16 February 2008 | Windsock
The license plates here say Diver's Paradise. I must agree. The entire island is surrounded by a spectacular reef. The government seems well aware that this is perhaps the islands number one stock in trade.
Bonaire is a very environmentally conscious principality. No anchoring is allowed anywhere and they encourage environmentally friendly practices at every turn.
While you could probably jump in the water anywhere and go for a great dive they have established named dive sites all up and down the western coast of the island. They have also ensured that you have beach access to almost all of them.
The standard Bonaire dive trip involves renting a pickup with a tank rack in the back and diving your heart out. Any of the dive shops will swap your tanks out as fast as you can use them. You really don't need a boat unless your headed for Klien Bonaire or the rough east side.
On the down side if you like to dive off of your yacht you can only do so in the overnight yacht mooring field between town and the Harbor Village Marina. This is nothing to scoff at but there are a lot of great dive sites out of reach. You can only tie up boats under 36 feet in length on the dive mooring while diving.
We still had our beater van and the crew was ready to go diving. After checking over the free dive site guide we received at check in we decided to dive Windsock. Mom had been studying for her first dive and was ready to give it a try as well.
Once on the beach Pops watched the gear and the rest of us got the dive equipment ready. It was a nice little beach dive with easy access as the book said. Unfortunately for Mom is was not as flat as I had hoped when we got in to practice her basic SCUBA skills. Mom was a trouper though and completed all of the discover SCUBA skills and then went for a tour of the area.
It was a nice first dive but the last Mom would be able to get in due to her flight home coming up. We had a nice ride back to the marina talking about our first Bonaire dive and a good meal at the Argentinean restaurant next to the marina office.