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Bonaire - Plaza Resort w/DNY June 25 - July 02, 2011

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by Jax, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Jax

    Jax Responsibility Dodger ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
    21,708
    4,606
    113
    So, someone PM’d, “What’s up? You’ll write a book about diving in a river and have nothing to say about Bonaire?”

    Okay, she’s right. <sigh> I do owe a Bonaire trip report. I went to Bonaire 25 June – 02 July with the DNY folks – Most amazing trip set up initially by KeithDiver and GypsyJim and brought to conclusion by Jim! What a splendid job!

    First of all, for those of you that didn’t see it here / on Facebook: We (our community) had a bit of an adventure with a wildfire going through our neighborhood the week before Bonaire. We were not even sure we’d be able to get our dive stuff until the last minute. So, that lovely sense of anticipation and excitement of a long-awaited vacation were clouded with dismay and regret for those that lost everything. Therefore, please understand this will not be as exuberant as my normal reports.

    We flew Phoenix to Houston on Friday, and caught the near-midnight flight into Bonaire. My husband was fortunately upgraded to first class, thus leaving me with three seats to myself! Shrimp that I am, I slept the entire flight. :D I definitely had it better than he did. Arrival was 5:30 am on Saturday.

    There is no jetway in Bonaire, so we walked down the steps, quickly went through the immigration line, and sat (we got lucky) in a covered-but-open room. No AC. I have to admit, that little note bothered me, as I could imagine awaiting the flight home without AC. :shocked2: (Fortunately, that assumption was wrong.) There wasn’t much checking of luggage going through customs, and as soon as we walked through, there was a man advertising the Plaza Resort. We met noreastDIVER84 on the van for the about 3 minute trip to the resort. He’s a fellow sidemounter; because this trip was pure recreational with my husband, I did not pack my sidemount gear, but just my BP/W. The resort has good security, with a manned guardhouse at each gate.

    At the resort, as expected, no rooms were ready so – instead of the locked area we thought we’d have, they just set our luggage to the side. :idk: No one messed with it, so okay. They noted our arrival, but we had to come back to check in.

    By now, it’s around 6:30 / 7 am. We’re starved, so off to the restaurant. The Plaza had two restaurants, both “expensive”, but both perfectly competitive to the rest of the restaurants. They were very, very good. My husband was pretty exhausted – between the stress of work, the fire, and that he can’t really relax while traveling, I was concerned about him. I was not as out-going as normal, and didn’t go meet the fellow travelers – sorry, guys. Y’all are perfectly wonderful! :hugs:

    After breakfast, and feeling a bit better, we headed for the STINAPA brief which basically says, don’t touch. Sign a bunch of papers – if you get your papers ahead of time, bring them so you don’t have to do it again. About this time, I hook up my camera with strobe to take pictures . . . and my strobe doesn’t work. Are you kidding me??? No, I had not checked it before I left. I checked safety items, but not the camera. Again, a downer. :(

    I was a little confused – they said everyone had to do a check-out dive, and I was all “with whom do we check in” . . . which seemed to confuse George . . . :lol: It seems it is all on the honor system.

    George was a hoot, with a heavy Dutch accent that we all struggled to understand. We might have looked a bit like a herd of cats to him . . . he did pretty okay on keeping us under control. :lol: We got our STINAPA tags and locker keys . . .

    Locker Keys. I think we left our stuff in it just once. Probably won’t get them again. However, if you can scarf up one of the ‘kiddy wagon’ carts they have running around, you’ll be very happy!

    Somehow – it was probably Gypsy Jim with whom we shared a quad! – we had a room, so we got our stuff after the STINAPA briefing and headed to the room. By the way, Jim and his gal are the nicest people; we’d share with them again in a heartbeat! Right about now, I would have blown off diving for the day, because this dive vacation was definitely more attractive as a just-relax vacation. However, my husband was okay with the checkout so off we went.

    My drysuit neck seal gave way – electrical tape didn’t hold, and I flooded the bajeezes out of it. You should have seen the shop attendees trying to not laugh outright as I poured a gallon out of each leg. I was heart-broken. . . I could not see diving the week like this. Why dry? I am comfortable in a 7 mil in an 84F pool. I figured that I would be pretty darned chilled after 3-4 dives a day in 82F temps. (I was right.)

    We put everything up, I rinsed out my suit, and let it dry outside. I was hating life right about now. My husband fell asleep, so I napped too . . . Let’s see, a three-hour nap and still followed it with a 9-hour night’s sleep? Oh, yeah; we bled off some serious stress. Still, I was stressed because I did not want to be constantly fighting a dry suit.

    That afternoon, things got better. I couldn’t find a 5 mil on the island . . . I’m thinking I’m wearing three 3-mil shorties . . . Then PixiePixie offered up her 3-mil full – God Bless her! I swear, she saved my vacation! I put a 3mil shorty over it. Yeah, I was chilled by dive 3, but I toughed it out. If you readers have bioprene, no probs, but I was dyin’.

    The diving was everything you would hope it to be. Lots and lots and lots of critters – more varieties of parrotfish than I’ve ever seen! On these oft-dived spots, one rarely saw a lionfish.

    We had several tanks off boats as part of the package, and a night dive thrown in. Our 1-tank dive was over to Klein Bonaire – I could have spent all the boat dives there! The largest loggerhead turtle was there, as well as a well-populated reef.

