2011 Bonaire Trip Report, Pictures, and Slideshow (2nd Trip)
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Details of the trip are written by Kim as given below.
We spent the week of Christmas, 2011 in Bonaire. After taking the kids here on a family vacation on August, we decided to go back in December by ourselves for a dedicated dive trip. We stayed at the Sand Dollar for the first time ever and enjoyed diving on the Bari Reef again. We have stayed at Den Leman (next door to sand dollar) in the past, and the Bari Reef is one of our favorite dive sites on the island. We rented a studio condo through a private owner on VRBO and were happy with the unit. It was not fancy and certainly not as upscale or modern as some of the other places we have stayed on Bonaire, but it was perfectly fine for us and very reasonably priced. Since it was just the two of us, we ordered food from the restaurant next door at Den Leman and the sandwich shop across the street (Elly's Deli) for most of our meals and ate on the screened-in porch. It was very nice because we could walk to either place and order, then clean our gear, etc. and go back to pick it up. The weather was remarkably good all week. We only had some scattered showers on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
We did the majority of our diving on Bari Reef. Kim was getting over a sinus infection for the first few days and Darren had a head cold for a couple of days later in the week so we took it easy and dove on site much of the time. We did go south to Salt Pier one morning for a nice dive - we love seeing all the sponges and corals on the pilings – it was great for wide angle photography. We also dove Red Slave one morning when the sea was calm enough. It is a very unusual dive - not really what I would call a pretty dive but the sea plume corals are very thick and all bent seaward from the constant current motion so it is a very unusual dive. The only other south side sites we dove were Red Beryl and Invisibles. Both were good. We really enjoyed the dives on Bari and I used my 100mm lens on many dives. We saw lots of cool macro life, including a banded coral shrimp with eggs that looked like they were close to hatching and a funky-looking small octopus. We saw lots of flounder and spotted scorpionfish as well as spotted eels. We managed to find one lobster and joked that we had found "the last lobster on Bonaire."
The only real issue we had was with our truck. It was a bit sluggish starting up throughout the week and it would not crank at all on Saturday when we were ready to depart for the airport. We called Total and they were sending someone to get us when we finally tried it one more time and it cranked. We made it to the airport okay but did not stop to fill up the gas tank. Of course, the car cranked just fine when we got there (after it had been running a while) so they did not believe we had a problem. They checked with the owner and then charged us the outrageous refueling fee. This is the second truck we have rented from Total that had serious problems cranking (August and December 2011) so we will not be renting from them again.
Overall it was a great trip – we will definitely be back!