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My hour with a seahorse.

There are many small fish in the ocean but there is something particularly special about a seahorse that commands one’s attention in a very big way. Seahorses, I’ve decided, are mesmerizing. Every blink of their eye, every minuscule movement of their “tail,” every head bob is like watching a newborn baby.

Each moment is packed full of anticipation on what the seahorse may do next. I felt that the seahorse was very much at ease with his surroundings, almost as if he understood that he was the focal point of the area and that he was very deserving of my attention.

During the hour with the seahorse, I experienced a refreshing sense of peace, a time where I could fully relax and enjoy the tiniest movements and expressions of this magical creature. I was impressed with the personality, if you will, that the seahorse exuded; a blend between a wise gentleman who understands the beauty of stillness and the importance of “pause” mixed with the curiosity, playfulness and sense of humor about himself that an inquisitive toddler displays. I am very lucky to have been in the company of a seahorse for an hour and I must say, my experience was so serene and magical, that I dreamed of seahorses all night long

Kids make bubbles too!

Kids see the world in a totally different way than adults do.  Teaching kids to blow bubbles is a very rewarding and unique experience for both the kid and the instructor involved.  For kids, everything is exciting and they don’t see diving as something to be afraid of but something to be open to try and have fun doing.

They see the underwater world as a different place to go and play with the fish.  They see the opportunity to hang out underwater, blow bubbles and make new friends with the creatures they meet.  They walk away from the experience forever changed by the time they spent in the ocean, grateful for the experience and more aware of all the amazing things that life has to offer them.

Our Dive Instructor Lucia observes the kids in her courses and has some insight on their experience in the water.

“Kids have an adventurous spirit that makes them almost fearless.  They are willing and open to trying anything in the water like swimming upside down, doing underwater somersaults, and swimming like different types of fish while blowing bubbles.  If you show them how to do it, they will gladly try it out.”

Kids can start diving as early as 8 years old by taking a Bubblemaker course.  This introduces kids to the water and the equipment as well as all the fun of diving.  They really enjoy this program because they get to try something that they perceive as ‘very grownup’ and they really take to the challenge.

The course is set to their pace and their interests. Kids really thrive in this type of environment.  If they enjoy fish, then we learn more about identifying different types of fish. If they enjoy underwater drawing, then we draw.  If they enjoy underwater wiggling,giggling and bubbling, well they become instant underwater experts like us!

With their underwater diving success and completion of the Bubblemaker, they feel extra proud that they have tackled something they have only seen mom and dad be able to do. Now they can do it too!

Can you speak squid?

One of the most unique creatures you can encounter underwater on Bonaire is the Reef Squid.  These strange colorful creatures tend to be found in the shallows around 20-30 ft/6-10 metres, hovering around soft corals or in mid water.  If you are lucky you might spot a shoal of squid. This is when a group of them (up to 25 or more)  arrange themselves in a line, organized from the smallest to the largest. Their sizes can range  from 1inch/2.5cms to 12inchs/30 cms long.


As well as seeing these neat cephalopod’s, I bet you didn’t know you could communicate with them.  Yes, you can learn to speak to squid!  It only takes a little patience, time and of course the good fortune to find one who wants to talk.

Here’s how:

Step 1- Find a Squid.

Step 2- Extend your arm out to the squid and remain still, while hovering.

Step 3- Begin to slowly wiggle your fingers.

Step 4- Begin to move your hand from side to side, playing the sunlight off your skin.

Step 5- Be patient and observe what happens.

Not only will they stop it’s retreat from you, it will begin to come closer.  As it approaches, it will begin to flash its colors at you, which is how they communicate to each other.  Squid fluency in just 5 easy steps! I speak squid whenever I get the chance, it’s just too much fun not too.

So, why does this happen?  Well, Squid are very intelligent creatures and have very good eyesight.  The wiggling of your hand, with the light playing off your fingers resembles a fellow squid’s tentacles moving and the flashing colors it uses to communicate with. By mimicking this, you are able to have a ‘squid-versation!’

