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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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January 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Divi Flamingo Beach Hotel, Dive Bonaire, N.W.I.

an all-around good spot, from fish to food

from the January, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

I dive all over the world, but when I want a one-week trip from the Midwest, with good reefs, plenty of fish, easy diving, plus a comfortable hotel and good food, Bonaire is my go-to spot. You see ....

Just two hours after arriving in Bonaire in late November, and before even going to my hotel room, my dive buddy and I were gearing up on the Woodwind dock at Divi Dive. A giant stride took me into 10 feet of crystal-clear water, and we were soon swimming over the coral rubble left by backwash from Hurricane Lenny in 1999. The wall starts 100 yards out, at about 30 feet. Over the wall, the coral got better quickly, although not up to par with other Bonaire reefs. Brain corals, fire coral, colorful tube sponges, soft coral fronds, and wire coral strands were everywhere. At 60 feet, a five-foot tarpon and his two buddies began tagging along, sometimes close enough to touch. French and gray angelfish, trumpetfish, peacock flounders, and myriads of small reef fish kept me interested. The resident octopus greeted us back at the dock before pouring itself into a hole. I carefully approached a school of needlefish just under the surface; by not blowing too many bubbles, I got my lens within a foot. If you want to go back for a night or dawn dive, they leave out full cylinders 24 hours per day.

After diving, I went to the front desk to get my key (easy, since I had checked in online before arrival) and was greeted by the universally friendly staff, graced with a rum punch (or two), and given WIFI codes and a resort map.

My simple ocean-view room, with two beds, a dresser, a TV, several electric outlets, and a bathroom with a shower, was on the waterfront, with waves occasionally splashing onto the veranda, where I could sit to enjoy the ocean view. There's no beach, but the lovely grounds featured two pools, palm trees inhabited by squabbling parrots, and an occasional curious iguana. On the street next door to the hotel, I picked up snacks and odds and ends at a convenience store and often took a leisurely walk downtown to many good restaurants and shops. I stay away from the small in-house casino, a cruise ship tourist trap with lousy odds; in the past, I rented a car in the hotel lobby for a drive past the solar salt works or a visit to the Sorobon windsurfing area on the island's east side....

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