Bonaire
Aug 30-Sept 7, 2005


Diver's Paradise that's the motto on the license plates in Bonaire and they really don't exaggerate. The diving is excellent and real easy with warm clear waters, very little current and an abundance of fish life. With the terrible last couple of weeks in mind, another great attraction with Bonaire is that it's outside the hurricane belt. We have been to Bonaire a couple of times and if you have been there once, you definitely want to go back! This year, Jack Stroud, Shelley Benz, Ann Christensen, Rick Breckenridge, Judy Harbin and I flew down for a week in paradise. After an uneventful flight down, we picked up our two crew-cab trucks and drove to our very nice 3-bedroom apartment at Sand Dollar Condominiums. We used the diveshop at the resort and in addition to having great divemasters, the house reef is Bari Reef - the divesite with the most fish diversity in all of the Caribbean according to REEF. One of their best divemasters is Jerry Ligon, the resident naturalist. Annie and I took one of his classes and he's a wealth of information about fish and sea life. Needless to say, we did several dives just off the dock. A lot of people go to Bonaire to see Sea Horses and Frogfish - Jack found two Sea Horses the same day and Judy and I each found one, but the diversity is so great it's hard to list all the fish we saw - Pipefish, Tarpons, Barracudas, Spotted drums, Turtles, all kinds of Angelfish, and most of all we saw juveniles everywhere. Most of the divesites in Bonaire are reachable from shore you load up your truck with tanks, drive to your dive site all marked with a yellow stone with the name on it, suit up and walk into the water. Then you slowly swim out to the gently sloping wall while stopping every few feet looking at fish/crabs/octopus etc. The wall usually started at around 30ft and most of our dives were shallow at less than 60 ft so with 6 experienced divers, the dives were long there was just so much to see from when you let the air out of your BCD at the beginning of the dive until you broke the surface 1-2 hours later. Bonaire is not the place to go to if all you want to do is party sure, there are bars but there's never a crowd. We bought food at the supermarket and made sandwiches for lunch and cooked a few nights. Other nights we went over to Lion's Den or downtown to the excellent restaurant Mona Lisa and ate and talked with Hans, the bartender/owner. One evening after a night dive, Judy and I had a nice dinner at the Pier Restaurant right at the dock where we did our dive just an hour earlier. Tuesday was our last full day in Bonaire and we found out it was Bonaire Day and everything was closed. So we did a short tour of the island and then relaxed by the pool. In the evening we stopped by a big block party with music and beer and had some fun before going into town and having a quiet dinner watching the sunset and wishing we could stay longer. This was not our last trip to Bonaire...

Click on thumbnails to see the full size pictures



Our group indoors...

And outdoors, dressed appropriately for Bonaire

Can't go to Bonaire without seeing a Sea Horse

Found this frogfish in 20ft of water just of the dock at Sand Dollar. Bari Reef sure is a good divesite...

I haven't seen many Spotted drum families...

Not quite sure what this is...

One picture from the left...

And one from the right... I can't really say that one side is better than the other side of a Frog Fish...

A little Slender Filefish...

I like this Trumpet Fish picture...

Turtle...

A French Grunt that had a red lolipop just before I took this picture



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