Bonaire, the second largest island of the Netherlands Antilles, is located 30 miles east of Curacao and 50 miles north of Venezuela. Measuring approximately 24 miles long and 3 to 7 miles wide Bonaire is a small island with a population of about 14,000. Its landscape is arid and desert-like with several mountainous, albeit very small, areas. The temperature hovers in the 80's and 90's year round. Its primary industries are sea salt, rice and tourism by divers. Just west of the main island lies Klein Bonaire, a small, circular uninhabited island of approximately 1,500 acres. Some of the best diving in the world can be found along the coral reefs of Klein Bonaire. For more information about Bonaire, its people, history and geography contact the official Bonaire home page.
Anne and I are fortunate to own a timeshare in Aruba, and Bonaire, one of the world's best diving spots, is just a short distance away by air. Unfortunately you have to take ALM, the airline of the Netherlands Antilles, which is always an experience to be forgotten, and you can't get from Aruba to Bonaire without first stopping in Curacao. But the diving is worth the two to three-hour aggravation and agony you encounter flying ALM.
|Since 1998 Anne and we have tacked on a week of diving following our timeshare week in Aruba. Knowing we are going to Bonaire and having dived so much in Aruba we skip the diving in Aruba and save ourselves for Bonaire. We usually arrive by noon, get settled into our room, do some mandatory grocery shopping, pay the Bonaire Marine Park fee, and make our first splash by three or four o'clock in the afternoon. We can hardly wait to get in the water. We've chosen Buddy Beach and Dive Resort for every stay. (Click here for more detailed information about Buddy Beach and Dive Resort.) They offer a variety of one, two and three bedroom apartments with kitchens complete with a microwave and dishwasher. It's comfortable, clean and,most importantly, right on the water. The staff is friendly and courteous.
Another reason for choosing Buddy Beach Resort is that they offer a complete package including unlimited diving and a rental of a truck or van (depending on how many are in your party). The bar is a great gathering place for after diving chats, seeing pictures and making new friends.
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||One of the best things about Buddy's was that diving was just a short two minute walk from our room. With the gear stored at the dive shop there was no heavy lugging involved and much less stress like you encounter at hotels whose main business is not diving. The hotel and dive staff are very friendly and helpful. One divemaster drew a map for us to locate a much prized Lined Seahorse, and several have been there on every visit ... a surprise and a plus!
With the gear so handy we are suited up and ready to take the plunge within minutes. As you see in the photo (left) entry can be made by giant stride from the boat dock, or by two stairways (now one thanks to the storm of 1999) located just to the right. Giant strides are easier as the steps can be a bit slippery, but with the camera we elected to take the stairs. Entering the water we back paddle
|the 40 to 50 yards out to where the dive boats are moored and made our descent arriving on a sandy bottom at about 30 feet. A short swim underwater and we were on the crest of the reef. Another wonderful thing about Bonaire is that virtually every dive is a "wall" dive, and Buddy Reef was no exception. The reefs usually begin in 30 to 35 feet and go down to 100' or more. Anne and I usually stay in the 50 to 70 foot range as there is just so much to see at that depth. Enjoy some of the pictures we took at Buddy Reef.
Year 2000 Update! The storm of November 1999 caused much damage at Buddy Beach Resort. The boat dock was washed away and the dive shop, office and restaurant were also destroyed by the waves. From what we were told the waves went over the roof of the restaurant (pictured above). The dive shop and restaurant located adjacent to Buddy's dock were also destroyed. The Green Parrot Restaurant (located at the Sand Dollar next door) and its dive and gift shops were also washed away or destroyed.
The good news is that by June 2000 Buddy Beach was back in service, almost 100%. A new boat dock (partially complete) is in place that allows one boat to dock, the office has been moved and is open as are the equipment rooms. The restaurant is now serving three meals daily, however, they are using the bar area and not the restaurant area itself
For information on the damage to individual dive sites please see those pages directly. Where we dived this year and in previous years we have noted any differences or damages.
Direct Page Links
Top of Page | Buddy Dive Resort (Updated) | Buddy Reef (Updated) |
Buddy Reef Night (Updated) |
Pink Beach (Updated) | Salt Pier 1 (Updated) | Salt Pier 2 (New Page) |
Southwest Corner |
Leonora's Reef |
Captain Don's Wreck |
New Bonaire pages added July 2000
Paulie Gets Certified
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