Reviews of dive trips!
December 2016 - Member - Steve B. - Bonaire
Stayed at: Captain Don's Habitat
Dive Operator: Capetain Don's Habitat
I recently put together a group of 20 divers from all over the USA and Canada that met up for a one to two week dive fest on teh Island of Bonaire. The group stayed at the amazing Captain Don's Habitat. Captain Don's is famous for "Dive Freedom" making tanks available 24/7 for Shore diving. The house reef is beautiful as are all of the other sites on the island along with those accesable by boat off of the island of Klien Bonaire. Fish life is vibrant as they have done a fantastic job of controling the lionfish population. You don't see many lionfish and those that are found, are soon catch and for sale for eating at such great places as the food cart Cactus Blue, or on pizza's at Pas Bon Pizza! The staff at Captaqin Don's is top shelf and very respectful of you. They don't overcrowd boats (like Buddy Dive :( ). They are there if you need a hand with anything.
Some sights you might take in:
saw a five foot long Coronet fish!
100's of fish species, large and small.
Highly recommend you put Bonaire on your Bucket List!
February 2017 - Member - Steve B.
Stayed at: Fort Young Hotel
Dive Operator: Buddy Dive
I was asked to be a part of a group of 8 divers on a trip to the island of Dominica. I went, now I can say I went and will never go back.
Airline experience getting there and back was hell. You have to fly to St. Marrten, where you connect to an airline that shouldn't be in business, WinAir. They have 5-18 seat planes that fly to many of the amller islands. Weight is a big concern for them. If they have more than a half a plane of passengers, you can forget about your luggage getting on board with you. The flight from St Marrten to Dominica came with an unannounced stop in Antigua! This made the whole filght over 2 hours. In a teeny tiny plane that most of the flight, was bout 100 degrees inside. They demanded we be at the airport 2 hours in advance of our flight or we wouldn't be allowed on the plane. You would think the plane would leave on time with that strict a policy, but think again. I believe we were 45 minutes late for take off.
Flight home, more of the same. late departure. luggage not on board plane. Customer service in St Marrten to 45 minutes foroour luggage claim forms, thus making us late for our connecting flight. It just goes on and on.
Tried to call the airline on the phone and nobody answers. 250 employees and no one can answer a phone.
First off, they are not doing a very good job at trying to preserve the reefs. They don't have much for reef life to begin with and
What they do have is over run with Lionfish. One of the dives that I went on was actually a paid excursion - lionfish hunt. As a group we were able to eliminate 21 lionfish that day, and we only made a dent in a small area.
Island thrives on cruise ship traffic which has killed practically everything at the Fort Young "House Reef".
Most popular site is a shallow dive called Champagne. You are down about 20 feet experiencing the champagne bubbles from volcanic hot springs, and directly over your head you can see about 30 pairs of dangling legs belonging to the snorkelers from today's cruise ship. I was sooooo temtped to go up and pants them :), but I didn't ;(
The dive operator - Buddy Dive - left alot to be desired. Don't be fooled by the large amounts of money that Buddy Dive spends on advertising. This operation was disappointing. First off, they refuse to let you handle your gear, as a ploy for tips. They take your gear, toss it into wheelbarrows and run it down the dock to the boats (2). They then gather all of the gear that they can hold and THROW it over the side of the boat onto the boats floor. That's right, your $1200 regulator, your priceless computer, BCD, Fins, THROWN onto the boat. First time I saw that happen I grabbed my Reg setup and made sure that I was the only one putting hands on it. Boats are overcrowded and chaotic.
Staff tries, but lacks experience. Had one female dive guide who led three of our dives. She viewed the journey as a sprint, taking us in a circular tour of three reefs, against the current each time. She was so far out in front of us that we lost sight of her more times than not. She never bothered to check to see where we were.
There was an older gentleman who led us on some of the dives, who admitted that our smaller group of 18 divers (yes I said the smaller goup) was more than he could keep track of. (The other boat had over 24 on it).
The manager admitted that they were having an issue with one of the fill guages with the compressor. I asked him why each of my boat tanks for 3 days was betweeen 2850 and 2880 psi and he said there was a problem. Hummm, how about checking the tanks, fixing the guage, or not using that section of the fill station. Personally, I think that they were fine with it as it made the dives shorter thsu enabling them to get the boats back quicker.
Speaking about getting the boats back quicker.... We were rushed back from our dives one day so that they could make sure to get the boats out for a whale watch excursion. The boats were late leaving in the moring, we were rushed back into the water for dive 2 and hurried out of the water and rushed back to the docks, because people paid for the whale watches! Serious? We PAID for the diving!
Sights we saw:
Summer of 2017 - A perspective between 60 and 70 feet down