The trip started off with a little stress at Birmingham airport and thank god for 'authorised to fly' form completion, because not sure we would have made our flight if we had not completed that prior to arriving at the airport as the queues were horrific.
After dropping our bags and checking in, for the next two and half hours we queued, went through security and walked to gate, no shopping, no passing GO, just queueing.
And then a two hour sit on the plane because the doors closed and we had 'missing' passengers... but guess what the bags were on the plane. So a bag(s) search commenced, it went on and on. but eventually we pushed back and were airborne
First stop was at Schiphol at Amsterdam for now what was a four hour layover... boarded another flight to Bonaire via Aruba. Yeah finally on holiday
Picked up at the airport and arrived in resort - Buddys Dive Resort. Logistics all worked (well with the exception of late takeoffs and airport queues).. but we had arrived and the holiday could start.
Day 1 was about orientation at the Dive Centre (Buddy's Dive Centre), pickup the trucks, complete the mandatory first dive on the house reef (Buddy's House Reef) and then we went for a drive, found a supermarket bought some stuff and now we were properly settled in.
Shore diving in Bonaire is relatively simple as we had been given a dive map of the island and had our own detailed reference guides. So we had a little list of sites we wanted to dive along with a few underworld creatures we wanted to find.
We guided ourselves through the dives, choosing dive sites from our reef guides and we have to say there was no such thing as a bad dive.
If you pulled into a site and there were to many cars, you pull out and go to another site. If the boat is in at the Salt Pier you go another day. It really is that simple
The roads to drive on are not bad, you generally see the holes before you 'hit' them. Entrances vary but as shore entrances go relatively straight forward.
Would strongly recommend wet boots (yes Neil - Wetboots!). Flip Flops can be worn and in fact they can be tucked into your wetsuit and be taken on a dive to 30 metres when you realise that what you have been doing for a few days of throwing them back to the beach might not be a good idea on the dive to the Hilma Hooker or on a night dive when you can not see the sea urchins you might stand on!
Maybe a new PADI Speciality is required ... The PADI Flip Flop Speciality
A few days after full moon a phenomena happens underwater in the Caribbean Sea; Underwater fireworks by tiny creatures called Ostracods! and we were there and we did this dive..
Whilst waiting for the Ostracods to start mating you can experience bioluminescence from another marine creature, called Dinoflagellates. These are mostly seen around the new moon phase.. clap your hands underwater or just quickly move your hands and you get to see something that looks like fairy dust. And then the light show we had come for... the Ostracods swimming in a vertical line towards the surface whilst flashing and signaling the females
That dive will live in my memory for a very long time, so glad we did this. Get the chance go, you will not be disappointed.
We also did a night fluorescence dive - this is where a difference in the guides came in.. could have been better, could have done it ourselves and if this is something you want to do, maybe I would recommend buying the equipment and running this yourselves - you might find we purchase in for the club in the future.
Photographs by Tracey Roberts
Thanks to Martin Coe, Keith Horsted, Neil Howlett, Edward Jones, Ollie Jones, Suzanne Jones, John Martin, Tracey Roberts, Nick Robinson, Alan Starkey and Bridget Weid for a week of great company, lots of laughs, great diving and snorkelling companions.
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