In November of 2017 it was decided that we (Compass Dive and Sail) would take a trip to the island of Bonaire. Several folks have been there before, but I had not, and wanted to see what all the hype was about.

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” -The Dalai Lama

On July 21st we boarded our plane from Washington Dulles Airport bound for Atlanta, then off to Bonaire for 7 days. Our destination was Buddy Dive Belmar just south of Kralendijk. This would be home base from which we would be deciding each days’ dive location. Buddy Dive Belmar is a collection of condos rather than hotel rooms with a house reef for us to dive on. The staff at Belmar are great, and the dive pros are very knowledgeable about local dive sites, and local recommendations. Also, at Belmar you have the choice of diving regular air or NITROX (I highly recommend NITROX).

Every day was something new: Salt Pier, the wreck Hilma Hooker, Oil Slick Leap, Karpata, Andrea II and many more. What was awesome for me was that I was able to see marine creatures I have never seen before. I saw a juvenile green sea turtle munching on sea grass, a juvenile hawksbill turtle out for a swim, spotted eagle rays, different types of eels, octopus, big tarpon, and lots and lots of fish! Every day started with the anticipation of what we were going to see. It was very relaxing seeing fish and coral at different depths, but most importantly I was able to see and experience these things with people who are essentially like family at this point! After all, travel is only as good as the people you are traveling. If you are a diver (or want to learn to dive), you must put Bonaire on your list. It is simply awesome. It is all easy shore diving, plus boat dives are available too. Logging dives with good friends, experiencing something new, and experiencing all Bonaire has to offer was everything I expected and I’m very happy I went.  Now the question is….when do we go back?!

The only sad part was waking up after we got back and not seeing the ocean out of my window!

Matt Barrett – PADI Assistant Instructor