6 Bonaire Shore Dives On the South Side
In Bonaire, shore dives are the norm. In fact, it's the shore dives that is the big attraction as it allows people to dive where they want and when they want. The shore dives can be roughly categorized as those on the north end of the island and, the topic of this page, the south end.
Shore dives in the south have these characteristics compared to the north (generally speaking):
- Fewer people at any given dive site except for perhaps the really popular ones like the Salt Pier.
- Visibility isn't as good in large part because there is more sand and debris coming on the shore.
- While this may vary day to day, it seemed that there were more individual fish around the reef.
- The shallow area leading up to the reef drop off was more interesting with more coral and reef creatures.
- The swim to the reef was longer, but not by a lot.
- Interesting features like a double reef and the piers.
- Easier road access i.e. wide lanes and high speed limit.
- Easier entries — just walk in from the beach. Although the surf sometimes made things interesting.
- Markers were harder to find i.e. a marker to help you identify when you've returned to your starting point.
- You can park pretty close to the water so you don't have to carry / wear your equipment too far.
Chock full of fish and not just Angel Fish.
The shallows and the soft coral here seem to be perfect for sea horses, but alas I didn't find any of them despite a pretty lengthy search.
2. Red Beryl
My buddy had an equipment malfunction here which cut the dive short so not much I can say about it. Our guide chose it as the first easy dive for us so that's probably a good indication of how it would be.
3. Salt Pier
One of the more unique dives in Bonaire because of the way the light shines through the pier supports and the way fish congregate around them. Highly recommended as an afternoon dive, but be aware that you may have to work your way around other divers — many with big cameras.
4. The Lake
One of a few sites where you can access the double reef. Swim out to one reef, big sandy area follows, and then another reef rises up. The second reef is relatively deep so if you're going to it this is probably a dive you want to do first in the day.
5. The Rock
This is an unofficial site with no marker. Probably means you won't find it unless someone points it out to you. I didn't make a note of it on a map so I probably wouldn't be able to find it again.