Jun 082013
 

During our recent dive trip to Bonaire, we dove the well-known salt pier – a dive site under a working pier on Bonaire’s southwest coast.

Looking north to the pier - the dive site is under the pier

Looking north to the pier – the dive site is under the pier

As those familiar with Bonaire’s shore entries know, some are easy, and some are… treacherous let’s just say some require sure footing and a dose of luck (due to slippery rocks).  The salt pier entry is relatively easy and slopes gently, although there are some large underwater rocks to beware of.

Gentle shore entry on the left side of the photo

Gentle shore entry on the left side of the photo

This is a great site for photographers, novice divers, snorkelers and those seeking a slow-paced, picturesque dive teeming with underwater life.  The depth is 15-50 feet (5-15 meters).  I didn’t detect any strong currents at this site (this could change, so always ask at your dive shop).

Schoolmaster under the pier

Schoolmaster under the pier

Filefish

Filefish

Christmas Tree Worms - Salt Pier

Christmas Tree Worms – Salt Pier

Bigeye - by Mr. Reeftraveler

Bigeye – by Mr. Reeftraveler

After a few minutes under the pier, I heard a loud noise coming from the surface.  Momentarily forgetting that we were under a working pier, I instinctively feared that a boat was fast encroaching (every diver and snorkeler knows this moment).  Then, as I saw the schooling grunts just in front of me, I remembered why we were hearing the sounds of industry at work.

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Schooling Fish

Mr. Reeftraveler was lucky enough to enjoy a few moments with a very curious (and photogenic) barracuda that seemed to enjoy the shelter of the piles.

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

We swam back to shore, satisfied after a great dive.  I had just removed my tank and was watching Mr. Reeftraveler amble around in the shallows.  Noticing a fin dipping in and out of the shallows a few yards away, I quickly called to him, “Hey, what is THAT?”.  “I don’t know, but we’re going to find out”, he said.  I scrambled to action, first grabbing the camera and then slapping on fins and mask.  With mask askew and leaking water, I swam as fast as I could while trying not to splash or cause a scene.  And finally we caught a glimpse.

Manta at Salt Pier shallows

Manta at Salt Pier shallows

After talking to other divers and divemasters, there may be as many as four mantas cruising Bonaire’s shores at the moment.

What is your favorite dive site in Bonaire?  We’ve got much more to discover, and I’m making a list in preparation for our next trip.  Oh, and have you seen the mantas?

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