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Dive Review of Bonaire Dive & Adventure/Sand Dollar condos in
Bonaire

Bonaire Dive & Adventure/Sand Dollar condos, Jul, 2006,

by Russ Battisto, MN, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 2934.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Mainly Caribbean and some South pacific. We like warm water...
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 80 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 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
UW Photo Comments You are on your own on the shore dives. The dive operation offers a seperate fresh water rinse tank at the pier and by the tanks you pick up and drop off.

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 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Not having been to Bonaire since 1999 (just before Lenny tried to wipe Bonaire off the map), we decided to join friends on Bonaire for a fun week of diving and catching up on old times. We caught a flight from MSP thru Chicago to San Juan and then took a puddle jumper to Bonaire. The longest flight Ive been on in a smaller 2 prop plane over water. No matter, we made it just fine unlike our friends who got stuck in Miami. Some didnt make it till Tuesday
We picked up our rental truck at the airport and headed over to the Sand Dollar Condos to unpack and get ready for a wonderful week of diving. The condo is clean and well run. Plenty of room and the A/C worked when we needed it although there was a nice breeze during the week we were there so we tended to leave the patio doors and windows open. Without our friends we decided, what the heck, lets go for it, so off we went to enjoy a great week of diving.
Bonaire Dive & Adventure is well run, friendly and very thorough. Their orientation covers a lot of ground and establishes a high level of respect for environmentally friendly diving as well as safety. Ive been told that ALL dive operators on Bonaire give every diver a similar orientation. Even though there seems to be a lot of common sense stuff and it tends to be a little time consuming, this is a good thing for many reasons not the least of which is, this island is different from most weve been to in the type of diving weve done. Bonaire is a shore divers paradise. I wouldnt recommend Bonaire for new or inexperienced divers or divers not sure of themselves and their navigational skills unless they are with experienced diver(s) who are. That being said, Bonaire shore diving is safe if you are careful and use some common sense.
We did our checkout dive off the Sand Dollars pier. Turns out Bari Reef is one of the better shore dives you can do in front of a hotel or condo. We had fun and saw lots of life. We saw great coral, tarpon, barracuda, scorpion fish, eels, parrot fish, lots of arrow crabs and many schools of colorful smaller varieties. The shore dive gets serious right away as Bari reef is actually a wall and gets deep fast. We did a 75 dive without trying. It would be easy to hit 100 plus but the good coral and fish life is in the 40-70 foot range.
We alternated days with boat dives, then shore dives. Admittedly, we did not push ourselves this trip limiting our diving to 2 or 3 dives per day. We relaxed much more than usual (Ive averaged 5 dives per day on some trips) and enjoyed what the island offered as much as the diving. Nitrox was available and included in our package but again as in Utila, we ran into equipment problems at the dive shop so we had to dive air for two days out of the seven we scheduled. We survived it
The diving is fun. Lots to see. Coral in OK shape. The only thing we experienced different from what we expected, the visibility was much lower than normal. We heard there was some sort of thermal inversion causing the cooler water to intermix with the warmer water throwing lots of particles around and reducing vis to about 50-60ft on most dives.
Many of the boat dives go over to Klein Bonaire, a smaller island off of Bonaire. Again, the diving was easy and fun. We did experience a little current at a couple of the sites on Klein Bonaire but nothing we couldnt handle. If youve been to Cozumel, this is comparatively easy.
The bottom line is, I would recommend this dive trip for anyone looking for an adventure you are in control of. Do the dive profile you want and dont worry about when the boat leaves. Make sure you bring your compass and a good dive computer. Just load your tanks into the truck load up the camera and have fun. Maps are easy to read and dive sights were well marked. Our favorites were Barkadera, Angel City (where we saw a huge Manta), 1000 Steps (where I saw a topless mermaid) and Oil Slick Leap.
We didnt find any bad food on the island. Just be prepared to slow down to island time when you hit the restaurants. Relax. Take it easy and enjoy. Try Casa Blanca if you are hungry. They offer the Mixed Grill enough to eat till you are sick and take the rest home for snacks the rest of the week. All in all a great week of diving!
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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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