Calabas Reef Snorkeling
The 5th most popular snorkel dive spot in Bonaire.
Wednesday 6 June 2018 06:30 GMT
South of Kralendijk on Bonaire, the snorkeling at Calabas Reef offers gentle sand flats to explore. The Calabas Reef is the house reef for the Divi Flamingo Resort. There is a rocky, cliff coastline with some stairs leading down to the water. The dive site has generally barren sand flats from the cliffs to the wall edge. There's not much of interest to see in the sand flats except around the rocky jetty in the middle of the resort property and also there are a few sunken items including a boat hull, anchors, concrete blocks and a car frame. Some of these items provide anchor for small formations of star coral and brain coral. While snorkeling at Calabas Reef, you can expect to see damselfish, angelfish, hogfish, parrotfish, frogfish, sea turtles, south stingrays and moray eels in waters up to 20 feet deep. The marine life is known to be very friendly since they are accustomed to being fed.
Calabas Reef is the house reef offshore of Divi Flamingo Resort. It is mainly a shore accessed dive site, but you could come with a boat to Buoy #34.
To reach the Calabas Reef snorkeling dive site from Kralendijk town center, head south on Kaya C.E.B Hellmund Boulevard next to the water for 0.5km. As the road deadends into a parking lot for the casino, use this parking lot. Continue south on walkway through gate entering into the Divi Flamingo Resort. The Divi Dive shop is just inside the gate. There is a dock with stairs entering the water right at the dive shop.
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. When planning a snorkeling trip to the Bonaire, be aware that the Bonaire Island Council has banned all sunscreens that containe oxybenzone and/or octinoxate, which has been proven to kill coral reefs.
Overall, Calabas Reef is the 5th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 19 snorkeling dives in Bonaire.