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Snorkel with Renee or Woodwind?


scubadawg

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One other note on Woodwind: Your excursion fare also includes use of the hotel pool and beach facilities for the day. We wish we'd had know that because we would have gone over early and spent several hours in the ocean and pool before the snorkel trip!

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One other note on Woodwind: Your excursion fare also includes use of the hotel pool and beach facilities for the day. We wish we'd had know that because we would have gone over early and spent several hours in the ocean and pool before the snorkel trip!

 

Was that something they said on their website or once you boarded the Woodwind you found out?

 

Which hotel pool and beach facilities? I thought the entire day was spent on the Woodwind at Klein Bonaire, how would you have time to do that in the time the ship is in port?

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One other note on Woodwind: Your excursion fare also includes use of the hotel pool and beach facilities for the day. We wish we'd had know that because we would have gone over early and spent several hours in the ocean and pool before the snorkel trip!

Fancy Goods I have spoken to Woodwinds and this information is not correct. " Woodwind and the resort have nothing to do with each other. Woodwind can only use the resort for loading and unloading their guests. The resort charge a $10 fee if you want to spend the day there using pools and beach chairs. It is not included in the Woodwind tour. "

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We're leaning towards Woodwinds over Renee due to some of the negs posted about the latter.

 

Three questions: What's the price comparison between the two? (I realize one tour is a lot bigger than the other.)

 

Second, we're fine just snorkeling from shore on our own, which I've heard is 'fine' in Bonaire. Given that doing it this way would be 'free,' would we be missing a LOT if we were to do a do-it-yourself snork from shore?

 

Third, are we nuts if we don't go to Klein Bonaire in terms of quality of the snork experience?

 

Our cruise is later this month. And you could almost say we cruise to snork :rolleyes: so your answers will be much appreciated.

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We're leaning towards Woodwinds over Renee due to some of the negs posted about the latter.

 

Three questions: What's the price comparison between the two? (I realize one tour is a lot bigger than the other.)

 

Second, we're fine just snorkeling from shore on our own, which I've heard is 'fine' in Bonaire. Given that doing it this way would be 'free,' would we be missing a LOT if we were to do a do-it-yourself snork from shore?

 

Third, are we nuts if we don't go to Klein Bonaire in terms of quality of the snork experience?

 

Our cruise is later this month. And you could almost say we cruise to snork :rolleyes: so your answers will be much appreciated.

 

Renee charges $35 for a 2 hour snorkel with up to 5 people off the shore near the cruise pier. Woodwind I believe is $50 and takes you to Klein Bonaire for a full day (not sure how many hours constitute a full day here, perhaps 6hrs?) and includes lunch. Both will provide snorkel equipment if you don't have them. The snorkel off the shore wasn't the best. There were scattered mounds of brain coral grown on pylons or anchors that were left there. It's not fanastic at all. From what I read, Klein Bonaire seems to have better reef system and a more variety of fish. Someone even saw a sea turtle. You can also take a water taxi over to Klein Bonaire on your own. It's $20 round trip.

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Thanks for this. I read that the water taxi goes to the sandy side of Klein rather than the 'coral' side so I chucked that idea. Woodwinds trimaran snork trek is 3 hrs (for cruise ship pax) according to their website but only 1 1/2 hrs of that is actual snorkelling. And that's for $50 pp. (And yes, I found their site after posting.)

 

So hmm, still feeling pretty unsure about watoodoo. Disappointed to hear snorkelling from shore isn't so great.

 

Still interested if folks have more enlightenment for us.

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The snorkel off the shore wasn't the best. There were scattered mounds of brain coral grown on pylons or anchors that were left there. It's not fanastic at all. From what I read, Klein Bonaire seems to have better reef system and a more variety of fish. Someone even saw a sea turtle.

 

I disagree with the previous poster. Like CoolChile, I cruise to snorkel. I've been snorkeling for about twenty years now, so I'm very careful about using words like "fantastic", "best", or "awesome". What's awesome to a one person may be just average to another.

 

I haven't snorkeled Klein Bonaire, so I'll leave that review to someone who has snorkeled it.

