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Dive Review of Captan Dons in
Bonaire

Captan Dons, Apr, 2007,

by MARK A. HICKS, IL, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3314.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Honduras, US Virgin Islands, Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 82 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None to speak of.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Tubs were avalible on boats and shore though they got crowded a lot. MACRO is suppose to be this islands strong point and for the most part it was. The night dive was also interesting with half a dozen BIG TARPIN following me with my dive light. These guys just had no fear of me at all !!

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments "Captan Dons" is a nice place and has a lot to offer. Besides some minor quarks here and there (will get into later), we survived the week and brought home some good memories. The island is very DUTCH in nature as can be seen in the architecture and colors of the down town area. Its colorful stores are mostly small, but many as they set there sights on the Cruise Ship cliental that stream into the area periodically. Restaurants are varied and we had no problem different selection each night for a good meal (RICHARDS was our last nights outing . . MMMMM !).
OK, now as to the DIVING . . . well I was told the island is know for its MACRO . . and that is fairly true as we saw lots of little guys that challenged out cameras macro shooting skills. One suggestion when shooting in macro . . shoot LOTS of pics and cross your fingers . . :o) The reefs were healthy with a good variety of corals to be seen. One dive even had us swimming amongst stands of Black Coral that was really great to see !! We were fortunate enough on one boat trip to come across a school of Dolphins that wanted to play in our wake . . . words just can not describe how beautiful these creatures are . . . there grace in the water is so incredible as they swam with us for a good ways. The walls were mixed from easy sloping sections to sheer drops down into the deep blue beyond. The Hooker was a treat, and boy is she BIG !!! From one end, her hull stretches off into the distance as you see her graceful lines and curves (this is a dive you do not want to miss). We dove the house reef many times and each was just as enjoyable as the last, but hold it . . maybe not the first dive (let me explain). On that first dive we were introduced to Tunicates . . . LOOOOOOONG lines of them floating in trains in front of you. You had singles here and there, but most were trains of these transparent creatures that were many feet long. At first your mind said Jelly Fish and you tried to avoid them, but the water was teaming with them and after finding out that they do not sting . . you would simple just push them aside . . again . . and again . . geeesh there was a BUNCH !!! Once we droped down a ways they thined out, but we still had to pass back through transparent mine field in the end. As I mentioned, we found lots of little stuff, Fire Worms, juvi Spotted Drums (and a BIG adult on one dive), Morays of many colors, and the list is quite long !!
All in all the reefs looked healthy, just not much was seen of the larger fish species.
The week passed quickly as most vacations do, but we did come away with lots of memorable dives. I mentioned in the beginning of this report about a few quarks and I think its only fair to give both sides of the story to better form a complete picture. To start with, well airlines are airlines and as we all know are as predictable as the weather, so I will leave it at that !! Captan Dons has a nice operation, but a few wrinkles I guess are to be found any where. Our room were nice and comfortable as long as you did not breath. The aroma from the bathrooms gave the bedrooms that it leaked into a fragrance that would remind one of an old out house, but with the window left open, it brought it down to a level of toleration. Now as to the dive operation . . . well they have three one tank boat dives going out each day, 8 . . 11 . . and 2. I guess I have been spoiled over the years with other operators as we have mostly done two tank dives on any boat trip, but the spacing of Dons dives left a little bit to be desired. There changing area is just far to small when twenty or more divers are trying to get gear and suit up for either boat or shore dives . . there just was no room. The small lockers were ok for your main gear but the pieces of string around the outside walls were the only place to hang any wet suites and again, these were full most of the time. Now I know the island is designed for loading up your pickup truck and driving to any number of shore dive sights . . and for some I am sure it is GREAT !! We had talked about doing this but after looking at the rocky shore entrances at many sights from the boat, we resisted the concept for fear of taking a fall and ending out week. Having not done much shore diving, I was hoping for a sandy entrance, but suiting up and walking down rocky slopes with fins and camera gear in hand as I did my best to carefully watch my step on the slippery rocks brought forth a strong feeling of self preservation. . . so we stuck to the boat dives.
Well all in all we enjoyed our selves as our group of 10 came home with lots of good stories to tell. We did take the time to venture next door to Buddy Dives and take a good look around (Dive operations and rooms) and if we return some day . . . we all agreed it would be to Buddy Dives.
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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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