Wednesday, March 25, 2008Selected Pics (71)
We arrived in Bonaire at approximately 7am and departed at approximately 1pm. It wasn't much time to enjoy one of the best islands in the Caribbean for diving, but Jonathan and I did our best. Jonathan is certified and so he went on the ship's excursion. Since I'm not certified, I did the Discover class at Divi Flamingo. I was worried I would spend a few hours in lessons and then only get an hour to dive, but I actually only spent about an hour in lessons and then got to dive for about an hour. Unfortunately I forgot my camera. Luckily we had some snorkeling time after the dive and I was able to snap photos of most of the interesting stuff I saw on our underwater tour (since we didn't go deeper than 30 feet). Mark, Christy, Martha, and Jessica all went on a snorkeling excursion. Turns out they ended up departing from Divi, so I got to see them off before my trip.
Mark had read some good things about Karpata and we found that it is highly rated on ShoreDiving. Divers rated a few other sites higher overall (Buddy's Reef or La Machaca or Andrea II), but Karpata was supposed to be good for shore snorkeling. A few sites do look like they have higher snorkeling ratings and better beaches. The comments on STINAPA Bonaire (which has a better map too) also indicate that these are all good snorkel places. Anyway, I guess maybe we'll see if we go back.
Of the dive operators listed at the Bonaire Tourism site, the following were recommended by Cruise Critic members: Buddy Dive, Captain Don's, and Divi Flamingo. One poster on Cruise Critic recommended checking out ScubaBoard.com for recos.
So we didn't end up doing a ship excursion, but we were considering the following excursions, both of which included snorkeling in the highly rated Bonaire Marine Park (which we now know covers pretty much the entire coastline of the island)...
Bonaire Shore Snorkel ($49, 8:45, 2.5 hrs)
Mushi Mushi Fun Sail, Swim & Snorkel ($69, 7:30-10:30)
Web Sites ( Official Tourism Site of Bonaire, Lonely Planet Review, Frommers Reviews, Cruise Critic Review, Cruise Critic Board, Princess.com )