Bonaire 2012

Mike, Kim,  Robin and Wally R. headed back to Bonaire in April, 2012. We got in a week of great diving. We made 28 dives and spent over 27 and a half hours underwater.

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We had a great night dive on the first night. I didn't take my camera but it would not have done me any good anyway. The most amazing thing we saw can not be photographed with normal photography equipment. Only 15 minutes into the dive we saw thousands of tiny jelly creatures that had come up from the deep. We could only see them if we turned off our dive lights so that it was dark enough. They look like groups of small gelatin balls hooked together in chains of about 10 and their center would light up in a blue glowing blink from bottom to top. It was amazing. I have made over 900 dives and this was only the second time I have seen this. The other time was several years ago on a night dive at Bachelors Beach less than half a mile from where we saw them this year. We saw them three other nights this on our night dives. 
This is not the best picture I have ever taken of a green moray eel but it is the first picture I have taken of green moray on the reef at Bonaire in several years. The green morays all died off a few years ago from what was thought to be a virus. I did not see any in December when I dove there but we saw four of them this time so it was good to see that they are back on the reef.
Most of our dives (28 in a week) were shore dives. Haul the tanks and equipment to the dive site, set up our gear and wade into the ocean.
We went up to the Washington National Park one day to see what the sites up there looked like. Prior to the waves from Lenny that hit the island back in 1999, the sites on the northern end of the island had some of the best hard coral formations in the world. The storm caused waves that destroyed a lot of the reef in shallow areas and damaged the reef very deep on the northern sites. I had not been up there since that time but was told that the reef was coming back. I was very disappointed. The reef is recovering but it is not as nice as it was and not really worth the two hour drive to the sites. In this picture, Kim and Robin found a picnic area to use to put on their wet suits without getting sand in them.
Here Kim models her wet suit. Unfortunately, I put the camera down after I took this picture because when she went to put on the booties that you see on the table behind her, she let out a loud scream and threw the booty about 10 feet away. As soon as it came to a stop a dazed crab came crawling out of the booty. Apparently it had crawled into the booty while it was on the patio the prior night. She found it with her foot. After that she checked her booties very carefully before putting her feet into them.
This spotted moray eel was out looking around during the day. You can also see an arrow crab (looks like a Daddy Longlegs spider) in the background.
This purple tip anemone is pretty as it sways in the surge of sea but if you look closely, there are little creatures living within it. See the pictures below.
This is a very tiny harlequin shrimp that lives in the anemone.
Here you can see another small harlequin shrimp that is walking away from the camera.
Here you can see a couple of the harlequin shrimp in a different anemone.
This is closer view of one of the shrimp.
Here are 7 squid that put on quite a show for us as we were heading back to shore after a dive in front of Carib Inn.
This was a first for me. While I was looking down at the coral at a site called "Something Special" one of my dive buddies was banging on their tank to get my attention. When I looked up there was a Manta Ray just a few feet away swimming right towards me. Most of the video and all the pictures I took were of it as it swam away. That is the only manta ray I have ever seen while I was underwater.
Large group of school masters.
Wally R and I both made our 900th dive this trip. Wally made his 900th at Andrea I right after lunch on Wednesday and I made mine on the next dive at a site called the Lake.
The four Donkey Divers on this trip are (l-r) Kim, Mike, Wally R and Robin. Wally and I were made ambassadors to Bonaire by the travel and tourism company. This was my 13th visit to the island and Wally's 10th. We are both wearing our medals in this picture.
We saw this sea horse at Knife, a dive site on Klein Bonaire, a small uninhabited island off Bonaire.
We saw this sea horse on the same site.
This secretary blenny poked his head out of his home in the brain coral to see what was up.
This chain link eel had his head out as well. These guys are not very commonly found and they rarely have their head out where you can get a good picture. We found this one and one other on this trip.
This honeycomb cow fish posed for me. Notice the "horns" over his eyes.
A Flamingo Tongue snail moves up a branching coral.
Kim spotted this pea-sized juvenile trunk fish.
One day that little juvenile trunk fish may grow up to look like this adult.
Another Chain link eel that we found on our last dive of the trip.
Same eel as above. We rarely see this type of eel. When we do it is usual to see their head. They don't usually see it this far out so this was an exciting find.

Wally and I received medals from the Tourism Corporation of Bonaire
to recognize as Ambassadors for our 10 and 13 years of visiting the island.


