All of that was great. We had traveled to the north and dove at Karpata, on the east at “Willemstoren Lighthouse” and then some in-between. You park your car, get your gear organized, strap new bottle and begin exploration. Well, and this is where it gets a bit slippery. Because I liked diving in Bonaire and do not want to say anything negative about this island, but what I personally felt, traversing along those shores, that I was constantly revisiting the same dive-site again and again. Remember the map? Almost all of them are fairly close to each other. Sometimes I saw some different species of fish at different locations, but in general, every time you dive at “new” site – deja vu. And premonition “been there, done that” settle within me after fourth or fifth submersion and kept its presents to the end of our trip.
There was one spot that differed from the rest, leaving an impression as new and exciting. We dove there twice, ones at night and other time it was our last day on the island and we went there in the afternoon. It was called Salt Pier. Oh, and Hilma Hooker, the ship wreck, was different too. But what I am trying to say that with the exception of two – three sites the rest were almost identical. And maybe it’s a good thing, no big surprises.
As a counter-argument, one can always say that practically all islands, with reef formation along its shore, will offer, more or less, the same habitat and topography. And it would be compelling reasons. Yet, for instance, diving at the shore reef of Grand Cayman was quite different. Somehow each new site felt … new, unknown and interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I’d go back to Bonaire again and enjoy it thoroughly. But I would wait a least for couple of years before I entertain an idea of the return trip. And next time, I think, we should try to dive more around Klein Bonaire and at Bonaire National Marine Park. Many divers were saying that it’s an unforgettable experience.
So, wrapping this up, can Bonaire be called Diver’s Mecca? I think so. Geographically – very convenient, weather is great year around, people are friendly and aim to please. Diving is plentiful and, especially considering free pick-up track, easy to get to. Air, nitrox, weights and plenty of smiles are included. Rooms ( talking of “Buddy Dive” ) are clean and spacious. I also remember well and highly recommend to try one of the local restaurants located fairly close to resort, “Bistro de Paris” it was really nice.
So all you’ll do in Bonaire is eat, slip and dive. Therefore visiting this island, I imagine, is like going to the diver’s paradise – peaceful existence, great diving, plus … you get all versions of an attractive reef.
p.s. As we visited Bonaire in january of 2011, few years did past and we may schedule another trip in a near future.
Shots were taking with Panasonic Lumix LX 3, 10 Bar underwater housing and two YS-01 Sea&Sea flashes.