Bonaire 2013

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Kim and I went back to Bonaire. My favorite place to dive.

I made my 1,000th dive this week and Kim made her 200th dive. 

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Johnny, Linda, Robin and Wally went to Bonaire in July. We were not able to join them as we had hoped to do. While they were there Wally made his 1,000th dive. He was the first Donkey Diver to hit the millennium mark.
Documented proof of Wally's big dive.
l-r: Linda, Wally, Murph (long time divemaster at Buddy Dive) and Johnny.
Saturday update: My dive camera never made it into the water today. After flying down on the red-eye from Newark I spent most of the morning getting checked into the apartment, going through dive orientation, purchasing a marine park permit to dive, renting a truck and going to the grocery store. I didn't have time to set up my camera. We did manage to get in 5 dives despite not getting into the water until 11:00 and having to rent a truck, go to the store and eat lunch in between the first two dives.

I hope to have some good pictures to upload Sunday night. We had some good dives today. I saw at least 3 large puffer fish on each of our first 4 dives. One of them swam right beside me for nearly 20 minutes of the dive. Kim said it was like "Mary's Little Lamb" following me everywhere I went. Light rain and an overcast sky made the visibility less than ideal for this location but it would still be considered excellent by most dive operations in other locations. The water is warm. My computer was reading 83 or 84 all day. Kim's was reading 81 or 82. We dove  without wet suits all day. I decided to use a shortly for the night dive and I got so hot, I had to open the zipper to cool off. Great water conditions. The night dive was like a pyrotechnic event. Sparks were flying off fins. Even my bubbles were twinkling with light. It was the best bioluminescence conditions I have ever seen. Even with our dive lights turned off, I was always able to see where my dive buddy was from the sparks. Later this week there will be mating ritual of small glowing creatures that come up from deep to mate at night. They look like small chains of blue lights that blink in sequence. We saw a few of them tonight. There was also a confirmed sighting of a 12 meter (about 36 feet) whale shark yesterday at the Hilma Hooker and a large manta ray at oil slick leap.


There was no discussion about where to eat dinner. One of our favorite places to eat is Bobbejan's BBQ. They are only open on weekends so we will make this the first and last place we eat dinner on this trip.

Bobbejan's has the best ribs (goat) in the Caribbean. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about them. There was a long line there for carry-out but we lucked out and got the last table available for dining in.


Sunday was sunny and warm. Another good day for 5 great dives. We started out with some cliff diving at Oil Slick Leap. Here you see Kim doing a giant stride off the cliff and into the ocean.
It is just the beginning of Shark Week and we already have our first victim. This Trumpet Fish is missing his tail. Obviously caused by a shark attack. Luckily the little guy is a survivor and gets around pretty well.
Another trumpet is doing better.
A group of glassy sweepers hiding a cove along the shore at Oil Slick Leap. If you are diving this site, take your time as you exit the site if the surge is not very strong. Look back in the cove behind and to the right of the ladder. You will usually find several fish and most of them are glassy or copper sweepers.
Flamingo Tongue Snails.
An eel is cleaned by a shrimp and he and an arrow crab hide in the coral.
A huge fire worm moves from one branch of soft coral to another while Kim watches.
A couple of juvenile Jack Knife Fish pose.
Four French Angel Fish try to pose for a family picture.

A pristine white Christmas Tree Worm on a coral head.
A couple of Arrow Crabs.
Pink Beach is a dive site that never disappoints. Today, in addition to the colorful coral and thick waving soft coral, Kim found a Chain Link Eel swimming free. These guys are pretty rare and I have never seen free swimming. In fact I don't think I have ever seen as much of one as I captured in this picture. They are black with deep yellow patterns that look link chains, thus, the name.
A couple of Garden Eels stick their heads up out of the sand to find a bite to eat.
A Peacock flounder swims across the sand.
A few big iguanas hang out around the resort looking for something to eat. This guy was watching us gear up for an afternoon dive.
Kim loves to look for small creatures. Here she pulls out her magnifying glass for a closer look around some coral heads growing on tug boat wreck.
Kim swimming past a huge anchor.
This Rock Beauty is headed for a coral reef to hide.
Two Six Banded Butterfly Fish.
This little immature Trunk Fish was bigger than a pea, but not much.
The highlight of the day was when Kim found this Coronet Fish. In all my dives, I have only seen 4 of these guys. Kim found three of them. She is an excellent spotter for a photographer.
The Coronet Fish is about 4 to 5 feet long with bright blue spots on them.
Even though they are a big fish with bright spots, their color pattern helps them to blend into most background.
This little sea horse couldn't stay upright in the current. He as his nose in the sand.
A barracuda hangs out in the shallows under some soft coral.
This is the first green moray eel we have seen this week. They used to be common on Bonaire until a viral disease killed them off about 6 years ago. This was big one at 1,000 Steps that we saw while I was doing my 1,000th dive.
Half way through my 1,000th dive we saw this huge southern stingray. He was digging in the sand when we came across him. As he took off the sand slid off his back.
This is the same stingray. He was really huge. If you are familiar with the size of this type of soft coral, this picture will some perspective on the size of this creature. It was the largest stingray I have seen in the Caribbean. He was about 6 feet across his wingspan.
A small Trumpet Fish tries to camouflage himself as he aligns himself with a tube sponge.

