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Dive Review of Larry's Wild Side Diving/Carib Inn in
Bonaire

December, 2002, an Instant Reader Report by Jerry Kaelin, IL, USA
Report Number 428
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Florida, Turks & Caicos, Belize, Thailand
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
82   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
0
Water Visibility
70   to 120    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
recreational dive limits  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
None 
Mantas
1 or 2 
Dolphins
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
5 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
Something NEW in (sometimes boring) Bonaire:

We love Bonaire, been there 9 times.  You know why:  shallow, beautiful
reefs; lots of fish, even though few pelagics; no current, below the
hurricane belt, desert island, favorable flamingo to people ratio;
continuously improving restaurants and grocery stores; even getting there
is easier now, via Air Jamaica (which doesnt leave Bonaire til 3pm,
allowing diving the day before you leave).

We love Carib Inn (www.caribinn.com), been there 8 times and going again
twice in 2003.  Bruce Bowker continues to provide impeccable attention to
his guests and his nine-room inn.  Improvements to the already pristine
grounds, dive shop, and facilities are obvious at every one of our annual
trips.  The staff is always stellar:  helpful, friendly and dedicated to
reef-saving ecodiving.  One dive master, Linda Baker, regularly does REEF
fish surveys ([reef.org link]).  So skilled is she at
hunting critters, that shes acknowledged in the 2nd edition of the two CD
Fishes of the Caribbean and Adjacent Waters

The rap on Bonaire is that it is boring for a thrill-seeking diver with any
experience. Nothing challenging, one might say, Wheres the big stuff? 
Arguably true, until now.  Larrys Wild Side Diving goes to the eastern,
windward side where no one else regularly dives.  And on days its just too
rough over there for even the hardy, hell take you to the far north or the
far south, areas accessible but long trips in resort boats or jeeps. 

Larry Baille has twenty-eight years in the diving business, over 8000
dives, and is a gregarious raconteur. His 25 ft Grady White has two 150hp
Yamahas which make for a fast, smooth, and powerful ride, comfortable
seating, a custom built ladder for easy exit, iced water, drinks and lunch.
 Our meal included fabulous smoked fish sandwiches from Will & Sue at
Harbor Lights Cafe, one of the hottest restaurants in town.  The boat holds
a maximum of seven, and frankly, Larry confides he wants to keep the trips
even smaller than that so he can continue to provide maximum flexibility
and top quality attention. 

Safety always comes first for this former Royal Canadian Seal.  He has that
difficult-to-replicate quality of making every level of diver feel safe, so
hes an ideal sort to challenge the occasionally rough wind and seas on the
other side. His plans for the future include adding a military type
rigid-hull inflatable. All of us could imagine ourselves readily taking
orders from a barrel-chested guy who still maintains his buzz cut.  

Once, in our nine years of diving Bonaire, we were taken to the east side. 
On one dive we saw a gently waving forest of sea fans, two squadrons of
spotted eagle rays, three turtles, a couple of distant and cautious sharks
and reefs even more pristine than the west.  Unfortunately for us, the east
was too rough for our day with Larry, so after our pick-up at the Sand
Dollar dock, we headed north. As we discovered, no great loss even if you
cant dive the wild side.   Larrys commitment is to the sites less
frequented by most of the dive operations, be it the far northern or
southern sites.  Traveling to those sites is usually out of the question as
the slower, less powerful boats chew up too much time and gas getting
there.

Once we passed the refinery, the trip along the Washington Park shoreline
was absolutely breathtaking, a view of Bonaire weve never seen.  We
encountered dolphins, a few small fishing boats but no other divers.  Yes,
the shallows up north (particularly at Nukove) were devastated by the wave
action of Hurricane Lenny; but below 40 ft was a very healthy reef. 

As an accompaniment to the typical, couldnt-be-easier diving for which
Bonaire (and Bruce Bowkers Carib Inn) is famous, Larrys Wild Side Diving
certainly adds adventure, the possibility of big stuff, and the
personalized service that a high-end charter affords.

Walks (or dives) on the wild side do not come cheap, though.  Our two-tank
day with Larry was $100/person, but were certainly adding a day with Larry
to our next Bonaire trip.

011-599-790-9156, cell
717-5246 business and fax
larry@larryswildsidediving.com
www.larryswildsidediving.com 
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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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