonaire) – Our day out with Ad Astra, Always Sunday, Manado, Kattimi, Cape Grace, Kokopeli.  Mi Dushi is a reef dive with lots of different corals including elkhorn, staghorn, ad gorgonians, sea anemones, and lots of fish.  There were so many of us diving that the allure was a little lost, but this was a very pretty dive site. See blog post “A Day out with Ad Astra”
  • “Karpata” The 2nd dive, on a day out with Ad Astra, was at Karpata.  Good visibility, panoramic view, over branching colonies of elk horn which can stretch from 3 meters up to the top of the surface.  This site freaked me out a little bit as the wall was enormous and curved or was in the shape of a side ways wave.  Meaning there were caverns that you could swim in and out of – the problem was that each cavern had no end in sight – you could not see the bottom – it was a vast empty hole below and that completely WIGS me out.  See blog post “A Day out with Ad Astra”
  • Vista Blue” Shore dive with amazing topography of soft corals and sponges along the top reef with schools of goatfish, wrasses, blue chromis and a pretty large green moray eel! See blog post “Sea Donkey Takes us to Vista Blue”
  • “Bachelor’s Beach” –We arrived by dinghy which provided an easy entry and descent. A fairly shallow dive that maxes out at 30 meters.  Lots of hard coral and sea life but not many pockets of sand which makes it harder to see the beauty under the sea. Many fish including reef fish, trumpet fish, file fish, trunk fish, and wrasses.  Kokopeli joined us for this dive.
  • “Eighteen Palms” –This is the first site as you travel south where the reef separates into a “double-reef”. Large tarpon and schools of fish like to swim and play between the two reefs.  I really enjoyed this dive as the fish were exceptionally active, the corals seemed more colorful and the water was crystal clear. Kokopeli joined us for this dive.
  • “Night Dive”Ad Astra invited Cape Grace, Always Sunday, Manado and us for a night dive. It was my first night dive and I was very nervous.  We jumped in the water right at sunset so that there was still light in the sky.  We headed to the front of the boat to check out the eel between his mooring and to get comfortable in the water as the sky turned dark.  Everyone was outfitted with flashlights so it helped me keep an eye on where everyone was at all times.  We soon headed to the wall and slowly descended down until we hovered at 16-18 meters.  I had hoped to see iridescent corals and fish but it was probably too early in the evening (even though it was pitch black out).  We did get to see all the night fish and sea creatures come out (that usually hide during the day), spotted several eels, some brittle stars and other fascinating creatures.  But, truth be told, I much prefer to dive during the day.
  • Hilma Hooker” is a wreck dive located on the southern side of the island and is the only dive site with multiple buoys . I will dedicate an entire blog to this dive as it is really interesting.  We dove this site twice and the first time it was pretty clear, but the second dive was later in the afternoon and with a setting sun it made it little merky – but over all a super cool dive.  The stern of the wreck is 21 meters (69′) and the bow is 26 meters (85′) which made this my deepest dive yet at 95′ (stay tuned for this blog). Dove with Ad Astra
  • The Invisibles” is a double reef system and is located on the southernmost tip of the island.  With gorgeous soft corals especially Sea Plumes and Corky Sea Fingers.   This was one of my favorite dives!  The first reef runs parallel to the shore and a sandy channel cuts through it. The first reef is beautifully overgrown with soft coral that gently dance with the current, it is magical.  An enormous school of Boga were spotted here along with lots of Butterfly fish, Angelfish, and Trunk fish.
  • Sharon’s Serenity” we dove this site during the day first to get the “lay of the land” before our night dive.  We came to this spot to see the beautiful Ostrocod sexy dance (which is described in detail in a separate post).

I asked several people where there favorite dive spot is and came up with a list of dive sites to explore next time we visit Bonaire.

  • Wayaka II (new post w/ details)
  • Alice in Wonderland (new post w/ details)
  • Salt Pier
  • Tori’s
  • Joanne’s Sunshi (Klein Bonaire)
  • Angel City (two reefs)
  • Cliff
  • Oil Slick
  • 1000 Steps

 

Catering to the dive community with this rum bottle?

1 thought on “Diving Bonaire

  1. Timfish

    It’s been 20 years but I remember diving the Helma Hooker, lost my mask getting in the water and had got a cramp in my calf going through one of the holds that still bothers me sometimes. :/

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