 

I have, however, snorkeled from three different shore spots and can say that the snorkeling does vary, depending on where you are:

  • The area directly in front of the Divi is not very good, IMO. It has a sandy bottom (i.e., no coral). There is a small sun-bathing pier that was built out into the water, and fish do congregate around this rocky pier. It's a fine place for novice snorkelers, but I was quickly bored.
  • A little farther south is the Plaza Hotel, where there is better snorkeling. You can swim out from shore or walk a little farther to a concrete platform with stairs into the water. The platform is closer to the reef than the shore snorkeling. This is where I saw eels and about a dozen squid.
  • Across the road from the airport is a small, nondescript utility shack which sits in a small, nondescript unpaved parking lot. The reef extends above water parallel to shore for about 50', after which the reef drops off to the abyss. The reef was very healthy, the water was a deep, deep blue and there was no one else in the water for about a mile in either direction. Here I saw two large barracuda, in addition to many unusual varieties.

I will tell you that I'm returning to Bonaire this spring and I have every intention of returning to the reef down by the airport.

 

CoolChile, I can emphathize with your dilemma. I really hate having to choose a snorkeling spot based on anonymous recommendations. The good thing about Bonaire, though - particularly if you're doing shore snorkeling - is that you can easily try 3 or 4 different spots in a day. There are plenty of options for getting your snorkel-fix. I still strongly recommend Renee. As others have said, she doesn't have a bubbly personality, but who cares about that?? She knows her snorkeling sites and she is a very good guide, especially if you don't need a lot of hand-holding. Whatever you decide, have a great time!

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Let me rephrase. The snorkel off shore Renee took us was right past the ferry that takes you to Klein Bonaire, in full view of where the cruise ship docks. The snorkel there will get boring if you are an experienced snorkel. We saw an eel, a rock fish and a barracuda. The rest were mainly some type of yellow fish I forget the name to. It's sandy bottom and very little coral and no reef. Renee's snorkel excursions are booked back to back so I'd expect she's unable to take cruise passengers too far away from the ship area because then she can't make it back in time to pick up her next set of customers.

 

I'm wondering if Klein Bonaire is small enough to walk across to the reef side of the island? Or are you not allowed to cross the island once the water taxi drops you off at the sandy side?

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I just got back from Bonaire.

 

I did the ships water taxi in the morning and booked with Renee in the afternoon.

 

I did not take the woodwind because 99% of the islands in the Caribbean require

that you take a boat. Here is the one island that promises shore diving

and I wanted to see it for myself.

 

The ships water taxi took me to the sandy side of Klien to a place I'm guessing it called "no name beach". All the guide books say there is not much coral there.... so I was worried. Well it was actually really great! Coral like you wouldn't believe just a few feet from shore (I'll post some photos in the coming days). Best shore snorkel I've ever had, after diving 30 years in the Caribbean.

 

Next it was on to meet Renee. She took us to a sandy spots 1st and pointed out 20 different types of marine life. These guys would be impossible to see on a coral reef because there are too many places to hide. So she explained that the 1st site was a place to spot fish.

 

The second dive was on a reef that was as large as the first reef I saw during my morning dive with the ships water taxi. It was a massive reef and Renee showed us where to go as we swam around the coral heads.... as a highlight... we found a small manta ray ... and we swam with the ray for quite a long way just gliding together, it was a fantastic find. I never saw it, but Renee spotted it in the distance swimming just off the edge of where the reef started, and directed us to it for a nice graceful swim with the ray ( I felt like I was flying). He never swam over the main reef, just the sandy bottom skirting the reef, I would have never spotted him as I was too busy looking in the other direction at all the coral.

 

I am sure woodwind is also a great trip. But the main point is simply.... if you want to walk 5 feet into the water and dive from shore... go with Renee. If you don't mind getting on a boat again (we did this in Aruba, and Bahamams) take the boat... you'll see more with the boat, but we loved the novelty of being in such shallow water right by shore. We got more interactive in shallower water. Its fun for me to be just feet from the shore or beach. Plus you get smaller groups and I hate wearing those stupid life vest that most boat tours make you wear.RubyPrincess2010508sm.jpg[/img] IMG%5D

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The best thing to do is pick a Cruise that gets into Bonaire early and

do both Renee and Woodwind... or Do all three :D

 

The worst part of my cruise, was that we got in at 11:30 and I only had time

to do Water Taxi and Renee. I would have loved to add Woodwind also

and had 5 dives that day instead of just 3 :D

 

A few quick photos... This is 15 feet from shore, As i was dipping my head in the water...

