Buddy’s House Reefs are waiting to open up again

Thanks to its central location on the island's calm west coast, Buddy Dive Resort is one of the most convenient and enjoyable places to stay and dive on Bonaire. As a full-service dive resort, they have the best facilities to host shore divers, boat divers, technical divers, families, and dive groups.

A favorite with all divers is the house reef, known as Buddy’s Reef, which lies just a few fin kicks away from the waterfront dive center, and are Buddy's Reef is available to guests 24/7. Diving Buddy's Reef couldn't be easier, and it begins on shore. Personal gear lockers are located right at the docks; air and Nitrox tanks are right there for the taking, and divers are provided with Nitrox analyzers, rinse tanks, a freshwater shower and cold water to drink.

The attentive staff is always there to assist you, give advice or just chat about the things you just saw on the dive. Getting in the water is equally easy. After gearing up on one of the benches you can walk steps secured by handrails, or take a giant stride off the dock. Either way, let your dive begin!

After descending, you’ll swim out over a shallow sandy plateau. Look for yellowhead jawfish or funny-looking goat fish along the way, and don't be surprised if a tarpon or turtle cruises by in the shallows. Once you reach the shoulder of the drop off at a depth of about 25 feet, you’ll find all sorts of corals and sponges, from large formations of boulder star corals to giant elephant ear sponges, rope sponges and gorgonians. The reefs slopes down to about 125 ft where it flows into a sandy bottom.

Start your dive heading into the mild current along the beautiful fringing reef, which is home to almost 500 species of fish. Look for the colorful fairy basslet, queen angelfish or parrotfish. If you look a little closer you can find all sorts of small critters like spotted cleaner shrimps, lettuce sea slugs and many types of blennies.

One of the great things about Buddy's Reef is the sloped profile of the reef, which allows you to extend bottom times with multi-level profiles, and to make numerous dives on the same site while seeing new things each time by traveling the reef line at different depths. Swim in a northern direction for about 20 minutes and you’ll find a small wreck named ‘La Machaca’. This is a great area to look for frogfish and seahorses. Didn’t find one? Don’t worry on your search you also have a good chance to spot moray eels, scorpionfish or octopus.

As you head back to Buddy Dive Resort, you might rise over the shoulder of the drop-off and find the nurseries of Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire. This project is headquartered the resort. The tree-like structures you encounter hold small fragments of coral that grow there in a safe environment until they are large enough to be out-planted on the reef. If you swim a bit closer to shore you can also see the transplantation sites where the out-planted elkhorn and staghorn corals grow.

It's easy to find your exit point, as it is marked with ropes that lead you right back to the Buddy Dive Resort dock.

After sunset Buddy’s Reef is absolutely top-notch for night diving. The changes in marine life behavior from day and night is fascinating to watch. Big tarpons will accompany you on the dive to hunt in your light, and may get very close to you.

Buddy's Reef is also a great place to expand your diving horizons and experiences. Guests can dive with Buddy's Fish ID specialist to learn everything about the fish on the house reef, or book a dive with their underwater photography specialist to improve their imaging skills or just have their own picture taken. Buddy’s Reef is also a great place to try technical diving or to try a DPV; all of which are offered at Buddy Dive Resort.