Buddy's Reef

Bonaire North, ABC Islands
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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Buddy's Reef

Buddy's Reef is off the docks of Buddy's Dive Resort. Please check in with their dive shop before gearing up. 2.5 km North of Kralendijk, just North the intersection of Kaya Gobernador Nicolaas and Kaya Amsterdam.
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Zentacle
Zentacle
Sep 21, 2021, 1:04 AM
scuba
The Southern entry. The main entry is further beyond. Parking is plentiful. In the back ground, you can see their shore diving drive-through service: drop off your tanks, pick up some more! Excellent idea. If you miss this entrance, you were asleep! Their excellent facilities have a well-designed ladder for easy entry and exit.
Brad Stan
Brad Stan
Nov 13, 2014, 12:00 AM
scuba
My first trip Bonaire. Amazing. Did shore dives at 23 different sites. We stayed at Buddy Dive resort so we dove this reef several times. I would say it is just okay compared to other sites on the island. But it is very convenient and great for beginner divers (my wife). I definitely prefer diving this site north (i.e. head right) as opposed to south. South side is a bit more sparse in terms of reef conditions and aquatic life. This is also a very fun and easy night dive. My wife did her first every night dive her and to our pleasant surprised, we were joined by a large school of tarpon and saw several spotted eels.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Bob Weins
Bob Weins
Nov 8, 2013, 12:00 AM
scuba
We dove and snorkeled Buddy reef the last two weeks of August of 2013. I did a couple of 6AM dives with my sister-in-law and those were very nice dives and included a 10 to 15 minute encounter with a hunting octopus being shadowed by hinds. It remained out in the open slowly crossing the sand at the top of the reef and tenting small bits of coral and seaweed. It even approached me but did shy away as I slowly reached out to it. My wife and I were sick for the second week so we did almost no diving but were able to snorkel a few times and found that the action was not on the edge of the reef but along the concrete wall of what use to be Lion's resort (now part of Buddy). We regularly encountered schools of two types of silversides numbering I would estimate at a thousand or more and anywhere from three to eight midsize tarpon (3 to 4.5 ft range) which appeared to be using us to corner the schools of silversides as they would come through the schools directly at us and then turn off at about 3 feet. After one of the snorkel trips I sat down and listed everything I could remember seeing in just that hour of snorkeling. Keep in mind that we probably saw less than half of what was there and I probably did not remember everything either or saw things I was unable to identify. But here is what we did see during that hour of snorkeling. Dusky squirrel fish, 3 different schools of different silversides (possibly dwarf herring, and bonnet mouth), green razor, bluehead wrasse, small school of glassy sweeper, a small black, gray and white lionfish, 7 tarpon, juvenile sharpnose puffers, porcupine fish, sand tilefish, redlip blinnys, peacock flounder, striped blinny, long spine (black) sea urchins, 2 sergeant majors defending nests,4eye butterfly fish, stoplight parrot fish (male and female), blue parrot fish (male), queen parrot fish (male and female), hog fish, Spanish hog fish, corkscrew anomnies, snooke, one small octopus imitating a clump of seaweed (a behavior we had not seen before) shadowed by a wrasse, a larger octopus which appeared to be nuclear hunting in a small coral head with an entourage of spanish hogfish and hinds, harlequin bass, graysbee, red hind, juvenile yellowtail damsel, slippery dick, yellow goatfish, palometa (school of 8), rainbow runners, bicolor damsel, both gray and cubera snappers, trumpet fish (shadowing a parrot fish)needle fish (probably either houndfish or flat needle fish, lettuce sea slogs, flameback basslet, rock beauty (both mature and juvenile) intermediate French Angel transitioning to an adult (had the scale coloration of a mature fish but still had the fading remains of the yellow strips of a juvenile, snook and bonefish.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Jim Olinger
Jim Olinger
Jul 3, 2012, 12:00 AM
scuba
If you're staying Buddies (or Don's) it doesn't get much easier than this. There are lots of comments about this site, so I'm going to speak to the newer 'phosphorescent' night dive being offered by Buddy's. I really enjoyed the dive and my wife hated it because she felt completely blind! They put a visor over your mask and if you get close to the coral, you can see lot's of glowing yellow, green and some reds. I think the trick is to allow some area of visibility at the bottom of your normal mask lens so that you can see where you're going (The visor allows the blue light through, but it's dark enough to make it hard to see where you're going.) The local tarpon will be greatly attracted to this brighter light and you'll find yourself completely surrounded by these 3-5' predators as they speed off after prey out of cover. One other item of interest about this dive. We saw a creature called the 'thing'. They are supposedly very quick to vanish from dive lights but I suspect they don't see the blue light as well. It looked like a giant centipede…a very cool sighting!
