Klien Bonaire Dive Sites

Klein Bonaire (dutch for “Little Bonaire”) is the flat, small, uninhabited island off the central west coast of Bonaire that is a paradise for divers and snorkelers.

There are multiple dive sites on Klein Bonaire with healthy corals and many wonderful sponges, in a variety of types. You will also see larger varieties of fish, and schools in the deeper waters. Keep your eyes open for turtles; with the turtle hatchery on the small island they are common here.

Klein Bonaire (dutch for “Little Bonaire”) is the flat, small, uninhabited island off the central west coast of Bonaire that is a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Diving on Klein Bonaire offers a great opportunity to see turtles, since this island is now a reserve and a sea turtle hatchery. It is also part of the Bonaire National Marine Park.

There are multiple dive sites on Klein Bonaire with healthy corals and many wonderful sponges, in a variety of types. You will also see larger varieties of fish, and schools in the deeper waters. Keep your eyes open for turtles; with the turtle hatchery on the small island they are common here.

Klein Bonaire is separated from the main island by about a half-mile of open sea.

KLEIN BONAIRE DIVE SITES

No Name – This dive lies directly in front of No Name Beach. While large coral heads are sparse here in shallow water, there is a sandy bottom, where many lively yellow-headed jawfish poke their heads out of holes in the coral rubble. Also seen are blackish sailfin blennies. This site is one of the most popular on Klein. Depth 30-100 feet (9-30 meters).

Ebo’s Reef – The mooring barrel is at 140 feet; there is a short swim over blue water on the way to the reef and again when you return to the boat. This site has giant orange elephant ear sponges often topped with black crinoids, also huge colonies of lavender stove pipe sponges which make excellent subjects for wide angle photography. Reef fish abound. Depth 40-100 feet (12-30 meters).

Jerry’s Reef – Again, the mooring barrel is in deep water. Along with the previous two sites, this one is known for turtles, stingrays, and spotted eagle rays. Crinoids, elephant ear sponges and fern-like black coral are also found here. Depth 30-100 feet (9-30 meters).

Just a nice Dive – Divers will find an abundance of yellow pencil coral and leaf or sheet corals. There are lots of schooling fish at the top of the reef and solitary species, such as ocean triggerfish, are often seen. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

Nearest Point – Deep mooring with very short swim over to the reef. Best to dive here, as on all the south side of Klein, in the morning, when winds are at their minimum, especially for snorkelers. Divers will find the healthiest and must luxurious coral formations in the Caribbean starting here and continuing on around the south side of Klein. Purple sea fans and lush gorgonians flourish between coral heads on the white, sandy bottom. Hugh heads of mountain corals lie in the drop-off area. At lower depths, black coral can be found, as well as big orange and purple tube sponges. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

Banaventure – In the shallows, beautiful pagodas of star coral share their habitat with a large number of gorgonians, which usually harbor a seahorse or two. Angelfish and black durgons often accompany divers up and down the reef. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

Monte’s Divi – There is a good chance of finding a sea horse here. The shallow areas have large stands of staghorn coral. A lone divi divi tree stands guard on shore, directly opposite the moorning site. Depth 15-100 feet (5-30 meters).

Rock Pile – The mooring lies directly offshore from a pile of rocks. One of the few sites where one can enjoy a huge colony of staghorn coral, which provides day time hiding places for many schooling fish, such as grunts and snappers. A large green moray eel has been known to hide amongst the boulder corals. Depth 20-100 feet (6-100 meters).

Joanne’s Sunchi – Joanne’s Sunchi has lots of sand chutes and large tube sponges. Also, directly under the boat, large piles of coral rubble form nesting sites for a peculiar fish called a sand tilefish. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

Capt. Don’s reef – A must dive for all levels. Located at the mooring is a plaque dedicated to Bonaire’s pioneer diver, Don Stewart, which thanks him for his dedication to the preservation of Bonaire’s reefs. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

South Bay – This site offers different species of groupers and schools of bar and horse-eye jacks that can be found feeding on the polarized schools of boga just off the reef. Depth 30-100 feet (9-30 meters).

Hands Off – Hands Off was originally established to gauge diver impact on the reef. No photographers or clumsy diving practices were allowed. Unique for its many tongue and groove formations. Depth 30-100 feet (9-30 meters).

Forest – Gorgonians flourish in the shallows, and, in deeper water, one finds huge colonies of fern-like black coral, hence the name. At 75 feet a large cave provides occasional accommodation for a green moray, a female loggerhead turtle, or a nurse shark. Depth 25-100 feet (8-30 meters.

