Naturalists and authors of the Reef ID, Fish ID & Fish Behavior books.
We arrived at Sorobon beach – a wind surfing haven on Bonaire – and bypassed the restaurants bars and beach – to find ourselves at the entrance of Lac Bai – an expansive bay surrounded by mangroves.
As everyone suited up in full length wetsuits, booties & hoods for what seemed to me like some hard core snorkeling , the mood was quite academic. The Buddy Dive Resort guests around me were making guesses at what they might see here – from Bucktooth parrotfish to dusky blennies – that is until Ned and Anna Deloach took center stage for the briefing.
When divers think of snorkeling most likely it's in the context of that last “topside” day where breathing compressed air is a no-no as you will be jetting up to around 30,000 ft. above sea level the next day. The Deloachs’ Mangrove Snorkeling Trip on Bonaire is the exception.
What I thought would be like a classroom session turned into an exciting peek into the Deloaches world – a place where barracudas wearing their signature juvenile “army fatigue” munch on silversides, jellyfish have evolved into other worldly upside-down algae farmers and tiny flat worms swim about like flying flamenco dancers. A stark reminder though of just how important our mangroves are was Anna's mention of the Tsunami in Asia – had their mangroves not been all harvested for fire wood the tsunami would not have had the devastating effect it did – mangroves are storm protectors as well.
Wading into the water we waited for the Deloaches to take the lead – they never did – and I soon discovered that this was our exploration. Steadying myself ever so gently with the red mangrove roots I entered the shade of their leaves and my eyes adjusted to see the world within – a virtual nursery of our reefs on Bonaire. Everyone found something – from a gold spotted eel to a “nest” of baby Caribbean lobsters (12!) we all guided each other – with Ned and Anna knowing just when to fin over and provide insights into what we were seeing. As Ned gently pulled up one of the odd upside down jellyfish and set him loose, positioned perfectly for my camera – pulsating in a colorful dance before my eyes I found my moment of Zen.
Here among the mangroves we can paddle over on our SUP or breeze by on a wind surf board but the true beauty is in the inter connectedness of this special place. These juveniles of hundreds of species born on the reef have a sense way beyond us – they know exactly where there food source is and they all come right here.
I have lived on Bonaire for almost a year, but I felt like I was seeing our mangroves for the first time. The Deloaches talk about the fish and other marine life just like they were members of their own family - with descriptions that include phrases like "adorable", "bobbing around" and "just as cute as they as they can be" a snorkel in the mangroves was transformed into a visit into the nursery wing of the hospital listening to Ned & Anna talk about their own beloved grandkids. I can clearly see why guests come year after year to spend a week with the Deloaches – to find their dive Zen.
Some more things you night not know!
On Bonaire we have some of the best mangrove visibility in the world – so you don't miss a thing in this busy microcosm.
Mangroves & grass beds are dependent on each other and many species will only settle here – such as the Goliath Grouper.
“Mangrove” is actually a term meaning salt tolerant plants and there are many types – in Lac lagoon we have the Red and Black.
Those bubble formations you see lying on the bottom are the largest single celled plant in the world aka Sea Pearls.
Our mangroves are “Island builders”. Slender “pencils” float vertically until they imbed into the sand and expand out forming mangrove “islands”.
Healthy mangrove=healthy reef!
Every year at Buddy Dive from mid-August to the end of September Ned & Anna Deloach host Reef Id & Marine Life Education weeks at Buddy dive.
Upcoming Special, Book now!!!!
MADNESS returns to BONAIRE!
Join us the first three weeks of December as BONAIRE GOES MAD – with fun-filled weeks of parties, giveaways, treasure hunts, free demos & special guests. Crazy incentives; Second diver dives for free, free upgrade to 8 boat dives (if on 6 boat dive package), reduced price on photo classes, free t ‘shirt and a free discover scuba for non divers. Insane group deals; On top of the incentives a group gets 8=7 and the group leader a free copy of Bonaire shore diving made easy. Valid for travel between: November 29th – December 20th 2014.
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 16:37
Spotlight on our Divestaff:
Divemaster Murphy’s first day back on his new knees is coming soon!
This is just one of the hundreds of quotes to choose from when looking through all of the praise our longtime Buddy Dive colleague and friend – Murphyn Henar has gathered through his years as a Dive Master here.
He remembers when Buddy Dive was just a trailer by the shore as the dive shop with a small dock out front, one building with apartments and the Poolbar. In fact it was so completely exposed to the elements that back then “you had to hold onto your beer (at the Poolbar), or it would blow right down the bar, taken out to sea by the wind”.
“when Buddy Dive was just a trailer by the shore”
With two total knee replacements now complete and the second grueling round of therapy well underway, Murphy expects to be guiding dives again by summertime this year.
