Highlighted by evening presentations by leading marine experts like Wyland and Ned DeLoach, A Taste of Bonaire food and cultural festival, a photo contest, underwater photography workshops, equipment demos, parties and dives with local naturalists, the schedule of events has been announced for the Seventh Annual Bonaire Dive Festival. The Week will kick off Sunday June 15 with the Dive Festival Opening Ceremony at the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino. The opening ceremony will feature a welcome and orientation by representatives from Bonaire, Rodale’s Scuba Diving and Captain Don Stewart followed by a Key Note Address by Ned DeLoach from Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). Following the ceremony, the Dive Festival Photo Contest orientation will take place as will a Dive Festival Kick-Off Party.
Monday will bring the opportunity to try out the latest dive and photography equipment from Sea & Sea and ScubaPro. Two pre-registered dives with local Bonairean naturalists and Dive Festival presenters will take place along with a beginner’s photo clinic. On Monday night, the Festival’s popular food and cultural festival, A Taste of Bonaire will take place. The event will feature local food from select restaurants as well as live music. Tuesday will once again offer the opportunity to demo dive and photography equipment, as well as take part in pre-registered dives with local naturalists and Festival presenters. In the afternoon an advanced photo clinic will be offered for more experienced underwater photographers as well as the orientation for Wednesday’s Clean-Up Dive with Dee Scarr. This evening will feature the Festival’s first presentation, party and raffle giveaway with guest speaker Ed Clarke from The Wildlife Center of Virginia and host of Wildlife Emergency on Animal Planet, who will speak about what people can do to save the marine environment.
One of the most popular events at the Dive Festival, Dee Scarr’s Underwater Clean-Up Dive, will take place on Wednesday morning. Throughout the day Festival participants will again have the chance to sample equipment from Sea & Sea and ScubaPro as well as participate in pre-registered dives. In the afternoon the fun and educational game of Fish-O (like bingo but with fish) will be played and there will be the chance to win great prizes. Giving people time for a night dive or to explore the island, there are no activities scheduled for Wednesday evening.
Thursday will once again bring the opportunity to participate in pre-registered dives and this morning will also be the deadline for submitting photography entries for the Festival Photo Contest. The culmination of the week’s events, this evening’s presentation will feature world-renowned marine artist Wyland, who will speak about clean water and the educational curriculum and his non-profit foundation. A local photographer slide/video show and party will also be part of this evening’s activities.
Rounding out the week, Friday offers a free day to explore the island. The Dive Festival Closing Ceremony, taking place that evening, will feature a presentation by Steven McColluch, Director of the Division of Dolphin Research and Conservation at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, who will be speaking about marine mammal research as well as the Photo Contest prize presentations.
Land-only package prices for the 7th Annual Bonaire Dive Festival start at $737 per person and include 7 nights accommodation (double occupancy) at one of the Dive Festival Host Hotels (Captain Don’s Habitat, Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino and Sand Dollar Condominium Resort), 6 boat dives, unlimited shore diving, breakfast daily, airport transfers, taxes and service charges. Packages do not include airfare and Dive Festival Registration Fee.
Dive Festival packages can be purchased, along with low cost airfare, through the following 2003 Dive Festival Tour Operators: Aqua Dreams (1-888-322-3483, www.aquadreams.com), Caradonna Caribbean Tours (1-800-328-2288, www.caradonna.com), and Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas (1-800-327-6709, www.maduro.com).
The registration fee for the Dive Festival is $125 per person. This fee includes entrance to all scheduled Dive Festival seminars and parties including the photo workshops and contest, equipment demos, Taste of Bonaire, and dives with local naturalists. This registration fee is payable to the tour operators at the time the Dive Festival Package is booked. For people wishing to attend the Dive Festival but not purchasing a Dive Festival package the registration fee is $250 per person. This $250 registration fee can be paid on the Dive Festival website,.
For more information on the Festival or a free downloadable Dive Festival brochure visit the Dive Festival’s official website atInformation on the Dive Festival is also available by calling 1-800-BONAIRE.
Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba and well outside the hurricane belt, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean. Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and deep sea and bone fishing.