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The ShoreDiving Reviews of
 Bill K

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Review Date       AVG       ShoreDiving Site
06/23/2016        2.88      Salt Pier Bonaire South, ABC Islands
On our sixth trip, we finally dove this site. It appears now that Cargill is OK with divers as long as no ship is in to get loaded. There were 18 trucks parked the afternoon we dove. As expected, the reef is pretty trashed, but the sponges on the pilings and the schools of fish are outstanding. Most folks were entering at the little sandy place just north of the pier. Visibility was good enough to barely see one set of pilings from the previous one, so no need for the compass. We saw a turtle and a huge midnight parrotfish feeding.
01/05/2016        4.09      Cliff Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This was a new site for us this recent trip; we did a day dive, a day snorkel, and a night snorkel on New Year's Eve (complete with fireworks!) here. The site is accessed from Dive Friends Bonaire's operation; the staff was very helpful with a site briefing. Entry is pretty easy by holding onto the left side of the big rock and following the pipe out to the reef. Swimming south takes you along the base of the cliff (it really is vertical) at about 60-70 feet, with lots of plate corals and whips here. Midday and afternoon are best times here so that the wall is lit by the sun. Visibility was typical. Top of the reef is at about 25 feet for your return to the pipe. Snorkeling is very good up in the shallows where there is lots of fire coral. We saw many parrotfish, some small moray eels, and several turtles while snorkeling here.
01/05/2016        3.89      Tori's Reef Bonaire South, ABC Islands
New site for us on our most recent trip. We did this dive New Year's morning since the surf was up at some of our more favorite sites further south (like Margate Bay). Park just south of the second bridge and use the easy entry on that side of the canal. You can bypass the surf as you swim out the canal. However, it is a long swim to the reef. There is a mooring, but it is up in the sand and not visible from the reef. We swam north against the noticeable current for the first part of the dive. There is decent coral cover at about 50-60 feet, with the bonus of many sponges and whip corals along the slope. Very fishy - we were surrounded by schools of brown chromis and creole wrasse. We then ascended to about 30 feet and let the current push us back south. After about half the outbound dive time, I popped up about 50 meters short of the mooring. There are smooth trunkfish and some juvenile angelfish in the sand, but very few whips and corals.
12/21/2011        4.31      Karpata Bonaire North, ABC Islands
We finally worked out the family schedule to make this dive and it was definitely worth it. Remember that this site is pretty far north on the one-way road, so you have to make the 25-minute trip back through Rincon to return to town. The entry wasn't bad in 1 foot surf -- gently walk in to the platform, grab on and walk to the right side, then put on your fins and swim out. Reverse the steps on the return. Heavy surf conditions should make you carefully reconsider this dive. The reef drops off steeply and is cut by V-shaped coral canyons, not sand chutes as at most other sites. The comments about flying out from or above the reef should be followed! Corals and sponges were abundant and healthy, though we saw lots of brown algae below about 60 feet. There are plenty of fish, but the scenery makes this dive outstanding. Take time to snorkel after your dive, since the mooring is only in 18 feet of water. There are some sea fans south of the concrete entry slab.
12/23/2010        3.63      Margate Bay Bonaire South, ABC Islands
We dived and snorkeled this site this year. Park by the side of the road, then walk through the shallow puddle by the mangroves. The entry is not difficult, despite a step-down of about a foot onto rocks that have urchins in the holes. Just watch your footing. There are a number of isolated coral heads in the shallows that are covered by brain and fire coral, whips, and sea fans. Lots of fish are around these areas. Staghorn coral is starting to regrow a bit further out towards the break. The reef slope has abundant coral cover and sponges, so is quite scenic. We saw a good number of the usual fish. This is a nice relaxing dive (despite a pretty stiff current the day we dived it), where you can use the mooring buoy as a reference on your return.
12/23/2010        3.81      The Lake Bonaire South, ABC Islands
This is the other site that we first dived this trip and it rates as one of our favorites. Park by the white wall and walk to the beach and enter where marked; this entry is north of the mooring buoy. Entry is fairly easy with a small step onto a few broken rocks. This site is at the top (north) end of the double reef system, so we swam straight out to the outer reef which has lots of healthy brain, star, and finger corals. This area is very scenic. You can see across the sand channel between the two reefs, so it is easy to cross back to the inner reef and return to your entry spot. The inner reef is also in good shape, with plenty of the usual fish. Check for garden eels, small morays, and regrowing staghorn coral in the shallows.
12/23/2010        4.01      Red Beryl Bonaire South, ABC Islands
One of our new favorite dive sites in the south of Bonaire! The entry is pretty easy over rocks, with a nice swim out over isolated coral patches and some regrowing Staghorn and Elkhorn corals. There is no mooring buoy here, so you must navigate on your own. The reef slopes gradually and is covered with a mix of hard corals, whip corals, and sponges. Several large sand channels make the scenery interesting. We saw tons of damselfish, many types of large parrotfish, 2 barracuda, angelfish, and schools of chromis. Don't forget to watch for cleaner shrimp hiding in anemones. This site is definitely worth the drive down south.
