1000 Steps Snorkeling
The 3rd most popular snorkel dive spot in Bonaire.
Wednesday 6 June 2018 06:30 GMT
North of Kralendijk on Bonaire, the snorkeling at 1000 Steps is popular for its turtles and manta rays. This dive site has barren sand flats out to the wall edge about 100 feet from shore. The water depths range from shallows to 20 feet deep at the wall edge. During a 1000 Steps snorkeling dive, you may encounter hawksbill turtles, bandit fish, parrotfish, blue tangs, trumpetfish and some manta rays over the edge. There is good snorkeling to be found far out directly under the mooring buoy with star coral formations, and even further out, snorkelers at 1000 Steps have been known to encounter whale sharks.
The 1000 Steps dive is accessible from shore or by boat at Buoy #16. There are 71 steps from the parking area down to the shoreline.
To reach the 1000 Steps snorkelen dive site from the Kralendijk town center, head north on Kaya Grandi, which becomes Kaya Gobernador Nicholas Debrot. The road passes through a traffic circle and eventually jogs to the right around a large development and the Bonaire National Marine Park headquarters before coming back to the water. Back along the coastline, the road changes name to Queens Highway (though it is unsigned). After travelling a distance of 9.4km from the center of Kralendijk, there are a few roadside parking spots along the cliff above the coast at the 1000 Steps dive site, which has a roadside yellow marker. Keep in mind that Queens Highway is a one-way road from 1000 Steps northbound to Karpata. To access the 1000 Steps snorkeling Queens Highway, there is a staircase from the road at the yellow stone marker down to the beach. The stairs are across the road from the parking next to the radio transmitting station (Radio Netherlands).
While snorkelen off Bonaire, it is important to remember that there was a significant tropical storm in the region in 2008. Many of the brief locally printed snorkeling dive site descriptions were written prior to the tropical storm. During Tropical Storm Omar in October 2008, Bonaire's shallow water reefs lost a significant portion of the adult coral population, especially along the west and northwest facing shortlines. The effects of this storm, along with occasional bleaching events, have left many of the snorkeling dive sites not appearing as they had in past photos. There are 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, 1000 Steps is the 3rd most popular snorkel dive spot of all 20 snorkeling dives in Bonaire.