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Dive Review of Buddy Dive/Caribbean Club Bonaire in
Bonaire/whole island

Buddy Dive/Caribbean Club Bonaire: "20+ years experience and over 600 dives in Bonaire", Feb, 2016,

by Greg Oppenhuizen, MI, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 9352.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I have gone to Bonaire at least once a year for over 20 years. I have stayed at many locations, rented vehicles from many sources. I have well over 600 dives on Bonaire. Some of the best dives don't have yellow rocks. Get the Book, 'Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy' if you are new to the island. Rent a pick up, have a designated non-diver stay with the truck at all but the most obscure sites(work it out), get groceries from Van Den Tweel, eat breakfast at your resort then spend the day on the road. It's easy to do 4 dives a day, or more. Only use a boat for Klein Bonaire, if you must. Dive where you want, when you want, how you want.

Take larceny seriously or they will get you, I guarantee it. I have stories...more than one.

February weather is predictably and reliably 82F, sunny to partly cloudy, with very brief isolated showers. You will do worse than this weather in February further north in the Caribbean. It cools to the mid 70's at night. There is a steady trade wind, it's not a breeze - itís a wind which keeps the bugs down.

English is spoken everywhere, but there are more Europeans than Americans. The dollar is the official currency. Prices are reasonable by Caribbean standards. They used to be 30% cheaper when the currency was Antillean Guilders but Bonaire is a great buy compared to Cayman.

If you want to just boat dive, stay and eat only at the resort and do everything as a dive group. You can go anywhere. There is better diving in a lot of other places. You won't see big fish, but there is a lot of macro stuff. Many fish have a nasty parasite that makes them look like they have Aquarium Ich. Some other parasite wiped out the eels a few years back - all shore development related. It won't get better as time goes by.

There are many great restaurants including little inexpensive places like Pasa Bon Pizza, and Bobbejan BBQ takeaway so only eat breakfast at the resort. Get breakfast included in your package, do a picnic lunch and splurge for dinner. I like: At Sea, La Guernica, Rains Fishes, Mona Lisa, Bistro de Paris. But there are many nice restaurants. The food is great. You will not not disappointed, unless you hate fish.

By and large the diving is easy. This is a great place for beginners.
Most everything is above 80'. There really isn't a reason to go deeper on most dives. Wind Jammer wreck is a technical dive by boat only now days.

Favorite dives: Bloodlet to Rapel (`30 min), La Dania to Karpata (`30 min), Bloodlet to Tolo (buoy at ~40 min), Taylor Made 1,2,3,4. The times are steady but no dilly dally. Currents on the north side can be stiff; especially at Taylor Made and points north. Access is extremely limited and you MUST EXACTLY retrace ingress and egress. If you do you will see, by far, the best hard corals on the island. Stiff currents reliably bring schooling barracudas. Always you will have a Black Durgeon show.

The only whale shark I have ever seen was at Tolo. I know others who have seen them at Andrea. You won't see one. Mantas are another story. They can be seen between Andrea and Reef Scientifico, especially in the morning. Don't count on it though. Sharks are at the far north and far south (white hole) - maybe you will see 1.

At Karpata, the big anchor is at 34' (remember that) shortly south of the entrance (unique, identifiable Elkhorn coral). The anchor is your indicator that you have arrived from La Dania. Look for the little white tiles in the coral also at ~34'.

Marked dive sites north of BoPec are better than 10 years ago (after Lenny) but nothing like 25 years ago. Same goes for Washington Park You may be disappointed. On the far south, Vista Blue and Margate Bay are very nice for soft corals with all manner of little stuff hidden within. In the mid-south Tori's Reef is very good and, of course Salt Pier. But, take a compass heading and go to the far south and north Piers for the best schooling. Angel City reliably has schooling Jacks to the South on the second reef just north of where the first and second reefs merge. Angel City has the shallowest second reef around 45'-50'.

Red Slave can be dicey with waves and currents, but the sand stretch between the reef and shore has great areas of Garden Eels and Tile fish. The Tile fish make great photo shoots. You could spend all your time in the sandy shallow for a really good dive.

A true Bonaire experience is the Blue Light Special. On the south side, only between Plaza Resort (go there for easy in/out) and BelMar Resort an hour after sunset (6:40PM in February) only at or near full moon. Sit on the sandy bottom at 35'-50'in the dark - no lights. Turn you light on above your head for 5 seconds, then off. 5 seconds later the sea fills with blue luminous ostracods all swimming upward in a consistent zig-zag pattern. The response has nothing to do with water motion or flailing your hands or fins. These flea-size critters fill your vision as far as you can see responding to the light. You seem to be in the Matrix. You can't photograph them so you must experience it. You won't disappointed but expect Tarpon bumping into your back to use your light to hunt. Resist the urge to help them.

The 2 bedroom cottages at Caribbean Club Bonaire (CCB have views - as good as it gets. They have very large porches and are priced accordingly. CCB is the furthest north you can stay. You must have a rental vehicle. Breakfast is good. CCB caters to every size wallet. There are very inexpensive rooms and pretty expensive rooms. I like the solitude and have stayed there for years.

All vehicles on Bonaire rust away in short order. Buddy's dive trucks can be pretty bad. In 2016, I had a brand new 'cheapie' Chinese model. I think the other rental companies have minimally better quality consistency in their vehicles, but that isn't saying much. Get the extra insurance. You need to know how to drive a stick and take a tire inflator that attaches to your second stage. Always have a tank in the truck. Flats are still pretty common.

One last thing. You will need to look closely at the map for this. When diving on the north side, skip the long road back by taking the high gravel road which ends up by CCB. From Karpata, head to Rincon from just outside Karpata (not the long way by BoPec). The high road veers to the right about half way up the hill. The climb up the hill on this gravel road is truly terrible for going up. Don't get on the road here. I haven't done it for 2 years. However, if you turn in Rincon at the "Lourdes" sign that goes up the hill and continue to veer right as the road splits you can take a good paved road to the top of the hill. At the hill top turn left and stay on the hill top as the road goes south. The road is gravel but OK by Bonaire standards. Karpata to CCB - 15 minutes. You will probably mess up the first time, but itís worth learning this route.

Websites Caribbean Club Bonaire

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Multiple locations in the Carribean, Atlantic, North, Central, South American Pacific, Indian Ocean Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hawaii, Malaysia and Great Lakes.
Closest Airport Divi Flamingo Getting There Delta via Atlanta. There are lots of ways. Baggage is a problem on Insel - you've been warned!

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 80-80°F / 27-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-70 Ft/ 18-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions If you want to do anything you want without somebody bugging you; shore dive in Bonaire. Just use your head. You will experience degrees of harassment and fellow diver incompetence on the boats.The solution is: don't boat dive.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments I have thousands of Bonaire images. It is a good macro location. To truck/shore dive you MUST have a stay-with-the-truck buddy unless all gear comes in with you - no exception.
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Subscriber's Comments

By report author: Greg Oppenhuizen in MI, US at Nov 26, 2016 13:34 EST  
Important!!!: Bloodlet to Rapel is 30 minutes one way, but you MUST swim back to Bloodlet to get out. You cannot exit the water at Rapel (cliff). Total dive time is 60 minutes. DO NOT TRY THIS IF YOU ARE A HEAVY BREATHER!!!
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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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