The next time you see these guys hovering around, stop and give it a try.  Who knows, you might swim away with a new ‘squidy’ friend and an amazing experience from a conversation you definitely had, but did not truly understand.

PS. Don’t try this with a Giant Squid.  They are easily offended and they tend to speak in a more guttural dialect, which can get very lost in translation!!!!

Rescue Diver: The turning point

If you ask any dive professional what their favorite course was throughout their training, most will say the rescue program. This is because it is the first time divers are asked to look, act and make judgment calls beyond their own needs and to see the needs of those around you.  

“My Rescue Diver course was a ‘dive’ changing experience. I was suddenly more aware of myself and my surroundings and felt more confident knowing what could happen and not just rely on the Dive Guides knowledge. It was such an interesting and fun course, I wish I had done it sooner!” Janneke (Dive Team Leader and Instructor at GOOODive)

The Rescue Diver course focuses on assisting divers in need and risk assessments.  You learn how to be able to turn precious moments into those that count and can make a difference. It guarantees a fun, challenging and rewarding time you are proud to have participated in.

During the Rescue course, you will:

  • learn self-rescue skills
  • learn & practice rescue skills to help others
  • learn how to spot problems before they occur
  • learn how to solve them when they do
  • become a more competent and confident diver
  • open your eyes wider and move from checking gear to solving gear issues  

You are sure to leave the Rescue Diver Course with a new level of confidence and skills to be a more aware diver. Also through the process, you become a better buddy and will be able to make a positive change in a rescue situation, should you ever find yourself in one.

“My eyes were suddenly open to all the actions of those around me. I could see what steps to take in different situations and how to help solve small problems up front, and how to think through the larger ones. It was a fun way to handle problem management and I learned a lot about myself and my diving. This course was the turning point for me, when I realized that I wanted to become a Dive Professional and to make a career out of this sport.” Tina (Instructor and General Manager at GOOODive)

We think this is a course every diver should add to their certifications. This course is the only course you can do that benefits you as well as other divers. For this reason we have decided to make the month of May, ‘Rescue May’ and offer our Rescue course at a big discounted rate, to enable everyone to participate. GOOODive Bonaire. Diving Fun for Everyone!

Peacock Flounders – Transformers of the sea

In Bonaire, living on our house reef ‘Something Special’, we have a healthy population of Peacock Flounders.  This is a type of flatfish which spends most of its time living in the shallows on sandy bottoms.  They are tricky to spot due to their unusual shape, excellent camouflage and are often buried in the sand with only their eyes sticking out.

The transformation these creatures go through during the larval stage of their life is amazing. The Peacock Flounder starts life as a ‘normal’ fish. It swims upright, it has a dorsal fin on the top, two pectoral fins on its sides and an anal fin underneath. An eye on either side of its head looking forward with a mouth at the front.

Over 6-8 weeks as the Flounder descends to the seabed it goes through a miraculous transformation. Its mussels, skin, blood vessels and bones move into a flattened shape. It loses its swim bladder and rotates 90 degrees onto its side. One eye migrates round to join the other eye on the opposite side. The dorsal and anal fins join the flattened oval body leaving a lone pectoral fin extending from the center of its back.

This transformation means that when they reach the seabed they are ideally suited to living on the bottom. Each eye has independent 180-degree vision. This means it can see what is in front of it and behind it at the same time!

It has adaptive camouflage which means it can mimic the patterns of the seabed and it can perform this within a matter of seconds. This is achieved through irregular shaped cells in the skin known as chromatophores which contain different colors.

Our local flounder, the Peacock Flounder is capable of displaying more complicated patterns due to having a higher concentration of chromatophores. They can produce various types of patterns. To name a few include yellow sand, coarse gravel, flat greys and even checkerboard squares! The university of California San Diego performed tests and although the flounder could produce the checkerboard pattern. The checks were not in alignment with the ones on the board!

They are ‘lie in wait’ predators and their diet consists mainly of small ‘minnow like’ fish species. Mantis shrimp and even octopuses though have been discovered in their stomachs!

