Buddy Dive Bonaire October 2017
We left Ipswich at “0 Dark 30” and after a quiet run up the A140, arrived at Norwich Airport to board the 06:15 to Schipol ( no drama’s with checkin and bags checked through to “Flamingo Intl’ airport”).
Schipol was its usual busy antsnest with folk scurrying all over the place.
The KLM flight was fairly full and took off promptly ( always a bonus!) and after about 9 hours we arrived in Aruba for the usual magical mystery tour that is the transit stop ( up and down escalators, through security where flip flops were duly x rayed and ending up back where we started about a 50 mtr walk away from the plane!
Back on plane for a 20 min hop to Bonaire, where the BuddyDive rep was waiting to collect us for the short drive to the resort.
After a long trip the Beach Bar seemed to be the best bet for an evening meal before getting heads down, ready for the next day.
Thursday morning, and we awoke to a heavy downpore which cleared by about 9:30 when we presented ourselves to the dive shack to book in. Here we were greeted by Monika who recognised us immediately ( we have been going to Buddy off and on since 2002 ). Before being issued with our “Drive thru” cylinder cards ( Buddy have a cylinder store close to the car park where you can help yourself to windy tins of both air and Nitrox for shore diving around the island ), we were asked if, as we were “repeaters” , would we like to become “ Bonaire Ambasadors”? This we found out later was a Tourist board scheme where repeat guests are recognised with a certificate and a very large bronze looking medal which is presented at the weekly beach BBQ ( unfortunately no diplomatic privileges though ).
The shore diving was upto its usual high standard, with the reefs in very good condition and the standard variety of Caribbean fish life ( the Lion Fish hunting seems to have been effective as we only saw 3 during the whole week !). The Salt Pier seemed be missing some of the brightly coloured sponges though and we were told that there had been “ a bit of a blow” which had scoured around the piles.
We had booked a trip to dive the “ East Coast aka Wild Side” on the large rib run by some Dutch folk, but on the morning when we go to the launch site were informed by the skipper that the conditions were somewhat bouncy and he was not sure if it would be possible to make it out. Discretion being the better part of valour, we gave it a miss ( a pity really as the 2 tank trip is where you can almost guarantee to see a number of Eagle Rays close up L ). We did however, get a dive on the Hilma Hooker which is purpose sunk wreck and always enjoyable.
Bonaire is a very small island that can be driven around in about 2 hours. The capital ( Kralendijk ) is very small and rush hour seems to be about 6 cars !
There are dive sites actually in the town centre which are full of life ( Green Submarine and Calabass are 2 favourites ).
The main feature for divers is “ Diving freedom” where you can dive whenever you want ( 24/7) with most sites being very easy to navigate. A great place to build some experience of un- guided diving for those who have not yet got to this stage, whilst also having some depth challenges for those who wish.