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Jim Haggart
Jim Haggart
Jan 16, 2012, 12:00 AM
scuba
Excellent easy site. Just use the tanks at the pier and jump in. Easy, easy...good place for a check out dive. Saw lots of EEL's, some puffer fish, trunkfish, drummers and large yellow fin tuna.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Kym Haggett
Kym Haggett
Dec 2, 2011, 12:00 AM
scuba
This is a really busy dive site due to the large amount of people staying at Buddy Dive & using the house reef. It's a lovely looking reef here with quite a lot going on so you don't need to go far north or south from the entry point to see stuff. It's true what people say about the dive boats, they are in & out from the dock but we've never had a problem with them in the 5 years we've been coming to Bonaire. If you hear them, stay low look above & keep clear of them. Once they're docked they will be away from the ladder on the exit point. It's the normal safe practice on any dive site, Bonaire has a lot of boats coming in & out & they're not always just dive boats so be aware of them on all exits. The guys at Buddy Dive are really helpful & lovely to deal with.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jul 23, 2010, 12:00 AM
scuba
As mentioned in an earlier review, watch out for Buddy Dive's boats. We were told during orientation that all boat captains look out for divers' bubbles. Not so. Heading toward the designated exit stairs, I found a boat only a few feet overhead (prop turning). There were several other divers nearby and upon exiting I noticed that the dock where the boats usually tie up was empty. Someone is bound to get seriously injured (or worse) if this dangerous activity continues!
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jun 10, 2010, 12:00 AM
scuba
While exiting the water on the assigned dive ladder on the dock, the dive boat approached the same dock about 2 feet from the ladder with the prop turning. I found this very unsafe and disturbing. There were many divers in the water and boats were coming and going overhead in about 9 feet of water.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Dan Scoggin
Dan Scoggin
Mar 24, 2010, 12:00 AM
scuba
This was our second trip to the island, and we found that the night diving off Buddy was the best diving of the trip. The ease of entry with camera equipment was wonderful and the life in the reef really jumps at night. We are think that on our next trip we'll dive 3 time a night and sleep the day away. Any one that is interested in the fish and coral will not be disappointed.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
VA Bob
VA Bob
Dec 3, 2009, 12:00 AM
scuba
We dove at Buddy's in 2008 while staying at another location, and decided we'd stay right there if we returned to Bonaire. On our second trip in November, 2009 we stayed there and were very pleased with everything about the place. They do everything they can to make it a great diving experience, and a pleasant stay above water. I would not hesitate to return. We ventured off-property to a number of other dive sites along the coast, and enjoyed them. But, we found that Buddy's Reef was as good, or better, than a lot of them while being a lot easier to access from their facility. We made 6 dives there and had the reef mostly to ourselves during Thanksgiving Week, so don't go then (that will keep the crowd down when we go back!).
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Anonymous
Anonymous
Aug 14, 2009, 12:00 AM
scuba
We stayed here for a week at the first of March and had a wonderful time. We sometime dove the house reef twice a day.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Rlskill1
Rlskill1
Jun 22, 2009, 12:00 AM
scuba
A VERY EASY DIVE. Bonaire diving doesn't get much easier than a dive on Buddy's Reef. A good introduction to Bonaire's reef system. The staff at Buddy Dive are excellent. Watch for boat traffic as the docks at Buddy Dive are docks for the house dive boats.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Cynthia Arnold
Cynthia Arnold
May 18, 2009, 12:00 AM
scuba
We just stayed at Buddy's from May 9-16, as a new diver I didn't know what to expect, we did 13 dives while in Bonaire, 5 boats dives and the remaining 8 from Buddy's dock, which included 2 night dives. The entry was easy - stairs, lots of marine life right around the dock. The coral reef drop off was only a short swim from the dock. The reef was covered with lots of marine and plant life. Large tarpon surrounded us on the night dives. We dropped to 90 feet one day, not sure where the reef stopped. The visibility was great. We loved Buddy's and being new divers we stayed on their reef. It was very well marked and was in our comfort zone. Can't wait to go back to Bonaire and visit some of the other shore diving sites.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
John from Miami
John from Miami
Nov 12, 2006, 12:00 AM
scuba
Nice site, just fantastic! A lot of Tarpon swimming near you. I love Bonaire!
