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Dive Review of Harbour Village Beach Club in
Bonaire

November, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by James D Thomas, OH, US (2 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6357 has 1 Helpful vote
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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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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  
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  
 
 

Overall Rating

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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