By practicing diving in Bonaire you will have the opportunity to discover clear waters fill with fishes and corals. The Foundation of Environmental Education Reef has count 469 fish species here, such as the parrotfishes, angelfishes and butterfly rays. You can see as well sea turtles, sea eagles, sea cucumbers, whale sharks, dolphins and manta rays.
Bonaire is amazing because it has a great environment for diving, especially on the West Coast of the island. It has none intense waves nor strong winds. When these phenomena eventually happen on this part of the island, the East Coast appears as another opportunity. However, on the East Coast you must take enough precautions. First, the water currents, the water outlet and waves make the immersion difficult. It is even really difficult for expert divers.
The island of Bonaire belongs to the Dutch Caribbean. With its 86 official diving sites, this is a perfect destination for diving. Fifty of them have an easy access from the coast. As Aruba, this island has a protected marine life. The Bonaire National Marine Park protects the flora and fauna which are located between the water surface and a depth of 60 meters. There are two farms where corals, as Elkhorn and Staghorn, are growing. It permits to renew the marine flora in the areas where hurricanes destroyed everything.
Diving in Bonarie, consider the current
It is very interesting and recommended to have some diving courses before going diving to Bonaire. It is due to the strong water currents. Some of those, especially for the expert divers are: a boat dive site Rappel, a boat dive site where you can find big gorgonians. It is easy to see turtles and rays in the beach Bengi and Boca Salgbaai, both are located close to the park Washington Salgbaai.
In Andrea I and II and Petries Pillar, the beginners will see anemones, corals and shoals of blue surgeonfish. Bari Reef, with slow water currents, is perfect to learn how to dive. Something special is a coast or boat dive where you will see fantastic marine life.
Windstock, is located close to the airport. This is a site where beginners and professionals can admire turtles and rays. The dive site Lighthouse Point, at Couth of Bonaire, is a suitable dive site for intermediate divers because of the strong currents. The dive site Alice in Wonderland is a dive site where the expert divers will see parrotfishes and angel sharks. In Reef Scientific, Buddy’s Reef, Bari Reef and Sharon’s Serenity you can practice night dives to find sleeping parrotfishes anday eels. Technical diving in Bonaire is also highly appealing. Each difficulty has its rewards. By taking some risks, divers will have the great opportunity to see large pelagic fishes, manta rays and seductive scary sharks. The diving sites are usually delimited by yellow stones, but this is not an impediment for the divers to try other places as well.
Protection of the waters
The entity that manages the famous Marine Park is empowered to close the dive sites where the conditions are deteriorated in order to make regeneration. The future of the fabulous reef ecosystem and the immense variety of marine species is practically insured because the authorities decided to protect the waters adjacent to the coastline of the island and to a depth of 60 meters. So we can understand why Bonaire is the favorite diving destination in the Caribbean islands.
To have an idea of the preservation level, we can say that it is forbidden for the divers to use gloves and kneepads. It is a way to avoid the divers going closer to the fabulous “fire corals,” which have a great amount of beautiful and colorful urchins.
The corals of Bonaire
In some of the beaches of this island, the seabed is sandy and the waves are quite strong. That is why there is not plenty of marine life. So if you are not an expert diver concerning the Bonaire diving sites, it is better to investigate before. In this way you can find good places and sites where you can dive and see corals on the island.
The island abounds with corals. They are situated in a famous place called “corner” of the Caribbean. When you dive in this site, you can see all the corals Elkhorn, and the coral Staghorn, both of them are in the water depth.
Around these splendid coral formations, you can see frequently and permanently flounders, some species of moray eels, turtles but also fry the myriads who take refuge in the corals. Some “bad news” is that these species mostly live with dangerous animals such as coral trout, tarpon and other large pelagic and the big barracuda. Those are usually found alone in some seasons of the year, and at the end they are grouped among others.
The Bonaire barracudas have been located over there for a long time ago. They are one of the biggest attractions because of their size but also because they swim quietly and very close to the divers. It is not the same with other latitudes barracudas. They are very fearful and are always in a run because they are an easy prey for the fishing boats.
Concerning the barracuda in general, we can say that they are wrongly well known for their aggressiveness. However, the reality is other. They are fishes very quiet and even very timid. This shyness does not allow them to swim among the divers. It is especially the case for the Caribbean barracudas. The fact is that they have been associated with an inappropriate aggressiveness, when they are only an easy prey for the fishers.
Furthermore, they are seen as a dangerous predatory for all the marine life. It is mainly because of their great size, they are one of the biggest species and consequently they need more food.
In the well-known reef crest, the highest point of a coral reef, you can see majestic corals. It is like a “movie” because is very impressive. More ahead you can find beautiful coral formation with pure delicate structures made by the water currents. It is something like a landscape of large tracts of small bushes "killed" by the strong winds of the earth.
The amazing fauna of Bonaire
Swimming in all this amazing submarine landscape is common in order to find a splendid variety of fishes. Tropical fishes are present in this part of the ocean, as well as the spectacular French angelfish and the queen angelfish.
As dessert we have the beautiful parrotfish, the one who swims without any problem near to the divers. They even pose for the submarine cameras because they are so proud of their beauty. This is really a great experience and it worth to live it once or more in your life.
We can say that the "underwater jungle" formed by corals that intermingle with algae, move themselves with harmony and elegancy. The surgeon fish feeds on these algae. The surgeon fish is very special. There are so many species of beautiful fishes that are characterized by two kinds of blades at the base of its tail. For this reason, they are well known as “surgeon fish.”
The party still continues for so long. The beautiful mackerel fishes (well known as “Yellow tail Snappers” in Bonaire) do not separate themselves from the divers, by forming a fascinating “underwater community.” Sometimes they can be aggressive, but this is an exception. The groupers are “friends of the divers” as well, although it is advisable to stay at a safe distance from them.
This “jungle” is as well the trumpet fishes’ house. This kind of fish tries to blend in gorgonian corals by taking the same color and the same elongated shape. They think that in this way they will be able to stay unseen. However, the professional divers know them very well and they even know how to take a picture of them while they are among this coral. They have a peculiar characteristic: they usually swim vertically. They are trying to be unseen all the time and, when they feel in trouble, they use the parrotfish as a shield to disguise himself and to not be seen..
Continue with the large anemones, vessel sponges, iridescent tube (which are truly breathtaking), the eels are quietly waiting for their prey, garden eels (which spend their entire life with tail buried in the sand), one of the largest species of lobsters in the world.
In conclusion then, with all the description we just did of this wonderful “underwater rainforest,” you can see as well: purple tube sponges and giant orange sponges (called "elephant ear").