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Home > Destinations > Bonaire > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Bonaire - Trip Reports

Captain Don's and Diving

Just back from a 10 day trip to Bonaire with a quick update.

Stayed at Captain Don's. Everything very smoothly run, dive op was very good, accommodations were very comfortable. The only negative was the food and food service at times.

Captain Don's has completed a wooden stairway into the water right in front of the dive locker area, which has been rebuilt. You can now easily access shore diving, however, it will be quite some time before the docks can be rebuilt due to difficulty in aquiring materials, among other things. ALM was ALM...delayed flights, stops in Haiti, several missing bags in our group (of 13) which arrived the following day. Took 18 hours to get there from AZ, 16 to get back.

Avis car rental was a joke. We had 4 Toyota Hilux trucks reserved and guaranteed for a year, of which they had 1. Allow MUCH time for your car rental (2 hours for us...we brought beer.)

The dive sites and diving were exactly as RHallstrom described in his 3 part description...thank you for the report, it was VERY helpful. As he described it, some diving was pristine, and some was totally destroyed. It was so saddening, and humbling to realize that the reefs that were destroyed will not be back in our lifetimes or those of our children...

Red Slave, Atlantis, Ol' Blue, La Dania's...all definitely still worth the trip. Some of the reefs which experienced the shallow water damage, or damage to sponges and such will of course regenerate much more quickly, plus the Bonairian people and dive operators are making a supreme effort.

However, we had the opportunity to see a couple of sites where the devastation was total...we dove No-Name Beach, which is adjacent to Sampler, to photograph frogfish at Sampler since the mooring ball there was occupied. The reef there resembled a bomb site...all rubble and sand, all the way down the reef slope. It was an awakening.

Sand Dollar looks also like it was bombed...the entire complex there of restaurant and shops is simply gone, with a couple of walls left standing. Of course, the condos and grounds are untouched, just what was on the waterfront was damaged. We were informed while there that Sand Dollar will not be permitted to rebuild on the water because of insurance, and will need to relocate to higher ground. Also,according to what we heard on island, Buddy Dive will not be rebuilding at the previous location which is now unsafe.

Boat dives were done from the marina, which was only a minor inconvenience and done very efficiently. No night boat diving is being done presently.

We also had the opportunity to experiencs being robbed while shore diving this trip.

We had two cars parked down south by Sweet Dreams, a van and a truck with a locking bed. We left only t-shirts, hats, a jacket, and a small soft sided cooler with some sandwiches in the cars, but were robbed anyway. The thieves took large chunks of dead coral and smashed the passenger side windows. The Van even had a window unlocked. It seemed more an act of disrespect and vandalism than anything else. We knew not to leave valuables, but used t-shirts? Lunch? We filed the obligatory reports (saw about 10 others at the police station). Of course, having to go to the police station then deal with Avis again pretty much decimated our day. After speaking with other victims, it seems that a fishing boat and a taxi were sited in conjunction with several robberies. We notified police but they seemed uninterested. Bonaire needs to do something about this situation. Several in our group swore they would never return.

All in all, there is still great diving to be done, but I would suggest to those planning a trip to wait a bit till more repairs and such can be done, unless you take advantage of some of the deals which can be had right now. I would not go paying normal prices, as we did on our trip.

Also, BTW, departure tax is now $20 US, as of 1/1/2000, rather than the $10 previously.

Thanks to Steve and Padi for this trip report ...
January 2000

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