Caribbean Cruise – Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire (Day 7)

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Friday, January 24th, 2014

Bonaire was such a gorgeous island to visit, and the real beauty lies beneath the surface of the ocean. You would never know at first glance just how many fish, coral reefs, and various creatures live under there – and close to the surface of the water, so we can view them in their natural habitat! When you snorkel or scuba in Bonaire, you can experience the true magic of the island. We snorkeled at Klein Bonaire, a small uninhabited island just off the coast of Bonaire. It is protected by the Bonaire National Marine Park and is home to turtle nesting grounds.

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Our cruise ship, the Emerald Princess, arrived later in the day to Bonaire so we had the chance to sleep in. Justin took this chance but unfortunately, I woke up because one of our neighbors had a really bad cough that kept me awake at night and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I took this opportunity to walk around the ship and snap a few photographs of various areas on board the Emerald Princess (stay tuned for a future blog post for a photo tour of the ship!) I walked around deck 7 on the Promenade deck, which wraps around the entire perimeter of the ship. Then, I walked around the Piazza to get a coffee and had a quick chat with the lady who joined us on our Grenada tour the day before. From there, I grabbed a small bite to eat from the buffet and walked outside to the back of the ship. I laid down on a lounger and read my book for a short while until I knew that Justin might be waking up.

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After breakfast (or, second breakfast for me!), we both went to deck 16 to watch over the railing as the ship got closer and closer to Bonaire. We had a very good view of Klein Bonaire and those spectacular turquoise waters, ranging from light to deep blue.

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IMG_1371This far side of Klein Bonaire is where we snorkeled

IMG_1372Lots of cacti on Klein Bonaire!

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At noon, we exited the ship and met with our tour organizers, Woodwind Cruises. We booked this tour company outside of the cruise ship by recommendation of those on the Cruise Critic forums. We were given our tickets and told to take about a 10 minute walk to where the catamaran would be picking us up. We walked down the street, through a resort, and we reached our destination. Thankfully, there were plenty of signs to help us on our way!

IMG_1382View of Bonaire after we exited the ship

P1050321View from the Woodwind Cruises dock

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P1050326Woodwind Cruises sailboat

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It was a hot, sunny day outside with a bit of a breeze that was absolutely perfect for snorkeling and walking around the port! Our group boarded the catamaran and we enjoyed a sail from Bonaire towards Klein Bonaire. We chatted with a couple from upstate New York who love to snorkel, as well as another couple from St. Louis, Missouri. We all got fitted with snorkel gear and soon enough, we were down into the water.

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Oh my goodness, it was unbelievably amazing. When I stuck my face into the water, it was a whole other world down there. It was brimming with sea life, like a huge tropical fish tank that goes on and on as far as you could see. There were huge corals everywhere in any shape imaginable, and so many different kinds of fish in all sizes and colors swimming all around. I couldn’t get enough of it and would never grow tired of that sight!

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The highlight of the snorkel trip was swimming with the sea turtles. Justin called me over (I got a little bit behind the group due to taking so many photos and not paying attention) because one of the tour guides had spotted a turtle! By the time I got there, it had swam deep into the ocean. Thankfully, another one swam right over next to me! I was swimming alongside this magnificent, huge turtle with the most soulful eyes and relaxed expression on its face. He swam so close to me that he nearly brushed up against my arm! It was so amazing.

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After drifting to three separate snorkel sites (although I couldn’t tell when one ended and the next began as it was an endless display of coral and fish!), we got back on the boat for a ride back. I highly recommend Woodwind for any snorkeling trip in Bonaire! They only take a maximum of 25 people out on the tour and break you down into three separate groups, each with a guide. The guide points out fish, coral, and other creatures as you swim along, and they were really knowledgeable.

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Once we were back on the boat, we sailed towards the shore. They stopped the boat near the shore and brought us all out some lunch! That was totally unexpected and such a lovely surprise. They even made us a vegetarian version of the dish – noodles with soy sauce and fresh tomato, cucumber, and green onion, topped with fried plantains! It was so delicious. We also had mango juice and rum punch. Woodwind was an unbelievably awesome tour operator and I wouldn’t hesitate to take another tour with them!

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Check out the rest of our day in Bonaire – Exploring the city of Kralendijk!

36 Responses

  1. The Dessert Engineer
    | Reply

    What an amazing experience! I really enjoyed looking through the beautiful pictures (and I looooove that sea turtle). My husband would really enjoy a trip like this. We went to Turks and Caicos almost two years ago, but hurricane Sandy messed up his snorkeling plans.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I’m sorry to hear that your Turks and Caicos snorkeling plans got messed up. Hopefully you get back to the Caribbean sometime for the snorkeling – Bonaire was the best place we’ve ever been for it and we can’t wait to go back!

  2. Noel Morata
    | Reply

    Beautiful, love all the coral and fish….it looks amazing! Thanks for linking up to Travel Photo Discovery.

  3. budgetjan
    | Reply

    Your underwater shots are amazing. I have snorkelled on coral reefs in Australia and Vietnam and swam with turtles at Lady Musgrave Island. I agree it is the most amazing experience.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you so much! Wow snorkeling in Australia and Vietnam – that sounds incredible!! It is so amazing to swim with the turtles, isn’t it!!

