Bonaire 2010, May 8th to 15th Trip Report

Were do I start?

Let’s start with the fun stuff!

The Diving and Underwater Photography

Twenty-two dives with 20 hours and 45 minutes of bottom time in 6 days.  Now…that’s what I call a vacation!

I was able to get a great picture of a Yellowhead Jawfish, incubating its eggs; this is my personal highlight of the trip!  I spent several dives checking on the cache and my dive buddies thought I was a little crazy.  I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

As most divers and underwater photographers are aware Bonaire is macro photography paradise.  However, don’t forget about wide-angle opportunities, I always take at least two days of wide-angle while in Bonaire.  I’m so glad I had my Nikkor 10 – 24 MM lens while we were at Jeff Davis Memorial Reef.  We took compass heading to the buoy then headed south when out of nowhere a massive school of Redear Herring surrounded us.  Awesome time to be in the water!

While at the Buddy Dive “drive through” fill station, we read on the information board that spotted eagle rays were frequenting the sandy areas at the Invisibles.  Needless to say…off we went.  In the sandy shallows we spotted at least 4 different rays.  What a magical moment!

This trip made my 4th trip to Bonaire.  And each time we headed to Washington Slagbaai national park for a day of diving.  We completed 3 dives: Playa Benge, Playa Funchi and Boka Slagbaai.  A trip to Bonaire would not be the same without it.  The park is not visited much, the roads are rugged which only makes the natural beauty that much more special.

On Thursday we did two dives on the “Wild Side” with East Coast Divers.  On the first dive we spotted at minimum 6 different Spotted eagle rays, one at least 5 feet across.  On the second dive we spotted more than twelve turtles.  At one time I could see 6 different turtles.  The next time you’re in Bonaire, these are MUST do dives!

We were signed up for the night dive at Salt Pier and when we arrived a cargo ship was docked.  The dive was cancelled, since Sept 11th there have been significant restrictions on diving around piers world.  So we decided to make a night dive at the Invisibles and my Tektite strobe saved the night.  We fastened the strobe to the dive site buoy to identify our exit route and it worked great.  To read more about what I keep on and in my BC click here.

On a personal note, I surpassed the 750th dive mark and my wife made her 50th dive!  We had a great week of diving!

How did we get to this awesome location and where did we stay?

We traveled with Delta Airlines from Raleigh-Durham to Bonaire.  Delta has direct 757 service from Atlanta to Bonaire.  As an underwater photographer the direct flight made the trip very easy!  Additionally, the flight times allow for a full six days of diving! Thanks Delta!

We stayed at Buddy Dive; their motto is Eat, Sleep and Buddy dive.  As you just read we did just that.  Our room was ground floor 1 bedroom apartment, which was recently remodeled.   The apartment was excellent: clean, comfortable, quite, easy access to everything, and ocean view.  The breakfast and lunches are much better than average for diving resorts.  The food and beverage service was excellent.  The drive-though tank pick up at Buddy is awesome, I believe they are the only resort on Bonaire with it!   The dive operation at Buddy is a good operation.  Everything was functional: boats well-maintained and roomy, nitrox and any spares you might have needed.  However, if your looking for live-aboard style services this is not your place.

Why do we keep coming back?

High quality and consistency of dive sites.  However, we are seeing the impact of resent storms.

The people are some of the nicest and politest I’ve ever met!

Ease of getting there.

The shore diving is second to none.  I love getting the map out and driving along the shore looking for the yellow rock identifying dive sites.  Every time I feel like we are living the movie “Endless Summer”.

The remoteness of Washington Slagbaai make every visit that much more special.

Great local restaurants.  Two years ago we were recommended Plazita Limeña, Peruvian Grill & Ceviche.  The owners Juan & Zaida run an excellent restaurant: magnificent food, efficient and genuinely friendly service.  This is my personal favorite on Bonaire.  Try any of their ceviche and the Peruvian Paella.  They can be found at Kaya Grandi 6, phone number 717-7667, hours Monday to Saturday Lunch 11 am – 3 pm and Dinner 6 pm – 10 pm.  Enjoy!

Thanks for taking time to read our blog.  If you’re interested in any of the images for purchase please check out our catalog and galleries.

Arthur Koch

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~ by Arthur Koch on May 19, 2010.

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