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Jason NYC
Jason NYC
May 22, 2006, 12:00 AM
scuba
This was our house reef during our week long stay. We dove here about 6 times in one week, mostly all at night. Entry down steps, follow rope to drop off in about 25fsw, head north, saw lots of the usual and one small hawksbill, visibility about 75ft. Nice night dive! Current? What current! Look out for Charlie the very large 3+ft tarpon that isn't shy and likes to hunt by dive light. The Buddy facilities made shore diving here and at other sites a real pleasure. Have dinner at the Lion's Den after a night dive here!
Originally posted on shorediving.com
JoAn
JoAn
Jul 25, 2004, 12:00 AM
scuba
This was our house reef, so we dove it multiple times - morning, noon, and night! Diving can't get easier than this. They have a rope that leads you from the dock to the reef. There are also nice sandy areas that are perfect for open water training classes (and so that no coral is damaged during the classes).
Originally posted on shorediving.com
John White
John White
Jul 22, 2004, 12:00 AM
scuba
The 2002 trip was our second to Buddy Dive, have done about 13 dives on the house reef. I'd be hard pressed to chose between a dive starting 45 minutes before sunrise or right at sunset. Those two times are when I have done most of the house reef dives.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Deborah Norton
Deborah Norton
Jan 3, 2004, 12:00 AM
scuba
We stayed at Buddy Dive and found this site to be as good as almost any on the island. It is a very easy site to dive and convenient. We dove it 4 times on October 2003, including one night dive. The reef is in good condition an the marine life adundant. The frogfish hangin out just south of Buddy's were really a treat.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Anonymous
Anonymous
Dec 8, 2003, 12:00 AM
scuba
Very Nice!
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Marge Lawson
Marge Lawson
Oct 15, 2003, 12:00 AM
scuba
Did this dive a couple times. The first time, the most unusual sighting was an unusual brown sea cucumber with black spots. The second time we did this dive we found the green frogfish that is right out in front of Buddy's in a black rope sponge, which was also covered with brittle star. We like this dive better than the La Machaca dive just to the north.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Brent Houchens
Brent Houchens
Apr 27, 2003, 12:00 AM
scuba
This is a pretty healthy site even after Lenny and with a lot of diver traffic. Go toward Capt. Don's and look in the hull of the "wreck". When we were there, it was rumored to be the home of a huge eel. The best thing about this reef is the resort attached to it. We stayed here, and while the food, dive shop, and lodgings are just average, the drive and dive station where you can pull up your truck and load tanks is second to none for serious shore divers. We did some boat dives, but next time we will just drive because the boats go to shore dives more often than not (Klien Bonaire is the exception, and we had some great boat dives there).
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Jim Haggart
Jim Haggart
Sep 9, 2002, 12:00 AM
scuba
Best reef on the island. Easy entry from their dock. The reef goes from Buddy's, past Lions Dive to Capt Dons. Great for night diving. Saw Octopus, Turtles, Squid, etc…
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Marc R. Brouwers
Marc R. Brouwers
Aug 30, 2002, 12:00 AM
scuba
Since I work at base of this beautifull divesite(Buddy dive shop) I can only say this site can compete with any site on island, just take your time and you'll see anything you want, ofcourse I'm here daily but I see my underwater friends everyday, and I introduce them to my students very often, very wide variety of life, of corals and fish, Boy am I happy to life on Bonaire
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Tony Leona
Tony Leona
Jul 3, 2002, 12:00 AM
scuba
Very nice, easy dive. Lots of fish life from lettuce sea slugs to a variety of eels and even tarpon. You can also dive "Capt. Don's" reef for Free. The good Captain has decided to charge divers that enter the water from his resort, very unlike most places in Bonaire!
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Dan Benson
Dan Benson
Jun 28, 2002, 12:00 AM
scuba
This is the house reef for Buddy Dive, and open to anyone. This is diving at it's easiest. We stayed at Buddy. Picked up our tank, walked 5 paces and were in the water! And despite the traffic the reef is in very good condition, with two resident Octopus, etc. The slope begins in 30' of water and falls off rapidly to 130'. The bottom continues to slope to deeper than you can go. Nice colony of garden eels at the 130'.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Mike Field
Mike Field
Jul 3, 2001, 12:00 AM
scuba
Very easy and enjoyable dive.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Scott Chaffee
Scott Chaffee
May 16, 2001, 12:00 AM
scuba
Dove this site several times as this is the resort I stayed at. Nice dive right off our doorstep. Tons of life on this reef, several small sunken ships, can go deep if you want to. Seahorses, sharptail eels, peacock flouners, cudas, scorpionfish, all the usual and unusual reef creatures.
Originally posted on shorediving.com