 

RubyPrincess2010411small-1.jpg[/img]

 

 

This was 10 feet from shore still in the sand and wave break (that's why the water looking more murky)

 

RubyPrincess2010426small.jpg

 

IMG%5D

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Great pictures Mark, these are the kind of shots I'm hoping to get on the Woodwind tour I've just booked for 9th March. Just one question, what sort of camera did you use, 35mm or digital?

 

Regards

Terry

 

Have fun and post up a few photos when you get back.

 

I used a simple digital camera... its the Cannon D10 Powershot. New camera, I loved it. I really put it to the test over our 10 day cruise and brought back 600 really good photos ( I'm no expert, the camera did all the work ). Only downside...is that it says 30 feet, but I wouldn't push past 15 feet. I went 25 feet one time and it acted a little odd for the next hour, then it snapped back. I loved the camera!

 

Below is a photo my wife took of me, the first time she tried the new camera (neither of us know more than point and shoot)

 

Everything we saw in Bonaire was in 10-15 feet of water anyway. Nice and shallow.Digitalwaterproof.jpg[/img]

 

Digitalwaterproof.jpg

 

RubyPrincess502aasmall.jpg

 

http://RubyPrincess502aasmall.jpg[/img]

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Awesome report, markstudy! Would love to do the H20 taxi to Klein in the am but what the heck do you do with any stuff you have if you walk the 15 minutes to the right and drift snorkel back? (Towels, ID, etc.) You were on a ship's tour, so that worked for you, but we're kind of . . . hmmm, watoodoo? That's one big advantage to doing the Woodwind trimaran to Klein Bonaire -- your stuff is safe onboard.

 

Now, just make the decision for me. :D

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Next it was on to meet Renee. She took us to a sandy spots 1st and pointed out 20 different types of marine life. These guys would be impossible to see on a coral reef because there are too many places to hide. So she explained that the 1st site was a place to spot fish.

 

The second dive was on a reef that was as large as the first reef I saw during my morning dive with the ships water taxi. It was a massive reef and Renee showed us where to go as we swam around the coral heads.... as a highlight... we found a small manta ray ... and we swam with the ray for quite a long way just gliding together, it was a fantastic find. I never saw it, but Renee spotted it in the distance swimming just off the edge of where the reef started, and directed us to it for a nice graceful swim with the ray ( I felt like I was flying). He never swam over the main reef, just the sandy bottom skirting the reef, I would have never spotted him as I was too busy looking in the other direction at all the coral.

]

 

What area did Renee take you for the snorkel? We didn't see any reefs where she took us.

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Would love to do the H20 taxi to Klein in the am but what the heck do you do with any stuff you have if you walk the 15 minutes to the right and drift snorkel back? (Towels, ID, etc.)

 

Funny :D I was thinking the same thing.

But then I thought about it. We didn't bring any money, nothing on Klein to buy, and they pick you up, and drop you off right at your ship on the dock. So no need for money. My wife and I each had a backpack (see photo below) but once we put-on our dive gear, and grabbed the water proof camera... the only thing left in the backpack was our towels and a bottle of water (usually I keep my ship ID card in a waterproof wallet I wear around my neck) but I left them with our towels in backpack since there was no one on the beach except other people from the cruise ship. The island is completely empty except for a few groups of cruise ship passengers. No worry.

 

I can break it down very simply

1) Ship's tour water taxi- Very nice, pace yourself with diving and beach time. But go early in the day, it got windy by 2:00 and visibility can drop as sand gets stirred up in the water.

 

The only negative- This could be dangerous to folks with absolutely no experience. There is a lot of coral at the far east side of the island and you have to be careful to swim through a break in the reef, to get to the outside deeper edge, before you start your drift back down the reef. Not difficult, but not for a complete beginner. (inside edge could be 2 feet to 4 feet deep, outside edge of reef is 12 feet deep) You want to swim on the outside edge of the reef to avoid touching or being cut by coral if you got into a spot that was too shallow.

 

2) Renee- small group of 5 or less, tell her what you want to see. (more fish or more reef? A mix of both). She is great! Picks you up at the dock.

