Overview of The Invisibles

The Invisibles

Bonaire South
ABC Islands


The Invisibles is another spectacular dive site.

Directions: 650 m South of the Salt Pier.


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02/16/2018 Andy Dobson (Avg: 3.90 Review) - I just wanted to add information about finding the second reef. Like a couple of previous reviewers, I ended up in the sand channel between sections of the outer reef initially. If you enter at the yellow rock, the bearing is 270 degrees to the mooring buoy. If you continue straight out past the buoy on the 270 degree course, you will end up in the sand channel. Instead leave the buoy on a 255 degree course and after crossing the first reef and a fairly narrow sand flat you will come right over the second reef that rises to 55 feet below the surface.

01/12/2018 Western Wilson (Avg: 3.87 Review) - We have dived a great deal in Bonaire and this one is a perennial favourite. The second reef is our usual destination, and in this site it is fairly shallow and easy to reach. You cannot get lost as the initial wall turns into a lovely white sand channel, across which is the second reef. You never lose sight of the sand channel, so you cannot easily get lost....just be sure you don't go so far out you cannot see the sand any longer, and mind your dive watch for proper profile. I love diving that second reef! It is beautiful, in good condition and you generally see *big* schools of fish, even rivers of fish. If you are fortunate some larger jacks and groupers...we saw both. Smaller eels hide in the columns of pillar corals and we often see big Green Morays out on the reef, particularly as the greens follow Lionfish hunters now! Dive lights help look in the coral as the winter viz is often a bit cloudy. Diving past noon, when the sun comes from above or west helps. As always decompression is easy in Bonaire, just dive around the shallows for a while before leaving the water. Highly recommended. All that said, we did dive this site again, on a day with very poor visibility. The water was quite cloudy, and it was impossible to see the second reef from the first reef. We descended and swam out across the sand channel, expecting to quickly hit the second reef, which when you find it is at around 60'. Due to the murk, we did not hit the second reef, we had by accident chosen to swim out and down a big canyon....when we hit 100' with no second reef in site we aborted the search and turned around to go back to the first reef. We could still see the sand channel. Returning at an angle we found the second reef and had a bit of time to enjoy the fishy abundance there. But it was a good lesson: in bad viz, be extra cautious and do not take risks.

09/01/2017 Jim O (Avg: 2.95 Review) - I don't know what it is about this site, but I always seem to have an issue here. On my first dive here in 2012 we flat missed the outer reef due to fairly poor viz and just happening to hit an open sand spot between the inner and outer reefs. This time, I was monkeying around with my dive computer the night before and somehow unknowingly set it to default to 50% EAN after each dive! As my nitrox tank was the same concentration from the day before (32) I didn't bother re-entering that value before this dive and when I hit 58' feet my watch started beeping and flashing. So we did a relatively shallow dive. And out of all the sites we dove, I felt this part of Invisibles (inner reef above 60') was the most damaged that we saw out of 14 different sites. Lots of bleaching and mortality on the hard coral and some noticeable damage to the soft coral like black fungi looking spots and decay on the purple tube sponges and other gorgonia species. We just learned on this trip that most sunscreen products are very damaging to the reef systems. This place gets dived a lot and I'm wondering if that isn't part of the issue at many of these sites. Try to buy the non-damaging sunscreen without oxybenzone in your home country as it's expensive in Bonaire! Also noted, if you go back through the past Bonaire reviews on ShoreDiving.com you'll notice how often people mention seeing Green Moral Eels. We did not see a single one on this trip and I've noticed this more recent absence of them in other places like Cozumel, Mahajual and Grand Caymen. I hypothesized that perhaps the morays were eating the lion fish and perishing from the venom? But another diver told me that they suspect a protozoan of some sort that increased in population when...you guessed it...the ocean water temp' got warmer and then stayed warmer. So, we decided to try this site on another day. 3rd time is the charm...yeah? And 25 minutes in I apparently got a lone tentacle from most likely a sea wasp across my neck and chin. Yow! With a recent report of box jellies being seen at Buddy Dive Resort, I didn't waste much time aborting the dive and heading for shore. I reckon I've had my fill of Invisibles but many people love it.

11/13/2014 Brad Stan (Avg: 3.33 Review) - My first trip Bonaire. Amazing. Did shore dives at 23 different sites. This was just above average for me. The entry and surface swim are very easy. This is a double reef system but I definitely recommend staying at the shallower reef. There is much less life and activity at the deeper reef.

