The Eighth Annual Bonaire Dive Festival, taking place June 5-19, 2004, has been expanded from one week to two weeks. This means that participants have the option to come any time during the two week festival fortnight, and stay as long as they can. This change was designed to allow attendees to have more free time during the festival to see and experience more of Bonaire, with more time to simply relax and enjoy being on vacation. Also new this year, the fees for participation in the Festival have been dropped.
While daily guided dives, gear and equipment demonstrations and educational activities related to the protection of our marine environment will remain the key elements of the 2004 Festival, a variety of topside activities have been added to the schedule. Depending on when you come during the two week festival, you could experience any of the following activities:
- A Taste of Bonaire food and cultural festival
- Painting with influential marine artist Wyland on one of his famous murals
- Underwater photography workshops and photo contest
- A restaurant tour
- Lac Bay/Mangrove Discovery Day
- Fashion show of the latest dive and sports wear
- A beach barbecue
- Music festivals
- Scuba Challenge/Fish ID contest
- Folkloric Activities and market day in Rincon
- Evening slide shows and parties at many of the island’s hotels.
In attendance during both weeks of the Dive Festival, will be Wyland, one of the most influential marine artists of our time. A celebrated painter, sculptor, writer, underwater photographer, and muralist, Wyland is seen by an estimated one billion people throughout the world every year. Founder of the Wyland Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the world’s oceans Wyland is committed to bridging the worlds of marine science and art.
Sponsored by the Tourism Corporation Bonaire, Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine, and CORAL — The Coral Reef Alliance, this two week event will focus on having fun while experiencing first hand what divers, snorkelers and other adventure enthusiasts can do to protect our environment, marine ecosystems and coral reefs for future generations.
Festival attendees can stay at any hotel on island, dive with any dive shop and participate in as many or as few activities as they choose. "This year’s Dive Festival gives attendees the freedom to truly customize their own program, staying as long as they choose, doing as little or as much as they choose, and participating in those activities that interest them the most," commented Burney el Hage, Commissioner of Tourism for Bonaire. "Our goal is to have our visitors return home having had the experience of a lifetime at the Dive Festival, and looking forward to returning to Bonaire in the very near future" he concluded.