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

July, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Robert and Rhonda Fleming, AZ, USA
Report Number 1857
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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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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  
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  
 
 

Overall Rating

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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