  4. Beautiful photos! Love the sea turtles. We went on the Emerald Princess a few years ago and loved our visit to Bonaire. My kids were a lot younger so we couldn’t go snorkeling on Klein Bonaire. We went on an island tour to see the donkeys and flamingoes instead. Bonaire is so beautiful. Thanks for showing us what we missed and why we need to return.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Bonaire is so beautiful. We would love to return for a whole week and maybe learn how to scuba by then! I really wanted to see the donkeys and flamingos but we only had time for one excursion. That sounds like a really fun trip for your kids! Hopefully next time you can try out the snorkeling, and be sure to book with Woodwind – they were fantastic tour guides!

  5. Phoebe Thomas
    | Reply

    Gorgeous photos, the colours of the Caribbean just can’t be matched! The turtle is amazing, how lucky to swim with such a beautiful creature.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I felt so lucky to be able to swim alongside a turtle! You are right, they are such beautiful creatures!

  6. frankaboutcroatia
    | Reply

    Snorkeling in the Caribbean is just incredible experience. Haven’t been snorkeling in Bonaire, but have snorkeled in the Caribbean sea. It’s simply amazing (although I haven’t seen the sea turtles – lucky you!). Your photos are gorgeous, and those turquoise waters are really spectacular.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      There are so many fantastic places to snorkel in the Caribbean! I’m glad that you’ve been able to experience it! 🙂 The beaches and waters there are so beautiful and every island is unique!

  7. Corinne Vail
    | Reply

    That coastline looks stunning and Bonaire is gorgeous…what colors! I want to go!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      You should go! It is an amazing and beautiful place! I can’t wait to go back someday.

  8. Caitlyn O'Dowd
    | Reply

    Looks wonderful! Such lovely photos 🙂

  9. Ashley Hubbard
    | Reply

    Wow these photos are gorgeous!! I kind of forget about the Caribbean islands sometimes haha Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

  10. Jess
    | Reply

    The color of that water is amazing! Looks like a perfect place to go snorkeling.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      They do a fantastic job of protecting the coral reefs there, which makes it a spectacular spot for snorkeling. I highly recommend visiting there 🙂

  11. Mrs Chasing the Donkey
    | Reply

    Right, I am LOVING everything about this. Mostly the turtle (he was so cute!) AND the fact that you had 2x breakfasts. We could be twins. BIg cheers for coming back and lining up with Chasing the Donkey & #SundayTraveler!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thanks for stopping by our blog! I love your blog, too! We’re happy to be a part of #SundayTraveler. I did take advantage of eating the yummy food on board 🙂 And I was so happy when that turtle came swimming by, he didn’t mind that I was next to him at all! So cute!

  12. Catherine Sweeney
    | Reply

    Those are amazing underwater photos. It all just looks like paradise. My cousin has lived on many Caribbean islands including Bonaire, I think, and has done a lot of diving. Looks like the perfect place for enjoying the water.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Wow – I would love to live in Bonaire, at least for a little while! I love it there. Was your cousin living there while traveling around, or working there? We really want to learn how to scuba dive, hopefully for the next time we travel there!

  13. Adelina
    | Reply

    Wow beautiful! I cannot believe the colour of that water. Snorkeling and me don’t get along – I almost always freak out and forget that I can breathe underwater. It looks like you had a lot of fun though! Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler 🙂

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thanks for having us on #SundayTraveler! 🙂 Looking forward to this Sunday already! We had a blast snorkeling! I understand the feeling of not being comfortable with snorkeling – I have a friend who is like that, too!

  14. This looks better than what I saw at the Great Barrier Reef. That water is such a deep blue, and you saw an abundance of marine life. In that photo from the Woodwind Cruises dock, I can see so far below the surface. I will have to keep this in mind if I ever sail on the Emerald Princess.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      You should definitely keep this tour in mind if you ever visit Bonaire! There are many incredible snorkel/scuba sites around the island. We’ve never been to the Great Barrier Reef, but would love to someday! Bonaire is quite fantastic though!

  15. Agness
    | Reply

    I’m one of the biggest fans of snorkeling and this Caribbean cruise would be a dream come true for me, incredible experience! Look at these turtles! Did you touch them? If so, how did it feel?

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I would have totally reached out and touched the turtle, but our tour guides advised against it at the beginning of the tour. It was tempting but I decided to follow the rules! I think they had an emphasis of not disturbing the wildlife and leaving everything as untouched as possible…which when it comes to th coral reef is incredibly important! You should totally snorkel in Bonaire someday, it was a dream come true!

  16. hikebiketravel
    | Reply

    Now that’s some fantastic snorkeling and a whole lot of great photos as well. I didn’t appreciate the waters would be quite such a gorgeous colour of blue around Bonaire!!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you! We had a great time. The waters are such beautiful shades of blue all around Bonaire – one of my favourite islands in the Caribbean for sure!

  17. Taylor
    | Reply

    I would have loved to have seen the sea turtles! I probably would have fainted from happiness. I’ve been snorkeling before but never have been lucky enough to see one. Glad you got to experience that! And that meal the tour group surprised y’all with, looks divine!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      You have to try snorkeling – it is amazing! Really easy to try as well, you’ll pick it up so quickly. I was really hoping that we would see some sea turtles…and then we did! I was so happy! 🙂

  18. vegan miam
    | Reply

    Gorgeous snorkeling photos! The water looks beautiful! I’m afraid to go underwater, but I’m glad to experience this post through you!

  19. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    | Reply

    Gorgeous photos!! I love snorkeling and would love to go in the Carribean one day!

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