Manta Divers November, 2010 Looking to Bonaire
With the winds of November blowing away our warm air, it is time to think about the tropics where the diving is warm! As you know, Team Manta is headed to Bonaire, the shore diving capitol of the world March 12-19, 2011. In an effort to fill in the last few spots, let me tell you what we have in store for our early spring get away.
A part of the Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire is a low lying island 50 miles north of Venezuela. The reef that surrounds the island starts at the shoreline and with an annual rainfall of only 22in. of rain, the water’s visibility is typically 100ft. or more. It is not a surprise that this is known world wide as a paradise for divers and snorkelers alike.
Bonaire’s reefs are so pristine thanks to several things. First, the island in out of the hurricane belt and rarely has weather that poses any threat to the reefs. Second, in 1979, the Netherlands Antilles National Parks Foundation (STINAPA) received a grant from the World Wildlife Fund for the creation of the Bonaire marine park. The park incorporates the entire coastline of Bonaire, and Klein Bonaire, from the high tide mark to the sea bottom at 200ft. And make no mistake; this is not just a name and lip service.The diving operations know that the marine environment is threatened by many things, such as fishing, pollution and global climate change, so they are very invested in keeping it as safe as possible. To that end, they have the divers do a shore check out dive so they have their weight dialed in and they can “dust the cobwebs” off their skills. Taking or touching any shells, fish or coral is strictly forbidden. Spear fishing or anchoring of boats is also not allowed. Finally, if marine park staff notice coral stress at a particular site, they will temporarily close it to diving to allow it to recover.
Planning your diving in Bonaire is much like planning your day at Disneyland as there are plenty of guide books out there and you will want to be sure to have ample time to experience your favorite attractions. Each evening we will plan out what dives sites to hit the next day. Since all the sites are marked with a rock with the site’s name on it, locating the entry point is easy. Groups of divers will load into the provided truck, grab their tanks at the handy drive-through and head out, the beauty being that there is no time schedule! Go when you want, for as long as you want. As you know, if you are doing boat dives, the crew limits your dive time to fit their schedule, but the beauty of shore diving is that you can dive as long as your air and your computer allows. Now, the last time we were in Bonaire, our newly certified diving buddies did not have dive computers and consequently were diving tables. This is fine for newer divers who tend to suck down their tanks pretty fast, but since these hardy divers were doing three to four dives per day, they quickly mastered their buoyancy and their air consumption decreased. They would have been quite limited, time wise, using the dive tables, but thanks to Bonaire’s shore side reefs, they would plan to explore the deeper parts of the site until they neared the NDL, and then ascend to 15 ft to explored the shallow parts of the dive sites until theywere tired, or low on air.
In addition to the great diving, there is plenty to do topside on Bonaire. A non-diving day could be spent exploring the Washington-Slagbaai Park that covers the entire northern part of the island. Home to over 190 species of birds, towering candle cacti, goats, donkeys, and lizards, there are plenty of photo ops. If you are feeling very energetic, you may choose to climb some of the steep hills for sweeping views of the island. On the southern end of the island, you will find the solar salt flats, home to thousands of birds, and the best spot to see flamingos. Finally, if you tour around the tiny capital city of Kralendijk, you will see colorful, well-preserved buildings giving clear evidence of Bonaire’s Dutch history. You will also find open air bars, restaurants and markets where you can simply wander and soak up the island lifestyle.
The cost of the trip for divers is $1935 (discount available for cash or check payment), including airfare. For all the details on the trip, check our tropical adventure page. We hope you’ll join us on this Team Manta adventure!
In other news!
If you are thinking about getting your own tank and/or weights, get your order in soon. Orders received and paid for by November 29 get a 25% discount.
Manta Divers is now an Aggressor Fleet dealer. We can help you book a worry-free dive trip of a lifetime on one of the Aggressor live aboard. In addition, for a limited time, if you book your trip through us, you will receive a gift certificate worth $100 towards the purchase of an Aqualung BC, regulator and computer.
Equipment Specialist: November 9, 11, and 16 at the shop starting at 6:30pm. Expand your knowledge of how your equipment works, learn to do some simple repairs and find out about some cool diving stuff beyond your BC and regulator. Prior registration and purchase of the text is required.
Marine Ecosystems: Dec. 6, 8 and 13 at the shop starting at 6:30pm. Learn what’s going on in 70% of the earth and start to appreciate the amazing strength and fragility of the ocean environment. Study fish identification and find out how you can reduce your carbon “finprint.” Call the shop for information on fees and required materials.
Fish ID night: If you want to get a little more out of your next snorkeling (or dive) trip, come learn the names of some of the fish you will be seeing under the sea. Dec. 8that 6:30pm. No text required. $25.
Try Scuba: Nov. 14 at 1pm and 3pm at the Rec Plex in Pleasant Prairie Grow your own dive buddy!
Enriched air diving: Dec. 14 at 6:30
Open Water class: Knowledge development, Nov. 30, Dec. 1, and 7. Pool sessions, Dec. 2 and 9 at 6pm and the Rec Plex.