Robert J. West's Dive Log
North Belnem on 6/13/2004
We stayed at the Belafonte Chateau de la Mer, and did more dives from the deck / dock there than anywhere else during our stay on Bonaire in late May 2004. You can see the Belafonte building in the arial view photos just south of the beach. There's a scientific research grid laid out there that makes a dandy navigational reference, even on night dives. Over the course of our dives we saw basket stars (at night) 5 different species of morays, and the entry / exit from the deck / dock was a snap. there's some orange cup corals underneath the deck / dock too. never had any current to speak of.
Angel City on 6/13/2004
I used independent doubles to do a dive combining Angel City and the Hilma Hooker in one dive (my petite wife managed this on a single tank). This was a suggestion from Bas at Photo Tours, and it was a great idea. Swam out to the further reef of the Angel City site, then criss-crossed along it until a large chain appeared diagonally across the reef. Swam toward shore following where the chain pointed until the Hilma Hooker appeared out of the depths - awesome! The fish life & reef health of the outer reef at Angel City was very impressive.
Town Pier on 6/13/2004
We made arrangements with Eddie at Photo Tours to do this dive a bit later in the evening (we entered the water just after 9 PM), and we had the pier to ourselves for three quarters of the dive. Excellent variety of all sorts of stuff - animal and vegetable. Glad we were able to do this dive! Going later definitely helped avoid the crowds, and visibility was OK.
Hilma Hooker on 6/13/2004
Dove the Hilma Hooker twice - once as a combined dive with Angel City (entered at Angel City, exited at Hilma Hooker), and once all on its own. Nice wreck dive with large tarpon, some huge green morays, and a big crab in the sandy bottom. The inner reef here wasn't as impressive as the outer reef was, but the wreck makes up for this. Entry & exit a bit tricky in the terraced shore, but not too bad. No real current to speak of when we dove here.
Andrea II on 6/13/2004
We did a twilight dive entering at Andrea II, going along the reef to Andrea I, then returning at a shallower depth back to Andrea II. Most interesting part of the dive was at safety stop depth, after all the film in the camera had been shot, a 'squid squadron' came along with us for a bit. There is a locked barricade at the boat ramp walls here, but we parked by it and had just a short hike to the entry. You definitely want to pre-scout your entry point before donning your gear here.
Atlantis on 6/13/2004
We drove south and scouted a number of spots to dive and stopped at Atlantis since the entry here was easier than what we could see at Pink Beach or White Slave. a very nice dive, with a moderate current running from south to north when we dove it. This was the southernmost dive we did on Bonaire, and this was the only site we saw the black crinoids with white tips. Return was brisk once we turned to swim with the current - it was really more of a drift dive at that point. Very healthy site.
Port Marie on 6/13/2004
A group of us (Americans, Dutch, and Germans) spent the day here with a DM from Scuba Do (this was where we were taken for "a trip to Westpunt"). The spot was a great place to spend a diving day at the beach. Good restaurant, restrooms, fresh water showers, all for a few guilders fee. I did the first dive on independent doubles, going down near 95 feet, and coming back up across the double reef system. The DM and the newer divers in the group stayed around 60 feet or less. Saw a turtle in the 25 foot depth range. Second dive we swam out to the boat buoy and kept to 60 feet or less. Nice healthy double reef system with plenty to see at all depths, and most patrons weren't diving (a few other groups diving that day as well). The one person who decided not to dive that day in our group kept an eye on our stuff, so we didn't have any security worries while underwater, but the parking was close to the beach and even if we didn't have someone specifically keeping an eye and ear out I wouldn't have had many worries about security of something in a locked vehicle here. The Dutch Navy helicopter flew over while we were swimming out to the boat mooring ball (how's that for security), and checked over the beach as well before heading east along the coast.
JanthielBaai on 6/13/2004
The shore entry here is literally the easiest sandy beach entry I've ever been at. The beach itself is pretty popular, particularly on weekends, and we had zero security worries here. Did a shore dive along the reef east of the protected swimming area - a nice dive with the surface chop on entry & exit minimized by the topography of the bay. Very little current, but it can change quickly - when we started east, there was no current, but shortly after turning around and ascending to around 30 feet we were swimming against a slight current, so check for current periodically before you use more than half your tank. It's quite a distance either east or west of the bay for another decent shore entry / exit point. This was a nicely sloped wall dive. The slight current was enough to have 3 different types of crinoids here, barracuda, lots of anemones, and 3 different species of cleaner shrimp (in droves). If you go west from the bay, to a spot with no marker buoy (but a concrete anchorage with rope) that some of the DM's called "Nude Beach", there's a sand flat with a BIG mantis shrimp living in a hole there. The wall is more vertical on this section west of the bay, but just as nice. The Scuba Do shop here does a lot of business in resort courses and OW certifications. They don't have Nitrox, but do have hyper filtered air, and were courteous and professional. Snorkeling in the shallows at twilight here, we found sharptail eels in the open (one even tested my big toe tentatively!), and I found a fire worm right after that with my bare foot ( YOW! I had no idea what I'd hit until my wife told me she got a great picture of a fire worm out in the open, looking like it had been disturbed) - so if you're in the rocky / rubble shallows instead of the true "beach" area around the entry, wear booties even if you're not diving or snorkeling! The restaurant Zanzibar at the beach here was great, and they even gave me some vinegar for my foot!
Superior Producer on 6/13/2004
We wound up diving the Superior Producer as a boat dive with Ocean Encounters (not what we had planned), so I can't review the entry & exit. One item the DM cautioned us about is the wreck is getting less stable and some of the support beams have collapsed - so we didn't swim in the cargo hold areas. Several barracuda hanging around the wreck. Overall, a nice wreck dive and worth diving while on Curacao, but for reef life there are sites we liked better.
Punt Vierkant on 6/14/2004
Robert J. West
Jun 14, 2004, 12:00 AM
In May 2004 the fence mentioned below was still in place, and the construction mentioned was still "in progress". This site is not able to be dived from shore at this time.
Directors Bay on 8/16/2004
Robert J. West
Aug 16, 2004, 12:00 AM
This site was previously the private beach of the Shell Oil Director in Curacao, and is where the Dutch Queen evidently was allowed to go in the water a few years back. This area was previously fenced off to protect the human VIP's from the sea life. The poles still stand but the fencing is down. Found a seahorse, mantis shrimp, and many peacock flounder in these shallows. The deeper section is a great wall dive, with the wall almost vertical. Visibility is great until you get right where the bay opens to open water, and this gives you the notice to turn around and work your way back. There's an admission fee to this area (3 guiders if I remember right), so security worries are minimized. We had this site to ourselves when we dove it in May 2004. The dive provider at Jan Thiel beach, Scuba Do, was who our trip was performed through. Site is seldom dived and as such is a great spot away from the crowds. Entry has stairs from parking area to beach, with coral rubble in the shallows.