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Dive Review of Buddy Dive in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive, Jan, 2009,

by Joel Solomon, New York, USA ( 2 reports). Report 4627.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale, Bahamas, Belize, Cozumel, Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 100', 60 minutes maximum
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Each boat had at least one camera only rinse bucket. The dive op had 2 camera only rinse tanks at the pier.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Bonaire is possibly the best overall diving that I have ever done. The reefs are the healthiest that I have ever seen. The fish life, with the exception of large fish, is excellent. The house reef at Buddy Dive was my favorite overall dive of the trip, with excellent corals and sea life. Bonaire is well known for it's shore diving. What may not be as well known is that the entry and exits for these dives is over fields of broken dead coral and slippery algae covered rocks. After a particularly challenging shore dive, we stuck to boat dives, Buddy's reef and shore dives where there was a ladder or some similar access to the water. The Buddy Dive op was great. The boats ran very punctually and were professionally staffed. The DMs were a bit more casual than in some other places that I have been. This may be because the divers were a more competent group than I have observed anywhere else. One of our DMs, Murph, showed me my first frogfish. It was a highlight of my trip. All of the boat dives had deep swims out and shallow (30ish feet) swims back, allowing for long bottom times. Nitrox was available at no extra charge. If you stay onsite, the dives work out to about $25 each. To me this was worth not having to drive and drag your kit over the broken coral. We started out with one boat dive per day in our package, but wound up adding a second boat dive and then would do an easy shore dive or two in the afternoon.
Although I loved the Buddy Dive dive op, I was a bit disappointed by the accommodations. Our one bedroom unit was tired, to say the least. There was no air conditioning and an inadequate fan in the living room, rendering it uninhabitable. The bedroom air-conditioning worked well. The bathroom was the size of a phone booth and the shower had no shower curtain. It was impossible to use the bathroom without making a mess. Even though we only spent a couple of hours a day in our unit, aside from sleeping, it was an unpleasant place to hang around in. The balcony was nice, though, and saved us from a total hotel disaster. Our package came with a breakfast buffet. The food was adequate. Because many people ate breakfast in a relatively short period of time, it was a bit crowded. This was a surmountable problem.
We rented a truck, which was really fun. Aside from shore diving, we were able to check out restaurants. I can highly recommend Patagonia, an Argentine steakhouse and Papaya Moon, a Tex Mex influenced restaurant. We also checked out the donkey sanctuary and observed some flamingos.
Overall, the trip was great. I am not sure whether or not I would stay at Buddy Dive again. It seems as if many of the people that stay there buy food and cook their meals onsite, which makes the kitchen facilities important. Apparently there are units that have been renovated. There are also units that have a/c in the living room. If I went back, I would make sure that I had a renovated, fully air conditioned unit. The dive op and house reef are so good that it's a tough call. We checked out Divi Flamingo and found the facilities to be in much better shape, with air conditioning and spacious modern bathrooms. They are more like regular hotel or motel rooms. I would give Divi Flamingo serious consideration. I would also think about staying near Buddy Dive and using their dive facilities. The Sand Dollar and Harbor House are two nicer seeming places to stay that are nearby.
One way or another, I will definitely be diving Bonaire again.
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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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