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Dive Review of Photo Tours Divers/Ocean View Villas in
Bonaire

Photo Tours Divers/Ocean View Villas, Jul, 2005,

by Robert and Rhonda Fleming, AZ, USA . Report 1857.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Belize, Cozumel, Hawaii, Fiji, Florida Keys, St. Croix, Gulf of California
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No restrictions. Dive master in the water on every dive, but no requirement that divers stay with or in contact with the dive master.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Boats had a small camera tank, but no divers on any of our boat trips had anything more than simple digital cameras

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Photo Tours Divers (www.bonphototours.com): The classic Bonaire arrangement--unlimited shore diving for a flat daily fee, two-tank morning boat dives and one-tank afternoon dives. The boats go to Klein Bonaire except Wednesdays and Fridays, when they go to the northern end of the island. If you want to dive the southern sites, you are better off doing them as shore dives. Dive Masters were helpful, friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The "drive-through" tank arrangement worked beautifully--pull up in front of a Photo Tours location, throw up to two tanks each into the back of your truck (you MUST rent a small truck while shore diving in Bonaire), drive off, dive, return the tanks even after hours.

The dives: OK, let's start with the important thing. A pod of about 15 dolphins played with the boat enroute to Rockpile (a site on Klein Bonaire), then swam past us after we were in the water (about 30 feet away, purposeful but not seeming very interested in us), then played with the boat again during our move to the next site. After that, much of the rest of the trip--though wonderful--was anticlimax.

We also saw spotted eagle rays, turtles, ocean triggerfish, large (but no huge) grouper, about a gazillion flounder and trumpetfish, a surprising variety of eels, plus all the other usual suspects. Every single dive was among the most diverse and interesting I have ever enjoyed. Unseen: squid and seahorses were pretty much the only things I had hoped to observe but did not. We're pretty confident that we could have found both with just one more day of diving.

PTD has two boats, one larger and considerably shabbier than the other. The smaller, newer boat is very comfortable (though backroll entry may be a challenge if you have not learned that approach), but the older, larger boat is, well, a little long in the tooth. Probably not a big problem in Bonaire, where the water tends to be calm and the dive conditions near-perfect.

Ocean View Villas (www.oceanviewvillas.com/): this interesting three-apartment complex south of the airport was designed by a Cuban architect and is managed by Tim and John, who live on the premises. No meals are provided. While it is not on the beach, it is a very short distance from shore and was laid out beautifully for divers, with rinse and outdoor shower facilities, enclosed high-wall patios (each unit private from the others), and kitchenettes for meal preparation. All utensils, spices and basics were already there, and a shopping trip the first day took care of stocking the refrigerator for our 8-day stay. Tim and John were excellent hosts, and happy to help with everything we wanted--they ended up making restaurant recommendations, reservations for post-dive massages and mangrove kayak tour on our last day (for those last two, check out the day spa run by Nubia Obando --www.infobonaire.com/dayspa/ --and the Mangrove Info and Kayak Center --www.infobonaire.com/kayaking/ --respectively).

Robert and Rhonda Fleming
Tucson, Arizona
Trip: July 27-August 4, 2005
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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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