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Dive Review of Great Adventures Bonaire/Harbour Village Resort in
Bonaire

February, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Stanley Holz, NH, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 4653
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Curacao, Ambergris Caye, Grand Turk, Cozumel, BVI, Cayman Brac, Grand
Cayman, Roatan, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
  to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
40   to 65    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
30-35 minutes out, then turn around with DM.  No total time restriction. 
Depth restrictions suggested only.  
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
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Comments
Rinse buckets on boats.  Dedicated rinse tank at dive shop.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  
Snorkeling
4 stars  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
The Harbour Village Resort is not one of those places you hear mentioned
very often when divers talk about where to stay on Bonaire.  I think some
of this lack of dive recognition has to be due to the lack of advertising
this resort does in dive magazines.  Another factor is the simple fact that
Harbour Village is more expensive than most, if not all, of the other dive
resorts on the island.  Regardless of this relative anonymity, I found
Harbour Village and its dive op, Great Adventures , to be a pleasant
surprise.

My room was the least expensive available, a standard room with a view of
the courtyard.  Somewhat smallish, it contained a generous king size bed
surrounded on all sides with lace netting.  A satellite TV, two tables, two
dressers, a closet, a bathroom, and a small patio were part of the package.
 A roomy shower, but no tub, was provided.

The resorts restaurant is called La Balandra and is styled like a wooden
ship.  It juts out over the water at the end of the beach.  On the other
end of the beach sits the dive shop, Great Adventures.  During my 10 day
stay here, I found the food varied from good to excellent, but never bad. 
For lunch, the hamburgers here are irresistible  and huge.

Great Adventures is managed by a gentleman named Leonel.  Leonel was often
the boat driver, but also acted as the Divemaster on occasion.  More often,
the DM was a fellow named Nollie who was also quite competent and helpful. 
The dive op has two boats; a big Newton 42 and a smaller 36 boat.  Both
boats were comfortable, but the 42 boat was used most of the time even
though we had as few as 3 divers on some of the trips.  Snorkelers were
welcome on the boat, and my wife Sandy got in a few trips. Nitrox is
offered.  Storage facilities consist of large, open wooden lockers, and
hangars for BCs and wetsuits.  The storage areas are locked at night.  Two
rinse tanks for gear and one for cameras are on the dock.  Both boats had
camera rinse tanks.

A good briefing preceded every dive.  We were allowed to dive our
computers, but depth limits were always suggested.  Typically, Leonel or
Nollie would have us turn back after 30 to 35 minutes or 1,000 pounds. When
we reached the mooring, we were allowed to stay in the water as long as we
wanted to.  Most dives lasted about an hour.  The majority of the dive
sites visited were off Klein Bonaire, which sits directly across from the
resort.  We also dove the Hilma Hooker and took a short ride to Oil Slick
Leap.  Two dive sites are directly accessible from the resorts beach. 
Only 50 yards out, rests the wreck of the Our Confidence.  This wooden
hulled former Danish fishing ship sank in 2003 and lies in only 55 of
water.  It is marked by a black buoy and easily reached from shore or the
dive shop pier.  Even snorkelers can get a fine view of this ship from the
surface.  Its starting to disintegrate rapidly now, but much of it is
still intact.  It is a great haven for fish, and I had a ball down there
with my camera.  From the wreck, or from the restaurant, a line is laid
that will take you under the shipping channel to a site called Something
Special.  This site starts out as mostly rubble, but an incredible number
and variety of fish love to feed in the rubble.  The line ends at a nice
reef which is teeming with all kinds of fish.

Some of the sites I visited were Knife, Hands Off, the Hilma Hooker,
Montes Divi, Leonora Reef, Bonaventure, Punt Vierkent, Just A Nice Dive,
and Oil Slick Leap.  I think Just A Nice Reef had to be one of my favorite
dives since its a turtle sanctuary and also features a very healthy reef
system.  The Hilma Hooker is one of Bonaires signature dives, but Im not
that impressed.  Ive visited the wreck three times now, and always have
found the water to be turbulent with poor visibility.  It is a big ship,
and you can dive through a cargo hold, but I have never been able to see
much because of particulates in the water.  Its worth doing  once.  Water
temperature at every site, with no exception, was a constant 81F.  The
reefs, below about 25, still seem to be in fairly good shape.  There was
some silting at some sites but, for the most part, I saw little bleaching.


Fish life is as prolific as always; with parrotfish, pufferfish, tangs,
filefish, trunkfish, chromis, angelfish, barracuda and grunts everywhere. 
In many spots, trains of blue and silver fish would stream almost endlessly
over the reefs, reminding me of rush hour commuter traffic.  On two dives I
saw squid in groups of two and four, and even witnessed one spraying ink. 
Even snorkeling in front of the resort, I saw a group of seven juvenile
squid.  Turtles were spotted on most dives.  I got to see one large green
moray out in the open on one dive, and a tiny spotted moray hiding in the
coral on another.  At Hands Off, Leonel pointed out a tiny seahorse hidden
in the coral.

The area off the beach is coral rubble, but even there I saw rockfish, a
spotted eagle ray, and all the fish I had seen diving off the boat.  The
restaurant is built on a rock jetty, which has now become encrusted with
coral and sponge.  It offered excellent snorkeling and worthwhile shallow
diving.

I loved staying here. It's the best!

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