    We also took a three-tank boat dive that took us up to the NorthEast coast – sites 1, 2, and “Taylor-made”, a site not on the map. The good news, is these sites were teeming with life. The bad news was that there were an enormous number of invasive lionfish, and grown to a good (10”) size. Between the two guides, they filled a 5-gal bucket.

    The shore diving was splendid; one just picks their way across some uneven footing and through mostly gentle waves, then duck under and swim to the wall. Every site had something different and exciting. However, the dangers were driven home by the finding that one of our tripmates had broken her leg due to a misstep in the walk out of the ocean. It was very sobering news for all of us.

    We were also fortunate to help another celebrate a birthday at Rum Runners’ at Captain Don’s Habitat Resort. Due to the ever-present breeze, the ‘candles’ were sparklers; I got a lovely picture of the birthday person “blowing them out”. :blinking: I need permission to post, tho. I can post this one, though:

    [​IMG]

    It was such a lovely evening! We enjoyed it thoroughly and hope the others did too.

    Gypsy Jim took us on a tour of the island; from the salt drying ponds in the south to a drive through the city. He knows all the best sites and restaurants, so I highly recommend him as a roommate or a dive guide! ;)

    Yo, Pilot Fish!!!! Not one problem with theft! Not one, darn it!! I bought one of those little "waterproof" credit card / key / money holders that you can take down with you so you don't leave anything in the truck -- That $#%^&* thing leaked immediately! As Jim put it, it "does a better job keeping water in than keeping it out." So, I left that POS on the seat of the truck, windows open, just hoping it would disappear. Nope. No luck, no theft. :(

    Coming home was a breeze! If you haven't done the GOES Global Entry System, you are doing yourself a disservice! We flew through immigration and customs like they didn't exist! GOES is totally worth the cost and paperwork.

    All-in-all, I highly recommend Bonaire if you want to dive your backside off, or if you simply want to relax and shed the cares of the world. The Plaza, while obviously past its hey-day, still rates a solid “C” for facilities and an A+ for the price / package they gave us. The restaurants were very good – we ate at the Tipsy Seagull several times and the food was wonderful! Yes, expensive compared to the States but comparable to the prices on the island. You get up when you want to, you can analyze your tanks and they will be at the shore when you are ready to dive (don’t leave them too long, or someone might pirate your Nitrox ;) ). There are always lots of air tanks – the on-site shop ran out just once, on the first day. I found they worked hard with the group, to insure extra tanks as needed (some made it a habit of jumping off the boat and swimming in. :D ), and were as accommodating as possible in having boats ready to go where we wanted.

    Most of all, I have to applaud Gypsy Jim for being the de-facto group leader, as he herded us cats deftly and cheerfully to sign up for all the niceties he’d arranged for us, and for Cardonna travel for schlepping all this for us.
     
    ctx120, keithdiver and gypsyjim like this.
  2. gypsyjim

    gypsyjim I have an alibi ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: capitol region of New York
    22,816
    11,424
    113
    Nice! We had a great time too!

    I was absoluty swamped with work when I returned and then both Colleen and I have been down hard with some real nasty bag for days now, so it does not look like I will be putting together a trip report of my own any time soon.

    It was fun reading yours, and remembering the fun U/W and topside!
     
  3. bkyaffe

    bkyaffe Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
    76
    8
    8
    thanks for the update! super excited for my october trip... 4d on Curacao and then 10d @ Bamboo Bali Bonaire and diving with Wannadive.
     
  4. Jax

    Jax Responsibility Dodger ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
    21,708
    4,606
    113
    Oh, yeah, I forgot:

    Water surface temp: 84F

    Water bottom (90'): 82F

    Visability" 100' or better. :D
     
  5. DiverVince

    DiverVince Manta Ray

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Overlooking Winnipesaukee in NH and la isla bonita
    612
    58
    28
    I just LOVE to dive in 100 foot Viz...:D
    And whatever happened to PF??? :rofl3:
     
    Jax likes this.
  6. Mossman

    Mossman Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SoCal
    3,387
    1,267
    113
    J broke her fibula after a misstep hiking back to the truck at Old Blue. That was no fun.
     
  7. Jax

    Jax Responsibility Dodger ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
    21,708
    4,606
    113
    Isn't that the truth! Poor gal, she kept her spirits up, though.
     
  8. Mossman

    Mossman Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SoCal
    3,387
    1,267
    113
    Oh, yeah. Considering the unavailability of pain medication on the island, she needed lots of spirits to keep her spirits up.
     
  9. trident00

    trident00 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida near Brooksville
    166
    1
    0
    Some friends and I are headed to bonaire in a week and a half. This will be my first dive trip out of the US and I am very excited. Do you have any tips for packing for the travel? I was planning on taking a BP/wing. Am contemplating taking a canister light for night diving, but worried about its weight and what security will do when they see it on the xray. What is the best plan for finances there? US cash, credit cards, travelers checks?

    I really enjoyed your trip report!!

    Cheers, Walt
     
  10. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    4,851
    2,230
    113
    Please elaborate. I'm not a fan of the overuse of narcotic pain killers, but if I break a fibula, I'm probably going to want one!

    Richard.
     

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