Bonaire Day 5

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 9:20 pm

Tuesday morning we headed north to Karpata. We’d been warned that the wind kicked up and made it harder to dive after 10am, so we wanted to get started early.

At the top of the stairs to Karpata:

Things didn’t get off to a very good start. As soon as we descended I turned my video camera on – and the external monitor stayed blank. Then I realized it wasn’t exactly blank. It had water in it.


Luckily, the external monitor is the one part of my rig with some redundancy; I can use the tiny viewfinder on the back of the housing instead. Not optimal, but usable. And the flooded monitor provided its own entertainment, filling up with funny little crystals of god-knows-what, and spitting bubbles out the back as the electricity/saltwater combo oxidized.

And aside from my flood, it was a gorgeous dive. We swam south from the entry, which we’d never done on our last trip. The visibility was wonderful, and the dive site was more pristine than some of the busier dives down south.

We all decided to skip a stop at the condo, and head straight down to Invisibles, a little south of the Hilma Hooker. I’d read in the guidebook that garden eels could be found here on the swim out to the dropoff, which I assumed must be some sort of typo as we’ve never seen garden eels in shallow water. So I was thrilled to discover that there really were patches of garden eels in 15 feet of water!

Me shooting some garden eels:

Carol was the only one shooting macro on this dive, so of course I spotted more juvenile filefish than on any other dive. We also found lots of nesting banded butterflyfish hanging out in sponges, and had a spotted eagle ray fly-by.

Nesting butterflyfish:

Jeff and I squeezed in a quick dive back at Bari, where we saw lots of little filefish and yellowhead jawfish. At about 50 feet, we noticed a huge cloud of something around a pile of sponges. I didn’t see any divers or large fish in the area that could have kicked up sand, and it didn’t dissipate, so I suspected some sort of sponge spawning. I’ll never know for sure!

In the evening, we had our next guided dive: a night tour of Kralendijk’s Town Pier. The pier pilings are absolutely covered with an amazing variety of colored sponges, making this a world-famous dive. Only four groups of four divers each are allowed at any given time to keep damage to a minimum. Michael decided to sit this one out, so it was just three of us and our guide.

I wasn’t too impressed by our first visit here. The pilings were beautiful, but got old fast – and even with only sixteen divers in the water, it felt insanely crowded when most of those were inexperienced divers bumping into each other and confusing who’s with who. It also didn’t do wonders for the visibility.

So I was thrilled to discover clear water as soon as we descended, and not another diver anywhere in sight! In fact, on the whole dive we only encountered one other group, even though we overstayed our one-hour slot and were under for nearly 90 minutes.

Colorful pier piling (photo by Carol Yin):

Besides the beauty of the pilings themselves, we were treated to constant visits by the resident tarpons, lots of juvenile drums hiding near bits of trash, two frogfish doing their best to blend into the sponges, and a chain moray out on the prowl. It was my longest dive to date, and I could have done with another 30 minutes to explore!

A tiny yellow frogfish hiding on a pier piling:

You can see the rest of Jeff’s Town Pier photos here.

After dumping all our camera gear back at the condo, we treated ourselves to Pasa Bon Pizza (even more delicious than I remembered), and crashed into sleepy piles back at the condo.

1 Comment

  1. Oh no!

    You are really giving that dive gear insurance policy a work-out!

    Comment by Ben — 5/31/2008 @ 8:27 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.