Eco-Friendly Activities at Dive Friends Bonaire
Dive Friends Bonaire organizes the quarterly Bonaire Underwater Clean Up Dive. Upcoming clean ups in 2018 are scheduled for:
Briefings begin 10:00 AM, but dates may change so as to not conflict with other events.
On each Clean Up Dive, a different area of Bonaire’s coastal reefs or beaches is selected and any trash which has not become part of the reef is collected. We invite and welcome any participants who want to combine vacation with doing the right thing for their reefs! Quarterly cleanups give us the opportunity to focus on the removal of new trash rather than disturbing the flora and fauna that have taken up residence in older trash.
If you happen to be on-island and you’re not diving with Dive Friends Bonaire but you’d still like to help keep Bonaire blue and beautiful–no problem. Please bring a copy of your certification card along when you sign-in. We only ask that you fill in one of our liability forms and then you are more than welcome to participate.
The sponsors provide free air and a potluck BBQ after this dive, but we do ask you to bring a small side dish if you come to the BBQ. It’s always a really good time!
The eastern coastline of Bonaire accumulates a large amount of plastic debris that has drifted along the current from South America. More and more floating plastic arrives every hour. It is extremely dangerous to our ecosystem and our sea turtles. Many visitors of Bonaire who visit the east coast and witness the volume of plastic feel helpless to do anything about it. Well, no longer! Together we can make a Debris Free Bonaire!
Anyone who wants to participate just needs to visit any one of our five dive centers to collect a large mesh bag. We’ll show you on a map where the areas of concern are located. Then, you can go for a scenic drive over to the eastern coastline. Fill up the bag with as much plastic debris as you can, and return the bag to Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis.
We have a ten-cubic meter container for the plastic so that everyone can witness how much debris we have removed from the marine environment. We’ll sort it for recycling, re-use or proper disposal. If you leave your name and email address with us when you drop off a full collection bag, you will be entered into a raffle every time we fill the container. We’d also like to take a photo of you to let all of your Facebook (and PADI Project AWARE) friends know about the great work that you’re doing while on vacation!
Visit http://www.debrisfreebonaire.com for more information.
The donations from Dive Friends Bonaire helps to:
The new PADI/ Project AWARE Dive Against Debris Specialty is designed to equip divers of all experience levels with better knowledge of debris issues and empower them with the skills to complete ongoing Dive Against Debris surveys.
From planning the dive to reporting the debris data, the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty prepares students to participate and support regular Dive Against Debris surveys, join other surveys, or, in case of more experienced divers, to start surveys of their own.
Lionfish InvasionUnfortunately, the Caribbean lionfish invasion has spread to Bonaire. What started as an unfortunate release from an aquarium in Florida in the early 1990s became an environmental disaster of epic proportions. Lionfish can produce up to 30,000 floating eggs in one spawn. The eat everything that they come across and, due to their venomous spines, almost nothing eats them. Studies have shown that when they appear on your reef–you can lose up to 40% of your biodiversity! Luckily for us, we have a great team of local volunteer divers that are doing their best to combat this scourge. The Bonaire Marine Park has trained and mobilized local divers to use ELFs or Eliminate Lionfish Devices.
What you can do:
If you see one in the Marine Park, please note the depth, dive site,and location and report it at any of our dive centers. We’ll do our best to make sure that it is speared and on someone’s dinner plate as soon as possible. Under no circumstances should you try to catch or kill it yourself. Stings from the venomous spines are quite painful. Apply a hot compress (as hot as you can stand) to the wound and head over to the hospital to get it checked out.
Another thing that you can do is EAT LIONFISH! Instead of dining on grouper or shark, who should be left in the oceans to eat lionfish, you can turn the tables and ask for lionfish in every restaurant that you visit on Bonaire. If there’s a demand, there will be a supply. It’s tasty and perfectly safe to eat. The spines are the only part that contain venom. You can also bring home a Lionfish Cookbook from our retail shop.
Once you start conducting fish surveys, your diving experience will change. Suddenly you will start to notice things on your dives that have always been there, but the difference is that now you will know them. You will realize when a species you encounter is a great find, and who are the usual suspects. Another reason – it allows you to participate, become a scientist, become an explorer. It gives you a voice to make a difference. We hope you will use it.
For more information, please visit www.reef.org.