There are over 60 identified dive sites around Bonaire. Most of them are along the bay of the west coast and around the uninhabited Klein Bonaire (“Little Bonaire”) which lies just off the western coast. Most of the sites off Bonaire are accessible by boat or via shore entry. Of course, you'll need a boat to reach the sites around Klein Bonaire.
If you're staying on a dive package at one of the resorts, then you may have one or two boat dives per day, with the option of shore dives afterwards. You can, if you wish, forego the dive packages with boat dives, rent a small pickup, and ‘self cater’ your dives where and when you wish. When using this option, be sure to heed advice you're sure to be given about not leaving valuables in the vehicle while diving.
Bonaventure at a Glance
|Depth:||20 - 80 ft|
Looking at a map, it would appear that the entire shoreline of Klein Bonaire is one continuous dive site, although there's about 25 named sites with moorings. While there's hardly a bad dive site in all of Bonaire, of the ones around Klein I was able to sample I would rate Bonaventure as the best. It's a beautiful garden of waving Gorgonian fans and pyramid corals, harboring all sorts of critters.
There's so much to see on this site, it's one I really wished I could have dived again. I just know there were more things lurking there, like seahorses and frogfish.
La Machaca at a Glance
|Depth:||10 - 60 ft|
La Machaca is the house reef of Captain Don's Habitat, but don't let that make you think it's a second-grade site. While it is a very easy dive site, there are so many interesting things to find in just a small area that you'll probably, like me, want to dive it almost every day.
The resort has a pier just for diving, so you don't have to risk jumping off or exiting via the boat dock. The water in front of the pier is deep enough to jump, or you can use the stairs at the side for a gentler entry. A rope anchored to the bottom leads from the pier directly out to where the reef drops off to a wall. Most of the way is a white sandy bottom, but don't ignore the many small rocks and debris along the way, as there are always things lurking around these. Of course, you can always save exploring this are for the trip back, since it's right around safety-stop depth, about 15 feet.
The wreck of the La Machaca, which gives the dive site it's name, is off to the left as you're traveling out along the rope. It sits upside down right where the reef drops off, at around 30 feet. In the sponges to one side of the wreck is where I found one of the two Longlure Frogfish that I came across in the area. There are also some banded coral shrimp here there, as well as moray eels, seahorses and assorted other creatures. Tarpins come in close to shore in the evening, and the resort even feeds them kitchen scraps. Most of the interesting things can be found around 40 feet, so this can be a nice, long and relaxing dive.
Windsock at a Glance
|Depth:||20 - 80 ft|
On the surface, Windsock is a rather unprepossessing site. It sits just off from the end of the airport runway - hence its name - and there are pylons for the lights and equipment in the water. However, as it turns out, the foundations of these pylons as well as other rubble has provided some excellent habitat for corals and anemones. What's more, the ademones here are chock full of little critters. One had a veritable army of spotted cleaner and golden arrow shrimp in and around it.
You can dive this spot as a shore dive, as there seems to be plenty of parking right on the beach, or you can dive it from boats.