03/11/2010        2.58      Carlisle Bay Barbados, Caribbean
This site is easy to find on the H7 south coast road just south of Bridgetown. There is a small parking lot to the left (south) of the gazebo that now has a road-cut for easy entry. There are several dive shops in the vicinity where you can get tanks. Entry is easy from the sandy beach, but it is a long swim (one map listed it as 200 yards) out to the buoys that mark several of the wrecks. You might find dive boats moored to the buoys in late morning and afternoon. The bottom is all sand, so watch for stingrays, flounder, and garden eels. Three of the artificial reefs are intact and have easy swim-throughs, while some others are broken down with little relief. Though there are small markers that show directions between each of the wreck sites, I got lost several times and needed to surface to orient. Tiny bits of patch reef are very beat, but the wrecks have some whip corals and sponges. I saw lots of the usual fish -- sergeant majors, blackbar soldierfish, french grunts, spotted moray eels, blue tangs, and several french angelfish. Additionally, lots of invertebrate animals can be found -- donkey dung sea cukes, red heart urchins buried in the sand, magnificent feather duster worms, and long-spined urchins. Watch your hands here. This is an easy dive that can be handled by beginning divers and would be a good confidence builder. Your companions can work on their tan or snorkel over several of the intact ships.
12/31/2009        3.30      Front Porch Bonaire North, ABC Islands
We did this site both during the day and at night this year. Enter at the sandy beach to the left of the sunken pier and yellow building. If you are staying at Sand Dollar or Den Laman, just jump off the BDA dock and swim to the left. Check the current. Either way, be sure to visit the sunken pier before continuing to the left (south). The reef slope is a mix of coral heads and several sand chutes; this site has a large diversity of sponges. We saw the usual mix of fish, with the bonus of a turtle during our day dive. At night, be sure to check out the orange cup corals on the pier and watch for the resident tarpon.
12/28/2009        4.24      Bari Reef Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This was our second year in a row at Sand Dollar, and we made two dives here. The shallows are still barren, but the top of the reef is in about 20 feet of water and can be seen from the surface. The coral and sponges are in good shape and the fish are everywhere -- we saw many parrotfish, damsels, trumpetfish, angels, trunkfish and honeycomb cowfish, filefish, and several morays. On our night dive we were accompanied by a 5' tarpon! You can't beat the house reefs in Bonaire -- grab a tank and roll into the water.
12/28/2009        3.87      Andrea II Bonaire North, ABC Islands
You enter this site through a housing development, but the beach itself is still in good condition. There are several thatched cabanas to get out of the sun. Stop at the 'gate' at the top of the hill -- there is a big drop-off at the bottom of the ramp that you might not want to drive over. The entry is pretty easy by the metal post, but you need to watch your footing on the flat rocks. The shallows are totally beat, but the old coral skeletons make for excellent snorkeling among the damselfish and parrotfish that come to graze. One afternoon we swam with two reef squid for several minutes. We also got to see a blue and a rainbow parrotfish here. The reef begins in about 20 feet then slopes off gently to about 50 feet before dropping more steeply. There are lots of coral heads with sand between them. Many whip corals have come back along the reef crest. We used this as an afternoon snorkel or second dive site.
12/28/2009        4.04      Andrea I Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This site is much like Andrea II, except that you can drive down a concrete road to park on the rubble beach. Easy entry is through the sand channel by the big yellow rock. The coral rubble in the shallows attracts many damsels and parrotfish for good snorkeling. The reef has many coral heads with sand between them. There are several sand channels to the north (right) that show damage from the October 2008 storm. This is a good site to look for little critters on the reef, including anemones and cleaner shrimp.
12/28/2009        3.89      Oil Slick Leap Bonaire North, ABC Islands
The reef is very healthy below about 40 feet, though the storm damage from T.S Omar in 2008 is still quite evident in the bowl under the ladder. However, there are several moray eels living amid this rubble. Lots of large corals and sponges can be found here. We had little current, but the exit onto the ladder was a bit fun in the surge.
12/28/2009        3.77      The Invisibles Bonaire South, ABC Islands
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.
12/28/2009        4.01      1000 Steps Bonaire North, ABC Islands
The beach entry is easy here, even though the surf was a bit high by Bonaire standards. The reef has loads of relief, with large star and brain corals; deeper areas have the plate-form star corals. The site has a good diversity of the usual fish, and the whip corals have come back on the reef crest. This is a top-notch dive site well worth the steps.
12/28/2009        3.22      Windsock Bonaire North, ABC Islands
There is easy access to this site along the popular beach, so it makes a good second dive site. The entry is from a sandy beach. The shallows are beat but might be OK to snorkel. The reef slopes pretty steeply, and is a mix of big coral heads and sponges with sand between them. We had a pretty decent current the day we dove here, but saw tons of tiny fish from tiny juveniles to large french angels and a goldentail moray.
