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Dive Review of Captain Don's Habitat in

Captain Don's Habitat: "Bonaire Captain Don's Habitat. Less than Expected and Fading", Jan, 2018,

by David B Cain, GA, US ( 1 report with 2 Helpful votes). Report 10104 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments My third and last trip to Bonaire. My most recent trip before January 2018 was June 2010. What a fall from prominence.
Arrived mid afternoon 12/30/2017. Our threesome of the group of 13 signed into our two bedroom room at Captain Donís. After unpacking, we went to the onsite Budget rental to sign for our truck included with the room. After some discussion we opted for the optional cdw insurance. Beware the exclusions are many. All drivers must pay extra to be covered, damage coverage is denied for driving on UNPAVED Roads!?From my previous trips, I recall Bonaire is shore diving and the national park on North side is ALL unpaved with huge pot holes. Alas, the Park was off limits for this trip due to storm damage. At the end of the week as I waited for 30 minutes to fill the gas tank, the fuel door was inoperative. The Budget rep confirmed this and insisted I pay the penalty rate for not filling up the gas tank!
Next day we had the orientation. Did not have to show C card as your name was called, just yell back certifying agency? Paid the $25.00 Park fee and that was it!? On to the dive shop for weights and to sign waivers, nitrox and suit up for UNSUPERVISED orientation dive. No one at this point, has seen my C-card or Nitrox card and it remained so for the week!?
We had 2, 1 tank boat dives each day in our package so we had to rush to the boat from orientation for our first boat dive. Nitrox tanks on board, bring your own analyzer, the boat does not supply one. Pre dive briefings were short, lacked details other than follow the guide, go against the current until some gets to 1500psi, turn around and return to boat. Dive guide Sherman was average at best and coined the phrase same old, same old in his dive briefings. Geertje was better and very good at pointing out photo ops and small critters like seahorses, flamingo tongues and shrimp. I make dive videos and have a tendency to lag behind, take the video shot, than move on, keeping the group in view.
I did 16 dives for the week. Visibility averaged 30 to 50 feet. There were 1 or 2 cruise ships in port Monday-Thursday and they may have contributed to the reduced visibility. I saw zero Groupers and Rays on this trip. Schools of grunts, yellow tail snappers and schoolmasters were small, few and consisted of intermediate fish. Zero schools of Caesar Grunts, although I did spot a few solitary Caesars that were shy.
Small reef fish, Blue Chromis, Hamlets, Wrasses, Basslets etc. School of Blue Tang on a feeding frenzy, Parrot fish and schools of Creole Wrasse. 1-2 Lionfish on every dive. When the dive guides were asked about the Lionfish, they seemed unconcerned. The Hooker dive site had 5 good sized resident Tarpons.
Reefs were in good shape for the most part and colorful. What is lacking was the abundance of marine life I have on video from previous trips. Sitting at the Rum Runners restaurant for breakfast one morning we noticed a small boat with 2 men fishing!? We asked around and were told it was common. In a Marine Park (we paid $25.00 to dive in the Park.) At one of the shore dive spots we watched a local couple go diving with a spear gun!! At another we saw a boat anchor off a dive site and the occupants started fishing! Last, we observed a boat fishing with outriggers! So much for Marine Park B.S.
The mystery of where have all the Adult fish gone has been answered. Shameful, when asked why we were paying the $25.00 fee, it was for site mooring maintenance. When asked why locals were allowed to fish in the marine park, we were told it was lack of enforcement personnel.
The Rum Runners Restaurant and bar is under separate management from the dive shop. If you are doing a morning and afternoon dive on a boat, you will be hard pressed to get a meal between dives. There is no buffet setup to serve divers between trips. The breakfast buffet in the morning consists of pancakes (really dry pancakes) scrambled eggs from a box, burnt bacon and ok sausage. You are better off asking for a omelet, real eggs with your choice of adds. However the end result looks more like hard scrambled with the ads. And the flies are terrible, not to mention birds on the buffet area and tables. On New Year Eve, we showed up for the special dinner and were told if we did not have a reservation we could not be seated!! As guests of the dive resort, it would have been a nice thing to mention at the orientation or check in. We ended up with to go boxes, ate at the dive area as we watched other divers turned away. Separate management with no communication.
Best meals of the week. Two food trucks along the shore by the airport. Kite City food truck and Blue Cactus food truck (actually a trailer). Awesome fish sandwiches (mahi mahi, lion fish and Wahoo) and to die for Hamburgers (Iím talking HUGE, HUGE Burgers).
Make sure you pack thick fin boots for shore diving in Bonaire; some of the sites have some pretty sharp and rugged entrances to the water. Donít leave anything of value in the truck and leave the windows down. Theft is a problem while you are diving.
The room at Captain Donís was clean, furnished with a stove and fridge. Hot water was a problem; in fact we had no hot water the first day and most mornings till mid week.
To sum it up, the diving was ok but lacked the abundance of marine life from years past. Since the cruise ships started arriving, Divers may not be the Number one source of tourist dollars any more. Captain Donís Habitat is not on my dance card.
Websites Captain Don's Habitat   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Florida, North and south Carolina Atlantic, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Mexico.
Closest Airport Hartsfield, Atlanta Ga. Getting There Direct Delta flight

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 78-79°F / 26-26°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30-50 Ft/ 9-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions On boat dives, we were instructed to follow the dive guide. Time and depth limits. Shore diving total freedom.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Small tub for cameras. On one trip the dive guide dipped his skull cap into camera tub, scooped up some water and poured the water over his head back into the tub!
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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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