Island Bonaire is known by many as “Diver’s Mecca”. Well, is it so? If yes, then Bonaire is the place that every diver must visit at least ones in his “divetime”. I think every fact must be taking into consideration on order to bestow such label to one particular place. I did not travel all over the world… yet… to say, with conviction, that Bonaire can proudly wear the crest of honor. But I can confirm, that as soon as you utter “Bonaire”, you’ll hear warm admiration, “Oh, yeah”,  then you’ll see two firm thumbs up along with reassuring nod, that leaves no room for objection.

So in january of 2011, thirteen divers, tired of long, cold and, can I say – actionless winter got together and flew to the island. For some, it was the third time, for some second, but as for me, it was my maiden voyage to the dream island. There is no point to talk long about calamities on our way to Bonaire. We all know that anything can happen on the road. I’ll only tell you that if you can, then choose your travel company wisely. Make sure that someone is always ( including weekends and holidays ) available to assist you in the cases of flight delays or redirections. Yet we made it, basically losing one day of diving, but, thank God, without missing our precious gears. And this is what appeared before our tiresome eyes upon arrival to the Bonaire.

Buddy Dive resort.

Just a day before we sat in the airplane, which was treated with jets of steam, to free its body from layers of ice. And now … few hours later and 50 degrees warmer, we had arrived to this.

Buddy Dive resort. House Reef dive-site.

Buddy Dive

Resort is conveniently located on the west side of the island, with an excellent view of the Caribbean and, what is more important, easy access to the ocean as well as to an unlimited supply of compressed air. Just a few easy steps down the stairs off a wide, wrapping main building platform, and you are at your first dive site – “Buddy’s Reef”.

Just a last week we were plunging into 39′ ( 4′ C ) waters of Atlantic, wearing a dry suit, thick insulation and 40+ pounds of lead. Yeap, that’s New England’s winter diving for you. But now … all of that was simply forgotten, now we are in Bonaire, bathing in a gentle, soothing air of the Caribbean, listening calming sound of the ocean accompanied by mollifying rustle of the tall palms trees.

Buddy Dive resort. The battery of tanks for unlimited diving.

The motto of the resort  – “Eat, Sleep, (Buddy) Dive”. And who are we not to follow such a profound philosophy?  As wisdom proclaims, keep general rhythm if you don’t want to fall out of chorus  So we kept it. We ate, slept and dove as often as we could. Buddy of mine, roommate, Ray Founier, and I have managed 18 dives in 6 days. The following picture is the map of dive-spots around the island.

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Bonaire Dive map. Mouse over to zoom.

I’ll come back to this map, but here I’d like to tell you what was included into our package, that cost around $1600-1700.

Round trip airline ticket.
Airport transfer.
Daily breakfast.
Free unlimited air or nitrox.
Unlimited shore diving.
Pick-up track per room with unlimited mileage.

The truck was a really cool benefit if you’ve noticed how many dive sites are available to explore right from the shore. You get into the car, drive through the air station, get as many tanks as you wish and … adelante … forward, drive yourself to the site of your choose.

Dive spots

Contrary to the marking on the map ( red/white flags ) actual dive spots are indicated by yellow stone markers with a name of the site. Just like on the following picture …

The very first place we drove to.

I am sure that most of the names of dive sites have some relationship with surrounding areas, reflecting some historical event or has a connection to a famous character, whose noteworthy effort deserved  to be carved on stone. Here is an example.  This is what you see.

One more picture… and please, don’t pay attention to the preferable location of the real estate. Who cares about ocean views after a long day of hard labor and thankless servitude.

And here is the name of the dive site …

Got it?

Here is another location …

Looks beautiful, isn’t it? How do you get down to it with all necessary outfit? Tanks, weights, fins, cameras and all. Well … you walk, of course. But at least you get a fair warning, sometimes even in stereo.