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Dive Review of Dive Friends/Yellow Submarine/rented condo (Yellow Crown Villa) in
Bonaire/Western side

Dive Friends/Yellow Submarine/rented condo (Yellow Crown Villa), Jan, 2009,

by william wittman, ny, USA ( 2 reports). Report 4604.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caymans, Costa Rica, Saba, Antigua, Montserrat, all over Carribean, Florida caves, North East wrecks...
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 78 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none
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 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 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 5 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments After both some advance internet(s) research, and some local reconnoitering upon arrival, we settled on the Dive Friends operation based at Yellow Submarine; and I'm glad we did. They run a super friendly operation at a very reasonable rate. A week's worth of unlimited air diving was $170. The same package with Nitrox limited you to 3 dives a day for that price, but still that's very fair. And the big plus in comparison to everyone else was that Dive Friends runs four different operations spread around the island from which you could pick up or drop tanks. This extra convenience made life a lot easier.
Dive Friends left you to your own devices after the first dive buoyancy check and purchase of marine park dive tags, so we dived our own profiles as we desired. Nitrox fills tended to the 'hot' side, usually at almost 34% O2, so that would tend to be the determining factour for max operating depth.
Later in the day, for a third or fourth dive, the site right in front of Yellow Sub was a nice dive with a super easy entry and exit and the convenience of walking right out of the water to the tank drop and to pick up tanks to take with us for the next morning. On a mooring block perhaps 100 yds offshore here, two octopii were busy decorating with as many beer bottles as they could find. Over the drop off a large turtle was hanging out and on one day an eagle ray cruised by in the blue. For a 'low key' site, a very nice place to dive.
And that was our take on Bonaire diving in general. The entires varied but the basic state of the reef didn't. It was uniformly healthy and pretty busy with loads of small fish schooling and the occasional cool bigger tarpon or jack or barracuda, turtles on many occasions, and that ray. On the Hilma Hooker wreck, an enourmous Tarpon was hanging out trying to look nonchalant about us.
The diving was all we had hoped. Good for the experienced amongst us, and good for the relative beginners in our group (two of whom took AOW with Yellow Sub; my one criticism being that I thought Dive Friends SHOULD have included the option of a night dive and/or boat dive as part of AOW without trying to extract additional charges.)
But on the state of Bonaire itself, in general, above water, we were much less pleased.
Frankly, we've all read and heard about theft on Bonaire, but that hardly excuses it.
While we were there, friends of ours in a rental house, perhaps 4 doors down from the yellow sub location, had their house broken into while they were out to dinner and returned to find cell phones, laptop computers, cameras and various other personal effects stolen. The police were polite, and quick to respond, but ultimately not encouraging. Even more distressing was that several people claimed to know who had done it but simply WOULD not volunteer names out of fear.
Dive Friends was emphatic about not leaving tanks in a car when diving on the northern shores, and everyone said to never lock a car or roll up the windows lest someone break them just to have a look inside.
These things, and this attitude, do not add up to a diver/visitor FRIENDLY experience. I don't know that I WANT to go to a place where I must constantly fear being robbed. And I can't think of another Carribean dive destination that feels like that to anywhere NEAR that degree.
If Bonaire is truly going to be a "diver's paradise" it needs to get SERIOUS about patrolling dive sites and residences and seriously prosecuting and punishing this crime.
The "oh well, you know, it's Bonaire..." attitude is not serving them well.
I hate to have to say so, but they need to feel it in their wallets in order to get the message that this is NOT acceptable.
On another note: we rented a villa called Yellow Crown Villa in the Sabadeco area that was simply beautiful with private pool, air conditioning, modern kitchen, ocean view (of the Andrea dive site) and even a private entrance to the (dry) cave system underneath! It was great.
www.bonairenet.com/yellowcrownvilla/
Food in the restaurants of the island was mostly moderately priced (for us New Yorkers) but unexceptional in most cases. The two exceptions being Bistro Paris (which was TERRIBLE) and Capriccio, which was very, very good.
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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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