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Dive Review of Buddy Dive/Buddy Dive Resort in
Bonaire

November, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Karen Gordon, Alaska, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 4427
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Australia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Fiji, Chuuk, Belize, Caymans, Turks and
Caicos, Cozumel, Thailand, Honduras, Alaska, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Rota...
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
82   to    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
no  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Boat dives were limited to the "average" profile.  Divers weren't
allowed to dive their entire tank while on boat dives even if they had more
air so the boat could stay on schedule.  Otherwise, there was essentially
unlimited diving.  
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
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Comments
My strobe had a problem and John the photo pro loaned me his at no cost. 
He and his wife couldn't have been nicer or more helpful.  I've never had
such consideration and generosity shown by a photo pro anywhere.  These
guys were just GREAT !!!  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
Snorkeling
5 stars  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
Beginners
5 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
OK, so I learned a lesson on this trip, finding out I just wasn't as smart
as I thought.  Somehow, in my mind I had the idea that Bonaire diving
wasn't all it was cracked up to be, you know, lots of hype but not much
life or corals, sort of like Hawaii diving.  I've dived in a lot of really
cool places, and became just a bit of a snob, so I wasn't expecting to be
surprised.  And in my darkened cloud of conceit, or maybe I just had my own
head where the sun don't shine, I did my giant stride off the boat the
first day in Bonaire into the best diving I've seen in the Caribbean -
EVER.

The colors were amazing, with long tube sponges longer than I am tall in a
glorious daylight violet that shone a brilliant red at night.  Turtles were
spotted on every dive, and the health and variety of the corals were an
unsuspected surprise.  In addition there were plenty of fish to go around,
namely that often sought after, and very elusive, frogfish.  Quite common
as well were seahorses.

The shore dive at Buddy Dive Resort is one of the best shore dives I've
done this side of Dickie Doyle's place in the Witu Islands in Papua New
Guinea.  Pretty much what Bonaire has to serve up can be found right there
at the resort.  And while there was no need to drive all over the island to
find good diving because of the righteous quality of the house reef, that
option was available quite easily because a compact truck came with each
room to haul tanks to whatever site our hearts fancied.

It is no exaggeration to consider Bonaire a shore diving haven, what with
the yellow rocks identifying each site along the coastal road, and the
guidebook to let you know what riches lie beneath the briny blue that makes
each site special.  

We chose to do the night dive at the town pier.  It was very scheduled and
arrangements had to be made well ahead of time so the authorities could
check us out for potential security risks before we were given permission
to dive there.  While it was a great dive, at least from my photographer's
perspective, it was too "herded" and limited in time.  It was
almost an underwater forced march having to keep up with the divemaster,
and woe on us if we fell behind, which I did repeatedly because I'd find a
good photo subject and just get some decent shots when I realized I
couldn't see my group.  My sister, who is not a diver, snorkeled the site
at the same time I was diving it, and loved it.

Other adventures await onshore for apres dive fun or for those who are not
divers.  A drive around the south side and west side of the island to see
the salt piles and the slave huts is mandatory.  My sister, the non-diver,
went with her husband on a mangrove kayaking adventure and not only had a
fantastic time, but they learned a lot about mangrove habitat and ecology
as well, and came back with wagging tongues, so pleased at their day's
adventures.

The manager of the dive shop, Augusto Montbrun, is a wonderfully funny and
organized fellow, ever helpful, and always patient and informative.  His
drive-thru tank shop made it exquisitely easy to grab some air and head off
to a shore dive down the coast.  And diving the house reef has to be one of
the easiest shore dives anywhere, and with plenty to see to boot.  At Buddy
Dive you can pretty much have unlimited diving, and it is darned easy too!

The divemasters were easy going, very knowledgable, and a blast to be with.
 They, of course, were quick to point out special creatures, and looked
hard for denizen of camouflage, the frogfish.  Luckily we were not aced,
but saw at least 3 of the little oddly shaped critters.

A simple but filling buffet breakfast came with our dive package, and we
generally ate lunch at the resort as well.  Dinner, however, usually found
us heading off to restaurants closer to town.  Great pizza and great steak,
quality treats I didn't expect to find on Bonaire, were a delightful repast
after a day of satisfying diving.  

Alas, the downside of the trip was the room itself.  Not without its
needful creature comforts, and rationally decorated, it was stiflingly hot
all the time, making it difficult to be inside.  The air conditioner only
cooled the bedroom, so having guests to our room, or even hanging out in
it, was quite uncomfortable.  Not all rooms are like ours was.  Others have
two air conditioners in their rooms, one to cool the bedroom and one to
cool the living area.  Some rooms also have great views.  Ours did not.

I had to, in the end, pull my head of the dark, and was so very happy to
gloat that my choice in going to Bonaire, finally, after all my years of
diving, was a really good one. I couldn't have been more pleased to have
been wrong about Bonaire.  It so pleased my senses that I'm going back
again next fall.  I can't wait.

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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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