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The Shark Whisperers of Beqa Lagoon

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Legendary shark experts Ron and Valerie Taylor called it “the best shark dive in the world”. In Beqa Lagoon, brave men feed up to eight different shark species just a stone’s throw from your position. While the sight of the mingling whitetip, blacktip and grey reef sharks and the bigger nurse, silvertip and lemon sharks already provides for a spectacle in itself, it’s the world’s largest bull sharks who steal the show here. That is, until the biggest predator of these waters, the tiger shark arrives on scene. Yet the thrill these ultimate shark dives provoke is not the end goal of the organizing company. It’s part of a clever strategy that provides them the means to protect the sharks.

Shark Circus

As the sun rises over Fiji’s main island Viti Levu we are already on our way to Pacific Harbour, where the unique diving experience is being offered. Through the open windows of our rental car a cool breeze carries the scent of flowers and villagers greet us with a typical loud BULA! (hello, welcome), as we pass them. When we arrive at the dive center, the guides help us to unload our diving gear and within a half hour we are already on our way to Shark Reef. During the 25 minute passage on the Navua river and Beqa lagoon, we get a thorough briefing about the diving spot, the different shark species and the way every diver is expected to behave during the dive. The safety of both the divers and the sharks is a priority. Once on site, we jump into the water one by one and descend along a line down to The Arena, at a depth of 30 meters.

It is clear why they call this site The Arena as it really has a theater like setting. The central open space is lined by a semi-circular, 20 cm high coral rock wall. All participants are asked to sit down behind it. A large number of big bass, pacific jack mackerel and rainbow mackerel is already present, circling the bait containers. As soon as the shark feeders take their positions, the first sharks also appear. The nurse and lemon sharks are a bit of a motley crew. They rush into the arena from all sides, but soon realize they only get a fish head when they approach the feeders from the correct side. Meanwhile, two guides have placed themselves behind the spectators with long, flat-ended aluminum sticks. They gently push sharks that come in too close into the right direction.

Courageous little whitetip reef sharks boldly meander through the much larger shark species, looking for scraps. The silvertips’ behavior is entirely different. These alert and fast hunters prefer to patrol the edge of the arena until they have eye contact with one of the feeders. Then they cross the distance to their benefactor in the blink of an eye, and gobble up the offered food. After a few minutes the arena becomes increasingly crowded as ever more predators, including giant groupers and napoleon wrasse, are attracted by the food containers. Small and bigger coral fish circle ever faster in a frenzy, until they form a spiraling fish tornado. Behind it, we see the shadows of large predators appearing. The bull sharks have arrived! But they know that this is not their feeding spot, and that audacity will only be punished with a push and a tap of the aluminum push sticks. And so they patiently wait their turn.

Safety stop with superior “entertainment”

After 17 minutes, the whole group moves to a platform at 10 meters, and everyone picks a spot behind the rope. This is where the grey reef sharks are being fed. Smart and graceful as they are, they prove to know the procedure well. The platform becomes like a runway when one by one, the grey reef sharks descend, all using the same flight path to the man holding the tube with bait.

For the last couple of minutes of the dive we move once more, this time to a flat reef at 4 meters, to feed the white tip and black tip reef sharks. Extremely shy as black tips generally are, this feeding session provides a unique opportunity to admire this beautiful species from up close.

During the surface interval, a new container of bait is lowered from a separate boat down to our second dive site and our guides elaborate on their job as shark feeders. They come from Beqa Island on the opposite site of Beqa Lagoon and they tell us that they are protected by a pact their ancestors made with the sharks. “We promised to never hurt sharks and in return they don’t bite us”. During the animated conversation we indulge ourselves, snacking on the offered cookies and coconut until we’re completely full. But meanwhile, deep down in the water and attracted by the irresistible scent of fish oil and tuna heads, increasing numbers of hungry apex predators anxiously await our return….

The grand finale

The setting of the second feeding session is once again an open central space lined by a wall, but this one is only 15 meters deep. Inside and near the wall we can see a perforated steel box on the bottom, containing the fish heads for the bull sharks. The shark feeder is flanked by two bodyguards this time, to stifle the possibility of an incident. The bull sharks are colossal and it is immediately obvious that this is no child’s play but a meticulously planned procedure built with expertise and experience. At first the sharks approach the feeders cautiously and calmly. But as the dive progresses, a few of the sharks get impatient and excited and things seem to get a bit hectic. While the group of feeding bull sharks passes, there are also still other sharks in the area and at certain moments the fish tornado moves right in front of our faces. But the guides have everything perfectly under control and any shark that falls out of line is immediately and decisively corrected using the push sticks. I don’t feel unsafe for a single moment.

