Karpata, Knife, and Oil Slick Leap

Fourteen years ago, near the end of my first trip here, we visited Karpata, a shore dive on the northern end of the island. You go down a number of concrete steps to the shoreline, and there’s an abandoned building up above. I remember liking the dive, and have been wanting to do it ever since, but for one reason or another, never have.

Today, I finally made it happen. We had an open morning, so after checking to see if anyone else was interested, I headed up there by myself. We were scheduled for boat dives at one, so I made sure to leave early enough to get up there, do a dive, and get back  by 11:30.

By Bonaire standards, it’s a difficult entry and exit. By New England standards, it’s not too bad. The shore is lined with cobbles, and there’s a big concrete pad, level with sea, that you enter from. The waves break over the pad, and you have to step on some wet rocks to get onto it. Once on the pad, you sit down on the edge, put on your fins, and slide off.

I was just looking at my notes from my first dive there, and I recorded that I saw a turtle then. I didn’t see any turtles today, but the fire coral is still there, and you still have a panoramic view once you get in. It was a nice dive. I started it around 70 feet or so, and swam along the edge of the reef. I encountered an old anchor left on the sea floor.

Blue Tang at Karpata
Blue Tang at Karpata

I did a 40 minute dive, mainly because that’s what I planned, to allow time to get back. The road there is one way, so you continue on north until you get to a cross-road that takes you through Rincon, and then back into Kralendijk. Frankly, I enjoyed the drive just as much as the dive — we’ve been doing mostly boat dives this trip, and it was nice to see the countryside.

I made it back with plenty of time to clean up the gear, have lunch, take a glance at my pictures, and get ready for the boat dives.

The first boat dive was on the northern side of Klein Bonaire, at a site called Knife. Lots of life here. Along the way, I saw what I’m pretty sure was the same kind of ostrocod I saw the other night. At first, it almost looked like a string of silt in the water, and then I saw there was a larger transparent area around the silt, with small cilia driving it through the water.

Burr fish
Burr fish
Looking into some sponges
Looking into some sponges
Pufferfish
Pufferfish

Shortly after that, Ginny pointed out a burrfish lumbering along the bottom.

By the time the last dive rolled around, I was pretty fried. We ended up at Oil Slick Leap, the same site I did the night dive at. This time, we were moored to the same float I’d been hanging on Monday night. I saw, but did not record, a spotted drum nestled under some rocks; there was no way to get the light and camera down inside. I also spent a little time trying to do some macro photography. I’ve been trying to get a picture of a rock beauty all week, (they move fast) and finally got one.

Rock Beauty
Rock Beauty

Paul’s steak and fish dinner is in about 15 minutes. Tomorrow, we have one more pair of boat dives, and possibly time for one dive off the dock before we have to stop diving. It’s been a fun week.

Update: More pictures here.