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Dive Review of Bonaire Dive and Adventure/Sand Dollar in

April, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Carl Mintz, DC, US (2 reports)
Report Number 5543
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean, Fiji
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 90    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
None - just needed a briefing before the first dive.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
We returned to our favorite condo on Bonaire - Sand Dollar Condominium.  
Although it had rained the previous 2 weeks, we enjoyed the desert climate
and recent greening of the environment.   It was hotter than we've
experienced before.  Next trip, we will try for a unit with A/C in the
living room, too.  After visiting the dive facilities at Buddies Resort
next door, I was reminded how much better the setup is at Bonaire Dive and
Adventure, adjacent to Sand Dollar.

Every morning, we sidestepped the iguana and blue tail lizards along the
path to the dive shop.  Surprisingly, around the neighborhood where we were
staying we saw a herd of well-fed goats and a few feral donkeys grazing.  
Iguana and pelicans were frequent visitors at the dive dock.   During our
briefing, a pod of dolphins swam through the channel between the resort and
Klein Bonaire. 

Most of our dives were from the shore on Bari Reef, starting around 11 am
and 5 pm, lasting about an hour each.   Bari Reef is a short swim from
shore directly in front of the resort.  The reef starts at 18 feet, and
descends to a sand shelf at 105 ft, with a few sand chutes along the way.  
The dusk dive is especially fun, we call it the changing of the guard.  
Creole wrasses are madly pairing off while other fish are scrambling to
find a place to hide for the night.  Meanwhile, the night hunters are
waking up and beginning to cruise the reef.  For example, Charlie the
5-foot tarpon likes to tail the divers who may inadvertently scare up a
snack for him.   Emerging from the dusk dive, you are just in time to toast
the sunset with a cocktail before dinner!   We had some great food at
various restaurants, as always, although a couple of our favorite places
have disappeared.

Unfortunately, permits for the Salt Pier and Town Pier are still not being
issued until the damage done by rogue waves from Omar is repaired.

As we have in the past, we dove with the naturalist (Jerry) one day.  He
always has an interesting land presentation and diving with him is reliably

I brought my computerized reference guide to Caribbean reef fishes. 
Browsing through the reference guide helps to jog your waterlogged brain,
or give a name to a species you didnt know before.  We saw two or three
different turtles a number of times during the 2nd week, and even while
snorkeling during the last day.  We also saw an octopus, usually hiding out
in a crevice next to the dock during many of our dives.

One of the highlights of the trip was a full moon night dive!  Below is our
dive buddys log book entry for that night.  It will be hard to beat.  
Alas, my camera was out of commission most of the second week, so not many
new pictures:

Date: APR 28, 2010   Location:   Bari Reef, Bonaire
Time IN: 10:45pm    OUT: midnight    Bottom Time:  1 hour 15 minutes
Maximum Depth:  40 ft. 
Visibility: fine below 25 ft.
Bottom conditions:  reef and sand chutes
Temperature Air:  80F (approx)    Water:  82F   NO current

-- Sea plumes in the sand at the top of the reef
-- Sleeping parrot fish, lying in odd positions, with motley coloration to
mimic the rock they were leaning against, no cave, no protective membrane
-- Flashing eyes of shrimp everywhere
-- A crab crawling up the inside of every azure vase sponge
-- One gorgonian with 8 basket star fish, plus some babies with only 2-3
-- Two octopii out hunting; one extended his mantle over a coral head and
turned brilliant aqua
-- Long, ugly, tiger cucumber, shrinking from the light
-- Brittle stars fully extended and crawling everywhere
-- Very large arrow crab, about one foot fully extended
-- Chain moray out hunting; several others coaxed out of their holes
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