After a quickly passing half hour, the show suddenly falls silent. The procession of bull sharks stops and the animals move to the background. I look up at the guides, reluctantly preparing myself to go back up, but then I see the reason for the abrupt change in atmosphere appearing. Long as a small submarine and with the unmistakable wide mouth and stripes on it’s back, the king of the Fijian waters has come to claim his share. A gorgeous tiger shark glides slowly and majestically into the open space. His confident, calm moves make it clear that he is very conscious of his power and size. He clearly knows that not a single animal in these waters poses a threat to him. The feeder holds up a large tuna head and we see him opening his enormous mouth while he slowly approaches the feeder. Its large teeth shine and a protective membrane covers its eyes before his massive jaws engulf the food. “What a incredible experience this is!”

The soul of the shark circus

The organization is sometimes criticized because the set up and interaction with the sharks is not natural and the sharks are conditioned by it. The owners of Beqa Adventure Divers (B.A.D.) confirm this themselves, but the show has a much bigger purpose than sensational entertainment by itself.

In 1999, when a dive guide made his first dive at a spot where, according to old sea charts, “Shark Reef” was situated, the only thing he found was a boring slope with debris, no sharks at all and barely some fish or coral growth. It was only after weeks of leaving bait behind, that he finally saw a couple of reef sharks. He then asked the elders of the villages responsible for the reef if he could bring divers along and feed the sharks. Every diver would pay a fee to the village if, in return, the villagers would stop fishing the reef. The elders agreed because they rarely caught any fish on the reef anyway.

Over the following years more and more sharks learned that the sound of a certain boat signaled a free meal. But the activity also attracted more and more other fish and the place gradually became a complete community, a vibrant local marine ecosystem. In 2004 the shark feeding sessions became so popular they were split between two organizations. By that time experts already counted 300 different fish species on Shark Reef, which by then had not been fished upon since five years. Consequently, the fish catches in the neighboring villages were also increasing while the reef owners’ income was secured by the divers’ fees.

Win-win for everyone and especially for the sharks

Now, the proceeds of the shark dives are being used for several noble purposes and the organization has secured national protection of the reef. The Fijian government was convinced of the economic value of the thriving business, because every shark diver contributes to the economical welfare of the country through his overnight stays, his restaurant visits and transport. Moreover, the shark diving operations create jobs. This resulted in a 50 km long passage between Viti Levu and Beqa Island to be declared Fiji’s first shark sanctuary. The whole area is now an official no-take zone under the control of B.A.D. To ensure enforcement, the company trained 12 local rangers. The Swiss non-profit organization The Shark Foundation donated a patrol boat for this purpose. A portion of the proceeds is also being used to plant mangroves on various islands in the country. These function as nurseries for fish species and protect the Fijian coastlines against storm surges. Thanks to the mangrove program, BAD is now also a carbon neutral dive operation and the program has been made available for anyone to copy, to encourage other dive operations to offset their carbon footprint too.

Finally, the diving fees are also used to finance scientific research. The bull sharks’ migration route was investigated by tagging the sharks. The results showed that the sharks frequent all corners of the Fijian waters and even far beyond. With this evidence in hand, B.A.D. is now working with the government to ban shark fishing throughout the country. It is certainly necessary as longlining by foreign fisheries is allowed in Fiji’s national waters and village elders can autonomously decide whether their fishermen are allowed to target sharks (and sell the fins) or not. This despite the fact that the company has amply proved that live sharks represent a much higher value compared to the sale of shark fins.

Safety first

The shark dive companies are very aware that their success or failure depends on the level of safety they can guarantee their customers. Therefore they apply very strict safety rules. It is mandatory for all guests to wear a black diving suit covering the entire body, and black gloves. There are suits available at the dive center. The guides also demand undivided attention from each diver during the briefings. Cameras can only be used with arms bent tightly against the body and the use of an extension handle on a Go-Pro is not allowed. The team of guides generally consists of five people: the shark feeder, two bodyguards to protect the shark feeder and two guides who stand guard for the guests. Moreover, each guest who has less than 30 dives on his record gets a personal guide, while the maximum number of participants on each trip is limited to 20.

