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Dive Review of Captain Don's Habitat in

June, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Marcio Cardoso, TX, USA (1 report)
Report Number 4168
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Cuba, Fiji, Tonga, Sea of Cortez, Brazil, California, Cocos (Cost
Rica), Hawaii, Florida Keys
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
76   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Shore diving in Bonaire at the Habitat is truly diving freedom. No
restrictions (or supervision) whatsoever for shore diving. I did not try
the boat diving.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 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
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Habitat does not have much space dedicated for UWP but there are plenty of
table space in the locker room to work on your rig, if necessary. They do
have a large water bucket for "cameras only". There is a
underwater photo shop on the resort so UWP might ask them for support and
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
We rented a pick-up for the week with Budget at the airport. Everything
went OK, but I was uneasy with their CDW insurance policy that still puts
the renter on the hook for the first $300 in damages. Pay a lot of
attention to the initial inspection and make sure that they add every dent
on the report (there will be many). Keep the yellow paper with you.
Insurance does not cover incidents at the Washington park. Not sure if
other rental firms offer better terms. On the positive side with Budget, we
had a "stuck on the sand" episode close to Margate Bay, called
911 and the Budget pick-up arrived in less than 30 minutes. By then the car
was already free, but Budget did not charge anything extra for their visit.

We stayed on ocean-front suite, I looked at the online resort map and
requested the room in advance while booking. Room is OK  but is simple and
a bit aged. Looks like a typical beach house of the 1980s. No frills but
functional, I appreciated the plentiful hot water in the shower and the
spacious safe on the room. Small TV with USA cable channels. Cleanliness
looked good, but we suspect there were bedbugs. View of the oceanfront
Habitat is sensational. Spectacular sunsets and the gentle breeze is a
delight. Good swimming pool. We felt good on the resort and chose to have
most of our meals at the local restaurant.

Diving freedom is still alive and well at the Habitat. Only requirements
are attending 30-minute orientation and paying the $25 marine park fee
prior to the first diving. They also ask for no dive within 18 hours of
departure. Other than that, it is pretty much "here are the tanks, the
reef is over there... have a nice dive!" which is exactly what I was
looking for. I did not try the boat dives, I would expect them to set
bottom-time limits since the boats run on a tight schedule. Divers have to
pay for Nitrox extra - I went for the unlimited weekly and it was a decent

Staff at the dive shop and front-desk will not smile and ask how you are
doing, but if you ask for rentals and how the operation works, you will get
what you need to go and explore the island. The dive in front of the
Habitat is very good. After a 3-minute swim from the dock you are on top of
a nice wall, thick in coral, that goes all the way to 130 ft. 

Shore-Diving in Bonaire is exhilarating due to the freedom and pretty
reefs. I loved the experience but there is a learning curve. I found the
sites south of the Salt Pier (Margate Bay, Red Beryl) to offer a winning
combination of ease of entry and good reefs. Coral and sponges are still
healthy but it all can change in the near future, as rampant development in
the island will bring extra sewage to the shores. Diversity of marine life
is impressive but, as it has been said often, not much on large fish. Other
than Tarpons, a solitary Eagle Ray and a school of Rainbow Parrotfish, I
did not see anything over 2 1/2 feet... even the barracuda and the 3
hawksbill turtle were small. One would expect that, after 30 years of
no-fishing at the marine park, the groupers and hogfish would find its way
into the wonderful reefs. Any ideas on why is the case?

All in all, I loved the shore diving in Bonaire and I plan to return to the
island and stay at Habitat. Feel free to write me at
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