They have sex every night with a couple of ladies, during the process the female Peacock Flounder goes on top! The males fiercely protect their ladies from the advances of other males, whose territories are situated next to their own. Once the excitement is over for that day, the lady Peacock Flounders go and sleep in deeper waters, the males sleep on the same patch of sand every night!

Here is a video showing the metamorphosis of the flatfish.

Next time you are on the dive site ‘Something Special’ in the shallows performing your safety stop, keep your eyes peeled for these little transformers, a true biological marvel.

A home for them too

The coral trees in our GOOODive nursery provide a safe home for 500 corals. Every week we go out with guests to clean and survey them. While doing this, we have noticed that coral is not the only resident hanging out in the trees, we have some smaller inhabitants as well. One of these newcomers is the Slender Filefish.


These little guys are very shy and like to take up camouflage and hide in and around the coral pieces, ropes and buoys that make up the nursery. These objects act as a protective home for them to swim around and feed unnoticed by larger fish. Every now and then they will get brave and swim out, or drift down from their safe hiding spot to another branch or another coral, and that is when you get a good chance to see them. It amazing how immediately our man-made coral nursery operation becomes a safe haven for more than just corals but fish as well.

If you are interested in finding these little stowaways plus getting involved in the underwater world in a new way sign, up for our Coral Restoration Foundation course.

If you wish to find out more about Fish and where the little ones like to hide, sign up for our Fish ID course.

Mask Fog

It starts in the corner of your vision and slowly creeps its way across your line of sight. You go from seeing everything in detail down to just seeing the inside of your mask. You, like many others out there diving are officially a victim of mask fog!

Great News! There are many ways you can solve this annoying problem besides the trash can or hanging up your equipment and hitting the beach. It is important to understand that this is a normal reaction between your mask and your face. In all your excitement to dive your face is very warm and the water your mask touches throughout your dive is cooler. Your face actually heats up the air space inside your mask which essentially creates a windshield effect: warm car + cold outside = fog on your inner windshield. You need to prepare your mask before diving to make sure mask fog does not happen to you again, and fingers crossed, ever again.

First things first, if you have just purchased a new mask, or are diving with a relatively new mask, you need to take the time to remove/clean off the thin layer of silicone on the inside of the lenses put there thru the manufacturing process. This can take a few times to truly clean off and will be removed using step 1 and 2 below.

Here are a few suggestions we have found that will help you to solve your mask fog issues:

1) Give it a good clean with a soft scrub soap

2) Ask a dive professional to “burn” it. Sounds dodgy but it helps a lot and quickly removes the thin layer of silicon

3) Purchase a bottle of defog and apply this before each dive allowing 1 – 2 minutes for the chemical to adhere and create a barrier on your mask to stop the fogging effect

4) Keep your face cool if you are in a hot environment or under direct sunlight. Before you descend underwater for your dive, submerge your face for a bit in water to help your face literally cool down

So rather than saying “What the fog!”- take the time to fix the issue and have fun instead! We wish you a future of clear masks and amazing dives.

Better Diving!
The GOOODive Team

Scuba Review

Scuba Review, why would you?

Nowadays we update or upgrade everything, so why not our Scuba diving skills? Scuba diving is an extreme sport, with skills that are a bit rusty or out of date this could make your scuba diving less enjoyable.  Being ‘up to date’ only cost you a few hours, no reason not to do it!

There are many names for the ‘update’ course, like: Scuba Review, Scuba Tune-up, ReActivate and Refresher course. They all come down to the same thing; refreshing your knowledge and skills in and out of the water. Obviously you can spent the first few days of your holiday struggling with your set up, buoyancy, trim and communication, but why would you? We have no doubt that you will be able to do it on your own but the scary part is that if you’ve been struggling with common things like set up and buoyancy, what would happen in an emergency? You won’t get time to practice or a second chance.

