Author Topic: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?  (Read 25661 times)

JoanneC

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 2
  • Subscriber?: yes
Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« on: April 10, 2009, 11:36:38 UTC »
We are planning a 2 weeks vacation on Bonaire over Christmas 2009, and have already booked the flight. However, I am now starting to read reports to decide on the best hotel and I am reading all over the place that you cannot leave anything in vehicles when you go shore diving or it will be stolen!

This is bothering us a lot, and has taken all the fun out of planning the vacation. We were so looking forward to taking 3 tanks and going out for a days shore diving at our own pace, but if you cannot take anything with you, where is the fun? No towels? No change of clothes? No water for when you come out?

Everyone raves about how wonderful the diving is on Bonaire, so I wonder how people manage it? Do you really take no water, towels, books, sun cream etc with you for a day out? What about spare mask and fin straps? Replacement mask?Or do you drive to the dive site, dive, then drive back immediately to the hotel in your wet suit or wet swimsuit? That really does not sound like fun...especially because the island is a bit bigger than the ones in the Maldives that you can walk around in 15 minutes!

What I don't understand is why no enterprising Bonaire residents have set themselves up with an umbrella, a chair, and a good book at one of the dive site parking areas, and charge people a couple of dollars to watch over their cars. I imagine it would be quite lucrative. We were thinking about forgoing the standard pick up and renting a more expensive one with a hard cover that we can lock, but I don't know if even that would be safe.


So how have you guys managed it? Please tell me!

Joanne


Susan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Subscriber?: yes
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2009, 16:27:59 UTC »
We are in Bonaire as I type. Just a word of caution - hurricane Omar wreaked havoc with the diving and fish population here. This is my fourth trip to Bonaire. I see all the dead coral, lack of critters - shrimp, anemones, turtles, scorpion fish, eels - all the things we loved about diving here. We spent three weeks diving here in Oct 2008, leaving 4 days before Omar hit. The difference appears catastrophic to me, but I only dive to about 40 feet. Yesterday we went to 70 feet for the entire dive. There was less coral damage there, but the fish population was dramatically reduced. I will not come back to Bonaire for several years - give them time to get their sewage issues under control and the reef time to revive.

In reply to your crime question, it is simply a fact here. Why residents let it go on is a mystery. We always rent a truck, carry only what is going into the water with us, and leave the windows rolled down. The rental places advise against locking trucks as the windows get broken out of locked vehicles.



JoanneC

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 2
  • Subscriber?: yes
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2009, 11:19:33 UTC »
Thanks for your response, Susan.

We dive regularly down to 30 meters, so hopefully there will still be some good stuff to see.

I guess we will just have to do as the others do, and limit ourselves to taking only things that can go into the water. I will miss all the little comforts I am used to taking with me when we go out for a days diving...water, a towel, a book to read while I am waiting for the next dive...but hopefully the diving will be good enough to make up for it.

Maybe I can take a huge padlock and a bike lock, and big metal case, and somehow secure it to the truck...or a hard plastic case taht they can see though, to see that there is nothing in there except a towel, water, and a book!

We are going diving in Egypt in May for 2 weeks, so I shall put off worrying about Bonaire till later in the year.

Thanks once again for responding so quickly!

Joanne

marine9

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
On Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2009, 00:25:48 UTC »


My wife and I had planned on going to Bonaire next
winter, but "The Deep Blue" in their e-mails to her
totally turned her off to the whole island...

She's only recently started to dive, after years of
my trying to get her to do so.

And now, "The Deep Blue" has made her second
guess her ability to dive.

Thanks "Deep Blue"... 

agilulfo

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 17
    • blue number nine's music
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2009, 15:17:28 UTC »
We've been to Bonaire twice and have a trip booked for October 2009.

We've never had an issue with crime, but we always left the truck unlocked with the windows rolled down. We usually put towels, sunglasses, flip flops, t-shirts and $20 for emergencies stowed behind the back seat (where the jack is). We've never had an issue but maybe we've just been lucky.

