Bachelors Beach Snorkeling
The 17th most popular snorkel dive spot in Bonaire.
Thursday 21 July 2016 06:43 GMT
South of Kralendijk on Bonaire, the snorkeling at Bachelors Beach is known for its big schools of blue tangs and not much else. It has barren sand flats from the waterline out to the wall edge. The water depth ranges from shallows out to 20 feet deep at the wall edge. There's really not much to see on the sandy bottom and the visibility can be poor if the waves or wind are up. If you look around enough, you may find a couple of newer growth staghorn coral formations in 6 feet of water that provide habitat for butterfly fish, trumpetfish and peacock flounder. There might even be a couple of hawksbill turtles cruising about.
The Bachelors Beach snorkeling dive site is also known as North Belnem, Dicks Place, or Donkey Beach. It is located just south of the airport runway and is acccessible from shore or by boat at Buoy #37. It is located just south of the Windsock snorkeling dive site.
To reach the Bachelors Beach snorkeling dive site from Kralendijk town center, head south on Kaya International Boulevard past the airport. Continue south along the water to the first road on the left (Kaya IR Randolph Statius Van Eps) which may be signed for the Donkey Sanctuary. The parking is just past the road on the right hand side. There are stairs down to the water.
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, Bachelors Beach is the 17th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 20 snorkeling dives in Bonaire.