Your Guide to Diving Bonaire
All of Undercurrent's information on diving Bonaire, including articles, reader reports, Chapbook sections, ...
Diving Bonaire Overview
One of the three Dutch-owned Caribbean islands off the coast of South America, to many visitors, Bonaire's attraction is shore diving, not only in front of their hotels but also via rental car to one of a score of marked sites -- but keep nothing in those cars and never lock them as many get broken into while you are underwater. Still, Bonaire is a diver's island par excellence, with diving that's especially well suited for easy divers and those who want to concentrate on photography on the leeward side. There is also the popular wreck of the Hilma Hooker. On the windward shore, access can be adventurous through breaking waves.
Bonaire Seasonal Dive Planner
Once a lush tropical island until Europeans arrived, the desert island of Bonaire has terrain and climate something like southern Arizona. Air temperatures are in the low to mid-70s°F (21°C) at night, and the high 80s°F or low 90s°F (26-32°C) during the day. But with the trade winds and moderate humidity, it rarely feels as hot as it is.
Rainfall is usually scant, consisting of a few brief showers in the early morning, except during November and December, when occasionally it is overcast and rainy for a day or more. Total annual rainfall is about 20 inches (50cm), but every eight to ten years there's a peak year, with total rainfall of two to three times the normal amount.
Bonaire's protected western coast offers almost ideal conditions
365 days a year -- calm, warm, and clear water with gentle currents. The sky is usually dotted with puffy fair weather clouds that give a welcome respite from a tropical sun, which can get intense, especially in May, June, and September. Winds are always from the east at a brisk 15-20 mph from January through August. They slow the last four months of the year, with occasional calm days that permit diving on the island's exposed eastern coast and the rare opportunity to see the huge sponges, gorgonia, coral heads and fish of the northern and eastern coasts.
The water temperature in Bonaire ranges from 78-81°F (25-27°C). About three years out of every five, upwellings of cold, nutrient-rich water from the deep Atlantic spill into the Caribbean over the relatively shallow shelf that connects Trinidad with the Grenadines, and then it circulates westward to Bonaire. When this happens --usually during July -- water temperature can drop into the low 70s°F (22°C), and visibility everywhere can fall to 30ft (9m) or less. These conditions can last from one or two days to a week or more.
Sometimes this cold upwelling water doesn't come all the way to the surface but is only encountered at depth as a murky thermocline.
Diving Bonaire Reader Reports and Feature Articles
For Undercurrent Online Members
The Most Recent Bonaire Dive Reviews
from our Instant Reader Reports
Complete Articles Available to Undercurrent Online
Members; Some Publicly Available as Indicated
Diving Bonaire Articles - Liveaboards
Available to the Public
|Belize, Vieques, Indonesia, Molokai, Christmas crowds, lousy food, white tips and mantas, 4/17|
|Sick Divers, Macho Divemasters, travels in Egypt, Fiordland, Bonaire, the Bahamas... , 11/16|
|Belize, Bonaire, Florida, Philippines . . ., and a Cozumel dive shop with a great refund policy, 7/15|
|Bonaire, Fiji, Galapagos, Roatan, great examples of customer service - - and one resort to avoid, 9/11||
Diving Bonaire Articles - Land Based
|Raja Ampat, Bonaire, Maldives, Cozumel . . ., and endless trash spilling into the water, 7/19|
|Bonaire, Cozumel, Cuba, Fiji, Palau . . ., spear tossers, baggage restrictions and thieving crews, 9/18|
|Dive Friends, Courtyard Marriott, Bonaire, finally, a way to use hotel points on your overseas dive trip, 8/18|
|Shore Diving Is Not for Everyone, 8/18|
|An Interesting Way to Off-Gas in Bonaire, 8/18|
|St. Vincent, Maldives, Roatan, Belize, destinations for everyone, 4/18|
Available to the Public
|Mozambique, Mexico, Philippines . . ., more on the Thorfinn, and another Bonaire warning, 10/15|
|Florida, Maui, Palau . . ., good and bad Bahamas dive shops; the best week to dive Bonaire, 10/14|
|Goodbye, Cap’n Don, 6/14|
|Key Largo, Maui, New Zealand . . ., maiden voyage kinks in Thailand, a rude photo pro in Bonaire, 5/13|
|Bonaire, Cozumel, St. Vincent…, legendary guide retires, dive shop disputes, and more, 1/13|
|An Insider’s Tips on Bonaire, 8/12|
|Bonaire, Maui, Phuket…, Francis Coppola’s five-star resort, a clueless Cozumel divemaster, 6/12|
|Bonaire, Caymans, China. . ., a dangerous Baja dive shop, and what, no octopus for your buddy?, 1/12|
|Saipan, Statia, Lake Malawi, Key Largo..., reports from the back of beyond from “undercover” readers, 7/10|
|Buddy Dive Resort, Bonaire, freedom for solo diving photographers, 5/10|
|Bahamas, Canada, Caymans, Indonesia, planning your next dive trip? Here are readers’ suggestions, 7/08|
|Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn, Bonaire, hard to book, but heaven for hardcore divers, 10/07|
|Cuba, Bonaire, Belize... , and a clever thief in Curacao, 1/07|
|Holbox Whale Sharks, Bonaire Wild Side, destinations to keep in mind, 2/06|
|Thumbs Down: Plaza Resort Bonaire, 9/04|
|Reports From Readers: Part I, Cozumel’s adult dive operators, Bonaire bummers, 8/04|
|More on Theft in Bonaire, 4/04|
|S.E. Aruba Fly n’ Dive, the Dutch Caribbean, dive in Bonaire, sleep in Aruba, 2/04|
|Wild Side Diving in Bonaire, 5/03|
|Thumbs Down, 10/02|
|Missed Connections, 10/01|
|Klein Bonaire Rescued from Developers, 2/00|
|Bonaire, A Shore Diver's Mecca, the Carib Inn, deep diving, private guides, 1/00|
|The Trouble with Going to Bonaire and Curaçao, getting there is the hardest part, 7/99|
|Captain Don's Habitat, 7/94|
Bonaire Sections from Our Travelin'
Reader Reports filed for
Editor's Book Picks for Scuba Diving Bonaire
The books below are my
favorites about diving in this part of the world All books are
available at a significant discount from Amazon.com; just
follow the links. -- BD
Travel Edition of Reef Fish Identification: Caribbean, Bahamas,
by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach
Today's airline weight restrictions not only limit the amount of dive gear
and cameras you can pack for overseas trips, but also those valuable
prized marine life identification books. And with spotty Internet access
overseas, it's not like you can look a critter of or fish up easily
online. For the divers who still want a book in their hands post-dive to
look up the fishes they encounter, Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach are
offering "Travel Edition of Reef Fish Identification: Caribbean, Bahamas,
South Florida." It's lightweight enough to thrown in your carry-on but
rugged enough to withstand frequent saltwater washings on board.
