June 25, 2001
Each dive shop offers an easy entry point either a ramp (unless destroyed by 1998 Hurricane) or a cleared path into the water. For some 20 years Bari (meaning barrel) was the dumping ground for Bonaire. Just some 15 years ago it was cleaned up and is excellent reef for diving. Bonaire’s claim to fame is shore diving, not drift, wreck, or other such. It is the number one reef, for the number of species found on one reef. They have even started a group lead by Jerry Ligon, Sand Dollar’s Naturalist Guide, that can identify 100 species on a single dive. I’m not well versed on minor differences so I can only identify about 25 on a single dive. But I was able to get up to about 85 over the course of my trip.
Both the Century Club and the Reef Club can be joined via Jerry for free. A shore dive at Bari Reef with Jerry, preceded by a couple of hours of slides and other information vital to identifying species, costs about $30 and truly enhances future dives. The reef club keeps statistic on species and the number of them all over the world and you don’t have to be an expert to be a part of it.
link will give you a nice dive site map along with the names of the sites. link does not have as nice a map but it provides a chart with the name of sites as well as if it is good for snorkeling.
Shore diving sites within Washington-Slagbaai Park include Playa Funchi and Boca Bartol; the latter better suited to advanced divers and not accessible by boat.
Shore diving north of Kralendijk includes Ol’ Blue, 1000 Steps, and Weber’s Joy. Easiest entries are at Pietries Pillar and La Machaca, which are not accessible by boat.
Town Pier located in downtown Kralendijk and Salt Pier, south of the airport near the salt pans are both good shore dives, but require a local dive master and Harbor Master permission. Guided shore dives usually cost about $20.
Shore diving south of the airport offers shore access at every site, but some such as the Hilma Hooker Wreck require quite a bit of a swim. The better sites for shore diving in this area include Aquarius, Larry’s Lair and Willemstoren Lighthouse the furthest south dive site. There are many other sites along the highway that are better accessed by boat.
From journal Caribbean Paradise