As a precaution, just don't leave anything in the truck that you don't mind losing too much (i.e. no camera). The camera is actually the only thing we've missed carrying on our trips but now we have an underwater enclosure so we can bring it with us diving.

Bonaire is rugged, but that's also part of the fun.

agilulfo

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 17
    • blue number nine's music
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: On Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2009, 15:22:49 UTC »


My wife and I had planned on going to Bonaire next
winter, but "The Deep Blue" in their e-mails to her
totally turned her off to the whole island...

She's only recently started to dive, after years of
my trying to get her to do so.

And now, "The Deep Blue" has made her second
guess her ability to dive.

Thanks "Deep Blue"... 

What did they say exactly? Bonaire is one of the easiest places to dive. That's why my wife and I chose it as our first dive trip after being certified. I highly recommend the book Bonaire Diving Made Easy (http://www.bsdme.info/). It lists the dive sites in order of difficulty, and it's been an invaluable resource on our first trip (we still use it).

mango9

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 4
    • Kandace Heimer Nature and Underwater Photography
  • Subscriber?: no
  • Total Dves: 500-1000
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2009, 03:38:51 UTC »
We are headed down to Bonaire in mid June for the Digital Shootout and will spend another week there with our underwater photographic society.  This will be our fifth trip in the last 8 or so years.

With respect to shore diving, it is not a given that you will be robbed of anything left in your truck while shore diving, just a possibility.  Take an old pair of shorts, a t-shirt, towel, and water and leave them in the truck while you dive.  There are no organized gangs of t-shirt thieves methodically ransacking trucks for old t's to sell on e-bay.

Take anything of value with you.  One of the small waterproof cases that fit in a BC pocket can hold your hotel and car keys, some money, and drivers license.

Of more concern are the very few reports of theft from hotel rooms, including scuba and photographic gear and laptops.  This is more a function of having adequate resort security.  We have stayed at the Divi for the Shootout the last two years, and not one of the dozens of participants experienced any problems.  Getting your checked gear through the Miami or Jamacan airports without loss is another matter.
Please visit my website at http://www.kandfoto.com and my blog, Pixel Safari, at http://www.kandfoto.com/blog

Diver Dan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Subscriber?: no
  • Total Dves: over 1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2009, 22:22:10 UTC »
I've spent 24 weeks on Bonaire since 1995 and am returning for 2 weeks in June.  I've never had a problem with theft.  That said, the only thing I leave in the vehicle is drinking water and an old tee shirt.  You can carry multiple tanks in your truck and not worry about them getting stolen so doing multiple shore dives without going back for fresh tanks is not an issue.

I have always felt very safe on Bonaire.  Just take your common sense with you.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 19:30:06 UTC by Diver Dan »

marine9

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2009, 01:33:05 UTC »
    
Re: On Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2009, 15:22:49 UTC/GMT »    
Quote from: marine9 on May 12, 2009, 00:25:48 UTC/GMT


My wife and I had planned on going to Bonaire next
winter, but "The Deep Blue" in their e-mails to her
totally turned her off to the whole island...

She's only recently started to dive, after years of
my trying to get her to do so.

And now, "The Deep Blue" has made her second
guess her ability to dive.

Thanks "Deep Blue"...

What did they say exactly? Bonaire is one of the easiest places to dive. That's why my wife and I chose it as our first dive trip after being certified. I highly recommend the book Bonaire Diving Made Easy (http://www.bsdme.info/). It lists the dive sites in order of difficulty, and it's been an invaluable resource on our first trip (we still use it).

