Scuba Diving Bonaire
Diving Bonaire articles, reviews, and reports from Undercurrent
Diving Bonaire Overview
To many visitors, Bonaire's attraction is shore diving, not only in front of their hotels, but via rental car to one of a score of marked sites - but keep nothing in those cars as many get broken into while divers are underwater. Still, Bonaire is a diver's island par excellence, with diving that's especially well suited for easy divers and those who want to concentrate on photography.
Bonaire Seasonal Dive Planner
Bonaire is a desert island, with a terrain and climate something
like southern Arizona. Air temperatures are in the low to mid 70s at night, and
the high 80s or low 90s during the day. But with the trade winds and moderate
humidity, it rarely feels as hot as it is.
Rainfall is usually scant, consisting of a few brief showers
in the early morning, except during November and December, when occasionally
it is overcast and rainy for a day or more. Total annual rainfall is about 20
inches, but every eight to ten years there's a peak year, with total rainfall
of two to three times the normal amount. 1988 was one such peak year, with the
highest accumulations known since accurate record-keeping started over 200 years
Bonaire's protected western coast offers almost ideal conditions
365 days a year - calm, warm, and clear water with gentle currents. The sky
is usually dotted with puffy fair weather clouds that give a welcome respite
from a tropical sun which can get quite intense, especially in May, June, and
September. Winds are always from the east at a brisk 15-20 mph from January
through August. They slow the last four months of the year, with occasional
calm days that permit diving on the island's exposed eastern coast. This is
an experience not to be missed if the rare opportunity presents itself to see
the huge sponges, gorgonia, coral heads and fish of the northern and eastern
The water temperature in Bonaire ranges from 78 to 81 degrees. About three years
out of every five, upwellings of cold, nutrient-rich water from the deep Atlantic
spill into the Caribbean over the relatively shallow shelf that connects Trinidad
with the Grenadines, and then it circulates westward to Bonaire. When this happens
- usually during July - water temperature can drop into the low 70s and visibility
everywhere can fall to 30' or less. These conditions can last from one or two
days to a week or more.
Sometimes this cold upwelling water doesn't come all the way
to the surface but is only encountered at depth as a murky thermocline.
Diving Bonaire Feature Articles and Reader Reports
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Bonaire Dive Reviews
from our Instant Reader Reports
All Availble to Undercurrent Online
Members; Some Publicly Available as Indicated
Diving Bonaire Articles - Land Based
|Florida, Maui, Palau . . ., good and bad Bahamas dive shops; the best week to dive Bonaire, 10/14|
|Goodbye, Cap’n Don, 6/14|
|Key Largo, Maui, New Zealand . . ., maiden voyage kinks in Thailand, a rude photo pro in Bonaire, 5/13|
|Bonaire, Cozumel, St. Vincent…, legendary guide retires, dive shop disputes, and more, 1/13|
|An Insider’s Tips on Bonaire , 8/12|
|Bonaire, Maui, Phuket…, Francis Coppola’s five-star resort, a clueless Cozumel divemaster, 6/12|
|Bonaire, Caymans, China. . ., a dangerous Baja dive shop, and what, no octopus for your buddy?, 1/12|
Available to the Public
|Saipan, Statia, Lake Malawi, Key Largo..., reports from the back of beyond from “undercover” readers, 7/10|
|Buddy Dive Resort, Bonaire, freedom for solo diving photographers, 5/10|
|Bahamas, Canada, Caymans, Indonesia, planning your next dive trip? Here are readers’ suggestions, 7/08|
|Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn, Bonaire, hard to book, but heaven for hardcore divers, 10/07|
|Cuba, Bonaire, Belize... , and a clever thief in Curacao, 1/07|
|Holbox Whale Sharks, Bonaire Wild Side, destinations to keep in mind, 2/06|
|Thumbs Down: Plaza Resort Bonaire, 9/04|
|Reports From Readers: Part I, Cozumel’s adult dive operators, Bonaire bummers, 8/04|
|More on Theft in Bonaire, 4/04|
|S.E. Aruba Fly n’ Dive, the Dutch Caribbean, dive in Bonaire, sleep in Aruba, 2/04|
|Wild Side Diving in Bonaire, 5/03|
|Thumbs Down, 10/02|
|Missed Connections, 10/01|
|Klein Bonaire Rescued from Developers, 2/00|
|Bonaire, A Shore Diver's Mecca, the Carib Inn, deep diving, private guides, 1/00|
|The Trouble with Going to Bonaire and Curaçao, getting there is the hardest part, 7/99|
|Captain Don's Habitat, 7/94||
Diving Bonaire Articles - Liveaboards
|Belize, Bonaire, Florida, Philippines . . ., and a Cozumel dive shop with a great refund policy, 7/15|
Available to the Public
|Bonaire, Fiji, Galapagos, Roatan, great examples of customer service - - and one resort to avoid, 9/11|
Bonaire Dive Reviews
from our Travelin' Divers' Chapbooks
Editor's Book Picks for Scuba Diving Bonaire
The books below are my favorites about diving in this part of the
world All books are available at a significant discount from Amazon.com;
just follow the links. -- BD
Reef Life: A Must Have Guide to Tropical Marine Life
by Brandon Cole and Scott Michael
What? Another fish ID book when you thought Paul Humanns and Ned Deloachs were enough? Yes indeed, and while I rarely say this, Reef Life: A Guide to Tropical Marine Life is a must-have for the library of every traveling diver. And if you only want one ID book, this is it.
Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.
A Guide to the Coral Reefs of the Caribbean
by Mark Spalding
This book doubles as a guide to the natural history of the coral reefs and a diver's travel guide. In addition to providing information about some of the most popular diving and snorkeling, it also offers practical suggestions to divers who want to protect these sites. Author Mark Spalding, a coral reef scientist who has worked on coral reefs in over thirty countries, delves into the eco-problems with a focus on what each person can do to protect the reefs. The guide section covers 35 dive destinations with key information on the reefs, marine parks, remote places, and unusual species as well as excellent maps and a photographic field guide of the marine flora and fauna.
Order Now at a reduced price of only $16.47.
Travel Edition of Reef Fish Identification: Caribbean, Bahamas,
by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach
Today's airline weight restrictions not only limit the amount of dive gear
and cameras you can pack for overseas trips, but also those valuable
prized marine life identification books. And with spotty Internet access
overseas, it's not like you can look a critter of or fish up easily
online. For the divers who still want a book in their hands post-dive to
look up the fishes they encounter, Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach are
offering "Travel Edition of Reef Fish Identification: Caribbean, Bahamas,
South Florida." It's lightweight enough to thrown in your carry-on but
rugged enough to withstand frequent saltwater washings on board.
Click here to buy it at Amazon via our website -- our profits go to save the reefs.
World Atlas of Coral Reefs
by Mark D. Spalding, Corinna Ravilious,
Edmund P. Green, United Nations World Conservation Monitoring Center.
If there is one book that belongs in every traveling diver's library, this is
it. The superb World Atlas of Coral Reefs has everything you want to know
about the reefs from Costa Rica and Cuba to the Coral Sea and Cayman. The information
is specific and up to date. The photos, maps and layout superb. And the price,
for this 424 page, full color, hard bound volume, is a steal at $31.50
The Atlas was released in September by the United Nations World
Conservation Monitoring Center to document and conserve the world's coral reefs.
Clearly written with divers in mind, it's an invaluable resource for global
travelers. Here's what you'll find.
- 94 maps, including global maps of biodiversity and reef
stresses, regional maps showing 3-D bathymetry and high resolution maps showing
reefs, mangroves, population centers, dive centers and protected areas.
- 280 color photographs, showing reefs, wildlife, people and
places, Including 84 photographs taken from space by Shuttle astronauts.
- Text explaining the formation, structure and ecology of
coral reefs; their various uses and abuses at the hands of humans; and the
techniques used in coral reef mapping.
- Detailed texts describing the distribution and status of
coral reefs in every country.
- Data tables listing information on biodiversity, human
use, and protected areas. These include statistics on coral reef area, biodiversity,
fish consumption, and threats.
For example, you can learn about pollution damage to the reefs
at Providenciales and the lack of human impact, as well. Or, where extensive
bleaching took place in Honduras 1998. You'll read that Milne Bay in Papua New
Guineas has the most extensive reef system in that country and where, in Fiji,
the bumphead parrotfish and tridachna clams will not be found, thanks to overfishing.
The Reef Set: Reef Fish, Reef Creature and Reef Coral (3 Volumes):
Paul Humann ID Books
by Paul Humann, Ned Deloach
The three set fish, creature and coral ID books by Paul Humann are the unparalleled sources for information on Caribbean sea life and identification. Paul and his partner Ned Deloach recently released updated and expanded editions of each, with scores of new critters, even better photos, and information unavailable anywhere else. Why, the Reef Fish Identification book, at more than 500 pages, is 20 percent larger than the previous volume, which came out in 1994. Whenever I travel to the Caribbean, I tote all three books and spend my down hours figuring out what I saw and where to look to find rare creatures. Paul's splendid Reef Creature book (420 pages), covers sponges, nudibranchs, octopus, crustaceans, Christmas tree worms and plenty more. His Reef Coral ID book (276 pages) helps you identify all the hard and soft corals, spawning, and even the growth on top of corals, as well as algae and other plant life. Beginners may want to ID only fish, but I'd recommend that all three books be part of every diver's library. And, if you have an old set, by all means replace it. You'll be delighted at the additions and improvements. Each book normally retails for $40, but are discounted when you order here. And the boxed 3-volume set is available now at a bigger discount, up to 30%. You'll get the best prices Amazon.com has to offer, speedy delivery, and the knowledge that a large hunk of our profit will go to preserve coral reefs.
* Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas,
* Reef Creature Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas, and
* Reef Coral Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas
* The Boxed Set of all three (you can save up to 30%)
You might find some other books of interest in our Editor's
Book Picks section.