Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
11/13/2017 2.38 Place of Refuge The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
It was in 2011 when I last dove this site and it nearly breaks my heart to see how much the site has deteriorated in these short 6 years. I vividly remember the colorful giant mushroom coral heads and all of the life that lived around this once, healthy reef system. This reef is no longer healthy with heavy mortality and much bleaching. We went there on a Monday and there were easily 150 people hanging out, snorkeling and two other divers. The other divers rejected the idea that the destruction of this reef could be a result of changing pH values and warmer temperatures, instead blaming it on a sewage leak this past summer (2017) near Kailua-Kona. They then proceeded to tell me the reef has really deteriorated over the last 2 years (?). We saw similar problems to varying degrees on every other dive site all the way up to Puako. There are small, widely space coral heads that seem to be resistant and we did notice that areas that are getting heavily washed by the surf still seem mostly healthy even though they are quite shallow. I'm not going to review any more sites from this trip. It's too depressing. I will say this though, if you care about these reefs, you better get involved trying to change things before they only exist as a memory or photo.
09/01/2017 3.92 Ol' Blue Bonaire North, ABC Islands
We really wanted to dive Jeff Davis Memorial and went there twice but the entry/exit just looked really difficult (and I'm not one to shy away from a challenge). The first day we altered with Oil Slick Leap and had a good dive there and on the 2nd day we came here to Tolo as it's called now. (We did see the Ol' Blue name on some older literature). And we were pleasantly surprised. The coral health and reef community seemed to be in pretty decent shape here. We went fairly deep on this one around 100' to start and it was beautiful down there! But most of the life and activity is around 60' and up. This site turned out to be one of my favorites for the week. There is a lot of parking here, but not much shade. Entry/exit were both fairly easy. One other item to note is the decrease of lion fish on all of these reefs as compared to our 2012 trip where we saw them everywhere. They have actively hunted them here in Bonaire and it sure seems to have worked. Although a DM we spoke with at Buddy Dive told us that all of those lion fish who escaped being harvested have just moved down to below 150'. But it's a start I guess. Great dive site! Enjoy!
09/01/2017 3.26 Vista Blue Bonaire South, ABC Islands
I last dove this site in 2012 and have never forgotten it as it was just so beautiful. My log book compares it to an 'aquarium'. I was much saddened on this return visit to see the extent of bleaching and mortality at this site from 50' and up. It wasn't a 'bad dive' at all with still much to see and it's possible that because the viz was down to about 60' on this day, that my opinion was decreased, but it has definitely suffered over the last 5 years. I made the decision after this dive to do everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint and to bring awareness to others on the potential fate of our reefs. If we don't change up from a hydrocarbon based fuel source, we could lose them all world-wide. My local GOP senator's office can now recognize my phone number on their caller ID and answer, 'Hello Jim'. I will not relent on this. I hope others in the dive community will join this effort.
09/01/2017 4.12 English Garden Bonaire South, ABC Islands
3rd Trip Bonaire. Awesome! Did 16 dives at 14 different sites. (Just hacking on ya Brad. I read your intro' about 12 times at different sites to my wife until we started laughing each time. And if you did 23 dives in a week...you ARE the man!). We completed a dive at Invisibles and got on the road towards White Slave for a surface interval and to look White Slave over from the shore. There is a nice little shade tree at this site so we pulled under it for a bit while we off-gassed. I walked over to the shore and could see a step-off point and so told my wife, 'Why don't we just dive this unmarked spot'? So we did! And if you like the soft corals? This IS the place for you! I thought I'd discovered a new site and was all set to call it 'Pink Slave' as it sites between the two sites, but have just found it under the 'undiscovered sites' as English Garden. And that really is a splendid name! In places, it does look like it was arranged for beauty. It's not hard to find, as you head south you'll see two yellow rocks at two entrances about 200' apart for Pink Beach. Just a 1/4 mile or so past the southern rock you'll see a structure on the hill that looks a bit like a silver and black chimney (old mooring tie-off point). There is a vacant lot with the previously mentioned tree and you can see the white obelisk from White Slave from this lot just a few hundred feet south. We entered towards the pink beach side as we found a 2' step down from the edge of the ancient coral to the bottom. and it can be hard to see the bottom if the waves are bashing about creating poor viz. Then, like many other sites you have to walk out for several feet on old wave-polished coral that has holes in it so watch your step. Also on a different day there were several snorkelers that were in right in front of the shade tree so there may be a better entry point there. Once in, we found a couple large cement blocks that are a part of the old mooring system. If you head just a bit SW from those blocks there is a good colony of garden eels at about 25' depth. We did our dive to the south as there was a bit of current when we started and we wanted to dive into the current. Just a really beautiful dive, my wife's favorite for the week. The lion fish hunters have missed this location and it shows as we saw several on 2 different dives. Most of the coral looked pretty healthy and we didn't see as much bleaching. Soft corals looked very healthy. Enjoy!
