Discover what lives beneath Bonaire's famous Town Pier Many of today's diving destinations are identified with specific undersea attractions. Bonaire has had, for many years, a reputation for superb shore diving. While this advantage still exists today, there is an undersea attraction far more fascinating and compelling. Bonaire is rapidly becoming known for its small invertebrates and reef fish which are ideally suited for macro photography.
Bonaire is a small island in the Dutch Antilles, 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Its shoreline is bordered by fringing coral reefs and steeply angled slopes which begin almost at the beach and drop quickly to an average depth of 110 feet. The waters surrounding Bonaire are very warm and incredibly rich in nutrients. This combination serves as a fertile incubator for the prolific growth of small marine creatures of every kind.
The western side of Bonaire is completely protected by a boomerang shaped bay and a small offshore island, thus producing calm water and virtually no current. This environment promotes the rapid growth of delicate sponges, anemones and corals of every type. In fact, Bonaire��s natural marine environment is a fast breeder for just about every invertebrate and small reef fish found in this part of the Caribbean.
Town Pier offers a variety of macro creatures which will keep the photographer busy for hours. The pier pilings are virtually covered with Christmas tree worms. There are literally thousands of these tube worms, in very color, growing on every piling. Clustered around the base of the pilings are many arrowcrabs. These spider-like crustaceans range in size from two to five inches and are ideal subjects for the 1:3 macro tube.
Among the debris on the bottom you will often find a colorful scorpionfish. There are several octopuses which live inside of pipes or hollow tubes lying on the bottom. Unfortunately, these shy creatures rarely come out in the open and are difficult to photograph.
The debris beneath the pier provides an ideal hiding place for a family of crimson red brittle stars. These creatures are especially vibrant in color and produce stunning photos.
One of the most popular dive activities on Bonaire is night diving. There are many exotic creatures under the pier that are not seen during the daytime hours. At night, these creatures come out of hiding and provide macro photographers with a whole new array of subjects.
Tube anemones rise out of the sandy bottom spreading their tentacles like delicate flowers. Tubastrea cup corals growing on the sides of pilings and shallow coral formations extend their bright yellow and orange tentacles at night. The Town Pier blossoms into a dazzling wall of brilliant colors.
The rare orange-tipped anemone (which only makes its appearance at night) is sometimes seen under the pier. Bright crimson starfish hide during the daylight hours, are seen prowling along the bottom at night. Many fish which are hard to approach during the day can be found quietly sleeping on the sea floor at night.