12/28/2009        4.17      Angel City Bonaire South, ABC Islands
We returned to one of our favorite sites for a two-dive morning. This entry is always interesting, since you have to cross a series of flat rocks full of holes. The surf was up a bit this year, and my wife slipped in knee-high surf and took us both down. The swim out to the drop-off is not terribly long. We headed straight out to the outer reef on our first dive. It is covered with large brain and star corals and tube sponges, with many large fish. You can then cross back over to the inner reef on the return. We like this site since the two reefs are close together and there is a large coral pillar by the mooring that is easy to recognize for your return. Just use your compass to return to the exit point. We swam north on the inner reef during our second dive until we could see the outline of the Hilma Hooker. The inner reef has good corals and lots of fish also. We probably saw our largest queen angelfish here.
12/26/2008        3.33      Weber's Joy Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This is an easy site to get to, with a small parking lot by the road. There is a short walk and a few steps down to the rubble beach; we had a small step down to the water for a pretty easy shore entry over a rubble bottom. Not much remains in the shallows thanks to Hurricane Omar in October 2008. The reef slope had some nice mounded star and flower corals, plus some large brain corals. We saw many flamingo tongue snails on the sea whips. Typical fish life swims here, including a decent-size porcupine fish.
12/26/2008        3.76      1000 Steps Bonaire North, ABC Islands
The steps are really worth it! The site is at the end of the north two-way road, so access and return are very easy. This is a very easy beach entry on coral rubble; there were often other divers or tourists swimming here. This reef seemed to have more relief than many, with lots of large corals and sponges. Tons of fish. The shallows at the edges of the sand are decent for snorkel, but damage is evident. This is one of our favorite Bonaire dive sites.
12/26/2008        4.11      Angel City Bonaire South, ABC Islands
This was probably our favorite dive. This is on the double-reef system, and shows the best parts of the southern reefs. Parking is easy; the entry is a little challenging on slippery, flat rock in the surf. The swim over the sand is uninteresting due to the hurricane, but it is worth it once on the inner reef at about 25 feet. This reef has good coral growth and many soft corals, with the usual abundant fish. The short swim over to the outer reef was easy, since we could see the two while over the sand. Outer reef has very healthy and large coral and slopes off on the seaward side. Many fish are present here. Return is easy when you find the mooring buoy.
12/26/2008        3.79      Alice In Wonderland Bonaire South, ABC Islands
This was a real pretty dive, but it seemed like longer swimming for the view than at the adjacent Angel City. Beach entry is over flat and slippery rocks, though there is a small sand channel that we used on the exit. We saw little in the sand, but the inner reef was very pretty with abundant soft corals. The swim over to the outer reef seemed very long (not visible) with the sand channel about 100 feet deep. The outer reef rises up to about 70 ft in many mounded and brain corals, with many plate forms on the edges of the reef. We saw the usual abundant fish here, including some morays and the larges pair of banded butterflyfish I can remember. The return to the entry was easy; we ran the compass course backwards from the mooring buoy!
12/26/2008        3.89      Oil Slick Leap Bonaire North, ABC Islands
What can be easier than leaping into the water? We did two dives here, plus a snorkel with our 7-year-old son. The shallows have been blasted pretty clean of branching corals and sea whips by Hurricane Omar, but we did see lots of parrotfish and a few morays in this bowl under the ladder. It is a very short swim to the reef, which drops off steeply. Coral life is rich and healthy here, with many sponges. We saw numerous species of fish, plus got to 'buddy' with a hawksbill turtle for about ten minutes on one dive. The exit is easy to find due to a mooring buoy and the ladder; ladder was missing a lower rung late in the week which my wife found to be a difficult exit. One of our favorite sites.
12/23/2008        3.72      Front Porch Bonaire North, ABC Islands
We swam south from the BDA dock between Den Laman and Sand Dollar one day when the current was running from the south. One can also enter via the old road off the traffic circle and then make an easy beach entry. There is rarely any surf. The reef is a bit more open here, with several sand channels. Though coral growth may be a little more sparse than at Bari, there are tons of sponges and feather hydroids in the mid-depth zones. We saw lots of fish, including a queen angel and long snout butterfly fish out on the reef slope. The best part of this site is the sunken old pier that is close to shore as an excellent snorkel site. Our 7-year-old son did this site several times, seeing morays, flounder, christmas tree worms, tons of parrotfish and damsels, and a squid. This part of the site is worth the experience of a snorkel trip.
12/23/2008        4.10      Bari Reef Bonaire North, ABC Islands
We stayed at Sand Dollar Condos on this return trip to Bonaire, diving this reef four times during our week with Bonaire Dive & Adventure. Just grab a tank at the dock, jump in, and go. Shallows have been scoured pretty clean of branching corals, though there are a few isolated heads of brain coral. Reef of boulder and brain corals slopes off to sand at 125 ft, with lots of sea whips, green finger sponges, and purple tube sponges in the 30-60 foot range. Yes, there is some trash about, but the corals are in generally good condition to the right (north). Fish are everywhere -- parrotfish, damsels, French angels, tarpon, trumpet fish, multiple species of wrasse, trunkfish, and several types of moray. Look carefully and you can find cleaner shrimp and other inverts. Though we did not do a night dive, those who did found octopus and squid.


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