There is quite a dispute going on between some condo owners at Sand Dollar and Bonaire Dive and Adventure, the dive operation that was originally associated with Sand Dollar. As a result of the dispute, now if you call the reservations office in the U.S. and do not specifically ask for them as your dive operator, you will be pushed to use Dive Friends Bonaire (which only recently opened a shop on the Sand Dollar property in October 2012). While the Dive Friends operation is okay - the people running the operation are friendly and helpful – there are some issues with it: namely, they are located at the back of the Sand Dollar property so that getting from the dive shop to the water’s edge is somewhat of a chore if you dive the reef in front of Sand Dollar (called Bari Reef). In our opinion it is much better and easier to use Bonaire Dive and Adventure as the dive operator because of the location of their dive shop, the proximity to the dock, the location of the tanks on the dock, and the large gear room where you can hang and store your gear, and the large rinse tanks in two locations – one set on the dock and the other closer to the parking lot for divers who want to dive off-site. Dive Friends currently has gear for rent and tanks at several locations on the island, including the shop at Sand Dollar, but only one set of rinse tanks and tanks at the shop at Sand Dollar. Dive Friends only has a few relatively small individual lockers with locks (several of our group are short and the upper lockers would be useless for us) to store gear and one set of rather small rinse tanks. The real problem is that Dive Friends has no dock or pier of its own at Sand Dollar so that the shore entry/exit to Bari Reef is over precarious rocky terrain. We are certain that this is not going to work for our particular group and could prove dangerous when the water is rough. For example, the first day at our check out dives, there was such a strong surge in the water (unusual for Bonaire) that everyone needed assistance to get out of the water, the waves were that strong. While Dive Friends is trying to rectify this situation and has been trying to get its permits and other permissions in line, they are not able to build a floating pier just yet in front of Bari Reef.
One of the other things we like about Bonaire Dive and Adventure is that they have a professional naturalist who leads dive trips (preceded by a detailed illustrated lecture) and also can take you out for bird watching tours. Several members of our party did both with Jerry and enjoyed themselves and learned a lot.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.