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2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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Blissful SCUBA Diving
Bonaire
2003
Entrance to Buddy Dive Dock
~ Entrance to Buddy Dive Dock ~
The A B Cs of the Caribbean
Paradise
Dive Site Marker
~ Dive Site Marker ~
Bonaire is a Dutch owned island off the northern coast of Venezuela. Part of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao), this island is completely surrounded by a well preserved barrier reef, making it a diver's Mecca. The reef is so close to the island that you don't even need a boat. You just don your gear and swim from shore. And there are nearly 100 sites to choose from, all marked with bright yellow stones on the side of the road. Because of this, most resort packages include a truck and convenient drive up air fill stations. Another advantage to shore diving is being able to go at your own pace. We could pack 4 to 6 dives under our weight belts each day!

We stayed at Buddy Dive resort, which was wonderful for so many reasons. The rooms were cool and clean, their services were exceptional, and their facilities included everything we needed – a well stocked dive shop with rentals, secure lockers, large fresh-water rinse areas, restaurants with tasty food, even a swimming pool. But most importantly, their reef, just steps from our room, was so spectacular we returned to dive on it three times!

Hanging with a Local
~ Hanging with a Local ~

When we did wander to other sites, it was in a compact, 2-seater beater with 10 full tanks laying in the bed – perfect for our needs. But carting saltwater soaked divers around takes really its toll on every bit of metal holding these vehicles together.

The first time Don got behind the wheel of our pickup, the bench support had rusted through and the seat fell back to 'Low Rider' position. He just hung his wrist over the steering wheel, looked at me over the top of his sunglasses and crooned "Hey baby – need a ride?"

The Land Life
The wildlife on Bonaire was abundant and unusual; Wild donkeys brayed all night, vibrant parrots squawked all day, feral goats baaaed, tiny geckos splat, and pink flamingos honked in the already rosy salt ponds. These beautiful, huge iguanas skittered all over and seemed fairly fearless. I swear this one was even smiling at me as he posed for the photo. They were also used in a local delicacy – Iguana soup. After multiple beers, Don set his vegetarianism aside and tried some. Tastes just like chicken!