Click here to buy it at Amazon.
World Atlas of Coral Reefs
by Mark D. Spalding, Corinna Ravilious,
Edmund P. Green, United Nations World Conservation Monitoring Center.
If there is one book that belongs in every traveling diver's library, this is
it. The superb World Atlas of Coral Reefs has everything you want to know
about the reefs from Costa Rica and Cuba to the Coral Sea and Cayman. The information
is specific and up to date. The photos, maps and layout superb. And the price,
for this 424 page, full color, hard bound volume, is a steal at $31.50
The Atlas was released in September by the United Nations World
Conservation Monitoring Center to document and conserve the world's coral reefs.
Clearly written with divers in mind, it's an invaluable resource for global
travelers. Here's what you'll find.
- 94 maps, including global maps of biodiversity and reef
stresses, regional maps showing 3-D bathymetry and high resolution maps showing
reefs, mangroves, population centers, dive centers and protected areas.
- 280 color photographs, showing reefs, wildlife, people and
places, Including 84 photographs taken from space by Shuttle astronauts.
- Text explaining the formation, structure and ecology of
coral reefs; their various uses and abuses at the hands of humans; and the
techniques used in coral reef mapping.
- Detailed texts describing the distribution and status of
coral reefs in every country.
- Data tables listing information on biodiversity, human
use, and protected areas. These include statistics on coral reef area, biodiversity,
fish consumption, and threats.
For example, you can learn about pollution damage to the reefs
at Providenciales and the lack of human impact, as well. Or, where extensive
bleaching took place in Honduras 1998. You'll read that Milne Bay in Papua New
Guineas has the most extensive reef system in that country and where, in Fiji,
the bumphead parrotfish and tridachna clams will not be found, thanks to overfishing.
The Reef Set: Reef Fish, Reef Creature and Reef Coral (3 Volumes):
Paul Humann ID Books
by Paul Humann, Ned Deloach
The three set fish, creature and coral ID books by Paul Humann are the unparalleled sources for information on Caribbean sea life and identification. Paul and his partner Ned Deloach recently released updated and expanded editions of each, with scores of new critters, even better photos, and information unavailable anywhere else. Why, the Reef Fish Identification book, at more than 500 pages, is 20 percent larger than the previous volume, which came out in 1994. Whenever I travel to the Caribbean, I tote all three books and spend my down hours figuring out what I saw and where to look to find rare creatures. Paul's splendid Reef Creature book (420 pages), covers sponges, nudibranchs, octopus, crustaceans, Christmas tree worms and plenty more. His Reef Coral ID book (276 pages) helps you identify all the hard and soft corals, spawning, and even the growth on top of corals, as well as algae and other plant life. Beginners may want to ID only fish, but I'd recommend that all three books be part of every diver's library. And, if you have an old set, by all means replace it. You'll be delighted at the additions and improvements. Each book normally retails for $40, but are discounted when you order here. And the boxed 3-volume set is available now at a bigger discount, up to 30%. Click below to buy them at Amazon:
* Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas,
* Reef Creature Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas, and
* Reef Coral Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas
* The Boxed Set of all three (you can save up to 30%)
A Guide to the Coral Reefs of the Caribbean
by Mark Spalding
This book doubles as a guide to the natural history of the coral reefs and a diver's travel guide. In addition to providing information about some of the most popular diving and snorkeling, it also offers practical suggestions to divers who want to protect these sites. Author Mark Spalding, a coral reef scientist who has worked on coral reefs in over thirty countries, delves into the eco-problems with a focus on what each person can do to protect the reefs. The guide section covers 35 dive destinations with key information on the reefs, marine parks, remote places, and unusual species as well as excellent maps and a photographic field guide of the marine flora and fauna.
Order Now at a reduced price of only $16.47.
There's a Cockroach in My Regulator
The Best of Undercurrent: Bizarre and Brilliant True Diving Tales from Thirty Years of Undercurrent.
Shipping now is our brand new, 240-page book filled with the best of the unusual, the entertaining, and the jaw dropping stories Undercurrent has published. They’re true, often unbelievable, and always fascinating. We’re offering it to you now for the special price of just $14.95.
Click here to order.
You might find some other books
of interest in our
Editor's Book Picks