Also essential to avoid incidents is of course the training of the shark feeders. Generally new employees are first introduced to other functions within the company, like steering the boat or managing the diving center. Once convinced of the character and skills of a potential feeder, they start a six-month intensive training to learn the strict procedures to follow while feeding. For example, sharks are always fed using the same hand while the other arm is folded tightly against the body and food can only be offered when the shark approaches from the correct direction. If the shark approaches from the wrong direction, then the food is hidden.

In addition, the intern-feeders are introduced into the science of shark behavior. Accompanied by established marine biologists and experienced feeders, the intern-feeder watches numerous videos of past feeding sessions, during which the sharks’ behavior is analyzed. Due to the extensive training and experience of the shark whisperers, there has never been a single bite incident in their many years of operation. The number of shark attacks in Fiji’s waters hasn’t gone up since the startup of the company either. The official explanation for the low number of incidents with sharks in Fiji, despite the large number of sharks living in their waters, is that the rich fish stocks keep the sharks well fed. “But maybe”, we wonder, “it might also have something to do with that mysterious pact the shark whisperers made with the sharks”.

Frame

The Fiji archipelago consists of 333 islands of which only one-third is inhabited. The islands lie extremely isolated in the South Pacific, 4450 km Southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii and 3430 km East of Queensland, Australia. The expansive region (including national waters) covers an area of more than 18,300 km2.

Travel information

Climate

Fiji enjoys a tropical climate. It can be dived all year round. The air temperature is between 25-32°C all year round. The dry season runs from June to October. These months offer the best visibility, but occasionally brisk winds can be blowing. The water temperature drops during this period to a minimum of 22-23°C. The rainy season can be felt between December and April. It is characterized by calm days and warmer water between 26-30°C. The visibility drops slightly in this period but is still up to 20 meters. December to March is hurricane season. Some islands receive considerably more rain than others. The mountains on Viti Levu divide the island between a dry northwestern part and a much more moist southeastern part.

Flights

Korean Air operates flights from Amsterdam to Seoul, South Korea, taking 9 hours 45 minutes and then onwards after a stopover of five hours, from Seoul to Nadi, Fiji in 10,5 hours.

Other companies that offer a smooth transfer are Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

Ultimate sharkdive

Two companies offer the ultimate shark dive at Shark Reef departing from Pacific Harbour.

Beqa Adventure Divers: The two dives take place at different sites. During the first dive, different shark species are being fed on separate levels: 30, 10 and 4 meters. For the second dive they move to a dive site at 15 meters, after which they do a safety stop on the reef. (Semi) professional photographers who join multiple trips are sometimes allowed a spot in the arena next to the feeder. Their ultimate shark dive is offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. www.fijisharkdive.com

Aqua-Trek: Both dives are conducted at the same dive site at 18 meters depth. There’s a wreck situated next to the arena, which is used to do the safety stops. In agreement with the guides, photographers are sometimes allowed to sit at a separate spot with better views. Their ultimate shark dive is offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. www.aquatrek.com

Stay

Pacific Harbour is a small coastal tourist town with a few moderate to expensive hotels.

We preferred to stay at Maui Palms (www.mauipalms-accommodation.com) at the beach of Korolevu, 35 km from Pacific Harbour. The romantic mini resort consists of 4 well cared for bungalows, which are situated just meters from the sandy beach and beautiful coral reef. At high tide baby blacktip reef sharks swim up to the waterfront and you can snorkel with them. The location is also perfect to visit the other highlights of the area.

Car rental

Multiple international car rental agencies are present in Fiji, but we preferred to work with the local company Khans Rental Cars (www.khansrental.com.fj). They offer the best prices in Viti Levu. Driving the company owner to the bus stop after receipt of our rental car was all part of the adventure.

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Story: Katrien Vandevelde 

Pictures: Katrien Vandevelde & Jan Wouters; © BlueShark Conservation; www.blueshark.be

Katrien Vandevelde is a passionate diver and the founder of BlueShark Conservation, a Belgian not-for-profit organization focusing on Ocean and Shark conservation. BlueShark initiates grassroots projects and cooperates with national and international NGO’s during their ocean or shark conservation campaigns. They also raise awareness by donating photographic materials, publishing articles and hosting ocean and shark related conservation talks and lessons. www.blueshark.be

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Western Ecology Tour Expedition Report – Pembrokeshire

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Whilst the team were in Pembrokeshire, we were supporting Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners, a charity run by divers who are passionate on keeping their local dive sites clean. They have been running clean ups since 2005 and were the first underwater clean up group. The team and I were guided by Lloyd Jones and David Kennard, who have been running the operation for several years now. NARC work alongside the local community as they help locate pollution and rubbish that needs to be cleared, a lot of these reports come from local fisherman who lose their gear and take a note of the location to tell the team later. NARC use equipment to aid their team and to maximise their efficiency, from cutting equipment, lift bags, and boat crews to help them in removing as much rubbish as possible. NARC also take a great stance on education and take the time to not only carry out these clean ups but to also educate the local community and public on the importance of clearing debris off our beaches and to pick up any trash you may see whilst diving.

