Sand Dollar’s on-property dive partner, PADI 5 Star Dive Friends Bonaire, is located on the south end of the property. It is easily accessible from all Condo units via foot or truck. Facilities include a full service dive-dock, drive-up tank station, rinse tanks and gear storage area accessible 24/7. Free Nitrox upgrades are available for certified Nitrox divers. If you’re not yet Enriched Air Certified this course can be completed in half a day!
In addition to having Dive Friends Bonaire on-property facilities at their disposal, Sand Dollar guests have the added benefit of being able to swap out tanks for shore diving at any of Dive Friends existing facilities at Yellow Submarine, Dive Inn, Port Bonaire and Hamlet Oasis.
Dive Registration & Orientation
The Bonaire Marine Park requires all visiting scuba divers to purchase a Marine Park Tag, participate in an orientation briefing and take a self guided familiarization dive before boat diving or leaving for off-property shore diving. The purpose of the dive is to make sure that your equipment is working correctly and that you have a suitable amount of weights to control your buoyancy. Guests diving with Dive Friends can participate in their orientation briefing at any time during their normal business hours of 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Scuba Divers should bring their (1) dive certification card, (2) diving vouchers, (3) a credit card for a security deposit, and (4) US$25 cash for the Marine Park Tag to registration.
Express Check In: Print out the Dive Friends Liability Form before you leave for vacation and present it completed at check in. They’ll have you in the water in no time!
Diving Bari Reef
Div Friends maintains an expansive dive dock with a generous supply of tanks and gearing-up benches are available for diving the house reef. It is possible to enter the water via a giant stride from the dock or via a sturdy ladder. Divers who prefer a shore entry can access the reef from the small sandy beach just adjacent to the dock.
Our house reef, Bari Reef, is a site you’ll want to dive (or snorkel!) again and again. It is ranked as the #1 Reef in the entire Caribbean for the fish diversity according to the data available to you from the REEF.Org website. The Reef abounds in both species richness and the sheer number of creatures that call this reef home, with over 405 species reported to date. (click here for the entire list!)
The drop off begins in 25’ – 30’ of water not far from shore and gradually slopes ending in a sandy bottom at approximately 130’. The best way to dive is to start the first half of the dive in approximately 50’ – 60’ of water and make your way back along the drop off and terrace around 25 – 30’. Squid love to scuttle along the terrace area. The rubble area provides refuge for the reef’s shyer critters like the Yellow Headed Jawfish with Squid are nearly always present hovering in the water column above.
The reef is dense with orange elephant ear sponges, huge rope sponges and purple tube sponges that along with hard and soft corals, shelter a thriving population of spotted, golden tails and sharp tailed eels, arrow crabs, shrimp and and more. Macro creature abound – Good eyes can find Peppermint, Sharknose, Yellow nose, Yellow line, Masked, Golden Spot and Pallid Goby’s. And those are just the Gobys! There is every kind of Wrasse, Hamlet, Butterfly, Angel and Jack you can name. And many you can’t!
A frequent sight to catch early morning or late afternoon is the “stampede” of Creole Wrasse undergoing their daily short-distance migrations from feeding grounds. Regular visitors and favorite to the area are juvenile Hawksbill turtles and frog fish. There is usually more than one frog fish somewhere along the area.
Boat Diving with Dive Friends Bonaire
There are a number of memorable sites on Klein Bonaire and the mainland that can only be accessed by boat. Dive boats depart from the Dive Friends Bonaire dock at 9:00 AM for morning 2-tank dives. The boats go to Klein Bonaire six days a week, but on Wednesdays they generally head to the north. Their goal is to take you to locations that you can not get to from shore.
You’ll be back in time for lunch and then you can take advantage of unlimited shore diving for the rest of the day, or if there are at least 6 divers signed up, you can do a 2:00 PM one-tank afternoon dive to Klein Bonaire.
Night dives may be scheduled with a minimum of 6 divers. Guided Blue Light night shore dives are also an option with a minimum of 2 divers.
Whatever your preference – shore diving, boat diving or a combination of both, Sand Dollar’s Ride to the Reef Dive Package, which includes a rental truck, accommodates all of the options. Our Reservation Agents will personally help you choose the best Sand Dollar condominium option and dive package perfectly suited for you.