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Dive Review of Harbour Village Beach Club in
Bonaire

Harbour Village Beach Club, Nov, 2011,

by James D Thomas, OH, US ( 2 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6357 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Belize, GBR, Fiji, Maldives, Red Sea, Turks and Caicos, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 83 to Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Mostly kept with the divemaster but this wasn't enforced. Generally didn't go below 100 feet. Of course, for shore dives, we were entirely on our own.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 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
UW Photo Comments Camera rinse buckets on the boat and at the dive center.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We have just returned from a week at Harbour Village Resort and had a wonderful time there. The resort grounds are beautiful and well-kept and sport one of the few real beaches on the island. Our one-bedroom suite was on the ground floor and opened up directly onto the beach (a feature we liked was that our key worked on both the front and back doors, so we could come and go from the beach without worry). Our room featured a spacious sitting area and a nice-sized bedroom with a very comfortable bed. The bathroom was spacious with dual sinks and a separate tub and very large shower. Though they advertise this as a kitchenette, it contained only a coffee machine, an old microwave, and a very small fridge, but that was all we needed. Those expecting to cook in the room should assure that their unit has more complete facilities.

We were there for the diving, and Great Expectations does a great job for both boat and shore dives. We had the dive package which gave us a boat dive each day (2 divers for the price of one), and this was seamless, about a 30 second walk from our room, aboard a roomy Newton 42. Though Bonaire is known for its shore dives, the boat lets you take in a number of otherwise inaccessible great dives on Klein Bonaire. In the afternoon, we usually did a shore dive, either at the facility (follow a guide cable across the harbor channel at 40 feet under to a beautiful reef (Something Special) on the other side) or driving our rental truck around the island. Great Expectations offers unlimited (except for nitrogen narcosis) shore dives and makes it very easy, posting tanks by the parking lot to load in the truck. The boat operation went very smoothly, generally with the operation manager Mark guiding the boat and Nick providing dive master services. Nick was low key but effective, providing good dive briefings and giving support to my wife who is relatively new to diving. Boat dives on Klein Bonaire included Knife, Montes Divi, and our favorite dive of the week, the aptly named Just a Nice Dive. This was our only drift dive of the week and featured 5 or 6 turtles swimming around us and a big moray eel coming a long way out of his lair. Our boat dives on the main island included Alice in Wonderland, 1000 Steps, and the Hilma Hooker, a wreck dive on an old drug running freighter scuttled in about 100 feet of water. We also did a night dive (my wifes first!) at Small Wall and were treated to about a dozen giant tarpons dive bombing us in search of the little stuff our flashlights were illuminating. For shore dives on our own, we chose the relatively easy access Andrea I and Oil Slick. In general the reef was quite healthy and teeming with a wide variety of tropical fish, including big schools of creole wrasse, yellowtail snappers, and blue tangs. Found one frogfish and several scorpionfish, two sharptail eels, many morays, and a carpet of garden eels in the sand of the harbor crossing. We saw no sharks or rays, although eagle rays are commonly sighted. Overall, wonderful diving, though without some of the excitement that the pelagics give. A fun feature was Muriel compiling photos and videos the group had shot during the week into a great video slide show that we watched on the last evening, with copies available for all.

One somewhat negative at Harbour Village would be the food. We had a breakfast included each morning, which was generally OK but not stellar. Muffins were not toasted for their eggs Benedict and after sitting in the warming tray for a couple of hours were poached to solidity. On the plus side, though, they were more than happy to prepare one (or an omelet) fresh to order, so really no complaints there. Lunch was reasonable quality but quite expensive: easy to spend $50 for two. Better to grab a sub at Elles Deli, which is an easy walk. Dinner similarly seemed to have about a 50% premium over the very good restaurants on the island without a very enticing menu. We ate out every night, with our favorites being Wils Tropical Grill, At Sea, Bistro de Paris, Capriccios, Bobbejans, and Pasa Bon Pizza.

Overall a wonderful week. This isnt the opulence of a Ritz or Four Seasons, but that wasnt what we were looking for. Its a lovely resort with extremely friendly staff and a great dive operation. A final oddity was the clock in our room, which clearly had been designed for 60 Hz electricity, not the 50 Hz on Bonaire and so lost 12 minutes/hour, giving a whole new meaning to island time!
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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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