Beautiful, colorful walls of coral.
Another purple tip anemone.
French Angel.
Arrow crab.
View from out kitchen.
"Hello. Hello! Can you hear me now? Is anyone in there?" 6 banded butterfly fish seems to be talking into a tube sponge on the Hilma Hooker at about 90 feet below the surface.
My 3 dive buddies follow along the wall.
All geared up and ready for a late afternoon dive off the dock at Belmar apartments where we stayed.
Adult spotted drum fish.
Small golden eel looks at us as we swim by.
After a day of great diving we had dinner at Cactus Blue.
large Barracuda hovers over the reef.
Can you see the frog fish? They rely on their ability to blend in with the coral and ambush fish as they swim past. It is the orange and white figure in the center of the of the photo.
Little Yellow-Headed Jaw fish bravely ventures out of his hole to see what is going on.
In this shot, he swims up towards and gives me a big smile.
Kim is gearing up for a night dive off the docks.
Kim swimming along on dive in the daylight.
Kim surrounded by a school of small fish.
Kim feeding watermelon to a French Angel fish at a site named Forest on Klein Bonaire.
Dinner at Mona Lisa after another great day of diving.
Another sunset after a day of dives.
While these lion fish continue to terrorize the reefs of the Caribbean since they started showing up here over a decade ago, they are beautiful and it is hard to resist photographing them. Their numbers on the reefs of Bonaire seem to be going down. Hunting and eating them seems to be successful but we still saw a few every day.
Another view of the manta ray we saw at Something Special as it swam under a catamaran that was moored there.
Our second biggest find at Something Special was this octopus that came out  to play for a while in the day.
This octopus that we found at Captain Don's Reef on Klein did not want to come out and play. He stayed tucked away in the large coral head.
Robin tries to get a picture of this big Midnight Parrot fish as it swam between us.
Another Midnight swims along the reef eating.
A puffer fish swims away as I try to get it to pose for a picture.
Celebrating another day of diving at It Rains Fishes.
Two rock beauties.
Kim and I suited up before our dive at Boca Slagbaai.
Scorpion fish tries to go unnoticed on a coral head.
A Blue Banded Cleaning Shrimp in a banded anemone.
Another Flamingo Tongue Snail climbing on coral
A yellow trumpet fish hides in soft coral.
This yellow trumpet fish tries to pretend he is part of the Spanish Hogfish that he is shadowing.
This turtle is feeding on coral.
Wally noticed that this turtle has lost his right rear flipper.
Yep. Definitely only three. Must have run into a shark.
A small hawk bill turtle.
This guy stopped for a snack.
Wally and Robin at sunset.

Dive Log for Bonaire Trip April 2012

DATE Location Dive Site Maximum Depth Bottom Time
4/14/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile 48 53
4/14/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile Night Dive      21 30
4/15/2012 Bonaire Weber's Joy 45 59
4/15/2012 Bonaire Karpata 54 59
4/15/2012 Bonaire Viata Blue 62 61
4/15/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile Night Dive      37 32
4/16/2012 Bonaire Boca Slagbaai in Washington Park 66 54
4/16/2012 Bonaire Andrea II 41 59
4/16/2012 Bonaire Buddy Reef 34 61
4/16/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile Night Dive      46 77
4/17/2012 Bonaire Oil Slick Leap 69 60
4/17/2012 Bonaire Carib Inn 51 68
4/17/2012 Bonaire Andrea I 64 66
4/17/2012 Bonaire Lake 60 54
4/17/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile Night Dive      44 32
4/18/2012 Bonaire Knife  56 64
4/18/2012 Bonaire Joanne's Sunchi 57 68
4/18/2012 Bonaire Hilma Hooker 100 52
4/18/2012 Bonaire Red Beryl 49 60
4/18/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile Night Dive      39 64
4/19/2012 Bonaire Something Special 45 61
4/19/2012 Bonaire Bachelor's Beach 50 54
4/19/2012 Bonaire Keepsake 47 65
4/19/2012 Bonaire Forest 50 67
4/19/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile    64 63
4/20/2012 Bonaire Capt. Don's Reef 43 69
4/20/2012 Bonaire Nearest Point 49 64
4/20/2012 Bonaire Sara's Smile 50 76


To see pictures from other dive trips, click on the button below to go to my SCUBA page. It has links to other pages of pictures and dive reports from many different dive trips over the years. 

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