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Bonaire versus Australia

Orillia, Canada
posts: 267
reviews: 3
Bonaire versus Australia

We recently were in Bonaire and found the snorkelling in Bonaire to be excellent particularly the coral reef and fish we saw around Klien Bonaire with the Woodwind Tour.We found there to be more variety of coral and fish than in the Cayman Islands.We are looking for our next destination and are considering the Great Barrier Reef off of Australia.Can anyone that has been to both Bonaire and Australia comment on:

1)Do you see different kinds of coral and more variety of it in Australia vs Bonaire?

2)Do you see different type of fish in Australia vs Bonaire?.

Thanks in advance for any info.

Marietta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
posts: 3,223
reviews: 32
1. Re: Bonaire versus Australia

I can't compare Bonaire to Australia, but since you mentioned the Great Barrier Reef, I thought I'd do a quick comparison to the worlds 2nd largest barrier reef that is just off the Central American country of Belize. We visited Belize and it's Ambergris Cay a couple of weeks ago. (For those who know me, I'm working on the trip report/photos and hope to have it on my web site in a few days.) Like Bonaire, Belize is known for diving and snorkeling but they are somewhat different. The reef and areas around Belize is more shallow water diving, like the reef in Lac Bay or around Kline Bonaire, rather than some of the deeper sites around Bonaire. (There are plenty of deep sites for divers, but the snorkel trips don't go there.) There is a "Marine Preserve", Hoi Chan, where there is an amazing variety and number of fish and a shark/ray feeding area (similar to StingRay Alley in Grand Cayman) that are fun to visit. Most snorkeling is via boat although some adventurous people paddled kayaks the 1/2 mile to the reef and snorkeled from them. Although most of the shallow water is seagrass, many of the docks (and there are a lot of docks) have sandy areas around them where people snorkel and there are a surprising number of fish there, although water clarity can be a problem.

I felt the area around Ambergris Cay would be good for 3 - 4 days of snorkeling but would then get rather repetitive. If you like rays though, it would be a good place to go. We saw rays every place we snorkeled, including the largest ray I have ever seen that circled us a couple of times. It was still a sting ray, but bordered on Manta Ray size.

I realize this doesn't exactly address the OPs question, but thought it might be of help to some.

Edited: 9:01 am, April 07, 2012
Raleigh, NC
posts: 498
reviews: 110
2. Re: Bonaire versus Australia

We learned to dive in Oz a long time ago, getting certified in the Whitsundays and working on a live aboard for a few days.

The coral is beautiful there and the reef was healthy. We often saw sharks - mostly reef and nurse sharks. We also saw many giant clams which would close as you swam by. As for other specific fish life, I don't remember.

The Australian coast and the GBR are huge, so I would be very careful where I chose to go if I was interested in snorkeling/diving. For example, at the Whitsundays, the reef is actually hours away from the islands by boat; somewhere between 2 and 4, if I remember correctly.

It is a long way to travel just to snorkel, so I would plan to do more than just visit the reef, IMO.

seattle WA
posts: 485
reviews: 79
3. Re: Bonaire versus Australia

Don't know if you are still following this thread, but would like to comment on Australia snorkeling. We haven't been to Bonaire (yet) but have been to several Caribbean sites, Hawaii and the GBR twice. You do have to take a boat to get to the GBR. We went out of Cairns, Port Douglas, and Airlie Beach. We also took a liveaboard dive boat out of Cairns--The Spirit of Freedom in 2007--and it was fantastic. The best snorkeling ever because the SOF takes you farther away from shore--you go off of Lizard Island which is off of Cooktown, and then fly back. Even though it was a dive boat, they were very nice to the snorkelers (my husband, me, and one other person). The other thing we did was Reef Sleep where you take the dive boat out of Airlie Beach (Whitsundays) to the pontoon with loads of other people, then the people go home and you are there with the staff and 4 other people. Food is great and the accommodations also. Can you say STARS!! You can snorkel in the early am before the boat comes then during the day and then you go home on the boat. Pretty special, although the snorkeling, dure to the traffic they get there daily, wasn't as nice as with the SOF, but still superior. We are looking forward to going to Bonaire to enjoy what is on offer there.

Sally in Seattle

4. Re: Bonaire versus Australia

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