Bonaire's Town Pier is the ideal nightcap It's happy hour at the tiki bar. Divers swap stories and sip rum drinks while watching the sun slip toward the blue Caribbean. But you order a Coke because your diving day isn't over yet. A compact pickup truck waits in the resort's parking lot. The dive guide has already loaded the gear and tanks and is ready to ferry you and a dive buddy into town. Ten minutes later, the truck is parked on the stone quay of a picturesque waterfront village, just north of an L-shaped concrete pier that holds a small island freighter and a pair of oceangoing tugs. The three of you don lightweight wetsuits and assemble your dive gear while samba music drifts from a nearby tavern. After pausing to admire the last remnants of the sunset, you make final equipment checks with your buddy and follow the guide to the water. You are on the island of Bonaire, ready to experience of one of the Caribbean's best-known night dives: the Town Pier at Kralendijk. Situated on the island's sheltered western shore, but awash in clear Caribbean water, Town Pier is too small to accommodate massive freighters or cruise ships. As a result, marine traffic is light, and the shallow depths under the pier provide a safe environment for recreational divers. For increased safety, the dive is conducted with the aid of a local guide - usually a resort divemaster. Your guide warns you about the slick concrete ramp ahead and diverts you to a set of steps that offer more secure footing. Everyone wades into waist-deep water, attaches fins, activates dive lights and submerges. At first, you pass over a barren sand bottom, navigating by the faint yellow pools of light cast by overhead streetlights. A row of shadows appears, and the overhead lights are eclipsed as you swim under a concrete ceiling and into a concrete forest of vertical pilings.A sweep of your dive light reveals a riot of color. Yellow and orange sponges and fire-red corals cover the pilings with a rich carpet of life. You move closer; the bright beam of your light captures a trumpet fish hanging motionless in the branches of a soft coral. Threading your way through rows of pilings, you reach the far end of the pier, where a freighter floats overhead, suspended in the clear water with deck lights ablaze. The lights draw a darting silver rain of baitfish, which scatter without warning. A 6-foot tarpon glides into view, turns and vanishes with a twitch of its powerful tail. You congratulate yourself on the decision to make one more dive today. You still have plenty of time for a shower, dinner and a return to the tiki bar, where you'll have more than just the sunset to talk about. For more information about diving the Town Pier and other Bonaire hot spots, click on the home pages below. For general information about Bonaire, click here:
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