The first day was spent working with NARC and diving a local dive site in the evening. The first dive was at Hobbs Point, and we were given a full briefing about what to expect on the dive and the kinds of rubbish that needed to be lifted from the site. The team were told that there were 12 Oil Drums, Nets, fishing line and a whole assortment of other rubbish, on this dive we were all equipped with net bags for smaller chunks, as well as Lift Bags for lifting the bigger pieces. There were several RIBs on standby to pick up what came up on the Bags and who also waited for our team to surface and bring us back to the dock. We were only working mere feet from the dock, but this was an active shipping lane with a Ferry actually just in from Ireland, unloading no more than 300 metres down.

Dave gave the go ahead to descend and the visibility was no more than 0.5 metres with some of us struggling to see our own hands in front of our faces, let alone seeing our feet or even our buddies. Therefor the work was done through a combination of touch communication, very close signalling and using torches to keep people together. Andy descended and dropped straight into a shopping trolley which he sent up along with nets, other members such as Lloyd, descended onto the Oil Drums with four of the twelve being lifted. There was a lot of rubbish present at this site unfortunately, with it being as easy to find as simply putting your fingertips into the mud and pulling up handfuls of discarded fishing line and lead weights. In total we managed to lift Four Oil Drums, one Scooter, one Shopping Trolley, and four Nets with one of them containing three fish which were saved and released. We also managed to retrieve bags and handfuls of fishing line and lead weights. At this point the team at NARC were due back at this site five weeks later with their goal to retrieve the rest of the oil drums and other large pieces of debris.

The second dive of day one was at Martins Haven, a dive site situated inside the Skomer Island Marine Reserve, during the briefing we were told about what to expect at the dive site and were also told that if we were to remove any Lobsters and Scallops at the site, it would incur huge fines along with the confiscation of our dive gear. The site was truly breathtaking, with large kelp beds that flattened out on to Sand flats that were covered in huge Scallops, some reaching 6 inches in width! There were large Spider Crabs who littered the bottom searching for food and a mate. The turning point of the dive was when the team came across a Pink Sea Fan, something that looked as if it belonged on one of the worlds tropical reefs rather than in the UK’s frigid waters. On the way back in we came across beautiful walls lined with kelp, anemones and barnacles, with copious amounts of Moon and Purple Jellyfish sitting in the surface water.

The final day of the expedition was a single dive at Stackpole Quay, a shallow site with easy access to the water. The crew parked at a National Trust Car Park and kitted up before walking 100m to the shore, some members of the team, including myself, were yet to see a single Catshark during the expedition and we were hoping to see some before the trip came to an end. This dive definitely didn’t disappoint, with many Small-spotted Catshark’s resting amongst the gulley’s and Kelp, some of us counted upwards of 15 Sharks on this single dive. Other sights on this dive were large shoals of Sand Eel and Sprat, young pollock and huge male Spider Crabs which had managed to gather up a number of females and whom fiercely protected them from those who came in to close to take photos. The visibility on this dive was around 3 metres so caution was took to keep close to one another and to ensure that none of us became separated.

After the dive was done, we returned to the campsite for a debrief, not only the final day, but also from the trip, along with a final meal at a local pub.

Surprisingly for some of us, the trip was not quite over as when we arrived in Pembrokeshire, we heard about spaces being available on one of Celtic Deep’s trips, namely their snorkeling trips, on this trip you get taken out to snorkel with Puffins, Razorbills and potentially Seals. There were 2 spaces available on the Saturday and Sunday with 4 of us taking up the opportunity to go out and experience another unseen story and finish the expedition with a bang.

