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Bonaire First Dive Festival

Concerned with protecting and conserving the world’s coral reefs and marine ecosystems, and educating divers and snorkelers about what role they can play in conservation efforts, Bonaire will host the Annual Dive Festival June 9 – 16, 2001. Sponsored by CORAL – The Coral Reef Alliance, the Tourism Corporation Bonaire, Rodale’s Scuba Diving, the official print sponsor of the event, and the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC), the Dive Festival now in its fifth year, is expected to attract divers and snorkelers from around the world. Other Dive Festival sponsors include Air Jamaica, the Official Airline of the Bonaire Dive Festival, Scubapro, Sea & Sea and Kodak. Headlined by underwater photographers Stan Waterman and Stephen Frink and well-known author Osha Gray Davidson, the Dive Festival will also showcase participating organizations including the Bonaire Marine Park, the Philippe Cousteau Foundation, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute.

Long recognized for its commitment to reef preservation and environmental protection, Bonaire was chosen by The Coral Reef Alliance five years ago to host what has become one of the Caribbean’s most important diving and educational events. An exciting opportunity for anyone who enjoys and treasures the world’s coral reefs, the Fifth Annual Bonaire Dive Festival offers divers and snorkelers the chance to explore Bonaire’s reefs while learning from and interacting with some of the most notable names in environmental conservation. With seminars conducted by some of the world’s foremost marine protection groups, photography seminars with renowned underwater photographers, fish identification and photography contests, and evening parties with local food and music, this year’s Bonaire Dive Festival promises to be the best one yet.

"We strongly believe that the Bonaire Dive Festival is the ideal platform on which we can continue to promote coral reef protection," says Elsmarie Beukenboom, Director of Tourism for Bonaire. "Since 1979 when the Bonaire Marine Park was founded it has been our goal to not only provide a museum-like underwater world for divers and snorkelers, but more importantly to educate people about coral reefs and marine life, helping to ensure that they be protected for future generations to enjoy."

The Bonaire Dive Festival Opening Ceremony and Orientation, followed by the Festival’s first event, a discussion on coral conservation lead by Osha Davidson, will kick off the week’s activities. The week will continue with morning dives with local naturalists and Dive Festival presenters, daily equipment and product demos, underwater photography clinics and evening parties and presentations by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Philippe Cousteau Foundation, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute and Bonaire Marine Park. The much-anticipated Clean-Up Dive with local celebrity Dee Scarr of "Touch the Sea"fame, Photography Evening with the Pros with Stan Waterman and Stephen Frink, and the photography contest (with great prizes) highlight the Dive Festival schedule. The Dive Festival will wrap up with parting words by Bonaire’s pioneer of marine conservation, Captain Don Stewart at the Closing Ceremony followed by A Taste of Bonaire Food Festival in Wilhemina Park in Kralendijk, Bonaire’s capital, where Dive Festival participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the past week while enjoying live music and Bonairean cuisine provided by local restaurants.

Land only packages prices for the Fifth Annual Bonaire Dive Festival start at $634 per person and include seven nights accommodation at Dive Festival Host Hotels, boat diving package and unlimited shore diving. Dive Festival Host Hotels include Buddy Dive Resort 1-800-328-2288, Captain Don’s Habitat 1-800-327-6709, Divi Flamingo Beach Resort 1-800-367-3484, Harbour Village Beach Resort 1-800-868-7477 and Sand Dollar Condominium Resort 1-800-288-4773. For information or to purchase a Dive Festival package call the following Dive Festival Tour Operators: Caradonna Caribbean Tours 1-800-328-2288, Caribbean Adventures 1-800-433-3483, Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas 1-800-327-6709, and PADI Travel Network 1-800-729-7234.

Registration for the Fifth Annual Bonaire Dive Festival is only $75.00 ($95.00 after March 1, 2001) and includes entrance to all scheduled Dive Festival seminars and parties. To register for the Dive Festival, visit www.coralreefalliance.org or call 1-888-CORAL-REEF. A full schedule of events and presenter information is also available through the CORAL website.

Additional information on the Fifth Annual Bonaire Dive Festival is also available through any of the Dive Festival Tour Operators mentioned above, the Tourism Corporation Bonaire at 1-800-BONAIRE, or visit Bonaire’s website at www.infobonaire.com, Rodale’s Scuba Diving’s Dive Festival website at www.scubadiving.com/bonairefest, or CORAL’s web site at www.coralreefalliance.com.

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