Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Underwater Bonaire


One of the biggest attractions to Bonaire is its crystal clear water and beautiful coral reefs. Coral reefs are complex associations of living animals. Stoney corals are the major reef builders, they look like brown/green colored rocks. The tiny animal, called a polyp, extracts calcium from seawater and deposits this beneath itself as a limestone skeleton. The polyps of one coral head are all linked together into one giant colony. The limestone structures produced by stoney corals provide a home to lots of tiny bottom dwelling animals as well as the array of reef fish that swim above the reefs.

Bonaire and Klein Bonaire (the little island just off the coast) are surrounded by one almost continuous fringing reef. A shallow and narrow terrace slopes down from the shoreline to a depth of 30 feet (10m) and then drops, typically at an angle of 45 degrees, to depths of 130 feet (40m). There are variations to this, like vertical walls and double reef formations - which are both incredible to dive on.

We have been diving A LOT since we arrived. The visibility has been anywhere from 70 feet to over a 100 feet. We have pictures of most everything we have seen, except the spotted eagle rays. There are 96 named dive sites on Bonaire and Klein Bonaire, and we will never be able to do them all in this trip. A lot of our friends just got certified to Scuba Dive while here in Bonaire. The first picture is that group, on their first dive with us, after the certification process. Ken on Second Wind was one of those newly certified. He took a bunch of us out on his boat, to the north coast of Bonaire for a first dive, and then to Klein for the seconc dive. Here is Mike and Kim after the second dive on the steps of Second Wind and in the water . (Photos of Ken and Mike and Kim are courtesy of Second Wind.)

The following photos are from our dives (courtesy of Mike).
Midnight Parrotfish and Trumpet Fish

Spanish Hogfish and Blackbar Soldier Fish

Stoplight Parrotfish, Terminal Phase and Porcupine Fish

French Angelfish and Queen Angelfish

Three spotted Damselfish from different angles. It might be hard to spot in the picture to the right, look in the center of the picture.

Barracuda - they are very territorial and curious. We have seen many here and throughout the Caribbean. They will watch you and sometimes approach you out of curiosity, but will turn away before getting too close.

Turtle - we have seen many turtles here in Bonaire. This is the only one we could photograph. This one was also unafraid, he just let us swim with him and watch him.

We have put night diving pictures in the next update. Bye for now, Mike and Kim submerged in Bonaire :))

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