Family Diving in Bonaire | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

Family Diving in Bonaire | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Next, Jonathan visits the amazing island of
Bonaire, to dive with his whole family in the first-ever Bird Family Dive Adventure! Welcome to Jonathan Bird’s Blue World! Scuba diving has defined my life for 30 years. You could say that I’m in love with the
ocean and the creatures that live there. I’m at home in the underwater world. My wife Christine and I have been diving together
since we met at a dive club meeting. Ever since our kids were born, we have longed
to share this underwater world with them. In 2013, our daughter Elise was old enough
to get certified to dive. She took her class with instructor Kat Apse,
the same instructor who taught Jake to dive in our episode from 2012. In 2017, our
son Liam got certified to dive with instructor Scott Reid. Both of them learned to dive in the cold waters
of New England, where we have thick wetsuits. Big weightbelts. And very limited visibility. So this winter it’s time for a tropical
family diving trip. And there is probably no place better for
family diving, than Buddy Dive Resort, on Bonaire! Bonaire is a territory of the Netherlands
located in the southern Caribbean sea, just off the coast of Venezuela. It’s known as one of the best scuba diving
destinations in the Caribbean. With warm, clear water, healthy reefs, and
almost no current, Bonaire is the perfect place to take our kids on their first tropical
diving trip. February school vacation is an awesome time
to hit the airport to escape winter! Through the miracle of air travel, we soon
land in tropical Bonaire! We made it to Bonaire! Then we head over to Buddy Dive, an oceanfront
luxury resort catering specifically to scuba divers! The view from our balcony is gorgeous! There’s even a wild parrot in a tree just
outside the window! Our first morning, we get a quick introduction
to the facilities from dive operations manager Augusto Montbrun. Soon we’ll be diving! But first things first. We review the marine park rules, the most
important of which is to not touch anything or break any coral. Buoyancy, buoyancy, buoyancy! You won’t break anything if your buoyancy
is under control! And with buoyancy in mind, our first dive
will be a checkout dive. We’re heading to the dive shop! Time to do some diving! We’re going to put our stuff in our lockers. Alright you guys, so what we re going to do
is for our first dive we are just going to go out into the shallows here over the sand,
like 15 feet deep and we are going to practice our buoyancy skills, so that we have our buoyancy
and our weight all worked out before we go our on the coral. Okay? Let’s do it. The dive shop is right on the water, so we
can do a dive right off the end of the dock. The kids haven’t been diving in a couple
months, so I’m curious to see if they can remember how to assemble all their gear correctly. I’m impressed, they do it like pros. Once we are sure that their stuff is right,
Christine and I get our gear set up. Now for the fun part! Are you guys giant striding? A giant stride off the end of the dock is
a super fun way to start any dive! Elise goes first. Okay Liam. After Liam, Christine hits the water and we’re
off. Sinking 20 feet down to the sandy bottom,
I first demonstrate a buoyancy exercise for the kids to practice. They adjust the amount of air in their buoyancy
compensators to get neutrally buoyant. When you are really good at it, you can hover
without using your hands or feet. With our buoyancy exercises complete, we decide
to spend the rest of the dive having a look around in the shallows at the edge of the
reef. There’s a flounder in the sand, a fish wonderfully
adapted to hide in plain sight. A colony of garden eels poke out of their
holes, plucking plankton from the water as it passes. And near an isolated brain coral, a barracuda
is just hanging out, with it’s toothy mouth wide open! But this is a very special brain coral. And as I will discover in the days to come,
this barracuda comes to this brain coral every morning. Elise is fascinated watching the action, and
once the big fish gets used to us, it opens its mouth again. Tiny cleaner fish are swimming into the barracuda’s
mouth and gills, picking off parasites and dead skin. They give the barracuda a good grooming. The cleaner fish live around this brain coral,
providing a cleaning station for any fish that might need their services. Soon the kids are getting chilly, so we turn
and swim back to the dive shop. That was awesome! Cold or not, a couple more jumps off the end
of the dock are necessary! In the afternoon, we join a boat dive to explore
a reef on Klein Bonaire. This is the coming-aboard cam! It’s only a 10 minute ride from the dock
to reach Klein Bonaire, a small uninhabited island which is a protected National Park. The reefs are pristine! We suit up for a dive on a beautiful reef
right below the boat. Boat diving is so convenient. Alright you guys, are you ready? Alright well let’s have fun and remember,
watch the buoyancy. Alright you guys, let’s do it! Finally, the Bird Family is scuba diving on a gorgeous
Caribbean reef together. First there is some hamming it up for the
camera. Then it’s time to go see what kind of marine
life we can find. We pass the mooring block. All the dive sites use permanent moorings
