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Dive Review of Great Adventures Bonaire/Harbour Village Resort in
Bonaire

Great Adventures Bonaire/Harbour Village Resort, Feb, 2009,

by Stanley Holz, NH, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 4653.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Curacao, Ambergris Caye, Grand Turk, Cozumel, BVI, Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 65 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 30-35 minutes out, then turn around with DM. No total time restriction. Depth restrictions suggested only.
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 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Rinse buckets on boats. Dedicated rinse tank at dive shop.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Harbour Village Resort is not one of those places you hear mentioned very often when divers talk about where to stay on Bonaire. I think some of this lack of dive recognition has to be due to the lack of advertising this resort does in dive magazines. Another factor is the simple fact that Harbour Village is more expensive than most, if not all, of the other dive resorts on the island. Regardless of this relative anonymity, I found Harbour Village and its dive op, Great Adventures , to be a pleasant surprise.

My room was the least expensive available, a standard room with a view of the courtyard. Somewhat smallish, it contained a generous king size bed surrounded on all sides with lace netting. A satellite TV, two tables, two dressers, a closet, a bathroom, and a small patio were part of the package. A roomy shower, but no tub, was provided.

The resorts restaurant is called La Balandra and is styled like a wooden ship. It juts out over the water at the end of the beach. On the other end of the beach sits the dive shop, Great Adventures. During my 10 day stay here, I found the food varied from good to excellent, but never bad. For lunch, the hamburgers here are irresistible and huge.

Great Adventures is managed by a gentleman named Leonel. Leonel was often the boat driver, but also acted as the Divemaster on occasion. More often, the DM was a fellow named Nollie who was also quite competent and helpful. The dive op has two boats; a big Newton 42 and a smaller 36 boat. Both boats were comfortable, but the 42 boat was used most of the time even though we had as few as 3 divers on some of the trips. Snorkelers were welcome on the boat, and my wife Sandy got in a few trips. Nitrox is offered. Storage facilities consist of large, open wooden lockers, and hangars for BCs and wetsuits. The storage areas are locked at night. Two rinse tanks for gear and one for cameras are on the dock. Both boats had camera rinse tanks.

A good briefing preceded every dive. We were allowed to dive our computers, but depth limits were always suggested. Typically, Leonel or Nollie would have us turn back after 30 to 35 minutes or 1,000 pounds. When we reached the mooring, we were allowed to stay in the water as long as we wanted to. Most dives lasted about an hour. The majority of the dive sites visited were off Klein Bonaire, which sits directly across from the resort. We also dove the Hilma Hooker and took a short ride to Oil Slick Leap. Two dive sites are directly accessible from the resorts beach. Only 50 yards out, rests the wreck of the Our Confidence. This wooden hulled former Danish fishing ship sank in 2003 and lies in only 55 of water. It is marked by a black buoy and easily reached from shore or the dive shop pier. Even snorkelers can get a fine view of this ship from the surface. Its starting to disintegrate rapidly now, but much of it is still intact. It is a great haven for fish, and I had a ball down there with my camera. From the wreck, or from the restaurant, a line is laid that will take you under the shipping channel to a site called Something Special. This site starts out as mostly rubble, but an incredible number and variety of fish love to feed in the rubble. The line ends at a nice reef which is teeming with all kinds of fish.

Some of the sites I visited were Knife, Hands Off, the Hilma Hooker, Montes Divi, Leonora Reef, Bonaventure, Punt Vierkent, Just A Nice Dive, and Oil Slick Leap. I think Just A Nice Reef had to be one of my favorite dives since its a turtle sanctuary and also features a very healthy reef system. The Hilma Hooker is one of Bonaires signature dives, but Im not that impressed. Ive visited the wreck three times now, and always have found the water to be turbulent with poor visibility. It is a big ship, and you can dive through a cargo hold, but I have never been able to see much because of particulates in the water. Its worth doing once. Water temperature at every site, with no exception, was a constant 81F. The reefs, below about 25, still seem to be in fairly good shape. There was some silting at some sites but, for the most part, I saw little bleaching.

Fish life is as prolific as always; with parrotfish, pufferfish, tangs, filefish, trunkfish, chromis, angelfish, barracuda and grunts everywhere. In many spots, trains of blue and silver fish would stream almost endlessly over the reefs, reminding me of rush hour commuter traffic. On two dives I saw squid in groups of two and four, and even witnessed one spraying ink. Even snorkeling in front of the resort, I saw a group of seven juvenile squid. Turtles were spotted on most dives. I got to see one large green moray out in the open on one dive, and a tiny spotted moray hiding in the coral on another. At Hands Off, Leonel pointed out a tiny seahorse hidden in the coral.

The area off the beach is coral rubble, but even there I saw rockfish, a spotted eagle ray, and all the fish I had seen diving off the boat. The restaurant is built on a rock jetty, which has now become encrusted with coral and sponge. It offered excellent snorkeling and worthwhile shallow diving.

I loved staying here. It's the best!

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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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