01/03/2014 Lilli Nevanlinna (Avg: 4.07 Review) - We enjoyed this dive site a lot! The entry was quite easy, there was not too much surf. The surface swim to the descent point is quite long like in all the southern dive sites, but no problem. There is a nice group on garden eels right at the mooring, exceptionally shallow place for them to live! They are not too shy, so great chance for nice photographs! FINDING THE SECOND REEF: I don't really get all the fuss about the difficulties with finding the second reef. When we dove this site, the visibility was not great, but still we could see the dark shape of the second reef shortly after we started swimming south along the first reef. There are a couple of things to bear in mind: The second reef is quite deep, which may be one reason some people have had difficulties finding it; the top of the second reef is at about 20 meter / 65? feet. Also, the second reef is not a continuous reef like the first one, but rather patchy and more like a series of coral islands, and there are long sand chutes piercing the reef. So if you start swimming randomly towards it, you might hit some of the sand chutes and miss the actual reef. There is no need for complex compass exercises, just swim south of the mooring along the first reef, at about 18 meter / 60 feet, and keep an eye out for the dark shape of the second reef on your right side. When you see it, you can cross the sandy channel between the first and second reef, and start exploring the second reef. Here it might be a good idea to check you compass every now and then to keep yourself oriented, because the second reef is, as mentioned, a bit patchy and you might lose the sense of which way the first reef was.

09/19/2013 Will Neff (Avg: 4.77 Review) - Just made my first dive on Invisibles today. Part of what makes the Invisibles site special is the complexity of the reef system here. The other is the remarkable overall health of the reef. We explored much of the reef system south of the Invisibles boat mooring, where the double reef actually converges back into a single reef slope. To begin our dive, we entered via the mellow shore entry, and snorkeled out to the mooring, directly adjacent to a nice little patch of garden eels. These eels are the first I have seen that are not especially shy; patient photographers will be rewarded. Directly west of the mooring and eel garden is the crest of the first reef, divided by an E-W running sand chute down to the deep sand between the first and second reef. If you swim straight west from the sand chute, you will be heading straight out to open water and the deep blue. Don't do that. Instead, deflect to a W-SW trajectory, while watching for a large coral head (small seamount) rising from the white sand to ~70 feet. From the top of this feature you will see another, similar seamount feature ~50 yards to the S-SW of the first, topping out at ~70 ft. After exploring these, look directly south. If visibility allows, you will see a massive shoulder of the outer reef, a spectacular last hurrah to the double reef system. Intersect at 60-70 feet and climb the shoulder, lush with soft and hard corals and teeming with life. Watch your depth and air consumption; there is still much to see. By the time you reach the top of the grand reef shoulder at 45 feet or so, the deep sand flat dividing first and second reefs narrows to a brief white expanse. Here the reef slope of the first reef system has come back in view to the east, beckoning further exploration. Head back east toward the first reef, crossing the sand for ~40 yards, then turn north, following the first reef back to the Invisibles boat mooring. In doing so, you will complete a spectacular circuit of Invisibles south. This is one of the very best dives I've made in Bonaire. Be mindful of currents here. This complex reef system is sure to produce some odd currents from time to time, with potential for eddies and downwellings if the current is strong. Be on your guard, take compass headings along the way, and enjoy the best Bonaire has to offer!

09/17/2012 Mark Wilson from Beaumont (Avg: 4.56 Review) - This site was beautiful! Easy entry, out to the reef. Saw many bigger animals. On the way in I came across a field of Garden Eels. I love Garden Eels. I spent 15 minutes videoing the eels. Great dive, I will most surely dive this site again! Highly Recommended.

07/03/2012 Jim Olinger (Avg: 3.18 Review) - We saved this dive as one of the last, but the day before was windy and left the viz at about 40-50' due to a very sandy bottom between the double reef system. We had heard that this site is an excellent spot to see Eagle Rays if you get there early. So due to relatively poor viz, I don't have a lot of really great things to report on this site (except for a very nice colony of garden eels in the sand at 100'), but I would like to state a word of caution. Either the outer reef ends short of the inner reef, or they become very far apart if you head out due west. We must have kicked out close to a quarter mile searching for the outer reef and noticing the bottom depth was now about 200' and it just kept darker we finally turned around and used the rest of our tanks on the inner reef as we basically had no other choice. No other commenters mentioned this, but if the viz is poor, make sure your heading from the anchor buoy is more like 300 degrees (rather than 270 degrees.) We did pass by the outer reef on our way back in so it is definitely there! (or perhaps at times it is just 'invisible?')

01/16/2012 Jim Haggart (Avg: 4.23 Review) - Nice dive site. A bit of a kick out to the reef. Then a very nice dive. Minimal current and good visibility. Lots of fish and juvenile drummers, filefish and eels.

