Captain Don Stewart, Bonaire’s preeminent marine conservationist and originator of SCUBA services on the island, has been quoted as saying, “Bonaire is to conservation as Greenwich is to time.” As someone who led the development of legislation that would lead to the creation of the Bonaire Marine Park, wherein spearfishing is banned and sea turtles, corals, and other marine life and their habitats are strongly protected, we have to think the man knows what he’s talking about. Just one dive within the waters of Bonaire will show you that indeed, Captain Don Stewart has put his money where his mouth is.
This south Caribbean island enjoys an arid climate with very little rainfall, which translates into crystal clear, calm, silt-free waters year round — a Mecca for underwater photographers. Visibility here averages 30 meters, but it is not unusual for it to reach depths of up to 55 meters. Because every coral reef, mangrove forest, and seagrass bed is protected in Bonaire, the diversity of marine life is stunning; the diversity of its fish population has been ranked by REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) as the highest in all of the Caribbean. But colorful reef fishes and invertebrates aren’t the only residents of Bonaire’s pristine waters, as plentiful dolphins, sea turtles, rays, and even whales sharks can all be found here when the season is right. Check out this incredible footage of one of the last few places on Earth that has been successfully protected by the tireless efforts of conservationists in Bonaire.
Image via Dan Hershman