My wife only recently agreed to start diving, just got her open water.
We had planned on going to Bonaire, and she was looking forward to
go for her Advanced.
22 years ago they found that she had cancer, she fought it - and
seems to have won.  But had radiation big time.  Only recently has it
come back at her, in that she has some "weakness" in her right leg.
This is from the heavy radiation.
When she told "Deep Blue" on Bonaire, she was told that they would
not allow her to train as an Advance diver, as "you have physical challenges."
Her being an Advanced diver "might create unsafe situations when doing
somewhat more challenging dives".  And that she'd be a risk to other
divers.
She is not handicapped by any sense of the word, she has some
weakness in the leg, and at times (with a tank and BC) has a hard
time climbing a boat ladder.
Now, not only does she no longer wish to go to Bonaire, but no
longer wants to go for her Advanced, and is questioning herself
and her ability to be a good diver.
 

agilulfo

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 17
    • blue number nine's music
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2009, 08:48:28 UTC »

My wife only recently agreed to start diving, just got her open water.
We had planned on going to Bonaire, and she was looking forward to
go for her Advanced.
22 years ago they found that she had cancer, she fought it - and
seems to have won.  But had radiation big time.  Only recently has it
come back at her, in that she has some "weakness" in her right leg.
This is from the heavy radiation.
When she told "Deep Blue" on Bonaire, she was told that they would
not allow her to train as an Advance diver, as "you have physical challenges."
Her being an Advanced diver "might create unsafe situations when doing
somewhat more challenging dives".  And that she'd be a risk to other
divers.
She is not handicapped by any sense of the word, she has some
weakness in the leg, and at times (with a tank and BC) has a hard
time climbing a boat ladder.
Now, not only does she no longer wish to go to Bonaire, but no
longer wants to go for her Advanced, and is questioning herself
and her ability to be a good diver.
 

I am sorry to hear about your wife's difficulty, and I sincerely hope she will be able to overcome this challenge. I can see why the shop would react the way they did; Bonaire is, for the most part, shore diving with somewhat difficult entries and exists in the sense that it may involve walking, carrying tanks, climbing and so on. On the other hand, there are also sites (including resort's piers) that are not difficult at all. I have personally seen a man with a prosthetic leg shore diving at the Hilma Hooker (which has one of the more challenging entries and exits). One can also opt to do boat dives as well.

At the same time, it is not necessary to have an advanced certification to enjoy Bonaire. Most of the interesting stuff, and what Bonaire is famous for, is between 30 and 60 ft.. My wife and I went to Bonaire after our OW for this very reason and never went below 60 ft. even though we spent 12 days there (as a matter of fact, we were diving tables as well since we did not buy dive computers until after our AOW). All this to say that one of the beauties of Bonaire is that you can suit your diving to your personal comfort and skill level. Every time we return with a higher skill level we keep doing and seeing new things.

If your wife is really adamant about doing her AOW in Bonaire, I suggest you contact other shops as well as different shops may have different policies in regard to disabilities. My DM instructor, for example, specializes herself in teaching diving to people with disabilities and some of her students are paraplegic and blind people. If her physician has cleared your wife for diving, and for taking the AOW class, you should be able to find someone to accommodate her. I would suggest you try contacting Carib Inn. While I have not used their services, they have a very good reputation.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 08:51:48 UTC by agilulfo »

marine9

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2009, 00:55:51 UTC »
She is doing very well, thanks.
As I said - really just a minor leg weakness at times.
She had requested boat dives, as she was concerned
climbing up and over the rocks/ladders for shore dives.
She's really interested in 35 - 60 foot dives away, but
just wants to become a better trained diver.
Better training leads to better diving.
Once again, thanks for your concern.

Diver Dan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Subscriber?: no
  • Total Dves: over 1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2009, 02:39:29 UTC »
My wife has bad knees.  When we shore dive I put her gear on her when we're in the water about chest deep.  When we boat dive, at the end of the dive I remove her weight belt and hand it up to a DM.  Then I remove her BC and hand it up to a DM. Then I take her fins and she goes up the ladder.

If she really wants to take the Advanced course do some emailing before you go to Bonaire and find a shop that will give her the course.  There is nothing physically challenging about the advanced course.  It just teaches you more skills in a controlled environment.  There's nothing physically challenging about a navigation dive, a night dive, a dive to 100 ft (deep), etc.  As long as she's cleared for diving by a doctor taking the advanced class shouldn't be an issue.  I can understand why she wouldn't want to take Rescue but Advanced?