09/01/2017 2.95 The Invisibles Bonaire South, ABC Islands
I don't know what it is about this site, but I always seem to have an issue here. On my first dive here in 2012 we flat missed the outer reef due to fairly poor viz and just happening to hit an open sand spot between the inner and outer reefs. This time, I was monkeying around with my dive computer the night before and somehow unknowingly set it to default to 50% EAN after each dive! As my nitrox tank was the same concentration from the day before (32) I didn't bother re-entering that value before this dive and when I hit 58' feet my watch started beeping and flashing. So we did a relatively shallow dive. And out of all the sites we dove, I felt this part of Invisibles (inner reef above 60') was the most damaged that we saw out of 14 different sites. Lots of bleaching and mortality on the hard coral and some noticeable damage to the soft coral like black fungi looking spots and decay on the purple tube sponges and other gorgonia species. We just learned on this trip that most sunscreen products are very damaging to the reef systems. This place gets dived a lot and I'm wondering if that isn't part of the issue at many of these sites. Try to buy the non-damaging sunscreen without oxybenzone in your home country as it's expensive in Bonaire! Also noted, if you go back through the past Bonaire reviews on ShoreDiving.com you'll notice how often people mention seeing Green Moral Eels. We did not see a single one on this trip and I've noticed this more recent absence of them in other places like Cozumel, Mahajual and Grand Caymen. I hypothesized that perhaps the morays were eating the lion fish and perishing from the venom? But another diver told me that they suspect a protozoan of some sort that increased in population when...you guessed it...the ocean water temp' got warmer and then stayed warmer. So, we decided to try this site on another day. 3rd time is the charm...yeah? And 25 minutes in I apparently got a lone tentacle from most likely a sea wasp across my neck and chin. Yow! With a recent report of box jellies being seen at Buddy Dive Resort, I didn't waste much time aborting the dive and heading for shore. I reckon I've had my fill of Invisibles but many people love it.
08/29/2017 3.87 La Dianas Leap Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Short of a dive I had on Hawaii Big Island with a Humpback Whale encounter, this site is my favorite site anywhere! But it is not for beginning divers for sure. Once you pass Tolo, you'll crest the top of a small hill where there is a single parking spot on each side of the road. You'll see a large pile of coral and a path heading down. The path begins fairly steep and goes over ancient coral which is sharp. Good booties needed! The path decreases in grade and turns to dirt until you approach the cliff edge and then it gets sharp again. You'll see a large yellow rock just above the entry point. There is about enough room for one diver to don their fins and giant stride off the 5 foot drop. I took the plunge first and my wife tossed me her fins and then jumped in. I pulled her away from the cliff assisted her with her fins and then kicked out a short distance to the buoy. Drop down and about 70 feet you'll drop over the vertical wall that is well over 100 from the 70' edge'. You have now entered nirvana! Clear water, no 'snow' and absolutely stunning views! It takes about 5 minutes to get past the wall and you enter topography similar to Karpata with steep UW ridges and sand chutes in the draws. As you near Karpata you'll notice a ridge that is less steep than what you've been seeing, that's your ridge out to the Karpata platform. There is a large old anchor on this ridge, but you may or may not see it so just use the topography to guide you. It takes about 20' minutes from the Leap to Karpata at a leisurely rate. So if you can consistently get 50 min. out of your tanks you should be fine. But! There is no out between the two sites. On our 2nd dive here on this trip when my wife jumped her reg' went into a massive free flow and I had to turn her valve off to stop it. Boom! Just like that 900 psi gone! We ended up diving the upper zone above the wall down to Karpata just to be safe. It just goes to show you, sometimes good plans go awry and you better be able to deal with it on a dive like this one! However, I'd do this dive again tomorrow if I was there!
08/23/2017 3.13 Karpata Bonaire North, ABC Islands
I just returned from an August 2017 trip to Bonaire. We last dove Karpata in 2012 and my log book is full of praise for this site especially in the 25-35' depth as there is just an explosion of life in a healthy system. So imagine the shock when I saw these very same shallows with an approximate bleaching of around 30% of the hard corals. I'd estimate the mortality of coral here at around 10%. Don't get me wrong, there is still much to see and lots of life on this reef, but the degradation over this 5 year period is dramatic. Over the past 10-15 years I've been listening to the old timers say, 'Yeah? You liked the dive? You should have seen this reef 20 years ago'. Now I've seen the health of these Bonaire reefs decline in just 5 years. So my question is this, how long are those of us from the USA going to allow the powerful and wealthy to force us down this path of using hydrocarbons over renewable energy? Do we have to lose 95% of our Earth's reefs as is predicted by scientist and by 2050 before we act? The next much needed antibiotic or cure for a diseases is probably existing in these reefs right now. If you care about these reefs, NOW would be a great time to let your politicians here from you. The year 2050 is 32 years from now! We no longer have time to do nothing.