The only negative... I traveled 2,000 miles to get to Bonaire. I'd like both dives to be on Coral... that's what I came to see. She showed me a lot of fish on the first sandy dive (see photo) and as a photographer it was great for getting photos and seeing stuff up close and personal. I love my photo of the squid and some of my best shots came from the sandy dive so it has it value. But I am also conflicted...I wanted Coral Coral and more Coral. If I didn't have my camera with me it might have been a bit dull for the first dive if you have lots of experience. My wife loved it because she was a beginner and enjoyed a safe easy dive to get started.

 

 

3) Woodwind- You will probably see more coral and fish...probably the best and easiest way to go for most people. (But I didn't do it... so this is just guessing)

 

Negatives- might be that you have the bigger group. And you are not diving from the beach, so you might be over deeper water. I find beach diving very interactive and fun compared to drifting over coral 12 feet below me. I like to control my depth and be with-in 12 inches of some small fish when I take a photo or just want a closer look.

 

Call me a romantic, but I love the idea of being able to walk into and out-of the water on a beach. I will do WoodWind next time I go to Bonaire, I will also do Renee again, and the ships water taxi because next time I'm going to pick a cruise that gets in at 9:00am instead of 11:30 ( I need more Bonaire time LOL)

 

RubyPrincess2010469small.jpg

 

RubyPrincess2010004small.jpg

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What area did Renee take you for the snorkel? We didn't see any reefs where she took us.

 

 

She took us on two dives. The first one was all sand and North of our Cruise ship.

See 1st photo below - I love the color contrast of the black and yellow

 

The second site was all reef and a few miles south of our Cruise ship.

2nd photo - I thought I had a great eye for spotting fish, an expert!

But Renee spotted this shy little guy, I would have never seen him. She's good!

 

 

RubyPrincess2010462small.jpg

 

RubyPrincess2010529small.jpg

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She took us on two dives. The first one was all sand and North of our Cruise ship.

See 1st photo below - I love the color contrast of the black and yellow

 

The second site was all reef and a few miles south of our Cruise ship.

2nd photo - I thought I had a great eye for spotting fish, an expert!

But Renee spotted this shy little guy, I would have never seen him. She's good!

 

 

RubyPrincess2010462small.jpg

 

RubyPrincess2010529small.jpg

 

I'll have to check this thread at home. The images aren't showing up for me. I get a box with an "x" inside it. Our snorkel excursion were all within sight of the cruise ship, just a bit north of where the water taxi to Klein Bonaire is.

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Have fun and post up a few photos when you get back.

 

I used a simple digital camera... its the Cannon D10 Powershot. New camera, I loved it. I really put it to the test over our 10 day cruise and brought back 600 really good photos ( I'm no expert, the camera did all the work ). Only downside...is that it says 30 feet, but I wouldn't push past 15 feet. I went 25 feet one time and it acted a little odd for the next hour, then it snapped back. I loved the camera!

 

Below is a photo my wife took of me, the first time she tried the new camera (neither of us know more than point and shoot)

 

Everything we saw in Bonaire was in 10-15 feet of water anyway. Nice and shallow.Digitalwaterproof.jpg[/img]

 

Digitalwaterproof.jpg

 

RubyPrincess502aasmall.jpg

 

http://RubyPrincess502aasmall.jpg[/img]

Thanks Mark, I bought an Olympus waterproof digit camera just before Christmas with this kind of trip in mind. It is good for a depth of 10 feet so should be perfect for Bonaire

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Thanks Mark, I bought an Olympus waterproof digit camera just before Christmas with this kind of trip in mind. It is good for a depth of 10 feet so should be perfect for Bonaire

 

I used my ears for a depth gauge. As soon as I felt pressure in my ears... I figured I was getting to 10 feet deep. Just like in the pool :D

 

90% of everything worth seeing was at 10 feet or less ;)

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I'll have to check this thread at home. The images aren't showing up for me. I get a box with an "x" inside it. Our snorkel excursion were all within sight of the cruise ship, just a bit north of where the water taxi to Klein Bonaire is.

 

If you can't see the photos from a differnt computer...let me know and I'll send you an email. I got some really neat photos. :)

 

I'm guessing Renee changes-up her sites based on wind, waves, and visibility.

 

That's one of the negatives if you just decide to take the water taxi to Klien. Your stuck with what you get. But because of the way Bonaire and Klien are laid-out in general... Klien looks like its always very well protected from the majority of waves.

 

WoodWind also has the flexability to pick dive sites based on weather. (so there are a few more things to consider when trying to pick between the 3 choices. :confused:

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