No dive operator requires an advanced card for any of the resort boat dives unless you want to do technical dives.

Besides, from the stuff you'll learn in an advanced class the best way to improve your dive skills is to dive to your comfort zone.  Your comfort zone will naturally expand with experience.

Alas, it seems this thread is getting a bit off topic :)    as threads are want to do.

34 days to Bonaire for 2 weeks.

Daniel

butchfri

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2009, 18:58:51 UTC »
For what it's worth, we were in Bonaire in May and wouldn't go back on a bet.  The island itself is one of the ugliest places I've ever seen, many of the shore entries are miserable, and the diving never rose above mediocre (bleached and overfished).  It appears that crime is worse in the northern sites because they're secluded but it's a problem all over the island, and constantly having to "watch your back" made a bad situation worse.  (I've also never in my years of traveling to remote locations had a hotel tell me that I had to supply my own toilet paper.)

Diver Dan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Subscriber?: no
  • Total Dves: over 1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2009, 19:28:27 UTC »
Is this a troll, Butch?  I've been going to Bonaire since 1995 and I've spent 26 weeks on that island in the past 15 years.  I've never once had a problem with crime of any kind.  I've never met a Bonarian who didn't have a smile, a wave, and a hello.  On my last dive on Bonaire, this past Thursday, July 9, 2009 I saw more reef fish one one dive than any other dive in my entire career of diving.  I've been scuba diving since 1992 and have logged more than 1500 dives.

To disparge Bonaire the way you did just makes me think you're making sh*t up or haven't got a clue how to interact with a native population.

Daniel

butchfri

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2009, 14:42:21 UTC »
No, Daniel, it isn't a troll.  I've dived all over the world and I know how to "interact," and in any case I don't see anywhere in my post where I mention the people.  I'm sorry my opinion differs from yours.  We didn't like it and wouldn't go back.  Enough said.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 19:59:01 UTC by butchfri »

Dawn

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2009, 14:29:02 UTC »
Gear left out on porches does disappear; one year we had 2 tires stolen off our rental car parked at the inn under a light. The media was down the next day putting it on the news. It took 6 months to resolve.  Anytime anything disappears- it's a joke that it's on it's way to Venezuela!We walk evrywhere, in the dark, down roads, and have done this for years- never feeling threatened. We go there at least once a year, and will be returning next week, and love it. Yes- when we landed in 1996, we thought it was ugly too.

craigwood

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 42
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: 500-1000
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2009, 22:02:21 UTC »
butchfri,

It's hard for me to tell where you dived. We've been to Bonaire 3 times since 2005 and have always had a great time, last visit 11/08. Even after the hurricane it was among the fishiest sites we've dived.

Out of interest, where is it you think is greatly superior to Bonaire?

Good diving, Craig

Dawn

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2009, 11:24:16 UTC »
Very good question.

butchfri

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2009, 14:32:21 UTC »
Sorry that I thought this was a forum where it was OK to express a dissenting opinion.  I won't do it again.

craigwood

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 42
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: 500-1000
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Re: Crime on Bonaire -- a vacation spoiler?
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2009, 14:37:35 UTC »
Sorry that I thought this was a forum where it was OK to express a dissenting opinion.  I won't do it again.

butchfri,

I was simply interested in the dive locations you think highly of, no offense intended.

Good diving, Craig

 

Get the diving news serious divers need!

Sign up for our FREE monthly email
with real diving news you won't find elsewhere!

Make your next dive trip the best one ever!

Get the diving info you need with monthly issues online, the 800 page The Travelin' Diver's Chapbook, 24/7 access to 1000's of honest diving reports and much, much more.

Special Offers for Our Readers
Get discounted dive trips/ equipment/ ... from dive businesses the world over.