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Bonaire is a small island, just 22 miles long, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean is famous for its huge diversity of marine life - and the ability to enjoy it easily and comfortably. The reef is just 25 metres from shore - the ocean is almost always a wonderful 28ēC. - water visibility is an amazing 30 - 40 metres ! Access to the ocean is quick and easy. For almost the entire length of the south-west coast, there are no serious currents, and the exceptionally easy ocean conditions make Bonaire a perfect place for anyone who wants to enjoy and explore the ocean. But easy, comfortable ocean conditions are not the full story. The quality, quantity and diversity of the marine life in the ocean around Bonaire is probably the most exciting you'll ever see - considered by many to be unique. It is impossible to convey the magnificence of the colourful and exciting marine life that you will see - even in shallow water.
The ocean around Bonaire is packed with colourful, interesting marine life.
Bonaire has a unique underwater world - so much life in such a small space !
Fantastic reef - warm clear water - calm ocean conditions -
and a stunning diversity and abundance of marine life.
In 1979 in a referendum - islanders voted to resist commercial over development and the entire coast around Bonaire, from high water mark to a depth of 60m, was designated the Bonaire Marine Park. This park has become the model for many other islands in the Caribbean. The coast and ocean around Bonaire are legally protected. Bonaire has a parallel fringing reef easy to navigate - it's either dark blue or turquoise blue water The shallow sandy shelf extends from shore to a depth of around 8 metres, to the reef, around 25 metres - the length of a swimming pool - from shore. This shelf is like a natural aquarium "busy" with all sorts of marine creatures.
The protection of the reef and ocean for more than 30 years and subsequent superb condition of the reef means that the marine life is thriving - a wonderfully rewarding and exciting experience for divers and snorkellers. If you do not wish to dive or snorkel, just viewing the marine life through a mask - while standing in the shallows - will give you views of colourful tropical fish and marine creatures you are unlikely to be able to see elsewhere in the world - and certainly not see so easily. There are also glass bottomed boats available for short cruises which will give you a wonderful view of the underwater world.
A staggering 355 species of fish have been recorded by researchers - in the ocean around Bonaire - some marine biologists claim 390 species. Bonaire has the largest number of fish and the greatest variety of species of fish, in the Western Atlantic.
Bonaire is consistently voted the best scuba diving and snorkelling destination in the world. Readers of Scuba Diving Magazine voted Bonaire:
* Best Caribbean Dive Destination
* Best Marine Life,
* Best Shore Diving,
* Best Snorkelling,
* Best Destination for Underwater Photography
* Best Beginner Diving
We can't list anywhere near 355 species but some of the creatures you are most likely to see are : nurse sharks, rays, dolphins, occasionally whale sharks, hawksbill turtles, peacock flounders, seahorses, blue tang, long jaw squirrelfish, princess parrotfish, and sergeant major fish, peppermint goby, tiger grouper, yellowtail snappers, red faced morays, spiny lobsters, southern stingrays, barracuda, jacks, parrotfish, french angelfish, nudibranchs, flamingo-tongue shells, frogfish, octopus flying gunard, hawksbill, loggerhead, green and leatherback turtles
Lots of coral - of course - most typically : fire coral, elkhorn, massive starlet, symmetrical brain coral, grooved brain coral, mustard hill coral, boulder star coral, blade fire coral, yellow pencil coral.
Many beautiful, colourful sponges : green finger sponges, giant orange elephant ear sponges, rope sponges, lavender stove-pipe sponges, mustard yellow tube sponges.
It is impossible to do justice to Bonaire's underwater world in words you'll just have to come and explore it for yourself.