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Dive Review of Bonaire Dive and Adventure/Den Laman Condominiums in

October, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Chrisanda Button/Rickie Sterne, Arkansas, USA
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5212
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Caymans, Cozumel, Turks& Caicos, Sea of
Cortez, Australia, Fiji, Truck, Yap, Palau, several areas of Indonesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy  
choppy, no currents  
Water Temp
84   to    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
shore diving-none; boat diving-more or less 60 minutes and 60 feet  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
The good visibility and absence of currents made for good wide-angle
photography. There were no rinse tanks of the boat, but boat rides were
brief, and there was a good secure shelf area for carrying cameras.  Shore
facilities consisted of a cameras-only rinse tank.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
     We have never dove on Bonaire before, so we cannot address the
Degradation of the Reefs after the Hurricane and Advent of Cruise Ships. 
We can only report what we saw.  Bonaire's stony corals are battered, north
to south and back again.  The prettiest of the sloping reefs were,
therefore, those with a good admixture of octocorals, gorgonians, and
sponges. We especially enjoyed the reefs on a swim from Witch's Hut to One
Thousand Steps and at a site on the western side of Klein Bonaire. Tori's
Reef was also pretty with its large schools of small fish. We dove the week
after a full moon, and the sponges were spawning on our late afternoon
dives.  We certainly saw more fish and a wider variety of fish species than
we encountered when diving around Grand Cayman from the Cayman Aggressor a
couple of years ago.  We saw the largest variety of fish species on Bari
Reef, right in front of our hotel.  It was fun to see juvenile,
intermediate, and adult French angels on a single dive.  We also got to
observe the full life cycle of the spotted drum. All five of the Caribbean
Chaetodonidae were present, and we saw several species of trunkfish and
filefish as well.  On late afternoon dives we watched sharptail eels and
goldentail, spotted, and chain morays out hunting. One evening we watched a
hunting sharptail eel accompanied by a group of large opportunistic
hunters; a bar jack, yellow jack, yellow goatfish, and greater soapfish
followed the eel closely.  The soapfish repeatedly rubbed its flanks
against the sharptail eel, which continued to pursue its dinner, oblivious
to its entourage. We watched dusky damselfish and two species of filefish
spawning.  Hawksbill turtles let us take many photos while they chomped on
sponge.  We saw four eaglerays, two sailing along the reef and two hunting
in the sand.  Arrow crabs we saw by the dozen, but we found only one large
sculptured slipper crab and one batwing crab.  Small cleaner shrimp worked
on all the reefs.  They were the only other crustacea we saw.  We did see a
number of reef squid.  Of opistobranchia, we found only some half dozen
Elysia crispata, all living on northern reefs.  
     Once in the water, we found the diving on Bonaire easy.  But we felt
that the logistics of getting into the water were difficult. We dive
regularly at our local lake, so we are accustomed to carrying our gear some
distance over rocky, uneven surfaces.  We are not accustomed to being able
to leave nothing but a bottle of water and an old tee shirt in the truck. 
We also felt very disorganized with our gear strung out from a gear room to
our hotel room to the truck.  And then there was the problem of navigation
- on land!  We did not know that after we dove Karpata we would have to
drive all the way to Rincon to get back to the sea; the one-way stretch of
road was not marked on our map.  Nor did the map indicate the dogleg that
must be taken to get through town.  We were on the island during Regatta
Week, and the traffic in Kralendijk was dense, making access to the
southern reefs difficult after ten am. 
     Bonaire Dive and Adventure was well organized, and they were helpful
when we had gear problems.  The first person to sign up for a boat dive
could choose the site.  We did three boat dives.  Even when the boat was
full there was adequate space on the boat.  Entry was by backroll, reentry
up a good ladder. Nitrox was free to the certified, and the shop offered a
nitrox course to the uncertified at a bargain price.
     There were several good reasons to stay at Den Laman.  The hotel is
only three years old and very well maintained.  Our well-appointed studio
apartment had a parking lot view, but that let us nab good parking places
near the tank loading area when other people went out to dinner. 
Management cheerfully provided beach towels and extra pillows.  Daily maid
service kept the room clean. Then there is Bari Reef, conveniently
accessible from BDA's dock in front of the hotel. The Sunset Grill is
located on the first floor of Den Laman.  We enjoyed a good variety of
meals there.  Their lunch package was a budget saver, too.
     Our four-door Toyota truck from Budget rentals was in good condition,
but we noticed that divers renting trucks from Total were provided with
simple tank racks.
     We thought the diving on Bonaire was good for the Caribbean,
especially the fish.  We also decided that one's first trip to Bonaire is a
practice run.  If we visit the island again, we will know much better how
to go about diving there.    
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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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