I made my 1,000th dive at 1,000 Steps. I joined an elite club of Donkey Divers that hit this mile stone. Before myself, only Wally Z. and Wally R. had this many dives. I have made 411 dives on Bonaire.
If you are familiar with dive sites on Klein Bonaire, then you can guess from this picture where we went for our first dive today. This is Forest. You can tell that because as soon as a dive boat ties up to the mooring Filet and Mignon, two French Angel Fish show up at the stern knowing that divers will soon enter the water and they will be fed.
Kim loves to feed these two watermelon.
The coral in Bonaire is very healthy, diverse and colorful.
This spotted moray eel likes to show his teeth.
A large grouper found a comfortable place to rest.
This grouper is resting on the hard coral. He doesn't look as comfortable as the one above.
Kim swims over a huge Gregorian Fan at Red Beryl.
A Puffer Fish swims over some soft coral.
We saw our first turtle this week at Red Beryl.
Kim made her 200th dive at Mi Dushi.
I found a lot of small creatures today. This is a tiny shrimp living in an anemone.
Here another shrimp is crawling around in another anemone.
A tiny striped wrasse peeks out from behind the fingers of a purple tipped anemone.
This tiny octopus would easily fit in my hand. He is making his skin rough and adapting his color to blend in with the background.
This afternoon we dove Something Special and Yellow Submarine. Between the two sites saw nearly a dozen Queen Angel Fish.
This juvenile French Angel Fish was exploring a mooring in the shallows.
A very large group of tall purple sponges.
Silhouette of Kim swimming above me.
A small banded cleaning shrimp hides in the coral.
These two six-banded butterfly fish seem to be checking out openings in the coral. Or maybe one is saying, "Can you hear me now?"
We found this turtle on Front Porch dive site today. He swam along with us until he had to go up for air.
One thing we had not seen on this trip until the last dive at Andrea 2 was squid. I found 4 squid in waist deep water at the entrance. Kim found a school of 6 squid in the shallows on the way back to shore at the end of the dive. Unfortunately the water was a little cloudy in the shallows so I didn't get any really clear pictures but I did get the shot of two of them as they suddenly turned a light color and shot off.
Two juvenile French Angel Fish explore the coral.
This Scorpion Fish is giving me the evil eye and telling me to get lost because he is trying blend in with coral and ambush some food.
This is a view of that same Scorpion Fish from a distance. Can you see him or is blending pretty well? If you can not see him in the picture to the left, click HERE to see him.
These two Six-banded Butterfly Fish are cruising over the reef.
Bait balls of tiny silver fish are always fun. This was part of a huge bait ball that stretch for at least 40 feet.
Another picture of the Coronet fish.
A juvenile angel fish tries to find some space in the Staghorn coral but it is filled with juvenile grunt fish.
We saw the same turtle two days in a row at two different dive sites about 2 miles apart. What are the chances of that? Maybe he was stalking us. This is him at Something Special. The next day day we saw him at Front Porch. You can tell by the defects in his shell.
It may be true that a leopard never changes his spots but this White Spotted Trigger Fish can make his spots disappear.
Here he is a few seconds later and spots are fading.
The spots are almost gone in this picture.
This is an official, government installed traffic sign in Bonaire. I means, "Caution! Diver Crossing." Since most of the diving in Bonaire is shore diving, divers drive along the coast and look for a dive site. Then they pull off the road, gear up and walk into the ocean to dive. In many cases, especially on this stretch of road north of town, they have to cross the road to get to the ocean.
A large grouper is hanging out on top the second reef at Alice In Wonderland.
A French Angel Fish checks me out.
A Golden Eel pokes his head out of the coral.
The numbers of Lion Fish are down from previous years due to eradication measures but they will never be gone. this one hugs the ledge of coral to stay out of sight but I was able to find him.
A Southern Sting Ray glides along the sand looking for something to eat.
The view off our balcony in the day.
Kim and I on the balcony at sunset.
The name of house reef off the docks at Belmar Oceanfront Apartments is called Sara's Smile.
The house reef was named for Sara Brandsen, a former member of the staff at Belmar from 2007 to 2011. She was a Dive Master and later became a Dive Instructor before passing away from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma at the age of 24. This memorial marker was placed on the floor of the reef that was named for her.
Dive gear drying in the Florida sun. I will put it away so that it is ready for my next dive trip.
Date Location Dive Site Maximum Depth Bottom Time
8/3/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 69 41
8/3/2013 Bonaire Windsock 54 44
8/3/2013 Bonaire Bachelor's Beach 47 58
8/3/2013 Bonaire Lake 57 51
8/3/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 38 35
8/4/2013 Bonaire Oil Slick Leap 59 63
8/4/2013 Bonaire Andrea 1 52 66
8/4/2013 Bonaire Pink Beach 51 69
8/4/2013 Bonaire Lake 49 48
8/4/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 41 49
8/5/2013 Bonaire Buddy Reef 72 52
8/5/2013 Bonaire Carib Inn 48 65
8/5/2013 Bonaire Invisibles 46 60
8/5/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 43 55
8/5/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 39 47
8/6/2013 Bonaire Joanne's Sunchi 55 64
8/6/2013 Bonaire Carl's Hill 66 53
8/6/2013 Bonaire 1,000 Steps 53 67
8/6/2013 Bonaire Hilma Hooker 100 47
8/6/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 36 48
8/7/2013 Bonaire Forest 60 67
8/7/2013 Bonaire Just a Nice Dive 39 72
8/7/2013 Bonaire Red Beryl 50 50
8/7/2013 Bonaire Alice in Wonderland 81 56
8/7/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 38 42
8/8/2013 Bonaire Mi Dushi 71 53
8/8/2013 Bonaire Sampler 49 69
8/8/2013 Bonaire Something Special 47 69
8/8/2013 Bonaire Yellow Submarine 49 61
8/8/2013 Bonaire Sara's Smile 50 41
8/9/2013 Bonaire Front Porch 39 47
8/9/2013 Bonaire Andrea 2 35 51
  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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