bevcollins

bevcollins

My Dive Map

Reviews (7)

Bonaire

5
5
5
4

The Bluewater Travel overview and the two existing reviews are right on target for this dive destination. I have gone to Bonaire for two weeks in early June for the past 5 years. Compared to all the other Caribbean locations I have dove, Bonaire is by far the most convenient for scuba diving when you want to dive and for ease of tank fills. Every year I discover something new despites frequenting the same dive sites in Bonaire. I just wanted to add a few tips to the previous reviews.

Mosquitos
Though not very aggressive the mosquitos on Bonaire can be thick when the wind blows over Lac Bay and there is the threat of Dengue Fever from them. Buy a Mosquito Zapper Racket at the supermarket and then bring it home as a souvenier rather than a T-shirt or leave it for the next guest.

Tanks and Tailgates
Don't leave a tank alone standing on the truck's tailgate......I know this from personal experience.

Donkeys and Lizards
Though tempting don't feed either it just puts them in harms way by making them a nuisance.

On the Wing
Check out the tops of the cactus for green and yellow native parrots. Look out over the salt ponds for flamingos.

Giant Green Morays
On my last trip we had the pleasure of seeing giant green morays hunting the reef at night which we had not seen in the previous 4 years. Their population was though to have been devasted by a form of dysentery. Some believe Hurricane Omar 2008 elimated the source of the infecfon when it destroyed an over the water bar with a failing septic system. Bonaire has been working on it's infrastructure for better waste management with the support of the local community. I will say over the past 5 years I have seen more red algae on the reef including on Kline Bonaire so I am glad they are being proactive as the tourism on Bonaire grows more and more.

Coral Spawning
It is possible to see coral spawning between September and October. STINAPA tries to give their best prediction of when the event will occur. Go to www.tourismbonaire.com to review their past and future predictions.

Fluorescence Dive
Last year I went on a Fluorescence Night Dive with Buddy dive's photo shop on site. I believe they still offer it one or two nights per week for $50. The dive is from their dock and you get the blue light and yellow barrier filter to place over your mask. It added a whole new dimension to what you can see on a night dive and when I got home I bought the equipment for personal use from Bluewater Photo and Video. With a little additional equipment you can also photograph and video fluorescence.

Geo Cashing
Another top side activity to do during surface intervals.

Food
Though Bonaire offers fine international dining don't skip the food trucks/carts. Be sure to get a burger on kite beach from Cactus Blue. Sometimes the owner Hagen has lionfish burgers available . You too can hunt lionfish but only with a guide designated by STINAPA. In town you will see a few nights per week food carts selling grilled chicken, pork chops, and ribs with french fries. Don't just reach for ketchup but go for the white garlic sause.

Reminder
Do NOT leave valueables in your rental truck. Every year we have seen broken glass in the parking lot at Karpota indicating someone rolled up their windows and locked the door, a give away something good is inside! Buy a few cheap polarized sunglasses from Walmart before leaving the states and leave them on the dash. If they get stolen not a big loss and consider it a donation to spare a needy islander or visitor cataracts in the Caribean sun.

Visited on 06/2013 - Submitted on 03/03/2014
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Florida

5
2
2
5

VENICE BEACH FLORIDA DIVING REVIEW

A very different dive plan! Dive from the beach or take a charter from one of the local dive shops to collect fossilized shark teeth. You will find the most teeth and other fossils such as inner ear bones of whales, dugong rib bones, giant ground sloth bones, mastadon molars, turtle shell, and prehistoric horse teeth when you reach 21 feet of water from the shore line. The Venice Beach Pier makes a nice reference point as the end of the pier is about the right depth. You can park at the county park near the pier and use the boardwalk to access the beach. This treck is not for the deconditioned as the walk is long carrying tanks. I gave only two stars for marine life because it is sparse. You might see sea horses, scallops (but don't take in this area), sea robins, and jelly fish. Many "empty" shells contain small octopus so do be careful when fanning the sea floor for teeth. You will not see a coral reef. I recomend purchasing a fine mesh bag with velcro to store your finds and a paperback fossil book so that you know what you might find in Florida. I only gave conditions 2 stars because visiblity if very unpredictable. Winds kick up the silt in this shallow gulf area very easily. Top side the beaches are wide and there are a lot of restaurants and hotels to fit any budget.

Visited on 03/2011 - Submitted on 02/28/2014
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Four Seasons Bora Bora, French Polynesia

5
5
5
5

What can I say, it's The Four Seasons in paradise on earth! Though they obviously made an ecologic impact on the island by their presence they have established a coral research lagoon with a guest education program for all divers and non-divers to attend. The resort uses local dive operators to provide boat dives and gear to guests. I chose Top Dive because they seemed closer but in actuallity everything is close. They picked us up right at the resort dock and the dive sites were all close by. The crew of 2-3 three were very friendly as is the nature of these islanders. We seen so many sharks on the dedicated shark dive that we started looking for other creatures to look at such as the blue mantled clams. A known manta ray feeding station in the lagoon produced 5 large rays. The over the water bungalows were spacious and had every amenity desired even room service by canoe. Two restaurants on site. One providing a la carte selections including sushi and the other offered endless buffets with beautiful presentations.

