Front Porch Snorkeling
The 15th most popular snorkel dive spot in Bonaire.
Wednesday 6 June 2018 06:43 GMT
North of Kralendijk on Bonaire, the snorkeling at Front Porch is a good beginner dive site with calm, shallow waters. The water depths range from 3 to 20 feet deep out at the wall edge. It has a rocky water line and generally barren sand flats out to the wall edge where the coral growth begins. There's not much to see here except at the northernmost edge of the property where there are sunken remnants of an old pier that provides habitat for diverse marine life -- that old pier dive is locally known as the Aquarium.
During Front Porch snorkeling, you may encounter sergeant majors, blue tang, yellow juvenile tang, peacock flounder, spotted trunckfish, cornetfish and octopus.
The Front Porch snorkeling dive site is located at buoy #31 just offshore of the old Sunset Beach Resort, which is now just an overgrown field. It is accessible by boat or from Eden Beach.
To reach the Front Porch snorkelen dive site from the Kralendijk town center, head north on Kaya Grandi, which becomes Kaya Gobernador Nicholas Debrot for 2.1km. At the north end traffic circle, turn right on the third road heading west to on a dirt road to the coast. Turn left and head south for about 700 feet and park. It is marked by a yellow stone in the parking area and also by a yellow buoy offshore.
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, Front Porch is the 15th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 19 snorkeling dives in Bonaire.