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Shore Diving in Bonaire - is it that easy?
kerrycorcoran - 7/27/2015 4:12 PM
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Category: Educational
Comments: 6
My wife and I have been diving for about 2 years now. We have dove Cozumel (multiple times) and Roatan last summer. I’m just short of 70 dives and my wife has roughly 50 dives. We’re both solid as far as knowing our gear and how to handle ourselves underwater.

Thus far, all our diving has been with a Dive Master (or guide) along with us. I have read incredible stories of how awesome Bonaire is, but the wife is a bit concerned about ’shore diving alone’.

We’re able to navigate, but we have never made it a basic practice as we’re usually just tagging along the group while diving in Cozumel.

Finally, to my question. In Bonaire, how well are the sites denoted for navigation underwater? Do you have to be very versed in navigation? I just want to make sure we can successfully dive Bonaire without my wife having a stress attack worrying about getting lost at sea.

Any insight appreciated.


BobW - 10/11/2015 7:52 AM
Hi Kerry,

Navigation is Bonaire is very easy. Most shore diving is on the west coast so head east to return to shore. However, I seldom use my compass. The underwater topography makes navigation simple. Most sites have an initial reef starting relatively near to shore at about 20’ to 30’ with bottom at 60’ to 80’ . So you can just do the first part of the dive with the reef on one side and return with it on the other side. Remember your entry point and truck to ease your exit.

The most common entry is sand and hard structure with can be irregular and challenging. Try a sandy beach first (pink sand beach near the airport comes to mind) and then move on to the mixed structure entries. Also consider the surf. Even relatively small waves (one to two foot) can complicate entry. Check first to determine how/where to enter and then try to use the same path to return to shore. Depending on wind direction normally the north or south end will have much smaller waves.

Shore diving is great because it allow you to control many aspects of your dive. But be sure to do a checkout dive to check skills, equipment, and buoyancy. Also focus on good buddy procedures since you no longer have a babysitter/guide. Just continue to build on your skills and you should do fine.

Have a great trip.
Bob W
Hy - 8/11/2015 10:29 AM
I found that "Getting Lost at Sea" is almost an impossibility in Bonaire. The worst that can happen is you exit at a different point from where you entered. I’m a new diver but the procedure is easy.
1- Swim out until you start down the reef (note your depth, Find a landmark)
2- Turn right or left depending on your preference or current.
3- Enjoy your dive to turn time or psi
4- Turn and return come up to start depth and look for landmark
5- Turn to shore and exit

Because it is so very easy to tell the direction to shore there is little danger of getting lost.

Many operators, I used Wannadive, a great outfit runs both guided shore dives and boat dives.

I dream of going back to Bonaire
oceanfloor - 7/28/2015 10:33 AM
I have 350ish dives and still have a stress attack doing shore diving in Bonaire, unless its off one of the pier at the hotel I stay. Captain Don’s has guide ropes leading to the dive area and you can pretty well see a lot in the vicinity of the area. My experience diving off other shore areas was partly OK because I dove with two ex-military that were fantastic at navigation. I hated the waves or any surface movement in the water when going in or exiting. The slightest movement was enough to knock me down. Paths, that look good, leading into the water were usually slick and slippery. There were also several sea urchins in the shore area. I hated the idea of possibly falling down on top of them. Anyway, for what its worth, there’s my two cents... I love the boat dives in Bonaire!
kerrycorcoran - 7/28/2015 2:47 PM
Is the much offered in Bonaire as far as boat diving? I was under the impression they really didn’t offer much boat diving there.
oceanfloor - 8/15/2015 4:06 AM
Captian Don’s, Buddy Dive are just a couple of places, but most resorts offer boat diving use dive guides on the dive. There is also a tremendous amount of shore diving sites too.
oceanfloor - 8/15/2015 4:11 AM
I’ve been there 3-4 times. Only one trip had a lot of shore diving from sites that were not off the resort pier. Won’t be doing that again. The reef’s off the resort pier are doable. You enter the water from the resort pier and exit in the same spot. The reef’s off the resort pier are just as Hyrum mentioned. I don’t care for doing shore diving from sites not connected to the resort.