11/13/2010 Ann Geiger (Avg: 4.08 Review) - The Invisibles is a nice site just off the road. There is room to park a number of cars comfortably, most within 50 feet of the entry. We entered in an area just to the north (right when facing the ocean) where the ledge had an intermediate step and where there was a sand channel past the ledge. The swim out to the reef was of moderate length, maybe a few minutes. At the mooring buoy before descending we saw both a spotted eagle ray and reef squid. We dove to the north and found the reef to be in better condition than some of the other Bonaire sites we dove this trip. Fair amount of active fish life. We found it helpful to descend at the marker buoy, as this provided us with a good underwater 'landmark' for when to return to shore.

12/28/2009 Bill K (Avg: 3.77 Review) - We did both a dive and a snorkel here, though the reef crest is too deep for good snorkeling. However, our 8-year-old son did get to see garden eels and urchins here. The entry is fairly easy. The dive is good, with lots of whip corals on the reef crest. The slope has very abundant coral growth, but it seemed like fewer sponges here. We saw lots of fish here, plus a huge spiny lobster. My favorite sight was a basket star curled up in a gorgonian during the day, waiting to uncurl for the nighttime feed. Beware that you can not see the mooring buoy from the reef, so must navigate the return on your own.

05/25/2009 Cameron (Avg: 4.60 Review) - We have been going to Bonaire for 3 years and we'd never done the Invisibles before. We did it once and it became our favourite. We dove it every day, at least once and took our camera with us, getting great macro and portraits! When we went, there was a 7' Green Moray and a friendly Eagle Ray who swam by every day. Great for deep and shallow dives with plenty of room to lay down in the sand without damaging the coral, which is rare.

12/22/2008 Wes (Avg: 3.38 Review) - Garden Eels were all about, and we spent most of our time about 30'. The drop off at 40' was dramatic with a rich variety of coral growth.

03/23/2007 Colleen Haggart (Avg: 4.15 Review) - Easy shore entry, with a moderate swim out to reef. We found scorpion fish, flamingo shells and eels.

11/12/2006 John from Miami (Avg: 4.25 Review) - Great!

09/12/2004 Perry (Avg: 4.60 Review) - Our small group went to The Invisibles twice, once on a boat dive, and once on a shore dive. We thoroughly enjoyed it both times and highly recommend it. Lots of life including a colony of garden eels in only 20 feet of water right under the mooring buoy as well as another larger colony at about 80 feet in the sand valley between the double reefs. Pristine coral conditions and abundant life made this one of our favorite spots.

11/28/2003 Marcus L. Barnes (Avg: 4.72 Review) - Two divers with us in Oct 2003 for their first trip to Bonaire felt that out of 16 dives during the week, Invisibles was the best. Entry/exit is not that difficult and navigation is easy due to the sand chute that goes down the wall. It allows you to terrain associate from and to the entry and exit points. A coral island can be found down and out from the wall around 100 ft. This is the only place I have seen this particular type of formation on Bonaire. I highly recommend this dive keeping in mind the really good stuff is fairly deep.

06/11/2002 Brian Schoepflin (Avg: 4.51 Review) - Very easy shore dive site. Excellent entry and exit points, good reef and plant/animal conditions. Double reef system with excellent wall diving.

04/02/2002 Dave Rambo (Avg: 4.41 Review) - 03/23/02 This is one of the dual reef dives on Bonaire. Very easy entry onto a sandy bottom all the way to the reef. Once you get to the reef go to about 50ft and you can see the sandy bottom. Keep going straight across the sand another 70 ft and there is a parallel reef which comes up to about 50ft. you will see a lot of bigger fish out here (grouper, bigeyed jacks etc.) chasing school fish. It is really a nice dive.

07/24/2001 Fiona Rattray (Avg: 4.49 Review) - Pre-Lenny. Great dive- the double reef system continues here with the second, deeper reef appearing out of the distance as islands of coral at the 80-90' mark. my dive log notes squid, sea cucumber, garden eels, and at the surface, keeltail needlefish.

04/01/2001 Alika (Avg: 5.00 Review) - Very nice location for snorkeling!


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: SB1401


Parking at The Invisibles 

Park along the side of the road.


 Map     Sat
GPS: SB1402


Entry at The Invisibles 

It's an easy walk to get to diving depth.




Aerial at The Invisibles 

You can tell that the brine in the crystalizers become more and concentrated as it flows North.




Aerial at The Invisibles 
(click photo for details)

Watch the current, and take the plunge!

Last Verification: February, 2001  


Diver Averages for  The Invisibles  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.38
Bottom Conditions:  4.14
Reef Conditions:  4.29
Animal Life:  4.48
Plant Life:  3.95
Facilities:  2.76
Solitude 3.95
Roads:  4.38
*Site Average:  4.13

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.33
Beginner Scuba:  3.90
Intermediate Scuba:  4.48
Advanced Scuba:  4.14
Night diving Scuba:  3.33

Number of reviews for this site: 21


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