By Tom & Jan Turner – Jamestown, PA
My wife and I arrived on Bonaire January 14, 2023 and had booked an extended stay until March 18. We were dismayed to read the January 1 Snorkeling Explorer newsletter before we left for Bonaire, talking about the deterioration that you found on the island. I must say, the tremendous amount of construction taking place on the island, along with cruise ships almost every day, certainly is a detraction to the glories of the island.
Our Experience Snorkeling Salt Pier
It has been windy ever since we arrived and access has been a problem at many sites, but we did spend two days snorkeling at the Salt Pier. We saw the great assortment of reef fish that you see at most snorkel sites: angelfish, hogfish, flounder, goatfish, chromis, both blue and brown, parrotfish, snapper, tangs, gobies, and lots and lots of barracuda. We saw three moray eels, all rather small, and two turtles. The turtles were together and we got a pretty good video of the two of them having lunch together.
We did not see the big fish around the pier that we have always seen before; however, there were many, many divers, and they might have chased the big fish to deeper water.
The coral was about the same as I remember, soft and hard varieties scattered around. Enough coral but certainly not abundant.
All in all, we enjoyed our opportunities to snorkel the Salt Pier. It is definitely one place you do not want to miss on a trip to Bonaire.
Other Bonaire Snorkeling Experiences
We really didn’t intend to go to the pier two days in a row. We headed south planning to snorkel Yellow Hut and found it too rough to safely get into the water. The same with Red Beryl North and Margate Bay. Planning to go to Bari Reef because it is almost always smooth enough there, we stopped to check out Salt Pier, and found it to be much smoother than the several sites further south, so we went in.
In closing, we have been here for three weeks at this point and will be here for six more. We definitely see the degrading caused by the great increase in people who are visiting the island and taking advantage of the natural beauty.
We watched a couple, as we were drifting along Klein Bonaire heading for No Name Beach, as they stood in the coral in the shallow areas that are along the drift. This is a big part of how the damage occurs.
The Creature Feature in the January newsletter must be a picture of the overly friendly pair of angelfish that you encounter along the Klein Bonaire drift snorkel. Obviously, they have been fed a few too many times.
We still are having a great time and enjoying all of the snorkeling that we can do, at least once a day. The weather has been windy, and the forecast is for 10 more days of wind, so we have had to be creative. We haven’t even considered Lac Bay yet, but we did have a great time at Karpata.
Sorry for no pictures. I don’t have the capability here away from home. They are all stuck in my camera.