Bonaire underwater

These are underwater photos we took with rented dive cameras. The photos were taken in anywhere from about 15' to 75' of water off the western shore of Bonaire.

We were novice divers before this trip, having completed our PADI open water course at Underwater Safaris (Chicago) and our certification dives at Diver's Den (Panama City, FL) less than a year prior. We chose to visit Bonaire for the incredible shore diving; true to reputation, the visibility, coral reefs, and animal life were awesome. In one week, we logged 14 dives at 13 unique sites, including a night dive and a wreck dive. We arrived in Bonaire optimistic novices, and left the island intermediate dive addicts!

First, a few pictures of us...

Megan and Chris underwater
Megan scuba diving, Andrea
Megan navigating
Megan scuba face, Andrea

Our tanks and cameras were rented through Photo Tours Dive Shop. The friendly and outgoing staff there shared great dive site recommendations appropriate for our skill level, and helped us throughout the trip with equipment repairs and some purchases.

Our favorite souvenier is the "Watercolours Bonaire" book we picked up there, with stunning photographs of life underwater. If you visit the island, be sure to check out the book ... you won't be able to leave the island without taking one home. :)

Megan ascendingMegan at the surface
Chris, The Lakespotted moray eel, MM, The Lake

The sock-puppet character on the right is a spotted moray eel. We saw lots of these spotted eels, and a couple yellow chain morays, but no green morays. Morays live in coral and rock crevices, slithering across the ocean floor usually only at night to feed. Although his mouth is open, he isn't being aggressive; this is how they breath, filtering water over gills inside their mouths. Scroll down for more eel photos. Read more about morays here.

coralcoral, MM, The Lake
trumpetfish, MM, The Lake(?)fish, MM, The Lake

That's a trumpetfish on the left. Megan loved these long, thin, vertical-swimming fish. Scroll down for more trumpetfish.


At the end of our first photo dive, we were lucky enough to spot an octopus at 20' at 9:30am! Although nocturnal hunters, they will continue to hunt into the day if they didn't catch enough the night before. This guy squeezed up into the coral when we started to follow him -- note you can still see his eye looking straight at us. See a great close-up and read more about his lifestyle here: Caribbean Reef Octopus

As we watched him try to hide, his skin pulsed different colors to provide camouflage. When on the sandy floor, he was ghostly white, but as you can see by the photo, he began to develop some brown color as he faded into the rock. After he decided we weren't a threat, he crawled out of the hole and continued hunting by pulsing water through his body like a jet propulsion system to swim. Unfortunately we were out of film!

Recently, scientists have discovered that the octopus (and other cephalopods) exhibit behavioral traits that imply intelligence greater than that of many mammals. To read more about the subject of intelligence and the octopus, check out this article in New Scientist: What Is the Octopus Thinking?

parrotfish, MM, The Lakeparrotfish

These parrotfish photos don't begin to capture the brilliance of their color. Other than the eels and octopus, these were Chris's favorite.

filefish, MM, The Lakefilefish, goatfish, and other fish, CW, The Lake

We both loved the whitespotted filefish. Beautiful! Scroll down for more filefish.

schoolmaster fish, MM, The Lakefrench angelfish, CW

That's a schoolmaster on the left, and a french angelfish on the right. The french angelfish are just so darn photogenic. Scroll down for more.

Spotted moral eel
goatfish and grunt

That's a grunt mixed in with the yellow-striped goatfish. They're called goatfish because when they're feeding on the bottom you can see two dangling appendages on their chins. They use these to stir up the sand to look for food.

Below are funky trumpetfish.

no trumpetfish here

Although he's certain you can't see him, there is indeed a trumpetfish in that last photo.

angelfishfrench angelfish face
french angelfish
coral and angelfish
french angelfish
whitespotted filefish, MM, The Lake
whitespotted filefish
whitespotted filefish
balloonfish, MM, The Lakeballoonfish, MM, The Lake
balloonfish, CWballoonfish, CW
balloonfish, MM, The Lakeballoonfish, MM, The Lake

By the way, if you are considering a trip to Bonaire, check out for information on dive sites. We printed out countless pages from this site, detailing driving directions, entry and exit advice, and reviews. Each site description includes photographs with entry tips.

sea fansblackbar soldierfishcoral
coral and (?)fishrock beauty, MM, The Lakeassorted fish, MM, The Lake
coral boxfish
boxfish???? fish

Megan's sister Molly is studying neurology, so Megan took these "brain coral" photos. What do you think, Molly -- look familiar? :)

brain coral, MM, The Lake
brain coral and Christmas tree worms, CW, Andrea
coral, CW, Andrea
sea fan, CW, Andrea
Chris looking down
coral and sponge
fire coral and small fish
sponge forest
coral, CW, The Lake
yellowfin(?) grouper
the deep, wall, plus trumpetfish
the deep, bottom
brain coral and cup(?) sponge
brain coral and cup(?) sponge
coral and fish, MM, The Lake
Coral, MM, The Lake

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