The boat left shore at 9am but everyone had to arrive at 8:30am for briefing before disembarking, the briefing was led by Richard and Nicki of Celtic Deep. Everyone was told about how the trip is to be structured and how to effectively swim with the Puffins and how to get in close to take photos, after the briefing it was a 40-minute steam out to Skomer Island, once moored up we all jumped in off the back the boat and began to slowly approach large amounts of Puffins, Guillemot’s and Razorbills. The birds were a little shy and aired on the side of caution even if they are naturally curious, thankfully one person in each buddy group had a puffin decoy on a string, painted and donated to Celtic Deep by David Millard. These decoys were larger than an actual Puffin, so this of course peeked the Puffins interest, however as the birds approached and a camera appeared from under the water this of course scared the birds away. Nicki and Richard mentioned that the birds were unfortunately a little more skittish than usual and judging by some of their images it shows that the birds do indeed come much closer.

After spending 2.5 hours in the water with the birds it was time for us wll to get out and warm up for an hour before heading to the next site at Skokholm Island, here everyone was told that there was a chance to swim with Grey Seals or as the Skipper Fen calls them, “Maggots”, due to how they move when out of the water and how they look from a distance. Everyone jumped in and the rule of thumb to stick by was to allow the animals to get confident with us all being there and then allow them to come you, after around 2 hours in the water and the animals popping up to have a look at us all at distance it was time to head back to the boat to head back to port. As everyone was exiting a young seal came and approached the group and even grabbed onto cameras with her paws resulting in some truly close shots.

In total the trip with Celtic Deep was truly amazing with some breath-taking encounters and the opportunity to experience something truly wild, the team were professional and incredibly knowledgeable allowing us to truly enjoy a British wildlife encounter unlike anything else.

Expedition WET Summary

In conclusion the UK is almost a hidden gem of diving, many people would argue that going abroad is better. But as our team experienced during the trip, there is some truly breath-taking diving and wildlife encounters to be had, the UK has Sharks, Seals and Nudibranchs that rival that of those overseas. With a wealth of Charities carrying out hard work, experts who lead them, and life that is truly special, it’s difficult to say what the UK doesn’t have to offer for keen Divers and Photographers alike even if you must look that little bit harder to find it.

Not only is diving just as good as places abroad but it’s also easy to access with all the sites described in this report being accessed by simply walking off the beach and taking the plunge. Not only is it easy to access but it’s also better for the environment and our planet by diving local sites rather than only diving abroad. The team may have done a lot of driving during the expedition but in terms of our carbon footprint, it is a mere drop in the Ocean in comparison to getting a flight.

Keep an eye out soon for Expedition WET’s Film, which is currently in production with Ollie Putnam & Andy Clark. It will show more about the projects that were supported, the team, and life that was found during the expedition.

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The Scuba Genies head to Bonaire! Part 2 of 2

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In the second of this two-part blog, The Scuba Genies share their trip report from the Come Dive with Us hosted trip to Bonaire in September 2021. Missed Part One? Read it here!

There is another dive we just must share with you and one that we can confidently call a ‘Dive of a Lifetime’. There were 12 of us in our group, and collectively we have logged in excess of 8000 dives in some very special places around the world. And every one of us was totally blown away by this dive! A fellow diver, by way of the Girls that Scuba FB group mentioned that if the timing was right, an ostracod dive was one not to miss. A link to an online article noted that 2 to 5 days after a full moon and 45 minutes after sunset, was the best time to observe the mating ritual of these tiny creatures. And only if they have not been exposed to light of any kind. That meant no streetlights and no torches. NO TORCHES!

We lucked out and were in Bonaire during a full moon and planned our Ostracod dive carefully. One the fifth night after the full moon we headed south to Red Beryl, a site we had previously been to and knew the terrain. We were in awe of the soft coral forest at the site, and this was the perfect environment for the ostracods. As the ‘show’ only lasts about 20 minutes, we entered the water while it was still light and left a beacon on the shore to help guide us after the dive. We gently finned out over the sand and hovered above the soft coral at around 8 metres as the dark crept in. Little sparks of light started to appear in ones and twos, and then just as we had hoped, chains of these tiny creature were all around us, in hundreds and then thousands! Everywhere you looked, the ostracods were rising to the surface, like underwater fireflies linked together flashing their bioluminescence one after the other, giving us nature’s most amazing firework show! The only way I can explain it is seeing thousands of Tinkerbells all at once! 20 minutes later, it was all over so we turned on our torches and headed slowly back to the shallows, happy to find a sleeping turtle, scorpion fish, more octopus and lots of little creatures.

As our holiday inevitably came to an end, we chose a site within minutes of Buddy’s called The Invisibles. A highly recommended dive site, we parked up alongside the beach, kitted up and walked down the rock beach and into the water. 95 minutes later, we walked back up the beach with memories of green turtles feeding, free-swimming moray, immense sponges and a plethora of anemones with their tenant critters – shrimp, crabs, and all things fascinating. And back in the sandy shallows we didn’t know where to look! A golden spotted snake eel, juvenile angel fish and a box crab that scuttled across the seabed before vanishing into the sand in a finger-click.