There are some great advantages of doing a Scuba Review with a Dive professional. First of all, you go over some theory to refresh your knowledge, some general rules and the latest updates. There is no exam, we just like to know how much you remember from your courses and dive experience. After the theory you will spend some time setting up your equipment and go over your checks. The PADI ReActivate (Scuba Review) is much more tailor made then in the past. We will do the most common skills, what to do in an emergency and on top of that the skills you’ve had issues with. Once you’ve been ‘updated’ we go for a dive.

When should you do this course?

PADI recommend doing a Scuba Review after 6 months of inactivity and we couldn’t agree more. Do you remember the details of things you’ve done 6 months ago? Or a year? You either know it or you don’t. Don’t take the risk and sign up for your ‘update’!

Relax, enjoy and dive safe!
GOOODive Team

Something Special

Welcome to our house reef, Something Special! Just across the road from our well equipped dive center we have our beautiful house reef. From Queen Angelfish, Bar Jacks and Sharp tail eels to Frogfish, Seahorses and Banded Coral Shrimps. Something Special doesn’t get its name from all the good sea life that you can find down there but from a very ‘special’ moment two people had down there in front of a webcam…. The webcam is disconnected, you can guess why.

As Marine Park Bonaire requires you to do your very first dive on a house reef, why not Something Special? There is an ease entry, easy exit and a nice sandy area to review some skills and get your buoyancy and trim right. When you’re all comfortable and ready, go and explore the beautiful reef with its amazing life! Consider taking a guide with you so you don’t have to miss all the good things down there!

Night dive

Love to do night dives? Something Special will reveal it’s beauty during the day and during the night! You can see Lobsters, Octopuses and Crabs during dusk and night time. Not sure about a dive in the dark? You can always take a guide with you or plan your Night Adventure Dive! We would love to show you all the good things Something Special has to offer!

Happy Dives!
GOOODive Team

Oops, forgot the dust cap!

Ever rinsed your regulators and first stage without the dust cap in place?
Most of you have very likely done that unknowingly, accidently or witnessed
someone who put their regulators in the water to rinse them without
the ‘dust cap’ on it. There are a few regulators where that isn’t a problem but with most of them it is!

The dust cap, a small rubber or plastic piece of equipment to protect your 1st stage from water going in. It is there for a very good reason! When water enters the 1st stage and stays there for a while you have a good chance of getting malfunctions, corrosion, rust and in some cases even mould in your 1st stage, 2nd stage and hoses. Not a very nice surprise when you’re about to do your next great dive(trip)!

Not only is it a problem when you store your regulator set with water left inside, it also is when you keep using it. When water enters the 1st stage it will also enter your hoses. The next time you attach you regulator set to a cylinder and put pressure on the system, the water gets forced into your pressure gauge. This is a problem as this hose is a ‘dead end’ and you can’t get the water out of it which will cause malfunction.

What to do when it happens?


Whatever happened that got water into your regulator set, action is required in all cases.

When you got your 1st stage wet in salt water, take of your pressure gauge and rinse the rest of the set thoroughly in fresh water as salt can damage even more then fresh water when salt stays behind inside. Rinse the pressure gauge separate but keep the gauge as the highest point so no water will go there. Hang your pressure gauge up with the hose as the lowest point for water to go down and dry. Attach the rest of the set to a cylinder and blow the water out of your 1st stage and hoses by pressing the purge button. Don’t use it until everything is dry. When you have the possibility, bring your set to your dealer for your annual service sooner rather than later to make sure there is no water and/or salt left behind that can give more problems over time when it is not being used.

There is even a possibility to get these issues when submersing your regulators with the purge button facing down in water or pressing your purge button when they are not attached to a cylinder. Water goes in but can’t go out and when stored, there is a good chance that the water leaks to your 1st stage and into your pressure gauge, without you realising there is water inside.

How to  rinse your regulator set.

First, dry your dust cap and place it on your 1st stage after use. Submerge all hoses and gauges in fresh water with both the purge buttons of the regulators facing up (mouthpieces down) and don’t press them. Splash the 1st stage with your hand, there is no need to soak them. Store them in a dry place hanging with your 1st stage up and hoses hanging down out of direct sunlight.

Happy Bubbles!