The Island of Bonaire is a diving paradise, listed among the 4 best places in the world for diving. One of the most important aspects of the island, which makes it so unique, is the fact that its coral reef and marine life have been protected for over 30 years by the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) organization. Before commencing your first dive in Bonaire, one must receive an orientation from one of the BNMP ranger and go through a check dive. After the orientation all divers are obligated to hold on to their permit while staying on the island.
Since Bonaire’s main income is from tourism, they have long understood what some parts of the world hasn’t come to realize yet – Conservation of marine life is much better than exploiting our natural resources. Laws passed in the 70’s forbid fishing and removing objects from the underwater world. These rules are punishable by law.
Long term conservation has resulted in a thriving marine environment. Among the many species living in Bonaire you can find:
Nurse Sharks, Rays, Dolphins, occasionally Whale Sharks, Hawksbill Turtles, Peacock Flounders, Seahorses, Blue Tang, Long Jaw Squirrelfish, Princess Parrotfish, and Sergeant Major Fish, Peppermint Goby, Tiger Grouper, Yellowtail Snappers, Red Faced Morays, Spiny Lobsters, Southern Stingrays, Barracuda, Jacks, Parrotfish, French Angelfish, Nudibranchs, Flamingo-tongue Shells, Frogfish, Octopus Flying Gunard, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Green And Leatherback Turtles and more.
Lots of Coral, most typically: Fire Coral, Elkhorn, Massive Starlet, Symmetrical Brain Coral, Grooved Brain Coral, Mustard Hill Coral, Boulder Star Coral, Blade Fire Coral and Yellow Pencil Coral.
Many beautiful, colourful Sponges: Green Finger Sponges, Giant Orange Elephant Ear Sponges, Rope Sponges, Lavender Stove-Pipe Sponges and Mustard Yellow Tube Sponges.