Friday, January 22, 2010

Diving in Bonaire

Bonaire 2010 Underwater
by Shelley

We've been in Bonaire for three days now and are quite enjoying it! Although it's been fairly windy, this tends to keep the hot temperatures bearable and, with both windows of our room open at night, means that we don't have to use the air conditioner and the "white noise" of the wind allows for a great sleep!

We're staying at the Sonrisa which is a fairly new small place and is very nice with a big spacious room. It's not right on the water but only a 2 minute walk to the beach, less than 5 minutes to where we're diving, and maybe 10 minutes to the centre of town.

After one day to find our way around and recover from a long day/late night getting here we started our diving.

Andrew already has his advanced certification and I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to get mine. We're diving with Bruce Bowker's Carib Inn which was recommended to us by friends who have been here a few times.

I'm taking the advanced course from an excellent instructor named Ralf (German). You have to choose 5 out of about 8 topics with navigation and a deep dive being mandatory. I started with "peak performance buoyancy" and despite thinking that my buoyancy totally sucks, I did fairly well on the practical test part of the dive. Next was the "naturalist" dive so beforehand Ralf brought out a book showing photos
of some of the local fish, hard and soft corals, and various other reef creatures. My job was to try to spot them once we got into the water. I have to confess that Ralf pointed out more than I identified on my own but we did see a good variety of interesting things, especially some of the very small things such as sea pearls, various shrimp, fuzz balls, and nudibranchs.

Today was the deep dive (amazing how colors change at depth) and the navigation dive. Ralf and I got a special treat seeing a spotted eagle ray and a southern sting ray just before we arrived back to the boat. Mark Rosin (my friend and Saskatoon's resident orienteering expert and teacher) will be happy to know I kicked butt on the navigation dive! I didn't tell Ralf beforehand that I knew a little bit about navigation just in case I totally messed it up! :-)

Tomorrow morning is the wreck dive which should be fun too. Then things will be a bit more relaxed as we do more diving. Andrew has either tagged along with me or gone off with other divers while I do the course dives. Most of the diving so far has been quite shallow - it's awesome to be able to stay in for so long (over an hour) without running out of air, having such clear beautiful water to dive in, and
an abundance of fish et al to look at and look for!

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