Having never been to Bonaire I was super excited about this stop. Bonaire is part of what is known as the A, B, C islands which lie about 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao make up the A, B, C islands and are all part of the Netherland Antilles. They generally do not get hurricanes because of how far south in the Caribbean they are and are in a perfect location if you want a fall vacation and want to stay out of the paths of hurricanes.
I knew that Bonaire was considered a diver’s paradise so I thought it would be great for snorkeling since I am not a diver. I have gone snorkeling several times with Blogger Hubby but, this is confession time, I am not a confident snorkeler. On this cruise I wasn’t traveling with my husband but rather a friend and she was not a snorkeler. I put on my Big Girl panties and decided to do a snorkeling trip by myself (of course there would be others on the boat).
After a recommendation from a couple on my Cruise Critic Roll Call (thank you Lisa and Travis) I booked with Woodwind on their catamaran.
I have never had such a positive snorkeling experience. Sitting on their catamaran as we sailed around the harbor and island near the capital city in Bonaire, it was a very peaceful and serene experience. There was no music blaring, no racing to see who could drink the most in the shortest amount of time. It was almost as if we were communing with the water. There were about 16 of us on the cat and the two guides gave each of us their utmost time and attention. They went to each of each to see if we had any concerns or fears and whether we had snorkeled before I had told that that I had but was more of a tentative and nervous snorkeler. When they asked what my concerns were, I told them and they assured me that I would be fine after listening to me. Our guide actually stayed very close by two people who had never snorkeled before.
Additionally, they told us that they had full face snorkel mask if anyone had problems breathing out of their mouth. They also had about 4 pairs of prescription masks for those who wear glasses. Clothing – they had plenty for us to borrow. I put on a pullover top so I would not sunburn my back as I snorkeled. The woman next to me, who was fair skinned, put on one of their skins, like a diving suit only thinner. I borrowed a hood to put over my hair and to keep it from flowing into my face. Fins were optional. She had float belts, vests and noodles. We didn’t need to bring anything – they had it all and much more!
What surprised me was that the guides got into the water with us and stayed with those who had never snorkeled before and helped those of us who felt like we needed reassurances. Our guide pointed out fish, two different types of turtles as well as different corals and sponges that were below us. She would give us the hand signals that we learned before getting in the water checking to see if we were okay. We had a full 90 minutes snorkeling and it was wonderful. We saw two different types of turtles, brain sponge, needlefish, lion fish and so many more tropical fish that I do not know the name of.
We all got back on board our boat and as we were heading back to the dock we were served a hot dinner – noodles, spring roll and of course Rum Runners. It was delicious and I had no idea that I was even hungry.
Before we got to port, the guides came around to collect their money – either by credit card or cash. For my tour, it was $55 US dollars.
One little antidote, as we were looking for a place to get into the water, our guide and our captain noticed another boat “The Coral Buddy” and our guide did not like what they were doing. Some of their passengers were in the water standing on coral, they were anchored in a coral restoration area. There were words in Dutch and strong feelings on the part of our crew. I appreciated their feelings about coral restoration and doing no damage to the sensitive coral. We all felt like we made friends with our guides.
To get to Woodwind, as you leave the port, bear to the right. At the main street, turn right and you will see a casino sign. Go through the gate and through the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort. Woodwind is all the way down the sidewalk, past the swimming pool. If you are with someone who doesn’t want to snorkel, the resort offers a day pass for $15 though when I walked through, there was no one collecting and I just sat down on one of the loungers and went swimming in the pool before my snorkel trip.
To reach them before your trip, you can call them at 599-786-7055 or go to their website. I do not receive any compensation for endorsing this group nor was my trip paid for by them. I paid for it myself.