By Tom Adams
I just read your update on Bonaire being in decline over the last 10 years and wanted to share my Bonaire snorkeling report from August 2022.
Places I Snorkeled in Bonaire
I snorkeled Red Beryl and it was really good. I went in where the yellow rock site marker is located. The first thing I saw was a kite surfer come by at my entrance point on what looked like a hydro-plane board. I went in there anyway with caution. It’s a rocky entrance and I used flip flops and secured them with a carabiner per the recommendations on this site. Later I recalled that Galen and Nicole recommend going in north of Red Beryl. There are a couple of places were you can pull off the road a bit north of Red Beryl and they also have rocky access.
After I got in, I went north and it was perhaps the best snorkeling I have ever seen. The less traveled areas of Bonaire are still really good, in my opinion.
I examined the coast from the water and I found a spot where I could get out without flip flops just a few feet south of the path to the beach. I crawled out and that can be dangerous but for the low wind and low surf. This was near low tide on a low wind day, so egress was easier and the number of wind surfers was much diminished from what it would be on a windy day. North of Red Beryl would be the safer entrance point.
We stayed in Belnam where we could enter on steps, good for my wife who has a leg injury. It was right out the rental door so I explored that area a lot. I saw turtles, eels, located a marine worm on the fire coral, and lots of the usual fish. A helpful diver staying next door pointed out a jaw fish, these small cute fish live in holes in sand and pop out when not threatened and are hard to spot.
The coral near the rental there was OK by general Caribbean shore snorkeling standards, but not anywhere close to the best of Bonaire.
I took the $25 Klein Bonaire water taxi that offers a drift snorkel some days at no extra charge. I have done it many times, but this time I decided to swim against the current. I got away from the crowd to less traveled spots.
I had a watch so I could check the time and plan to catch the water taxi back at No Name Beach. This is also a risky since the current in this uncharted territory may be going the wrong way, and I did not have a buddy along. I had to watch the current and judge my strength. And I made the mistake of not noting a tall tree or bush as a landmark for the drift snorkel starting point so I could tell how far I was off the beaten (or finned?) path which made me a bit more cautious.
But I was rewarded by seeing a very big Porcupinefish under a ledge in addition to some healthy coral. At first I thought it was a puffer, but on research its size and habits makes it a porcupine I think.
We also took an excursion with Sea Cow, you enter and exit via steps which is great for anyone who finds it difficult to use a ladder to get out. The water taxi to Klein Bonaire also has steps.