Bonaire

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12-Jan-03

1500 - 1600

Dive buoy 20, Bonaire

 

Sandy-bottom coral rocks

    Twenty years of reef protection in Bonaire has paid off. On the deep western coast, coral has started growing over rocks and concrete and other dead coral. Schools of fish cruise the water, mostly blue tangs with several pipefish along for the fun. Further into shore the coral starts becoming largely fire-coral, and right at the break line there's a wall of it.

    As the shelf drops off so sharply, and because the visibility is so good, you can enjoy the hardly-touched coral that's about fifty feet down as well as five to ten feet; down at that depth, the coral isn't pounded by the waves or broken up by the surge.

 

Adaptations -

 - Four-eyed butterfly fish - Mainly white, it also has a large black dot on its tail, much more noticeable than a real eye. Predators go for that, and the butterfly fish can get away.

 - Spotted goat fish, sharptail eel - We've seen this several times here. The fish and the eel stay together, working as a team. The eel digs into the sand for the fish, and then hides under it when someone comes close.

 

Dominant species -

 - Fire coral

 - Brain coral

 - Green plate coral

 - Rock beauty

 - Princess parrotfish

 - Stoplight parrotfish

 - Blue tang

 - Doctorfish

 - Surgeonfish

 - Sergeant major

Other identified species -

 - Yellowtail damselfish

 - Blue parrotfish

 - Pipefish

 - Porcupinefish

 - Tiger grouper

16-18-Jan-03

Mornings and afternoons

*Cha cha cha pier & Windsock, Bonaire

 

Mature but partially destroyed coral reefs

    The reef is on a deep drop-off, leveling out at about 90 feet. The coral is mainly brown or green plate coral or brain coral, spread out on rocks or large iron bars. Nooks and crannies provide ample hidey-holes for fish or eels.

    Up in the shallow areas, reefs have been destroyed by people, inadvertently or just for support, touching the coral. Down along the cliff, where not as many people can go, it's less damaged, and not pounded by waves as much.

 

Adaptations - 

 - Peacock flounder - like all flounders, they are born normally, but slowly one of their eyes migrates over to the other side, and they lie flat, blending in perfectly, with both eyes on top.

 

Dominant species -

 - Brain coral

 - Fire coral

 - Brown/Green plate coral

 - Creole wrasse

 - Bluehead

 - Brown/Blue chromis

 - Fairy basslet

 - Stoplight parrotfish

Other identified species - 

 - Green moray eel

 - Spotted moray eel

 - Jackknife

 - Spotted drum

 

*Cha cha cha pier is where we did Open Water Dives 1-3, and it's just across the road from Dive Inn, the place where we learned. Windsock is where we went for OWD 4. The two locations are very similar, so I meshed them together.

 

 

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