so there are no anchors thrown on the reef. That means the reef is in beautiful shape,
with lots of healthy coral. There are ginormous tube sponges. A French Angelfish is one of the few fish
that can digest the tough tissue of sponges. A big school of Blue Tangs is moving across
the reef feeding on algae. They are critical to the health of the coral
because without them, the algae would take over and smother the coral. A parrotfish is also snacking on the algae. We head down the reef behind the divemaster,
and soon he has found us a special treat! A yellow blob sitting on an orange sponge. That blob is a frogfish. It stays perfectly still, acting like a sponge
itself, flicking a lure to attract smaller fish to eat. Soon it’s time to head back to the boat. At 15 feet we do a safety stop for three minutes. The purpose of this is to reduce the pressure
on our bodies slowly, so nobody develops decompression sickness. Then it’s up the ladder to the boat. That was awesome! What he said! And, if jumping off the dock is fun, jumping
off the boat is more fun. Don’t go away! The Bird Family dive adventure will continue…with
a spooky night dive! Bonaire is an arid place, with the terrain
dominated by cactuses. My friend Rolando Marin from Bonaire’s Tourism
Board offered us a personalized tour of the island. Glad to have you on board. He drives us to some of the special places
that make Bonaire unique. We take a curvy single lane road across the
island to the windy eastern shore, where strong trade winds create powerful waves that crash
onto the rocks. It’s rare for this side of the island to
be calm enough for divers. The western side of the island, away from
the wind, has calm conditions. But some people love that wind. Bonaire is a top destination for windsurfing! In the middle of the island is Lake Gotomeer,
a brackish water lagoon which is home to a protected population of Pink Flamingos. They feed on shrimp and get their pink color
from their food. Popular places for shore diving are marked
with a yellow rock indicating the name of the dive site. Shore diving is really popular on Bonaire,
so we decide to give it a try. Divemaster Tina Wall from Buddy Dive takes
us down south to a dive site called Invisibles. We have to be very careful getting in. The rocks are uneven and slippery! We swim out until the water is deep enough
to submerge. Then we head across the sand to reach the
reef. Tina leads the way, and with that shirt, she
is hard to lose! We find a venomous scorpionfish sitting very
still. My camera lights make it look really colorful,
but without lights, it blends in and looks like a rock. Hiding near a soft coral, there is a trumpetfish. They hang vertically head-down in the water
to look like part of the coral. It’s an effective way to ambush prey. But when it realizes that it has been spotted,
the fish abandons its position and makes a break for it….only to try to fool me again. We turn our dive and start meandering back
towards the beach. Along the way we come across a couple intense
characters. On one side of a rock, a male sailfin blenny,
furiously putting on a display designed to impress a female. Less than a meter away, another male, also
intent on getting that female’s attention. As they both put on their best moves, the
female comes to check them both out, and frankly, she is not very impressed. They both get the cold fin. But that only causes them to intensify their
competition, with each male trying to out-display the other one. I leave the sailfin blennies to their antics
and follow a goatfish for a while. Goatfish have two whiskers called barbels
under the chin, which provides the goat-like appearance. These barbels are chemically sensitive. They can basically smell things like worms
in the sand. When it smells something yummy, the goatfish
dives right in for a snack. We have made our way back to the beach and
surface to swim to shore. After the dive we pile back into the van and
head back to Buddy Dive. We have one more adventure for the day. The sun is setting over Klein Bonaire, but
we are not getting ready for bed. Once the sun has gone down, it’s time for
a night dive. And this will be Liam’s first night dive
ever. If he’s nervous, he’s hiding it well. We jump off the dock into the dark water. With our dive lights blazing, we set off to
the reef. At night the colors are brighter without the
strong blue cast from the water. Purple tube sponges look like something out
of a science fiction movie. And on the sponges, an alien-looking Arrow
crab. Nearby a parrotfish is sleeping inside a bubble. It blows the bubble to disguise its scent
from nocturnal predators like moray eels. Suddenly a large shadow…and then a pair
of fish more than a meter long. These are tarpon. Normally they would not come this close to
divers. But the tarpon here at Buddy Dive have learned
to hunt using divers’ flashlights. So they follow us for the whole dive. The fish are so shiny, that they look like
they are made of aluminum foil! A night dive in the company of these huge
fish is a real treat! Our trip to Bonaire has been epic. Our whole family dove together for the week,
and my kids got to experience a little bit of why I love the ocean so much. We dove from the shore, and from a boat, during
the day and at night in the divers’ paradise of Bonaire. And the question isn’t “did we have fun?” The question is, when are we coming back?

