Antigua, Guatemala at Easter

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Holy week is a very special time in Antigua, Guatemala. If you are lucky enough to be there to catch the celebration you are in for something extraordinary.

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If you are visiting and need a guide we have a great friend and local guide to recommend. https://www.facebook.com/tours.testimonials?fref=photo

Pack smart for your next scuba trip!

Packing too much for any trip is a problem that most of us have. Over packing on a scuba vacation means heavy checked bags and lots of stuff you probably don’t need. Let’s face it. If you are a scuba enthusiast you really don’t need much to be happy at the beach but the right equipment. Our family loves to dive and after a year around the world, diving in lots of different countries we have light packing down.

Pack a 2-3 suits, 2-3 shorts and a few t-shirts and a light sweater. One pair of good walking sandals. That’s all you need. Wear your heavy items if you are coming from a colder climate and shed them as you move south. Bring a hat and sunglasses! Relax, you’re on vacation! Leave the fancy clothes at home and enjoy your week at the beach.

Generally, I only pack a mask and snorkel of my own gear. I rent the BCD, regulator and fins. But for shore diving in Bonaire this past week we brought booties, dive socks and fins. I’ve attached a photo of my carry-on items that included everything but my fins. (I brought them on this trip but when we travelled for a year this was something we rented along with our other equipment.) I like dive computers and investing in your own is probably a good idea if you plan on doing a lot of diving.

Pack and use sunscreen! Nothing worse than seeing sunburnt divers  trying to put on wet suits.  Ouch! (I’m talking specifically to the Canadians…I know we are happy to see the sun – but put the sunscreen on!)

I’m a big believer in sharing the things that work. I have just discovered the Hoboroll by Gobi Gear for packing up all my “must have items” into carry-on.  This gem cinched it all up tight and made it so compact there was plenty of room for my camera and essential scuba gear in my carry-on! I could easily have used it as a bag alone if not for bulky fins.  Still, with it there was not much need for checked baggage! The best part is I used the hoboroll as a beach bag later in the week as it easily carried four towels and sunscreen and water bottles for us. Thanks Gobi Gear!

We love our simple but amazing little cameras. We use the Canon SX280HS (and it has a sweet underwater case) and a Go-pro. Both are small and easy to pack. True photographers might want bigger and better equipment but these do the trick for us.  We have some amazing photos from our travels that prove it!

http://gobigear.com/products-page

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*For more information on Bonaire see our article about diving Bonaire http://thewayfaringfamily.com/2014/04/04/bonaire-best-diving-in-the-caribbean/ or follow @Bonairetourism on Twitter

The Elusive Frogfish: Bonaire

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We finally saw the elusive and hard to find frogfish during our recent trip to Bonaire. They are much smaller than I imagined and this one was bright yellow. We also saw pink and brown ones. They are really quite amazing and Bonaire is a great place to see them! Most of the locals can tell you dive sites where they tend to live.

http://thewayfaringfamily.com/2014/04/04/bonaire-best-diving-in-the-caribbean/

http://thewayfaringfamily.com/2014/04/03/blue-light-night-dive-on-bonaire/

Bonaire in Pictures

If you have never been to Bonaire here is a little taste of the beauty above and below the sea.

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Bonaire: Best Diving in the Caribbean

Best diving in the Caribbean? Look no further than Bonaire.

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As a family of divers, we wanted to make the most of our Spring Break this year. With around 25 dives completed last year on our RTW adventure we had enjoyed a great start to recreational diving. We had visited many “bucket list” dive destinations, including Fiji, The Great Barrier Reef and Thailand. After returning home to Kentucky in May – almost 10 months had passed since we last strapped on the masks and fins. So as we planned for Spring Break this year we had several goals in mind. 1 – Go Scuba Diving, 2 – Dive someplace new and world class, 3 – Not spend days traveling to our destination.

After considerable research, Bonaire seemed a good choice. Located in the Dutch Caribbean – Bonaire is considered part of the “ABC islands” of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Located off the coast of Venezuela, the island has a population of about 15,000 people and remains connected to the Netherlands. Bonaire is less developed than Aruba and Curacao and has a rustic casual charm that is perfect for divers. Flights arrive directly from Atlanta into the capitol of Kalendijk.

Diving on Bonaire

Diving on Bonaire is easy and excellent. The water is warm, the visibility is great, and the reefs and marine life are valued. Bonaire established a marine park in 1969 and has protected the waters, reefs and marine life ever since. All divers (and fishermen, yachtsmen, snorkelers, or windsurfers) must complete an orientation and purchase an annual admission tag. The tag costs $25.00 for divers ($10.00 for snorkelers) and is good for one year.

A unique aspect of Bonaire diving is the plentiful shore diving. There are dozens of dive sites running the entire length of (the west side of) the island. Most dive shops provide package deals with unlimited diving. We rented a 4 door truck that enabled us to drive to any of the scores of marked dives sites, gear up, wade in and descend to the reef. Although, it was initially a little different than what we had done before (mostly guided boat diving) it does not take long to grow confortable with this type of diving. It really is safe, convenient, and fun. The freedom to choose a dive site and immediately go try it out is nice. Additionally, you can easily dive as much as you want – stopping in quickly to swap out empty tanks on the fly. Feeling less ambitious? Just jump in to the water at the “home reef” of your accommodations. We were literally 20 steps from our condo to the shore and Bari Reef – which contains the largest variety of fish anywhere in the Caribbean – over 300 species.

Boat diving is also available and we used the dive shop at our condominium to schedule multiple boat dives. This enabled us to visit tiny Klein Bonaire – a small island off the coast of Bonaire that is surrounded by reef.

What to see underwater?

The diving in Bonaire is excellent. The reefs are healthy with hard and soft corals, abundant sponges and LOTS of marine life. Highlights included green and spotted moray eels, unusual frog fish, trumpet and trunk fish, and large tarpon and barracuda. There is a noted absence of sharks here. If you are very lucky you may spot a Manta Ray or even a Whale Shark. Turtles and Spotted Eagle Rays are more common.

On Land

You can’t spend all your time underwater and when you are dry, Bonaire does not disappoint. The food is good, the main street is charming, and there are other activities. You can visit the salt processing facility and see the large pink ponds created in the desalination process. There is a flamingo preserve and donkey rescue habitat. Kite beach is great for a relaxing afternoon watching kite surfers and enjoying a burger from a food truck. Windsurfing is the sport of choice on the east side of the island near Lac Bay and there is a large National Park dominating the north end of the island.

Overall, Bonaire is an excellent choice for divers of any skill level. In the water and on dry land there is plenty to see and do and your week will fly by.

Encouragng families to live their travel dreams!

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