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January 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Bonaire, Cozumel, St. Vincent…

legendary guide retires, dive shop disputes, and more

from the January, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Changes at Dive St. Vincent. This dive shop's owner, the legendary Bill Tewes ( if you've ever dived with him you'll know why he is legendary) has hung up his dive fins due to declining health. However, Dive St Vincent continues to run under the leadership of Callie Richards, who has worked with Bill for 23 years. Bill, after guiding dives in Papua New Guinea, opened his operation nearly three decades ago, and with his good eye for the small stuff, turned St. Vincent into the critter capital of the Caribbean. ( )

Report from Bonaire. Longtime Undercurrent correspondent Carl Mintz (Washington, DC) visited Bonaire in November and sent me an important update about a popular dive operation, and other goings-on arpund the island. "There is quite a dispute going on between some Sand Dollar condo owners and Bonaire Dive and Adventure, the dive operation originally associated with Sand Dollar. If you call the reservations office in the U.S. and do not specifically ask for them as your dive operator, you will be pushed to use Dive Friends Bonaire, which recently opened a shop on the Sand Dollar property. While the Dive Friends operation is okay -- the people running the operation are friendly and helpful -- it is located at the back of the Sand Dollar property, so getting from the dive shop to the water's edge is somewhat of a chore if you dive Bari Reef in front of Sand Dollar. It is easier to use Bonaire Dive and Adventure because of its location, proximity to the dock, location of the tanks on the dock, the large gear room for hanging and storing gear, and the large rinse tanks - one is on the dock and the other is closer to the parking lot. Dive Friends currently has only a few small individual lockers with locks (several people in my group were short, so the upper lockers would be useless to them for storing gear) and one set of rather small rinse tanks. Dive Friends has no dock or pier of its own at Sand Dollar, and the shore entry/exit to Bari Reef is over rocky terrain, which could prove dangerous when the water is rough. For example, at my checkout dive on the first day, there was such a strong surge (unusual for Bonaire) that everyone needed assistance to get out of the water, the waves were that strong. Bonaire Dive and Adventure has a professional naturalist who leads dive trips (preceded by a detailed illustrated lecture), and also can take you out for birdwatching tours. ( ; )...

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