Windsock Steep Snorkeling
The 7th most popular snorkel dive spot in Bonaire.
Saturday 20 August 2016 06:30 GMT
South of Kralendijk on Bonaire, the snorkeling at Windsock Steep is known for sea turtles and manta rays along sandy flats. There's plenty of dead coral next to the coast out to about 25 feet. The sand flats run from the coastline out to the wall edge. The water depths range from 3 feet to 20 feet deep at the wall edge. While this isn't a particularly interesting snorkeling dive site, there is some marine life around the old coral heads. While snorkeling at Windsock Steep, you may encounter southern stingrays and sea turtles in the shallows along with the usual grouping of parrotfish, convict tangs, butterfly fish, wrasse, trumpetfish and peacock flounder.
The Windsock Steep dive site (aka Riba Ruina) is accessed from the beach or from a boat at Buoy #36. The beach itself is quite popular with locals and tourists alike.
To reach the Bachelors Beach snorkelen dive site from Kralendijk town center, head south on Kaya International Boulevard past the airport to the water. Park just past the tug boat dock. Head into the water near the south side of the dock. It is located just north of the Bachelors Beach snorkeling dive site.
Before snorkelen off Bonaire, it is important to remember that there have been two recent (relative to coral growth rates) storms. In 1999, Hurricane Lenny passed near the island resulting in the first big waves in over 100 years. This wave action over a 24 hour period had a severe effect on the shallow water corals on west-facing coastlines. There was significant toppling of the massive coral colonies, along with bleaching and smothering. Similarly, in 2008, Tropical Storm Omar passed near the island producing heavy wave action along west-facing coastlines. The effects of these storm, along with occasional bleaching events, have left many of the snorkeling dive sites not appearing as they had in past photos nor seeming as described in the brief locally printed snorkeling dive descriptions, which tend to be older. While snorkeling off Bonaire, you'll occasionally encounter some large, older coral formation remnamnts that give clues to the size of the past reefs. And, you may notice some small new growth occuring along the sand flats where new coral is taking hold in the cemented coral rubble, especially quick growing fire coral.
All of the offshore water of Bonaire has been long protected as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park. For several decades, the waters off Bonaire have been guarded to produce a pristine underwater environment offering a unique experience for snorkeling. With water visibility up to 100 feet, Bonaire snorkelers are treated to numerous varieties of coral and abundant marine life. The marine park has dozens of snorkeling dive sites marked by small yellow boulders along the road side and yellow or orange buoys offshore. The marine park requires all snorkelers in Bonaire waters to have an annual snorkeling license visible on their mask with the fees collected to continue protecting the waters (the fee can be paid at any dive shop). Should you happen to spot an lionfish, the Bonaire National Marine Park requests that you report any sightings of the invasive fish by calling them at (599) 717-8444.
Overall, Windsock Steep is the 7th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 20 snorkeling dives in Bonaire.