Jim Homan's Dive Log
Dutch Springs on 2/5/2008
As an instructor I used to take my students here for open-water dives. The facilities are excellent, and one of the owner's top concerns is safety. Rafts suspended 10 to 15 feet under the surface make for excellent platforms to work on skills. Because of Dutch Spring's proximity to Philadelphia, New York and the Lehigh Valley, it tends to get crowded, especially on summer weekends. The earlier you get into the water, the better visibility will be. If you get away from the muddy flats and follow some of the walls along the side of the quarry, visibility can be about 40-50 feet, even during the peek diving time. Trout, bluegill and bass are common. In fact many bass will follow divers hoping they will stir up a crawfish or two. Several interesting things have been sunk in the quarry, including a helicopter, a fire engine, a van and several boats. Also some of the mining equipment is still visible in parts of the quarry.
The Manasquan Railroad Bridge on 2/5/2008
This is a wonderful site, provided you are ready to enter the water precisely at high slack tide. During the late summer and early fall, divers can find juvenile tropicals that have ridden the Gulf Stream up the East Coast and found shelter in shallow water before gaining size and strength to head back south. Boat traffic sometimes can be a concern, so a dive flag on a float is an absolute must. Although the dive is shallow -- about 35 feet max. -- bottom time is limited to the slack tide. As soon as the tide starts moving out, it is time to exit the water or you may find yourself swept out the Manesquan Inlet to the Atlantic Ocean, a little less than a mile downstream.
Willow Springs Park on 2/5/2008
I have dived this site more than 250 times, all times of the year. Visibility is best in the spring just before the algae bloom and in the fall just after the algae bloom. All sorts of fish life can be found -- trout, perch, pickerel, bluegill, bass -- but the real treat is the freshwater eels, all female, which some come into freshwater after being born in the Sargasso Sea. The quarry also has the usual things placed in it to interest divers: boats, fire truck, airplane, an old wooden sailing ship, a railroad caboose, a milk truck and several cars.
Red Slave on 4/8/2004
Since the officials at the Bonaire Marine Park removed the boat moorings from many of the sites along the south side, they are not dived as often as they had been. We had this and many other sites to ourselves the entire time we were diving this part of the island. Booties are a must and navigation without the buoy can be a little tricky, but the worst that will happen is that you get a little bit of a surface swim if you come up in the wrong spot.
Karpata on 4/8/2004
This was one of the few sites on the west side of the island that was devastated by the waves that hit the island a few years ago. The shallows still retain nice coral growth and the drop-off is among the best in Bonaire. The entry can be a little difficult, especially if you are carrying a camera. And when a sudden storm kicks up, a diver can be beat up pretty good getting in and out. But the quality of the dive is well worth the struggle.
Ol' Blue on 4/8/2004
Care should be taken getting in and out. Booties are a must, as is the case for almost all shore diving in Bonaire. The drop-off is nice, but he shallows took a beating during the storm a few years ago, which is a shame, because there had been a lot of life in water less than 30 feet deep. But even that is starting to recover.
Windsock on 4/8/2004
I have had very good success on this dive, even finding a seahorse at about 60 feet. The waves that hit the island devastated the coral growth in the shallows, replacing it with a lot of the debris from the docks that were wiped out further north on the island. The last time I was there, shortly after the waves, there was an incredible number of juvenile fishes, and you already could see some of the corals recovering. Make sure you lock your car. There are a lot of people who hang out here who know how long a diver will be underwater.
Hilma Hooker on 4/8/2004
Too many divers go right to the wreck and ignore the reefs around the boat or even the relatively shallow hull around 60 feet. I have found some excellent and cooperative shrimp and other photo subjects on the hull. The Hooker itself requires a wide-angle lens -- either 15mm or 20mm -- and I recommend a shot from the sand looking up to the bow with the sun in the background. Keep in mind that will put you at about 120 feet. This is a very popular dive site, so go very early in the morning or expect to have company.
Playa Largu on 4/6/2004
Secluded site, somewhat difficult to find. As a result it may not be dived too often from shore. Booties are a must. No facilities on site. Some large pieces of fire coral and Elkhorn coral in shallows make navigation during entrance and exit important. Fish life made the result well worth the effort.
Saint Marie on 4/6/2004
This site no longer is called Saint Marie, but rather Nos Cos (Our House). Entry off the dock is as easy as it gets, and rope from dock to 90-foot point on reef make navigation a cinch. Staff at Habitat Curacao very helpful, but they do require divers to use their tanks. Wildlife included conger eel, frog fish, hawksbill turtle and flat worm. Large sponges are home to many small invertebrates for anyone who takes the time to look for cleaner shrimp, arrow crabs and banded coral shrimp.
Port Marie on 4/6/2004
Perhaps the best shore dive on the island. Wide variety of life included turtles, reef squid, coronet fish and four different types of eels.
Cas Abao on 4/6/2004
Sandy beach made entrance and exit very easy. Lots of people on the beach, including lots of snorkelers, but few of them were scuba divers, so we did not feel crowded underwater. Fish and invertebrates was typical of Curacao during early spring, including eels, angels, butterflies and hundreds of tube worms.
Airplane Wreck on 4/6/2004
Immediately in front of entry, reef not bad. Go 200 yards to the south and it gets pretty bad. Go 100 yards to the north and visibility goes down to zero where bay enters into ocean.
Playa Kalki (Alice in Wonderland) on 4/6/2004
Sandy beach makes for easy entry with a short swim to the reef. Nice selection of small eels.
Daaibooi on 4/6/2004
A long swim to the reef can make this dive unappealing to some, but there are a lot of juveniles in the shallows that can make that swim worthwhile. Site is spoiled somewhat from the excessive amount of trash in the water.
Wet Suit City on 4/6/2004
The farther we dived to the left on this site, the worse the reef looked. In fact, after about 25 minutes, the reef looked like someone had done his best to clear the area of coral. We dove this at 60 feet on the way out and 30 feet on the way in, and there were large sections of the reef that appeared to be dead without any chance of recovery. The dive definitely is better if you stay closer to the entry point.