“I know every leaf in my garden” exclaims Murph with a sigh, as he tries to put into words what it is like to not be out in the water every day with his friends at Buddy Dive. After almost 20 years working as a Divemaster here on Bonaire he still has a passion for what he does – and it shows! His enthusiasm and appreciation of all reef creatures – great & small - is contagious. “There is always something to see, the reef changes constantly and is different every dive” Murphy explains.
From the day I met Murphy at Buddy Dive I knew he was someone special. He would sit by the dock and watch the action as his first knee was healing – total knee replacement #1 completed on January 25th, 2012. Slowly through the weeks ahead he began diving again, off of Buddy’s reef, and whenever he was there five minutes would not go by without a hug and a hello from one of our guests. His perseverance paid off and in May of that same year he was back in the water doing what he does best – out on the boat dives showing our visitors to Bonaire the beauties of our pristine reefs.
A keen observer, Murphy once discovered a unique looking decorator crab out on a dive off of Buddy’s Reef. He pointed out the creature to marine naturalists/authors Ned & Anna Deloach (staying at Buddy Dive each September for the Marine Life Education event), and when they could not identify the creature either, they took the photos and observations to Smithsonian researchers. What they found was exciting – Murphy had discovered a new type of decorator crab – which was thus named after him.
“I don’t wanna go home!” is one of his favorite phrases to hear from guests at the Friday night Rum Punch party. Murph’s familiar reply is: “You have to go – it’s home sweet home.” All the while knowing they will be back next year for another week of diving, friends & familiar faces at Buddy’s.
We hope to see you soon again at Buddy Dive Bonaire – where you are invited to come and dive with Murph and all the dive crew on our fun & friendly Buddy boat dives.
NEW for 2013 – the ALL BOAT DIVING PACKAGE: you get 12 1-tank boat dives + 24/7 unlimited air or nitrox diving off our dock, accommodations, breakfast, transfers & taxes and our famous Rum Punch Party – a great value!
Find out more at www.buddydive.com
Contact us to book your next dive vacation on our fleet of 5 comfortable dive boats:
Call direct: 1 (866) GO-BUDDY
New All-Boat Diving Package!
Friday, 08 March 2013 13:54
Kralendijk, Bonaire – (February, 2013) Buddy Dive Resort announces a NEW Boat Diving Package – perfect for divers who want to see the best sites of Bonaire from the comfort of Buddy Dive Resort’s fleet of five dive boats. The Boat Dive Package includes 12 boat dives with air or Nitrox & fruit served after every dive, hot buffet breakfast daily, accommodation, andairport transfers &taxes. Additionally, divers who choose the Boat Diving Package can also enjoy UNLIMITED Air or Nitrox divingright off the pier at Buddy’s Reef – voted #1 Night Dive in the world according to Scuba DivingMagazine’s 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards.
The Buddy Dive Boat Diving Package was designed for scuba divers who want to dive, dive, dive, and prefer to do it all from the comfort and ease of a boat with professional dive guides. It is also in response to the popular demand for diving on Klein Bonaire and popular northern dive sites such as the wall at “Rappel” – inaccessible from shore.
Buddy’s ample dock space - with room for 3 boats at a time on the docks; combined with the resort’s location – just 7-10 minutes away from Klein Bonaire and 15-20 min. from the north, makes choosing the Boat Diving Package the most convenient way to enjoy Bonaire’s most pristine reefs. You can simply walk down to the dock from breakfast and step right onto your awaiting boat. Boat divers will also enjoy topside views of Klein as well as beautiful vistas of the main island’s landscapes from the comfort of the dive boat.
Buddy Dive Resort’s fleet is the most complete on Bonaire – with five comfortable vessels for your enjoyment and convenience. All of the dive boats have areas for dry storage, fresh cold drinking water, and separate fresh water rinse buckets for cameras and other equipment.
1. The Coral Buddy - The fleet’s newest custom dive boat – a 36’ custom Newton that was put into operation this season.
2. The Dive Buddy – A custom made 42’ motor cat boat with room for 24 divers on a 3-tank dive, including dive platforms, bridge, dry storage, fresh water rinse, covered area, comfortable fly-bridge seating and camera table.
3. The Harbour Lady – A Newton 36’ dive boat with plenty of room for divers, tanks and crew.
4. The Red Tide – A 30’ Island Hopper perfect for small groups and getting close to the northern wall dive sites.
5. The Bayena – a comfortable and well maneuvering Newton 30’ great for small groups on one or two tank excursions.
If guests on the Boat Diving Package would like a rental vehicle during their stay an air-conditioned pick-up truck can be added on if desired.
