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Dive Review of Dive Friends/Yellow Submarine/rented condo (Yellow Crown Villa) in
Bonaire/Western side

January, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by william wittman, ny, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 4604
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Caymans, Costa Rica, Saba, Antigua, Montserrat, all over Carribean, Florida
caves, North East wrecks...
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
78   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
none  
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
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
N/A
Overall rating for UWP's  
N/A  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
N/A
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
After both some advance internet(s) research, and some local reconnoitering
upon arrival, we settled on the Dive Friends operation based at Yellow
Submarine; and I'm glad we did. They run a super friendly operation at a
very reasonable rate. A week's worth of unlimited air diving was $170. The
same package with Nitrox limited you to 3 dives a day for that price, but
still that's very fair. And the big plus in comparison to everyone else was
that Dive Friends runs four different operations spread around the island
from which you could pick up or drop tanks. This extra convenience made
life a lot easier. 
Dive Friends left you to your own devices after the first dive buoyancy
check and purchase of marine park dive tags, so we dived our own profiles
as we desired. Nitrox fills tended to the 'hot' side, usually at almost 34%
O2, so that would tend to be the determining factour for max operating
depth. 
Later in the day, for a third or fourth dive, the site right in front of
Yellow Sub was a nice dive with a super easy entry and exit and the
convenience of walking right out of the water to the tank drop and to pick
up tanks to take with us for the next morning. On a mooring block perhaps
100 yds offshore here, two octopii were busy decorating with as many beer
bottles as they could find. Over the drop off a large turtle was hanging
out and on one day an eagle ray cruised by in the blue. For a 'low key'
site, a very nice place to dive.
And that was our take on Bonaire diving in general. The entires varied but
the basic state of the reef didn't. It was uniformly healthy and pretty
busy with loads of small fish schooling and the occasional cool bigger
tarpon or jack or barracuda, turtles on many occasions, and that ray. On
the Hilma Hooker wreck, an enourmous Tarpon was hanging out trying to look
nonchalant about us.
The diving was all we had hoped. Good for the experienced amongst us, and
good for the relative beginners in our group (two of whom took AOW with
Yellow Sub; my one criticism being that I thought Dive Friends SHOULD have
included the option of a night dive and/or boat dive as part of AOW without
trying to extract additional charges.)
But on the state of Bonaire itself, in general, above water, we were much
less pleased.
Frankly, we've all read and heard about theft on Bonaire, but that hardly
excuses it. 
While we were there, friends of ours in a rental house, perhaps 4 doors
down from the yellow sub location, had their house broken into while they
were out to dinner and returned to find cell phones, laptop computers,
cameras and various other personal effects stolen. The police were polite,
and quick to respond, but ultimately not encouraging. Even more distressing
was that several people claimed to know who had done it but simply WOULD
not volunteer names out of fear.
Dive Friends was emphatic about not leaving tanks in a car when diving on
the northern shores, and everyone said to never lock a car or roll up the
windows lest someone break them just to have a look inside.
These things, and this attitude, do not add up to a diver/visitor FRIENDLY
experience. I don't know that I WANT to go to a place where I must
constantly fear being robbed. And I can't think of another Carribean dive
destination that feels like that to anywhere NEAR that degree.
If Bonaire is truly going to be a "diver's paradise" it needs to
get SERIOUS about patrolling dive sites and residences and seriously
prosecuting and punishing this crime.
The "oh well, you know, it's Bonaire..." attitude is not serving
them well.
I hate to have to say so, but they need to feel it in their wallets in
order to get the message that this is NOT acceptable.
On another note: we rented a villa called Yellow Crown Villa in the
Sabadeco area that was simply beautiful with private pool, air
conditioning, modern kitchen, ocean view (of the Andrea dive site) and even
a private entrance to the (dry) cave system underneath! It was great.
www.bonairenet.com/yellowcrownvilla/
Food in the restaurants of the island was mostly moderately priced (for us
New Yorkers) but unexceptional in most cases. The two exceptions being
Bistro Paris (which was TERRIBLE) and Capriccio, which was very, very good.
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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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