By Jennifer Cooke (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #3) on Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 7:39 pm:
We spent Dec 18- Jan 15th on island. It was our second trip. I figured I have learned so much from all the posts here it's about time I contributed. Overall, it was a fabulous trip. We flew Las Vegas to Houston and caught the Friday night red-eye. Everything went smooth.
Lodging - We rented from Benny at Bonaire Townhomes. It was perfect for us. Clean, quiet, private, and a great value. Benny is a wonderful host. He is unobtrusive, but makes sure you have everything you need.
Groceries/Food- The stores selections just depends on who got a shipment that week. We found Warehouse had the best prices and selection most of the time. However, More for Less had good fruit and veggies several times. We also used Lisa Convenience store when the bigger stores were out of things like soy milk. Due to our cheapness and being vegetarians, we cooked in almost every meal. We did pick up veggie burgers at Whatta Burger and ate on the benches next to the water once. You can't beat the view. We also tried the deli in the turning circle (across from chat n browse). They had great cappucino. Exito is good for a quick breakfast. Nice bakery counter in the back. We picked up scrambled egg sandwiches to go.
Rental Car- We rented from ABCarrental again. We had one small problem with the truck due to a dying battery. Had to push start the truck at a dive site. They swapped out the battery for us in about five minutes. We will rent from them again.
Water temps - were at 81 degrees for the 1st two weeks and then dropped to 80 degrees for the last two. I dove in a 3 mil shorty and my husband in a full 3 mil. Two weeks in we bought hoods and couldn't believe how much warmer we were. Well worth the money for us.
Diving - we got unlimited air from Dive Friends and also did the nitrox certification this time. Dive Friends was great. We loved having multiple locations for tanks. The nitrox was also worth it. We both felt that we were less tired with the nitrox. We typically dive 2 or 3 times a day and between the hoods and nitrox we had many more 3 dive days than usual.
Our favorite dives were: Alice in Wonderland Red Slave Nukove Candy Land Karpata Cliff
We dove more sites this time but still didn't get to everything. We have decided they are all worth doing in some way. We would alternate between our "favorites" and new sites. I can't think of a site I wouldn't repeat.
There was a lot of bleaching and the best coral seemed to be at 60 feet or below this trip, but the visibility was fabulous and we never had a bad dive. We had a few days of 50-60 feet visibility and the rest of the trip was 80+ ft.
We had more rain than I expected in December, but it only impacted the amount of light on a few dives. The rain never lasted that long and didn't really bother us. The roads were messier than last time and we didn't go to the park this time.
Lionfish- saw numerous lionfish on every dive. There were more at the less dived sites and fewer at sites like Buddy and Bari reef. Many dives we saw 8 or more per dive.
Turtles and rays - We saw more turtles than ever before. Our first week we saw a turtle on almost every dive. We were joking that it was "Turtle Week" We saw 4 rays the entire trip, but had our best and closet look ever at one feeding.
The fireworks between Christmas and New Year's Eve were amazing. They went on for hours every night and New Year's Eve was like watching a professional show in every direction. We were glad when they tapered off after the New Year.
Cruise Ships- there were several in town while we were there. We learned to stay out of the water while they were coming and going. It is uncomfortably loud underwater if you are anywhere near town. Otherwise, we didn't have a problem with the cruise shippers. Most of them don't go anywhere near the northern or southern sites.
We never had a problem with crime. We always left the truck unlocked with some cheap sunglasses and snacks inside. Never even had it gone through that we know of. We locked up our camera and passports in our rooms safe and made sure not to leave anything within view of the windows. No problems at all.
Another great trip. Hopefully the water temps will cool off soon enough for the coral to recover quickly. We will be back again. It doesn't get any easier than shore diving in Bonaire.
By marge karalis (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #1016) on Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 8:17 pm:
Thank you for your nice trip report. You covered everything and I enjoyed it very much.
By elaine sculley (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #1947) on Monday, February 7, 2011 - 12:47 am:
jennifer thank u for the report. very well written and enjoyed ur coverage of everything
Glad you enjoyed it Jennifer! Nice report. I see this was your second trip. Can't tell you offhand how many we've made, but I can tell you the anticipation of returning always builds before the next trip. And for us, that's in less than 3 weeks.
From what I understand, this was an extremely unusual rainy season, but it looks like the normal Bonaire weather has now returned.
By Josie (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #1496) on Monday, February 7, 2011 - 6:25 pm:
Hi, Jennifer --- glad you enjoyed Bonaire. I'm here for just three weeks at Bonaire Town Homes --- my 12th stay with Benny and Ester. You're right, they're the best. I feel like I'm coming home here.... but this home the weather is SO much better than Rochester, NY. Writing this on the hammock outside.