100 thoughts on “Family Diving in Bonaire | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. this was very nice! I am getting certified and was a bit scared about the upcoming open water check out dives, but seeing your children so relaxed and having fun made me feel calmer (although I am an adult haha)

  2. I jump off your boat for fun and a reef shark scares me me: screaming underwater I get to the surface hey Johnathan bird! look shark!

  3. Awsome video i also went to bonaire and went diving with buddy dive resort. I got the Instructor Toni. I loved the boat dives!

  4. We're going to Bonaire in 2020, hoping to see some of the last healthy reefs in the Caribbean before they're all destroyed/bleached. Which reef are you at during the boat dive?? It is gorgeous!

  5. There is only one problem with this video… why ain’t I one of those kids😩😫.

    Loved the vid anyway 🙃

  6. When does your show air and on what channel? Great videos. After 32 years or diving I did my first ocean dive in Maui. WOW!!! Next stop Bahamas.

  7. I’m 12 and I scuba dive, I’m also sidemount certified and am really into macro photography. I have 100 dives and dive on and island called Koh Tao it’s in Thailand and I constantly see whale sharks.

  8. Wow kids so smart!
    Family is cool and wonderful with the super supportive parents. Keep safe Bird's family and God bless! Ilove your family 💕😍

  9. Jonathan, having his wife ,Christine , and their daughter ,Elise , along on the gorgeous dives is the best thing about this video episode, to me.

  10. K never went diving coz I like in England and it’s too cold and musky and I have only been too Jamaica and my family can’t afford another holiday for at least a yr too 18months

  11. Going to buddydive this coming spring! We just got back from Jamaica and were kinda disappointed. Nothing but proof of irresponsible divers and boaters breaking the coral. It was a little heartbreaking

  12. So lucky they are with a man who is the lover of ocean….. Their present is so amazing Beyond my imagination bcoz I never had something like it…I wish …I had something like this too…

  13. They will explore the ocean in such a tender age…And intrest they will surely had it .Bcoz ocean is meant for it. And it is ocean right ..

  14. We stayed there just before Holland adopted Bonaire as a protectorate. At our waterfront dock the huge Tarpin or “tarpy” would swim right at the top of the water at night hunting. I’ve been told Tarpin populations are poor but Bonaire has a strong environmental ethos and now that it part of Holland it could potentially get even better! The Tarpies” seem to be healthy on Bonaire. One thing I didn’t hear in your video was about the parrot species unique to the island live mostly on the cactus fruit and flowers. They are thought to have been separated from a closely related amazon parrot but are now a sub species. We got some photos of them at the tops of the cactus. Also iguanas live there and we saw one in particular that was hanging out at the entrance to one of the trail heads. The smaller blue colored lizards are ravenous and they are everywhere. I dropped a piece cucumber out of my sandwich and they just swarmed it. They had no fear as a matter of fact they would climb up your arm for a piece of vegetable 😎
    The island had a history of slavery at the salt estuary where salt was dried and shipped to the colonial parts of the world where spices and salt were a luxury commodity. Now huge flocks of Caribbean flamingos sift the tiny brine shrimp standing knee deep. They are more of a peachy hue as compared to the Florida natives. There color actually comes from the shrimp.
    The great thing is we rented s fully stocked kitchen in our beachfront condo. They had already opened a Dutch version of Costco where you could actually buy reasonably priced food. We ate breakfast and lunch at our condo or borrowed a cooler and rented a car. It was a magical place to stay.

  15. Isn't it great that everybody experience what you love to do. It's great to have two sources of information {Parents} to tackle the dive and learn that this is really a Blue World. I sound like a commercial ?Truly a Swiss Family Robinson.

  16. Your my idol Jonathan I know so much about marine life thanks to you me and my mom watch your channel on the tv ❤❤😊😊

  17. Love the Kraken regulator, still waiting to get mine in the water. How does it perform in deep water and what kind of fins are you using , I see the whole family uses them.

  18. I love this channel so much, I am 13 and I want to study marine biology and become a wildlife film maker, and your amazing videos encourage me every day, I'm a huge fan, I love ur channel and ur merch!

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