Southwest Corner – Divers will find lots of black dragons and yellow tail snappers here. Depth 15-100 feet (5-30 meters).

Sharon’s Serenity – Located on the southwest corner of Klein Bonaire, Sharon’s Serenity is also a good snorkeling site, since the mooring is quite close to shore. Elk horn, staghorn, and many varieties of soft coral are plentiful here. Large groupers are common and a number of basket star fish make this a popular night dive. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

Mi Dushi – Mi Dushi means “my sweetheart” in Papiamentu. The shallows are filled with staghorn and yellow pencil coral. Many smaller reef fish inhabit this area including yellow-headed jawfish and sailfin blennies. It is currently “the” site for seahorses, with at least five in attendance at around 50 feet. Depth 25-100 feet (8-30 meters).

Carl’s Hill – This site is named after underwater photographer Carl Roessler and lies on the northwest tip of Klein Bonaire. The dramatic scenery makes this dive a photographer’s dream. The main feature of the dive is the sheer wall that begins 20 yards offshore and drops to a sandy bottom at 70 feet. The face of the wall is covered with sponges and gorgonians and a seldom seen species called feather bush hydroid, which sits on the upper face of the wall filter feeding on the plankton that streams by. Barracudas and bar jacks are often seen here, as well as large schools of blue tangs. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

Ebo’s Special/ Jerry’s Jam – Another site with the same kind of anchorage as Carl’s Hill, which had a helix anchor bolt installed as a mooring attachment just before the storm surge that hit this side of Klein in 1999. This new type of anchor bolt proved to be more than adequate and will be used for future replacement moorings. Also known as Jerry’s Jam, it is named for Bonaire’s first certified diver, Ebo Domacassé. Depth 25-100 feet (4-30 meters).

Lenora’s Reef – Consists of typical sloping reef with coral formations of huge size and with hollow centers, which make excellent locations for many fish and other creatures. Remember that huge coral heads that are hollow are the ancient ones because coral age from the inside outward and begin to die where the coral polyps are the oldest. Estimates of age on some of these have been placed at over 75 years old. Depth 25-100 feet (8-30 meters).

Knife – Coral rubble and sand in the shallows, which make an excellent site for large parrotfish, like midnight and rainbow, which graze over the abundant shallow algae patches. Sloping reefs with a variety of different heights of coral heads make for an excellent site for many hidden creatures. Near the drop-off are found a variety of gorgonian corals, i.e., sea rods, sea plumes. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

Sampler – On the north coast of Klein Bonaire, this site boasts particularly friendly angelfish. They often approach divers looking for a handout, as do many of the other residents of this reef. Look for the common sandy bottom species: sand divers, yellowhead jawfish, sailfin blennies. It is one of Bonaire’s most popular dives. Many snorkelers access this site from the beach after their arrival on the water taxi from Bonaire. Large healthy up growths of coral can be found in the deeper areas. Depth 20-100 feet (6-30 meters).

DIVE INFORMATION

DIVING SEASON: The island’s location in the south Caribbean gives it an arid climate with little rainfall; consequently, the waters are exceptionally clear of silt, calm, and diveable year round.

VISIBILITY: visibility averages over 100 feet (30m), and frequently reaches up to 150 feet (50m).

WATER TEMPERATURE: Water temperatures average a warm 78-84°F (25.6-28.9°C). Water temperatures are normally at their lowest in late December and January. By March and April, the water begins to warm up, usually peaking at its warmest from late August through November.

WEATHER: The weather is Tropical Marine with little seasonal temperature variation. “Rainy” season lasts from the last week of October to the end of January, but it is still relatively dry. During rainy season, late night and early morning rains are common, usually clearing shortly after sunrise. Summer temperatures average highs of 88F and lows of 80 F (31.7 to 26.7 C). Winter average highs are 85 F with lows of 76F (29.4 to 24.4 C)

SKILL LEVELS: For the most part, the diving on Bonaire is quite gentle and suitable for all levels of diver skills.

MARINE LIFE: Large sponges and sea-fans dominate the reef scape. There are a few shipwrecks and large tarpon are quite common as well as turtles, barracudas and few good size groupers. For macro and midrange subjects you’ll have plenty to choose from. Angelfish, butterfly fish, seahorses, crabs and shrimp are just a few of the many subjects that you can find.

 

More Information on BONAIRE

 

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