Diving Paradise

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Bonaire is a small island in the Leeward Antilles, off the coast of Venezuela. It used to be the less known of the ABC Islands; Aruba and Curacao are the better known ones. But I think the secret is out. Every year we return, it seems more and more people are visiting. You can also tell by the new construction around the island. 

Its landscape is mostly desert. But for divers and snorkelers, the beauty can be found under water.  The Bonaire National Marine Park has miles of pristine coral reef that covers the entire coast of the island. A smaller island, Klein Bonaire, is accessible via a 20-minute boat ride from the west coast of Bonaire. Between both islands there are over 90 dive sites, with 60 or so, accessible from the shore. As you drive around the island, you will see the bright yellow rocks with the site names. Parking is plentiful on most sites. Since the island is more coral than sand, the first few steps into the water can be tricky, sometimes even challenging. But, with many sites to choose from, you can always find one less challenging.

Andrea I – Site # 23

If diving or snorkeling isn’t your thing, many other activities are available. Several hiking trails are accessible on the north side of the island. You get to appreciate the desert-like landscape as you hike through cactus and yucca plants. Parrots can be spotted at times and even flamingos.

The island has long been known as a great destination for windsurfing. If you head to Lac Bay, you have the opportunity to watch both experts and novices enjoying the steady trade winds perfect for the sport. Jibe City has equipment you can rent as well as experts ready to teach you the sport. Also happens to be our favorite afternoon hangout. Jibe City has a great bar, right on the edge of Lac Bay waters. You can sit back, enjoy great food and a cold Polar or three, while watching the windsurfers do their thing.

It’s hard to pick a favorite site to dive or snorkel in Bonaire. But, if I had to, here are my 3 favorites: The Lake, site# 42; Red Beryl, site# 56, and Karpata, site# 9. The coral formation at Karpata is amazing.

There are many dive shops and resorts available to those visiting. We continue to use Buddy Dive because we love the dive masters and the ease of their tank drive-thru. Shout-out to Flavia and Fons!! Just two of the many great staff at the resort.

Fons and Bill on one of our boat dives

Another wonderful dive vacation comes to an end. It never gets old and there are always new experiences, no matter how many dives you’ve done. The most memorable on this trip has to be the 6+ ft. hawksbill turtle just off of Capt. Don’s site at Klein Bonaire. The ostracods on our last night dive were pretty special too. Hard to beat Bonaire.

Bonaire is very special. A slow-pace island with great people, wonderful food and amazing water. Did I mention the french fries?! Best in the world.

Until we meet again…

Some of our favorite places on the island:

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

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The backyard view

Like most Coloradans that live in the mountains, we have seen more snow days than the customary bluebird days this year. While this much snow is welcomed, we can still be sick of moving it, plowing it, snowblowing, etc.

At this point, most of us had our fun in the snow and are starting to countdown to our ski hill closing; 27 days to be exact!

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a change of scenery. Still too early for camping season, so I’m dreaming of tropical vacations. Yes, warm caribbean waters, hot sun and a cabana boy with umbrella drinks!

Sunset Happy Hour

Where are you going this spring? Have you been there before?

Where is Bonaire?

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When we tell friends we are headed to Bonaire for another exciting diving adventure, the first thing we get asked is “where is Bonaire?”.  Bonaire is part of the ABC islands, located less than a hundred miles off the coast of Venezuela.  It’s less known than its neighbors, Aruba and Curacao.  According to Wikipedia, population is about 18,905.

Bonaire is the perfect destination for relaxing and diving; un-touched paradise.  Maybe that is why in the last 4 years, we have visited it 3 times.

Some divers in our group registered 18 dives in 8 days.  Even if you aren’t a diver, like myself, snorkeling is amazing and you get to experience the underwater beauty of this part of the world.  Some of our dive sites this trip were: Alice in Wonderland, The Lake, Pink Beach, Tori’s, Something Special, Slagbaai, Sarah’s Smile, Monte’s, Heaven and Hilma Hooker.  We were fortunate enough to see the ostracods on one of the night dives; once in a lifetime experience. The entire ocean lit up around us.

This trip was not all about the diving.  We took a day to explore the national park, Washington Slagbaai National Park.  The terrain in the park was dry and rugged.  Checked out the blow holes, lighthouses, deserted beaches and the views from the cliffs.  We stopped at Wakaya I, II and III as a possible diving spot(s).  Popular spot with the snorkeling groups; did look pretty amazing from the cliff.  There were stairs involved and we didn’t want to take all the diving gear down the narrow steps. On we went and found a great sandy beach at Slagbaai.  Also found the flamingos.  This was a great spot.

We all got to try the lion fish. Considered a predator, it’s actually quite tasting grilled on a bun.  Several of the local food trucks around the island offer fresh lion fish; we tried Cactus Blue at the Donkey Beach. When on the island, we try to stick to fresh fish.  Most restaurants had fresh catch of the day.  Our local favorites, which we always visit: Karel’s, It Rains Fishes and Blennies.   Also tried Cuba Compagnie and now have a new favorite for dinner.  Food was great, service friendly and they even made a great caipirinha. Another spot I would recommend is Jibe City.  Doesn’t look like much, but it’s a pretty happening bar right on Lac Bay.  Fun was had by all.

Another fabulous trip comes to an end and we say “ajo”.  Until we meet again.

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