Arriving into Bonaire at 6:30am seems like a crazy idea. Fly all night from Houston, arrive at the crack of dawn, check in at the resort.. and go diving? All before 10am? Well, that is exactly how our Thanksgiving holiday started off this year and it was great!
The Ocean First Divers group arrived at Buddy Dive Resort in Bonaire ready for a great week of diving. After checking in and getting our bags sorted out, we met at the dive center for our briefing. After that, everyone unpacked their dive gear and headed out for a shore dive right off the pier. This was a perfect place to figure out our buoyancy and get acclimated to the local diving. The house reef at Buddy Dive Resort is awesome. There is a small wreck, La Macha, about a 20 minute swim to the north and loads of healthy reef to check out on the way. One of the first animals we encountered was the peacock flounder. These masters of camouflage blend into the sand and seem to float along the surface when they are swimming. Huge tube sponges, brain corals, and gorgonian corals line the reef system along the west side of Bonaire.
We did several boat dives as well, traveling across the channel to Klein Bonaire where we found a cute yellow longlure frogfish and a beautiful orange seahorse! Everyone enjoyed the easy, stress-free diving that Bonaire is known for. Later in the week we rented pickup trucks for some shore diving adventures! This was the first shore diving experience for several of our divers. We chose to dive 1000 Steps, which is really only 62 steps, but feels like 1000 when you walk them with full scuba gear on! Everyone did great and enjoyed the freedom of shore diving!
Later in the week we did a fantastic night dive at the Salt Pier. This guided dive proved to be one of the best of the entire week! We found Caribbean reef octopus, huge green moray eels, spotted moray eels, tarpon, lobsters, crabs and all sorts of beautiful sponges! The dive wound up being almost 80 minutes as nobody wanted to get out of the water.
Thanksgiving was spent diving the southern part of the island. Three dives with the boat to ourselves, definitely a great way to spend the holiday. We had a superb dinner at the locals favorite restaurant, Mi Banana. Rather than the traditional Thanksgiving feast we all sampled tasty Venezuelan delicacies and had a blast!
Our last real adventure was diving on the East side of Bonaire, also referred to as the “Wild Side”. The seas are rough on this side and to top it off we had some rain and windy conditions to contend with. We boarded the zodiac and bravely approached the large waves outside of the barrier reef. Everyone was hooting and hollering as we caught some air on the way out! The East side diving was awesome! Loads of turtles and eagle ray sightings topped off the experience. We wrapped up the afternoon with cold beverages & snacks at the Beach Hut before returning to the resort.
Thanksgiving in the Caribbean is the way to go! The group was awesome and everyone had a great time. Diving with friends, enjoying the sun and sea, and relaxing in the tropics definitely competes with a more traditional holiday. Nobody in this group missed cold weather or turkey and stuffing this time around!