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Dive Review of Belmar/Rented House in
Bonaire

March, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Erik Enger, DC, USA
Report Number 3950
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Costa Rica, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, North Carolina, Cozumel,
Bonaire, St. Vincent
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
 
Seas
 
Water Temp
78   to 77    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
0
Water Visibility
0   to 0    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
100 ft. on boat dives  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
None 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
N/A
Overall rating for UWP's  
N/A  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
Theres plenty of information already available on Bonaire from
Undercurrent and other sources so Ill try to limit my report to
information I think is a little less widespread. 

This was my second two week trip to Bonaire and once again I chose to rent
a house.  There are several real estate companies with reasonably good
websites to find a suitable house for oneself.  Ive found this to be a
more economical option than staying at a dive resort - in addition to being
more to my liking.  When you combine this savings with the fact that
Bonaire is the Grand Central Station of shore diving and theres no need to
spend money on boat dives, Bonaire is easily one of the best bangs for buck
dive vacations an east coaster can make.  Obviously, its also one of the
best dive spots in the Caribbean making this an even sweeter deal.  

We chose to book our dive package through Belmar Apartments.  By doing so,
we could get tanks from Belmar (down south) or Buddy Dive (on the north end
of Kralendijk).  Although the island isnt very big, if youre doing a lot
of diving as we were, this can really save you some time.  If you book
through Buddy you can only get tanks from Buddy.  Officially, youre
limited to two tanks per person at a time but this isnt enforced by anyone
but yourself.  We sometimes took more when we planned to do night and early
morning dives and promptly returned empties in an effort to comply with the
spirit of the rule.  Tanks are available at both locations from 8am to 5pm-
sometimes you could get tanks a bit later.  On my last trip when we booked
through Toucan we could get tanks 24/7 which made things easier (I dont
know if thats still their policy) but we managed fine- just had to plan
ahead a little more.

Belmar itself only has dive boats going out on Tuesdays and Thursdays
however, youre also able to go out on Buddys boats.  We mostly dealt with
the staff at Belmar (including arranging for some boat dives with Buddy)
and they were always very helpful.  Me and a friend from my last trip were
delighted to find that one of our all time favorite dive masters Ebby
(formerly with Toucan) had joined Belmars operation the  week before we
arrived and so we were reunited with him.  He was our guide for night dives
on the Town Pier and Salt Pier, both of these dives require a guide and
cost $25p/p plus tip  this is outside of the cost of the normal unlimited
shore diving package.  Ebby is simply terrific.  He found one of my
favorite sightings of the whole trip, a leather-backed doris at Salt Pier. 


In addition to the normal diving we also spent a day shore diving the
less frequented East Side of the island with a great guy named Bas who has
a one man operation (email- loonybin@bonairelive.com).  The diving can be a
bit more advanced and in my opinion is very much worth the trip.  The East
Side features larger life, different creatures (incl. black brotula,
Spanish grunt, mutton hamlet, lesser seen junveniles, etc) and very
different topography.  By the way,, Ebby , who also dives the East Side,
told us he saw an 18 ft. hammerhead there the week before.

Favorite dives were on the East Side, both piers, Angel City (outer reef),
My Place, Karpata, Something Special and between Cliff and Bari Reef.

I experienced a couple of equipment problems and quickly discovered that
Bruce Bowker at the Carib Inn is The Man to go to.  He has both the
mechanical knowledge to fix things and more parts than anyone else.  I
visited him three times and he never charged me a cent.  Happily, I was
able to return the favor when one of my friends spent a rather large sum of
money at his shop.

If you want meet and hang out with locals, go to Bongos around 7pm on
Friday night.  Later on the party supposedly moves to the Little Havana
though we never made it that far.

Finally, Susan Porters Bonaire: Shore Diving Made Easy is an invaluable
resource and a steal for $20.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.


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