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Divi Bonaire Trip Report - Diving and Sinterklaas

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Overall we had a good time and a great week of diving at the Divi in Bonaire the first week in December 2006. The location of the hotel is ideal - right on the water, a short 5- 10 minute walk into town, situated on a nice reef. The oceanfront room, though small, was clean and had a great balcony right on the water. The biggest downside was the quality of the beds - ours were pretty old and sagging.

The boat diving was very good - the dive shop is well run. Daily there'd be 2 boats going out - generally one to Klein Bonaire and another headed North or South. DMs were good about trying not to duplicate sites. Off of Klein we saw typical reef fish, varied sponges and coral (including black coral, several turtles and even a black tip reef shark (rare for Boanire).

As for shore diving, on site there's a nice set up to dive right from the dock - especially good for night dives. The house reef was especially lively at night, we saw a large green moray hunting and a 4-5 foot tarpon who seemed to think he was a dolphin - spinning and doing loop de loops in our lights.

There's a Hertz right on site at the hotel so you can rent a car for a few days to do shore diving or just expore the island. We rented a Suzuki Jimmy and did afternoon shore diving. The Divi is not ideal for this as its about 100 yards to schlep your gear to the back gate to load truck, but we mangaged pretty well. We really enjoyed "the diving freedom" in Bonaire - just the two of us chooosing a dive site, figuring out the best entrance/exit and diving. We especially liked 1000 Steps, Andrea II Windsock and Alice in Wonderland. We managed to do 21 dives during our week.

The onsite restaurants at the Divi were good - the breakfast buffet was nothing too fancy but was satisfactory. The Chibi Chibi which serves lunch and dinner, was quite good for lunch (especially the catch of the day) and has a great location over the water - you can see the fish down below right from your seat. For dinner we walked to a different restaurant in town each night (Cappricio's, Donna and Georgio"s, Cactus Blue, Richard"s, Imperial Sushi, It Rains Fishes, Bambu) - all were good - but none stand out as amazing.

One highlight of the trip was seeing the Christmas party for the kids at the Divi. Quite a new experience for those of us from the US. Since Bonaire is a Dutch island, kids get presents from Saint Nicholas and his helpers on December 6. David Sedaris has a funny piece regarding the Dutch vs. US traditions at Chrismas -
http://filebox.vt.edu/j/juvandyk/pics/6to8blackmen.htm
Some photos:
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/556378180tyeURe

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