For more information and to make your reservation please contact a friendly member of the Buddy Dive Reservations team. The Boat Diving Package starts at just $968.64 pp/per week (6pax in a 3-bdr.). See Rack Rates here for all room types.
· 1.866.GO.BUDDY toll free US/CA
Want to get involved in
rebuilding our natural coral ecosystem
here on Bonaire?
After over a year of successful coral growth in Bonaire's nurseries under the care of Buddy Dive's team of volunteers working together with the Coral Restoration Foundation it's time to take our “gardening” to the next level. Now the only thing missing is YOU!
As divers and snorkelers we are among the few inhabitants of our blue planet who have the chance to really appreciate this diverse and unique habitat: a place that is home to over 1/3 of the oceans species – but occupying less than 1% of the marine environment.
For the past few decades the prognosis for our oceans coral reefs has been grim: One-third of reef-building coral are threatened, scientists say, making corals the Earth's most endangered species. We hear about an array of reasons why: global warming, ocean acidification, disease, agricultural run-off and the list goes on…
With all this bad news what can we possibly do to reverse the damage and ensure that we have coral reefs for future generations to enjoy?
Ken Nedimyer, of the Coral Restoration Foundation , has hope to share with us and practical solutions that we can implement. What started as his daughter’s school project to grow coral in its natural environment has turned into “the reef that ate Key Largo”- as it is known to the locals there – referring to the dense forests of coral that both divers and snorkelers alike can enjoy just offshore thanks to the growing number coral nurseries and volunteers like you.
On an island like Bonaire, with one of the oldest and most complete marine parks in the world you may ask why we need to grow and replant coral – what is missing from our reefs? If we look back to the natural marine environment of the island decades ago you will hear accounts of divers literally hacking their way through dense forests of Elkhorn and Staghorn coral – an important juvenile fish habitat - to get out to the reef drop-off. Thanks to a myriad of occurrences, including hurricanes Lenny, Omar and then Gustav, and other factors like disease, lack of genetic diversity for spawning, bleaching and the loss of sea urchins (the “vacuum cleaners” of the reef) we are left with all but small patches in scattered areas around the island.
The mission of the Coral Restoration Foundation is to develop solutions and train others – and after almost 10 years of trial and error the model that we are using here on Bonaire (“nursery trees”) has over a 99% success rate in the growing of healthy coral.
The initiative on Bonaire all started back in 2009 with the meeting of two key players in the equation: Ken Nydimyer of the Coral Restoration Foundation in Florida and Augusto Montbrun – Buddy Dive Operations Manager. Augusto saw the amazing progress that had been made in the Florida Keys and wanted to bring this successful project to Bonaire.
Fast forward to several years working on getting the proper permits and support from important participants such as STINAPA and in April of 2012 we installed our first nurseries, using native Staghorn and Elkhorn coral of varying DNA strains to ensure the preservation of diversity and boost spawning rates. The newly pruned coral fragments have seen an almost 100% survival rate and what started as pieces of coral the size of an index finger grew and branched out to almost 3 times their size – in just 9 months! The rate of growth on Bonaire is among the fastest the foundation has seen in the world and they expect to see natural spawning within just two years among the newly grown coral. Additionally, the DNA strains that are the most heat and disease resistant are being identified and mixed with the less resistant strains in order to preserve diversity on the island.
For 2013 the existing nurseries will be tripled in size and we need your help!
Now comes the fun part – time to wriggle into your wetsuit, don your tank and get involved! The first step is to attend Tuesday's 6:30pm FREE orientation presentation at Buddy Dive's Poolbar by one of our Coral Restoration Bonaire team members. With three levels of PADI certifications for Coral Restoration volunteers you will learn the skills and techniques to get the job done and meet other like-minded divers along the way.
What if I don't want to get wet? No problem – there are plenty of other ways to help:
Start by “liking” us on Facebook.
Make a donation to the Bonaire project. 100% of your donation goes directly to project materials and upkeep costs in Bonaire.
Spread the word – tell others about the project and how they too can get involved.
For the fifth consecutive year, Buddy Dive Resort is proud to organize the Buddy Dive Freediving Event in
2013 hosted by Brazilian freediver, Karol Meyer. Karol broke 7 world records in her career and she is
considered one of the most complete athletes in the sport history. Karol will host evening presentations to
share her exciting adventures, Freediving Adventures, where you’ll share special moments with the champion
and also a Freediving Clinic, for those interested.
Guinness Book of Records 2011- Static Apnea - 18min. and 32 sec. World Record - Tandem No Limits - 121m of depth South American Record - Variable Weight - 93m of depth
Don’t miss it! Contact us now to become a freediver!
+599 717 5080 ext. 525 |