Editors Note – This is part of our series of interviews and updates from the island focused on Bonaire diving during the pandemic.
We checked in on our friends at Dive Friends Bonaire (with locations at Hamlet Oasis, Sand Dollar Condos, Yellow Submarine, Gooddive, Dive Inn, Port Bonaire, Resort Bonaire and Delfins Beach Resort) to see how things were going and what we have to look forward to.
Here’s our interview with Annie Olszewski, course director and manager at Dive Friend’s Yellow Submarine location.
BP: What’s been the impact on diving during the pandemic and what positives have come from it?
Annie: Life on the island slowed down and became very quiet since we closed in March. Many of us have been working less … leading to lots of time for fun dives! With significantly fewer divers, the dive sites are quiet and divers often finds themselves with a site all to themselves.
Whether due to fewer people on the water or just the natural cycles, the reefs are looking amazing and animal life is flourishing. We are seeing many of our most special species being sighted far more often and in greater quantities than normal. Eagle rays regularly swimming and feeding in front of Kralendijk has become a normal sight for divers and snorkelers. Multiple frog fish have been found in quantities that are remarkable; five or more on a single dive. Even the occasional Manta Ray as well as sharks have been sighted along the west coast. And it seems like seahorses are everywhere!
The corals are spawning and appear to be extra healthy and vibrant. We all know that the reefs have been under stress as visitor numbers have increased on island over the years, so it is a lovely experience to see things come back and really flourish so quickly!
BP: What new protocols can guests expect at Dive Friends Bonaire when they return?
Annie: We have several procedures in place to ensure everyone’s safety. You can find all the procedures here. Safety while enjoying your vacation is our primary goal.
BP: Any other news or updates you would like to share?
Annie: Dive Friends Bonaire is excited and ready to welcome visitors no matter what level of skills or training they may require. We have spent much of our downtime retraining staff and getting ready for when divers return. We have several new divemaster candidates and are looking forward to November when we welcome candidates for the first PADI instructor course of 2020! We have also set up multiple citizen science projects and we are still active with clean up dives and assisting other conservation efforts on the island.
We’ve added the Gooddive location on the main road of Kralendijk as our flagship retail shop and photo center.
BP: Great to hear from you and the DFB team. We look forward to seeing you — hopefully soon!
- Ready to plan a Bonaire diving vacation with Dive Friends?
- Contact us at 800-748-8733 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can request a price quote here
All photos courtesy of Dive Friends Bonaire.