We returned to our favorite condo on Bonaire - Sand Dollar Condominium. Although it had rained the previous 2 weeks, we enjoyed the desert climate and recent greening of the environment. It was hotter than we’ve experienced before. Next trip, we will try for a unit with A/C in the living room, too. After visiting the dive facilities at Buddies Resort next door, I was reminded how much better the setup is at Bonaire Dive and Adventure, adjacent to Sand Dollar.
Every morning, we sidestepped the iguana and blue tail lizards along the path to the dive shop. Surprisingly, around the neighborhood where we were staying we saw a herd of well-fed goats and a few feral donkeys grazing. Iguana and pelicans were frequent visitors at the dive dock. During our briefing, a pod of dolphins swam through the channel between the resort and Klein Bonaire.
Most of our dives were from the shore on Bari Reef, starting around 11 am and 5 pm, lasting about an hour each. Bari Reef is a short swim from shore directly in front of the resort. The reef starts at 18 feet, and descends to a sand shelf at 105 ft, with a few sand chutes along the way. The dusk dive is especially fun, we call it “the changing of the guard”. Creole wrasses are madly pairing off while other fish are scrambling to find a place to hide for the night. Meanwhile, the night hunters are waking up and beginning to cruise the reef. For example, Charlie the 5-foot tarpon likes to tail the divers who may inadvertently scare up a snack for him. Emerging from the dusk dive, you are just in time to toast the sunset with a cocktail before dinner! We had some great food at various restaurants, as always, although a couple of our favorite places have disappeared.
Unfortunately, permits for the Salt Pier and Town Pier are still not being issued until the damage done by rogue waves from Omar is repaired.
As we have in the past, we dove with the naturalist (Jerry) one day. He always has an interesting land presentation and diving with him is reliably worthwhile.
I brought my computerized reference guide to Caribbean reef fishes. Browsing through the reference guide helps to jog your waterlogged brain, or give a name to a species you didn’t know before. We saw two or three different turtles a number of times during the 2nd week, and even while snorkeling during the last day. We also saw an octopus, usually hiding out in a crevice next to the dock during many of our dives.
One of the highlights of the trip was a full moon night dive! Below is our dive buddy’s log book entry for that night. It will be hard to beat. Alas, my camera was out of commission most of the second week, so not many new pictures:
Date: APR 28, 2010 Location: Bari Reef, Bonaire
Time IN: 10:45pm OUT: midnight Bottom Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Maximum Depth: 40 ft.
Visibility: fine below 25 ft.
Bottom conditions: reef and sand chutes
Temperature Air: 80’F (approx) Water: 82’F NO current
● Sea plumes in the sand at the top of the reef
● Sleeping parrot fish, lying in odd positions, with motley coloration to mimic the rock they were leaning against, no cave, no protective membrane
● Flashing eyes of shrimp everywhere
● A crab crawling up the inside of every azure vase sponge
● One gorgonian with 8 basket star fish, plus some babies with only 2-3 arms
● Two octopii out hunting; one extended his mantle over a coral head and turned brilliant aqua
● Long, ugly, tiger cucumber, shrinking from the light
● Brittle stars fully extended and crawling everywhere
● Very large arrow crab, about one foot fully extended
● Chain moray out hunting; several others coaxed out of their holes