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Dive Review of Belmar/Rented House in
Bonaire

Belmar/Rented House, Mar, 2008,

by Erik Enger, DC, USA . Report 3950.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Costa Rica, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, North Carolina, Cozumel, Bonaire, St. Vincent
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 78 to 77 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 0 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 100 ft. on boat dives
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 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 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Theres plenty of information already available on Bonaire from Undercurrent and other sources so Ill try to limit my report to information I think is a little less widespread.

This was my second two week trip to Bonaire and once again I chose to rent a house. There are several real estate companies with reasonably good websites to find a suitable house for oneself. Ive found this to be a more economical option than staying at a dive resort - in addition to being more to my liking. When you combine this savings with the fact that Bonaire is the Grand Central Station of shore diving and theres no need to spend money on boat dives, Bonaire is easily one of the best bangs for buck dive vacations an east coaster can make. Obviously, its also one of the best dive spots in the Caribbean making this an even sweeter deal.

We chose to book our dive package through Belmar Apartments. By doing so, we could get tanks from Belmar (down south) or Buddy Dive (on the north end of Kralendijk). Although the island isnt very big, if youre doing a lot of diving as we were, this can really save you some time. If you book through Buddy you can only get tanks from Buddy. Officially, youre limited to two tanks per person at a time but this isnt enforced by anyone but yourself. We sometimes took more when we planned to do night and early morning dives and promptly returned empties in an effort to comply with the spirit of the rule. Tanks are available at both locations from 8am to 5pm- sometimes you could get tanks a bit later. On my last trip when we booked through Toucan we could get tanks 24/7 which made things easier (I dont know if thats still their policy) but we managed fine- just had to plan ahead a little more.

Belmar itself only has dive boats going out on Tuesdays and Thursdays however, youre also able to go out on Buddys boats. We mostly dealt with the staff at Belmar (including arranging for some boat dives with Buddy) and they were always very helpful. Me and a friend from my last trip were delighted to find that one of our all time favorite dive masters Ebby (formerly with Toucan) had joined Belmars operation the week before we arrived and so we were reunited with him. He was our guide for night dives on the Town Pier and Salt Pier, both of these dives require a guide and cost $25p/p plus tip this is outside of the cost of the normal unlimited shore diving package. Ebby is simply terrific. He found one of my favorite sightings of the whole trip, a leather-backed doris at Salt Pier.

In addition to the normal diving we also spent a day shore diving the less frequented East Side of the island with a great guy named Bas who has a one man operation (email- loonybin@bonairelive.com). The diving can be a bit more advanced and in my opinion is very much worth the trip. The East Side features larger life, different creatures (incl. black brotula, Spanish grunt, mutton hamlet, lesser seen junveniles, etc) and very different topography. By the way,, Ebby , who also dives the East Side, told us he saw an 18 ft. hammerhead there the week before.

Favorite dives were on the East Side, both piers, Angel City (outer reef), My Place, Karpata, Something Special and between Cliff and Bari Reef.

I experienced a couple of equipment problems and quickly discovered that Bruce Bowker at the Carib Inn is The Man to go to. He has both the mechanical knowledge to fix things and more parts than anyone else. I visited him three times and he never charged me a cent. Happily, I was able to return the favor when one of my friends spent a rather large sum of money at his shop.

If you want meet and hang out with locals, go to Bongos around 7pm on Friday night. Later on the party supposedly moves to the Little Havana though we never made it that far.

Finally, Susan Porters Bonaire: Shore Diving Made Easy is an invaluable resource and a steal for $20.
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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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