In summary, the diving here was very special – it truly lives up to its reputation of being one of the best destinations to visit, and in fact, over-delivered when it came to our expectations from the Caribbean. To mix it up, in addition to shore diving we also scheduled 4 days of boat diving right from the dock at Buddy’s. We were able to explore all around Klein Bonaire and reach some of the more difficult shore-entry sites including Karpata and 1,000 Steps. We would recommend this highly if only to get away from a daily dose of sand in your boots!

Buddy’s is a full-service dive operation, offering quality accommodation, good food, and the dive centre is as slick an operation as we have ever seen or experienced. The drive-thru tank station is genius for shore diving, the house reef is easily accessed, and the boat diving from the dock on one of their 5 purpose-built dive boats is organised perfectly. Catering for newbies all the way through to technical and rebreather divers, Buddy’s delivers it all, and very well. The staff are fun, highly professional, and the whole set-up is geared to making a dive trip work without any fuss. Even the shop is very well stocked with kit, spares, forgotten stuff and replacements for broken things!

Importantly, Buddy’s is also a supporter and enforcer of the Marine Park protection rules – the whole of the island is surrounded by a protected marine reserve, so no touching, no gloves, no pointy-sticks. Turtle nesting and coral regeneration programmes are evident, and given the fantastic health of the reefs, the protection initiatives and regulations work.

Would we go back? Without any hesitation, and repeatedly!

Bonaire delivered the goods. Great diving, great accommodation and freedom to dive wherever and whenever you want – especially with the tanks on the house reef available 24/7. A perfect destination for dive clubs and groups as the 3–bedroom apartments really work.

Bonaire is exceptional value for money. There are very few places on this planet where you can dive so much for so little in a great marine environment.

Key Facts:

  • Getting there: Flights with KLM to Bonaire depart from any major UK airport via Amsterdam. From London Heathrow it was a 12-hour total flight time. An extra 23kg bag also costs less than £90 return if booked in advance.
  • Air temperature: Tropical – average daily temperature throughout the year is 31’, reasonable rainfall (passes quickly) and the sea breezes are most welcome!
  • Water temperature: 28-30°C. A 1-3mm full suit is recommended to protect from scratches and stings and to keep the sand out.
  • Visa requirement: No tourist visa was required, but under COVID there are protocols in place. See https://www.bonairecrisis.com/en/travel-to-bonaire/ for the current requirements.
  • Currency: US Dollar with ATMs easily found, and all major credit cards are accepted.
  • Electricity: 120V with American 3- and 2-pin plugs. Our US/UK converters worked without issue

Accommodation: You mention Bonaire and Buddy Dive Resort is the first place people mention. Only 10 minutes from the airport makes for a super simple transfer. Multiple room types, all with kitted out kitchens and air-conditioned bedrooms. Two pools, two restaurants, full-service dive shop and staff always around to answer questions or lend a hand.

Diving: With both world class shore and boat diving available, warm and clear water, abundant marine life, coral and sponges like you’ve never seen, what more could you ask for?

Price Guide: Expect from £1500 per person based on two sharing for 7 nights with bed and breakfast. Unlimited shore and house reef diving, Nitrox and car rental all included. Return flights and transfers also included.

Additional costs:

  • STINAPA Marine Park passes: $45 per calendar year. We purchased ours online prior to departure and carried a copy in the vehicle when shore diving.
  • Buddy Dive Vehicle Insurance: $19 per day of vehicle rental for one named driver for the duration of your stay. For an extra $5 you can name another driver for a day. This was added to the room bill, and we split the cost with the rest of our apartment.

Our Advice: Stay longer…. 10 days would be the perfect amount of time in our opinion to get the most out of the shore and boat diving. And with numerous flights during the week to choose from, any duration can easily be arranged.


Find out more about the worldwide dive itineraries that The Scuba Place offers at www.thescubaplace.co.uk.

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Egypt | Simply the Best Itinerary | 04 – 11 November 2021 | Emperor Echo

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. Great value for money and perfect for small groups of buddies with a ‘Book 5 and 1 dives for FREE’ offer all year round.

Price NOW from just £1275 per person based on sharing a twin cabin/room including:

  • Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Subject to availability.
Alternative departure airports available at supplement.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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