Last week, Scuba Diving magazine released the annual “Reader Ratings” issue. The island of Bonaire continues to generate strong positive response from the diving community worldwide. In fact, for the 21st straight year, Bonaire was named the Top Shore Diving destination. Anyone who has ever traveled to the island understands why it’s so popular with scuba divers of all ages and skill levels.
A few days ago, we spoke with Brenda Yorke, a local Bonaire photographer and owner of H2OVisions Bonaire and talked about some of her favorite shore diving sites. Yorke also shared some photos that highlight some of the sights and creatures that can be seen at these popular dive sites.
“There are more than 60 dive sites on Bonaire. Most of them are easily accessible from the shore,” Yorke points out. “It’s not easy picking one site over another. Here are some of the sites that I have enjoyed over the years.”
Red Beryl – Located on a large sandy strech along the shoreline, Red Beryl offers an excellent spot for seeing large schools of fish feeding on plankton brought up the dropoff by the currents. The large Elkhorn Coral formations also provide an excellent backdrop for photographers. Depth 30-100 feet.
Salt Pier - The Salt Pier offers excellent wide angle opportunities with lots of growth on the pilings and schooling fish under the shadow of the pier. Depth range is 40 to 70 feet. Access is available from boat or shore but if diving from shore you must get prior permission. You should be able to do this through one of the local dive shops but check first in case rules have changed.
Corporal Meiss - Corporal Meiss dive site is one of the central dive sites. Corporal Meiss has a long, narrow beach with quite a lot of sand and shade from overhead trees. The reef ends at a depth of 30 meters (98 feet) and gives way to a gradually descending sandy floor. The best diving is between depths of 10 and 20 meters (33 and 66 feet) where you can see the greatest variety of corals and sponges.
Something Special – Located just south of the marina entrance, this is a shore or boat dive for the beginner. Currents are mild and the depth is from 20-80 feet. There is very little coral growth, since this is one area where sailboats are allowed to anchor. However, the fish life is abundant, with a sandy bottom where rays are often seen. Great for night diving.
La Dania's Leap - Known for the practice of "leaping" off the shore and then doing a drift dive to Karpata. With light currents and depths of 15-100 feet, La Dania's is one of Bonaire's few vertical walls, with numerous canyons and sand shoots.
For more information about scuba diving and snorkeling on Bonaire, visit the H2OVisions Bonaire website