Visited on 10/2010 - Submitted on 02/27/2014

Florida

5
3
5
5

BLUE HERON BRIDGE DIVING REVIEW

Our very own shallow "muck dive" on the East Coast, USA! Day dives are from the beach with an easy flat water, sandy bottom entry. Night dives are either by dive boat operator or from the beach with permision obtained from the park by a local dive operator. Plan this dive when you can hit both a day and a night dive. The night diving is not to be missed! There is not a reef but the abundance of marine life is amazing. I can only give conditions 3 stars because one must work around the high tide to dive this site as visibility is gone in minutes when the tide changes. This time of the year the water temp is about 72 to 74 F. The park is nice, offering restrooms, picnic tables, outdoor shower, fishing from the catwalks under the bridge, and a snorkle and beach area with a lifeguard for non-divers. Riviera Beach is next door to West Palm Beach so what's not to like! Do be considerate of the fishermen's lines when passing under the bridge itself. In addition to the human fishermen, I seen cormorants diving from the bridge and fishing underwater. I dove this site over two days making 4 day dives and 1 night. In addition to the usual caribbean residents I seen octopus, batfish, stargazer, banded jawfish, snook, cushion starfish, nine-armed sea stars, lobster, flounder, urchins, queen conch, spotted eagle ray, mantis shrimp, decorator crab, shrimp, blennies, triggerfish, pair of sea hares, bristle worms, and the list goes on. You have the opportunity to also see a variety of nudibranchs (Dondice occidentialis, Ornate Elysia, Oxynoe antillarum, just to mention a few), spottedfin tonguefish, seahorses, flying gurnard, turtles, bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois), frogfish, sea spider, pipefish, key worm eel, juvenile trunk fish, and many more!

Visited on 02/2013 - Submitted on 02/27/2014
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Al Boom Diving, on the Gulf of Oman, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

5
5
5
5

AL BOOM DIVING, OMAN, OCT 2013

Dive operator with attention to safety which I don't knock but one of my travel companions did not get to participate in the wreck dives because although he has logged a lot of deep dives and wrecks he was not Advanced Certified. They did offer a "resort" course and he could have gone with a designated guide but declined. The dive facility resides on the property of the beautiful LeMeridien Al Agah Beach Resort, Fujairah, UAE which is located on the east coast about 2 hours from Dubai which is on the west coast. Al Boom operates on both coasts and offers shuttle service from Dubai to Fujairah. I dove 4 dives over 2 days and we had about 30 feet of visibility which is good for this area and we were spared the surface current which is apparently common over the wrecks.

THE BOATS

It's a water entry from beach to boat and you do have to carry your personal gear. The boat sported twin 250's so it was quick on the flat water. There was not a designated camera bench nor rinse tank on the boat and although the crew of 2 and the captain were seaworthy I was not about to hand off my camera rig to them. We basically had the boat which would comfortably carry 10 divers to ourselves so there was planty of room.

THE WRECKS

The two wrecks are dove as a pair and are less than 30 minutes from the resort. The Inchape I is in 90 feet of pea green water until the visibility opened up over the wreck at about 30 feet. Certainly not the caribbean clear blue water I am use to diving. The Inchape II is shallower and rests in 60 feet of water. The wrecks were moderately covered with soft corals, sponges, polyps, and hydroids. The area remains in recovery from the red tide in the winter of 2008/2009 so we did not see much corals. There were lion fish, not shy here compared to Florida and the Carribbean where we hunt and eat them so much easier to photograph. The wrecks also hosted 3 frogfish, a variety of crinoids, a honeycomb moray, large Arabian angel fish, schools of small fish, and yellow snapper.

The following day we dove Dibba Rock and Sharm Rocks, again a smooth an under 15 minute ride. True to their names these two site were made up of large boulders with a moderate amount of coral growth. It was a pleasure to see many clown fish in a variety of anemonies. For me these dives were a side trip to stick another pin in the map while visiting family in Dubai, but it is not a bucket list destination.

Visited on 10/2013 - Submitted on 02/27/2014

Caribbean Explorer II

5
5
5
5

Arrived in St Maarten a few days ahead of joining Explorer Venturer's live aboard the Caribbean Explorer II to check out the diving in St Maarten itself. Though you boarded the ship in St Maarten you did not dive St Maarten. I chose to try out Octopus Diving because they were on the opposite side of the Island from the cruise ship traffic and had fast boats that serviced both sides of the island. By Florida standards the pricing may have seemed a little high but when you considered they provided everything we needed except camera gear it was well worth the convenience of not having to unback our gear packed for the liveaboard. The two man crew loaded and unloaded our rental gear and we just got to walk away. One got an excellent tour of the island and the boats were new. The directions from the guides was very concise and clear. We dove 2 dives each on two days and both dive boats served us well. There were only 4 guest total and I think they only take a max of 6. You did have to walk out to the boat in about chest deep water but we were going to be getting wet anyway! The visibility was not good, nor was the reef, and the surge was rough to deal with for photography but it was another spot to pin on the world map and I did get to shoot a pair of nudibranchs. There were huge barrel sponges and feather dusters, and a number of crinoids.

Visited on 01/2014 - Submitted on 02/27/2014
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Caribbean Explorer II

5
4
4
4

I booked one of Explorer Ventures "Crazy Insane Specials" departing St Maarten on to Saba then final destinatin St. Kitts, 7 nights 5 days per day (4 daytime a 1 night) for $999 per person, for that I have to give the overall value 5 stars. Though the room was small and did not have a desk, there was amble storeage under the bed and the attatched private bathroom had a full shower and home style toilet. The dive deck had a large camera station with air hose for drying housings, plenty of towels, 2 large dedicated rinse buckets, a toilet, and hot shower. The crew of 6 + Captain were energetic, happy, and attentive. After night dives with octopus and nurse sharks, you got wrapped in a warm towel and handed a hot coco or hot mixed drink before retiring to your made up bed with chocolates on the pillow. Though we did see reef and nurse sharks, large rays and turtles we did not see any eagle rays or mantas so I gave 4 stars. I did get a pic of my first Bumble Bee shrimp thanks to the guidence by the divemasters. The food was fresh, varied and well prepared but did not offer any fish so I gave 4 stars. The crew were very careful with camera gear.

Visited on 01/2014 - Submitted on 02/27/2014
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