Bonaire & Aruba Snorkeling Trip Report, January - February 2018
by Tom & Jan Turner
5' Nurse Shark at Lac Bay
On January 17, 2018, my wife's birthday, we left for a two week snorkeling trip to Bonaire and Aruba and here is our trip report.
We flew into Aruba (flights are so much cheaper into Aruba than Bonaire), and spent three nights in Aruba. Our first day, the weather was really cloudy and somewhat rainy, so we decided to walk back to the Natural Pool, which has always been a favorite activity of ours when in Aruba. The road traffic to the Natural Pool has become so intense that we had to be careful on our walk that we did not get run over. I doubt we will ever walk back there again.
Our second day in Aruba, we went on our favorite drift snorkel in the morning, entering at Puerto Chiquito and exiting at Mangel Halto. The water was great and the wildlife was entertaining and abundant. We watched two octopuses interacting, and found out later that they only interact when mating. We had lunch at Zeerovers, which is the best restaurant on the island, and then spent the afternoon snorkeling at Arashi Beach. The fish were great, the coral was great, but there was a pretty stiff current to contend with. We had a ball.
The next day, we flew over to Bonaire on Insel Air and spent the next two weeks enjoying the great sea life and coral from the easy shore access all around Bonaire. Our first day, we just went in from where we were staying and snorkeled around Bari Reef and Front Porch. We saw all of the regular reef fish, many species of parrotfish, Brown Chromis, damselfish and flounder, snapper and blennies, grunts and squirrelfish and filefish. We saw two Goldspotted Eels and several Spotted Drums.
The next day, we went to the Salt Pier, one of our favorite spots, and had a great swim. You see big fish around the pier, and this time we saw some really big barracuda and a huge Cubera Snapper, two Goldentail Morays and one Green Sea Turtle. The pier legs are really interesting because of all of the coral and sponges which have become established on the legs.
The next day, we went to Karpata, which is another favorite spot. This, along with Klein Bonaire and Lac Bay, has some of the best coral on the island. Along with all of the regular fish, we saw Ocean Triggerfish, four Green Sea Turtles and an octopus. The wildlife and coral is so entertaining and ever changing that you just never get tired of it.
In all, we snorkeled Front Porch, Bari Reef, Salt Pier twice, Karpata twice, Cliff, and Aquarium. We did a drift snorkel from Petries Pillar to Andrea II. We also went in at 18 Palms, and Red Beryl North. We snorkeled Klein Bonaire twice on the water taxi and once with Woodwind Tours. We highly recommend Woodwind Tours. They take you to great spots around Klein Bonaire that you can't get to unless you have access to a boat, and they do a great job. We are not big on snorkel tours, but we do not hesitate to recommend Woodwind Tours. Because it was very windy the whole time we were there, we only ventured over to Lac Bay once. It was difficult to get out to the reef, and then it was very rough the whole time we snorkeled. We night snorkeled four times, twice at the Venezuelan Consulate, once at Bari Reef, and once at Divi Flamingo.
Besides all of the regular reef fish that are always around, we saw many Green Sea Turtles and a couple of Hawksbill Turtles, several octopuses, lots and lots of eels, the biggest surgeonfish we have ever seen, around 14" long, a 5' Nurse Shark at Lac Bay, a 5' Green Moray at Klein Bonaire, some Caribbean Reef Squid, some huge Rainbow Parrotfish at 18th Palm, a Flame Box Crab, a slipper lobster and many spiny lobsters while night snorkeling at the Divi Flamingo, several basket stars, a Bridled Burrfish, and a very interesting to watch Yellowhead Jawfish. We only saw one lionfish the whole time we were there.
All in all, we had a wonderful time on this snorkel trip. You just cannot beat floating in a coral and wildlife filled natural aquarium in water that is warm and comfortable enjoying all of nature's creation. We love it.
Read Tom's 2015 Bonaire Trip Report.