Bon Bini Bonaire! Divers Paradise

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Bon Bini! This year has been an amazing journey for me. I have been lucky to travel to Hong Kong, Chicago, Kentucky, Cozumel, and now back to Bonaire. Bonaire’s license plates have “Divers Paradise” on it, because there is nothing else you can do there, except dive, snorkel, windsurf, and kitesurf. It’s a quiet little island with a Salt Lake (with PINK water!!!), Washington Slagbaai National Park, a couple of ice cream places, and a downtown. We happened to be in Bonaire for the Regatta, except, we were cramming in so many dives, we didn’t really get to see anything sailboat related!
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In total, Bing, T, C and I did a total of 19 dives in 6 days. 4 of them were guided, 2 of those were boat dives, and 1 was a night dive, and 1 was a UV dive. We saw an array of creatures instantly!

Here are the highlights:
Right off the bat, we saw an eagle ray on the first dive (Toris Reef). That was a fabulous start. What followed up at “Salt Pier” were squids, because at that point, I had maybe only seen 4 or 5 in my dive career, but to have 9 in a row, I was mind blown! That evening, we did our night dive at a site called “Something Special” and we saw 2 octopi (Octopuses? Octopodes?). Beautiful creatures as they light up the night waters by changing colours, and sprawling out. What a discovery! Tarpons are awesome during a night dive, because they follow your torch, and when they see a fish, they zone in, turn on their side, and can ingest a small fish in a mouthful. On the UV night dive we did with VIP Diving, Bing turned on his white light, just to watch an eels tear apart a fish. Nature at its best! At night, that is when the bad boys come out to hunt. We also saw a jellyfish on one dive, and he was massive. We stopped to watch him, but as I noticed, he was getting closer and closer, and I was getting the heck away from there!

The usual suspects are moray eels, filefishes, angelfishes, trunkfishes (love those guys! They look klutzy and peculiar), parrot fishes, porcupine fishes (those guys are so weird looking, they are cute!), butterfly fishes, barracudas, shrimps, lobster and so much more. I started to learn to spot nudibranches, and flamingo tongues. I was so proud of myself when I was able to find 3 seahorses all on my own, and because those guys are like finding gold! The location of seahorses also get spread around the island so everyone scavenger hunts for them. Another great rare find was a frogfish! They are so cute and ugly looking! Most squids I saw in a row were 15. The bait / fish ball was a site to see. A huge cloud of fish were swimming around in unison while being hunted by horse eye jack fishes. Awestruck. I heard to spot this doesn’t happen very often, as my good friend Bob (a divemaster / instructor at VIP) said the last time he saw it was 1.5 years ago.

East Coast Diving in Bonaire was an unique experience. I have never been on such a small boat, with 7-8 foot waves on a CALM day at sea before. We did 2 dives there, I could feel the strong current, tossing us around like a washing machine, but we were able to see some incredible life! A school / flock of eagle rays right from the get-go, and stingrays galore! I have never seen them so close before (and at the same time, being careful with their stinger). There were tons of turtles everywhere on that dive too.

Obviously I miss SCUBA diving already, it is where I feel right and complete. For now, this will be a long surface interval, but will definitely start dreaming up some fun places to go in the near future.

Accommodations we stayed at are called Blue Divers. This is a resort next to VIP Diving which made it extremely convenient for us, as we had to test our tanks with the O2 analyzer, and load all of it onto our truck. VIP made everything easy for us, as this company stands for: Value, Imagination and Personal Touch. They truly stand by it, and made us very happy diving with them. Thank you Bob, Bas and Frank!

Happy Bubbles!

If you are interested in SCUBA diving, you can look into PADI for more details. If you live in Toronto, and need a recommendation on where to go, I would go with Aquasub with Norbert. He takes good care of everyone.
 

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Ace is a freelance graphic designer who was born in Toronto, grew up in Hong Kong, and lived in Ottawa and Vancouver. She is attracted and addicted to adventures like rock climbing, scuba-diving and anything culturally and visually interesting. Ace is still looking for the perfect cup of coffee in the city to satiate her.

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