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Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:36 pm
by Sharkb8
Since there has been a pretty epic run of trip reports the last few days, I figure I'd throw another out there from our trip this past December to Bonaire. We did the standard 6 days of diving + 1 day of sightseeing (and 2 full days of travel) the second week of the month, after finding fairly cheap flights from Vancouver. We stayed at an excellent Air BnB across the street from Captain Don's and did the weekly tank rental package through Goodive just down the street. I'm pretty sure that doing the ala carte routine didn't save us that much money over a standard resort shore dive package, so if (when) we return we will probably simplify and stay at Buddy Dive or something similar.

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We ended up doing mostly 3 dives a day and totaled 18 total over the trip. This seemed to be a good balance between diving our faces off and still maintaining a relaxed pace to enjoy the tropical sun and the island life. The main highlight of the trip for me was seeing my wife have it "click" for her the 2nd day. She was certified years ago but has been diving so infrequently that she has never been able to actually relax and enjoy it. She also gets very nervous about sea sickness, and has never been motivated to dive more since so many great dive locales are accessed by boat. After we resolved some mask and mouthpiece issues from the first day, she found two seahorses at the start of diving on day 2 and proceeded to relax and enjoy every minute spent underwater!

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My favorite sites we dove were Karpata (unbelievable reef structure), Invisibles (should be named Incredibles after so many epic creature sightings), Red Beryl North (seahorses!) and the Lighthouse (Shark! Moray! Another Moray!!!) at the south tip of the island. Other highlights included a nightdive on Buddy's house reef with the huge tarpon shadowing us, a morning dive at Andrea 2 chasing around beautiful hamlets and huge schools of blue tang, and having a giant rainbow parrot fish keep visiting us while exploring the Hilma Hooker. The only lowlight of the trip was leaving my backup camera battery in the charger.... on my wall at home...... so no photographic evidence of most of the highlights was produced!

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We spent our last day doing the traditional drive up around Washington Slaagbai park, watching turtles get tossed around in the waves and cliff jumping at Boka Slaagbai.

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This was my first tropical vacation centered around diving, and it couldn't have been any more fun. Being able to sleep in every morning and casually dive on our own schedule was pretty incredible. As most of you know, Bonaire is a required bucket list trip, and I'm sure that we will be returning again sooner than later.

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Re: Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:43 pm
by theonly_JT
Another killer trip report!!! Glad to hear your wife was able to relax underwater and enjoy the dives!! :partydance:

NWDC is on a roll with all our awesome members making epic trips to some truly special places. Great pictures, sorry to hear you left your extra camera battery at home :angry: But at least the diving was great.

Re: Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:07 pm
by Scubak
Hay! We were there in Feb 2 to the 12th, 2018
We really need to get a NWDC trip planned there as so many of us are going there.
There are some going in May.
I love that place.
Thanks for sharing.
Kirsten

Re: Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:40 pm
by Tom Nic
Wow! And the amazing trip reports keep on rolling in! Wonderful pictures...

So glad you enjoyed "my" favorite island!

Interested in hearing more about your dive at the Lighthouse. Did you have a wind reversal or calmer conditions, or did you just go for it?

Re: Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:57 pm
by Sharkb8
Tom Nic wrote: Interested in hearing more about your dive at the Lighthouse. Did you have a wind reversal or calmer conditions, or did you just go for it?


We had two days during our trip with no wind on the east side. Being first timers, we were clueless the first day. We met up with a couple in the evening who had relocated to the island from Bellingham that my wife had met briefly years ago. They told us to head down there because the forecast was still looking good. We heeded their advice and had no swell and zero current. Saw a nurse shark immediately, and after the lengthy swim out to the drop off we kept running into huge green morays, a beautiful midnight parrot fish and schools of black durgon and blue tang. The sea fans and other soft corals carpeting the bottom were incredible and finding flamingo tongues got pretty boring quick because they were everywhere.

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We then headed up and back and spent well over half the dive just geeking out on the broad shallow shelf on the way in. Afterwards, we were unsure about trying an east side site without a guide, so went went just up the road to dive Red Slave. We had a spotted eagle ray fly by multiple times, saw a bunch of big grouper, schools of palometas in the shallows, and topped it off with an octopus curled up in a hole in about 4 feet of water right off shore. Good times, and better parking!

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Re: Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:03 pm
by Vjw
Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and great pictures! Haven’t been there and want to go sometime....

Re: Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:52 pm
by Tom Nic
Sharkb8 wrote:
Tom Nic wrote: Interested in hearing more about your dive at the Lighthouse. Did you have a wind reversal or calmer conditions, or did you just go for it?


We had two days during our trip with no wind on the east side. Being first timers, we were clueless the first day.


Wow - that is wonderful! If you don't realize it already, you were hugely lucky to get good dive conditions wise at Lighthouse. My next trip will be #11 or 12 and I still haven't gotten a good dive at Lighthouse because the conditions with the prevailing winds mean big surf, and combined with slippery rocks and uncertain footing make getting in and out a challenge or even dangerous. And that's just entry and exit, to say nothing of underwater conditions which can be variable as well.

Congratulations on a great dive!

I would have probably just stayed down south as long as conditions permitted and just do dive after dive.... :)

We're headed back in May for 2 weeks - can't wait! :joshsmith: :calvin: :joshsmith:

Re: Bonaire, December 2017

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:32 pm
by Gdog
Wow fantastic! I was also very curious about the lighthouse dive, I haven't gotten to dive there yet. Great report, and pics!