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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort: "Busy week but better than expected after Matthew", Oct, 2016,

by David Bader, NC, US (Contributor Contributor 19 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 9162.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We were concerned about this trip given that Hurricane Matthew had just passed through the area the week before and the storm was headed straight for us in NC. Fortunately, we were able to bypass the storm with only slight delays. We arrived in Bonaire at 3PM and were at the resort by 3:30. The first problem we ran into was that we had booked our week at the same time as Bonaire Tek Week at Buddy Dive and the annual Regata headquartered at a park near the resort.

We checked in by 4 and took our bags to the room and headed for the dive shop. After standing in line for about 15 minutes, I reached the front desk with my completed paperwork in hand at 4:40. The employee took my paper work when someone came in from the back room and said they were no longer checking in any divers. We protested but to no avail. We were told to return at 8AM the next day. Considering the shop doesn't close until 5PM, we considered this to be an inefficient operation considering the line we had to again deal with the next morning when they finally opened at 8:10.

I was issued an upper locker only to find I couldn't reach the BC hanger. I'd say you need to be at least 5'10" to realistically use the upper lockers. The required orientation went smoothly after the long photo shop presentation of available services. Then we finally got into the water for our required orientation dive. We were pleasantly surprised that the shallows were clear and the reef was spared major storm damage.

This was not the case for all the reefs. North Klein Bonaire was heavily sanded as were most of the southernly sites below Windsock. We were encouraged in the orientation to help save the reef by fanning the sand off the hard and soft corals. I spent part of every dive doing exactly that.

My friends and I decided to do 2 morning dives and then afternoon shore dives. Between Bonaire Tek Week and the Coral Restoration Program usage of boats, there was only one boat for the recreational divers. It tended to fill up every day. After several days of south Klein Bonaire and local northern sites, we started looking to go further North. We went to 1,000 steps but when we asked for Karpata, Rappel, or La Dania's Leap we were told they were "too far" or the boat had engine problems. This annoyed us to no end, specially when we heard a two tank boat on Thursday went to Karpata! This a must dive site for Bonaire and we had divers that were unable to handle it from shore. I also asked about a 3 tank program Buddy Dive ran a couple of years ago where a boat ran to the 6 Park sites and drift dived south from the first site for an hour, retanked, drifted another hour, retanked, and drifted a final hour hitting pretty much all six dive sites. It was an amazing program. The dive manager stated the boat they used for that program had been out of commission for two years so they were not running that program anymore.

Tank fills were another issue on the boat. I routinely got fills between 2750 and 2850 with the majority hitting around 2800 PSI. While I could easily do an hour dive on a 2800 fill, it could cause problems with less experienced divers.

The dive guides and captains were all very nice and went above and beyond to show us a good time. Water and fruit were available on the boat for customer convenience. Boats went out at 8:10, 10:10, and 2:15. Max divers was held at 16 on the larger boats and 12 on the smaller boat. There was more than adequate room to move around and get geared up.

The storm didn't seem to affect marine life too much. We saw several seahorses, parrot fish, various butterfly fish, grouper, tarpon, and turtles. No frogfish but also very few lionfish.

Checkout went smoother than checkin but the bill we received included a "voluntary" donation of one dollar a day for the coral restoration Program, a towel deposit, and key deposit which I had to request a removal. I've made many donations to marine programs over the years but I don't expect one to be automatically added to my bill.

Overall, it was a good trip and I would recommend Buddy Dive over other Bonaire resorts but I do think they need to make some corrections to their operations.
Websites Buddy Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Various sites in the Caribbean Islands, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans
Closest Airport BON Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-75 Ft/ 15-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions You must buddy up but can dive your own profile within boat limitations and within sight of the dive guides. All dives were guided with two dive guides. Max depth was 100ft with a time limit of one hour.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Boats had no tables and only two small buckets for cameras. Each bucket could handle only one large camera. Shore facilities had dedicated rinse tanks but again no dedicated camera tables.
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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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