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The ABCs of Bonaire: By Meredith at Reeftraveler

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Time for one of my favorite things. . . GUEST BLOGS!  Without hesitation (because you are all sick of me, hehe) I give you. . .

"The ABCs of Bonaire: By Meredith at Reeftraveler"

 

About Meredith

Growing up in the mountains of West Virginia, I learned to love nature and the environment. In 1995 I became SCUBA certified, and my obsession with the underwater world began. Three years ago I picked up an underwater camera, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve photographed reefs and their inhabitants all around the globe from the Maldives to Tahiti to Australia to Roatan. Today I am the editor of Reeftraveler, a blog about diving, snorkeling, island travel, underwater photography and ocean conservation. Follow my journey at www.reeftraveler.com

 

Meredith in Bonaire – Sporting the Swish One Jacket

 

 

In the far reaches of the southern Caribbean, you’ll find a land where donkeys, goats and flamingos roam free. It’s a Dutch island where the reef beckons from sparkling aquamarine shores, and where the reef is home to more fish species than any other locale in the Caribbean.

 

Bonaire Reef from Buddys

 

And while this island called Bonaire is small in landmass, it boasts a large number of diverse dive sites and is arguably the shore diving capital of the Caribbean. It’s also a great place for underwater photographers to home their skills.

 

Meredith with an underwater subject

 

Chain Moray Eel

 

So what do I like most about Bonaire’s diving?

 

Attitude of diving freedom – Many of the island’s dive shops offer inexpensive unlimited shore diving packages, 24/7 access to tanks, free Nitrox, boat dives and convenient dive lockers. Some even have tank pick-up drive thru stations.

 

Bountiful sea life and variety of species – According to REEF, Bari Reef on Bonaire is home to the most diverse fish population in the Caribbean.  And in general, Bonaire is home to several species rarely seen in the Caribbean such as frogfish, scorpionfish, seahorses and manta rays (we had two manta sightings during our stay).

 

Anemone at Bari Reef

 Barracuda at Salt Pier Dive Site

 Manta at Salt Pier Dive Site

 

Conservation- Bonaire’s history of marine conservation efforts is renowned.  The Bonaire Marine Park was founded in 1979 with the goal of maintaining the ecosystem and protecting the island’s underwater resources.  Also, the island is very serious about lionfish control.  After completing a course, divers are allowed to hunt lionfish using an ELF (Eliminate Lion Fish) device.  Several restaurants on the island serve lionfish on their menus.

 

Bonaire is also a great place for snorkelers who do not dive. Many of the sites are shallow and perfect for snorkeling. Also, many of the dive shops take snorkelers on their dive boats.