Oct 292014

My ride was waiting for me when I exited immigration, and we were off to dive! Volker, one of the owners of Dive Timor was there to pick me up, and took me straight back to their dive shop / guesthouse / restaurant. I was staying at their guesthouse, which consisted of around ten different rooms/apartments/etc. It seemed the convenient option given my limited time, plus would help me to maximize diving time. In addition, one of the most popular restaurants in town was listed on TripAdvisor as being above their apartments, so seemed a win win.

Got to their location, and quick lodging check-in. They weren’t too full, so I ended up on a two bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, the air conditioner in the common area didn’t work, but the two in the bedrooms were quite strong so kept the whole place reasonably cool. For the price, it was a fantastic choice!

After about 30 minutes waiting for everyone to arrive, we packed up the scuba gear in the van and headed to the first dive site, Dili Rock West.


I hadn’t been diving since St Kitts back in July, but really wasn’t nervous. I had my gear, etc, and the only nervousness was that this would be my first short dive. I’d never gone into the water from the shore before. Plus, being on the other side of the world was kinda cool. I guess after diving in Seychelles it shouldn’t have been a huge deal, but hey.

Plan was to walk about 10-20 meters into the water, and then try and get the fins on and head further out. Unfortunately, the waves kept crashing down on us, and I panicked a slight bit. Eventually managed to get things sorted well enough that we could descend, and once underwater things were zen and peaceful. Unfortunately, I’d wasted quite a bit of air at this point. Fortunately, I’d decided not to take my camera on the first dive, so I could really just focus on getting used to the water again and enjoying the coral.

I’d used a full 1/3 of my air at this point, and we were only 6 minutes in. I was kind of nervous I was going to be the reason we had to come up early (especially since I often am the first one out of air) but once I calmed down I started using the rest of it really slowly. There were only four of us diving, and two divemasters. Two beginners with one, and me and a guy doing his advanced certification with the other.

It was a good 45 minute dive, and I was excited for the second. We walked about 1/2 mile down the beach to “Dili Rock East” and got ready for the second dive. This one was much easier, because I knew what I was doing a bit better and how to fight the waves when getting into deeper water.

Almost right after descent was a cool lionfish hanging out:


The reef dropped down to about 60 feet pretty quickly, and it was a cool view:


Cool coral:


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Sep 012011

After arriving in Bonaire, and a quick trip through immigration and customs and we headed to the taxi rank and grabbed the world’s largest taxi (basically a minivan) to our hotel.  Bonaire uses the US Dollar, so that made things much easier.  $10 and five minutes later, we were checking in at the Divi Flamingo Beach Hotel.  First impressions?  The staff basically seemed bothered to have us there, and every question was met with “I don’t know” or “I don’t think so” – definitely not a very helpful bunch.  The location was great, however, and the property was clean so I can’t really complain for a beach hotel. Perhaps the strangest part is that all of the water in the rooms – from the shower to the tap water – tasted very strongly of sulfur. Strange, but not that annoying.

Room was good, clean, and ice cold (very important to me in tropical climes) and the next mission was to find out about possible snorkeling trips. It took several phone calls and visits to various places on the property, but we eventually learned there was a 2pm scuba and snorkeling trip headed out from the dive shop for a very reasonable price…score!

We wandered the town for a bit looking for lunch but struck out every place we tried. It seems most restaurants are only open for dinner since the divers that come to Bonaire like to stay close to the hotel (and dive sites) during the day. We ended up on the hotel restaurant which turned out to be good because it was on a patio looking right over the water, and we got to watch all sorts of bright tropical fish swim by in the clear blue water as we ate.

After lunch it was off to the boat and time for the adventure. We went maybe 10-15 minutes out from the island over to a reef just off the island of Klein Bonaire just a few kilometers away. It was the two of us and four people doing scuba, and the dive master gave us a one hour limit off the boat. It was actually blast being out there, and I was amazed at just how much (and how far) you can see in the crystal clear water. The highlight came about 10 minutes before we had to finish up when we spotted a giant sea turtle swimming by. Was very cool…and then just a few minutes later we spotted a huge lobster hiding under a group of coral…very awesome!

We chilled in the room for a bit in the afternoon, caught up on e-mails, and enjoyed the complimentary Cava and Chocolates the manager had delivered for my birthday. While the staff we came into contact with were mostly quite indifferent to helping, the manager and the folks in the dive shop were absolutely awesome! I also took a walk near the water to see what other sea creatures I could spot, and ended up watching a group of crabs for a bit.

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